[On August 15th, this AmericanStudier discovers the meaning of life; well, I turn 42, anyway. So as I do each year, here’s a series sharing some of my favorite posts from each year on the blog, leading up to a new post with 42 favorites from the last year. And as ever, you couldn’t give me a better present than to say hi and tell me a bit about what brings you to the blog, what you’ve found or enjoyed here, your own AmericanStudies thoughts, or anything else!]
Thirty-seven favorites from the 2013-2014 year on the blog!
1) August 23: Still Studying: Known Unknowns: A series on things I’m still learning concludes with a post on three recent takeaways from that 21st century resource, Twitter.
2) August 30: Fall Forward: Three Years: In honor of the blog’s upcoming third anniversary, three of my favorite memories from those first three years.
3) September 13: Newport Stories: To Preserve or Not to Preserve: A series on stories and histories surrounding The Breakers wonders whether and how we should preserve such historic homes.
4) September 17: Gloucester Stories: The Sense of the Past: As part of a series on the Massachusetts fishing town, why it’s so important to better remember that community.
5) September 25: Justice Is Not Color Blind: Duke: The most complex post in my series on race and justice in America, on expectations, realities, and the role of public scholars.
6) October 14: John Sayles’ America: Secaucus and the 60s: A series AmericanStudying my favorite filmmaker starts with the movie that echoes but also challenges our narratives of a turbulent decade.
7) October 21: Book Talk Thoughts: MOCA: With my year of book talks underway, a post on the inspiringly pitch-perfect New York museum that helped inaugurate those talks.
8) October 28: Symbolic Scares: The Wendigo: A Halloween series starts with the supernatural legend that offers cultural and cross-cultural commentaries.
9) November 7: Berkshire Stories: The Housatonic: Three complex and compelling sides to a New England river, part of a series on histories from this beautiful Western Mass. Region.
10) November 12: Veteran’s Week: Band of Brothers: As part of a Veteran’s Day series, nostalgia and nuance in one of our best recent depictions of war.
11) November 19: Times Like These: 1935: The debates over Social Security and how they do and don’t echo our own divided moment.
12) November 29: Giving Thanks: Future AmericanStudiers: A Thanksgiving series concludes with an inspiring moment where past and future were in conversation.
13) December 20: Representing Slavery: 12 Years a Slave: A series on cultural images of slavery concludes with two takes on the wonderful recent film, my own…
14) December 21-22: Representing Slavery: Joe Moser’s Guest Post: And that of my friend and colleague (and Irish film expert) Joe Moser!
15) December 24: AmericanStudies Wishes: Reform Now!: My annual series of wishes for the AmericanStudies Elves included this post on the very American reasons why we need immigration reform.
16) January 4-5: Ani DiFranco and Slavery: A special addition to a year-in-review series, on a couple historical contexts for a very current controversy.
17) January 23: Civil Rights Histories: George Wallace: Why we shouldn’t judge a lifetime by its worst moments, but why we do have to focus on them nonetheless.
18) January 27: Football Focalizes: Concussions and Hypocrisy: A Super Bowl series opens with the gap between what we know and what we do, in football as in history.
19) February 7: House Histories: Our Own Broad Daylight: A series on the House of the Seven Gables concludes with a post on the literary and communal presences of the past.
20) February 11: I Love Du Bois to His Daughter: My Valentine’s Day series included this tribute to an amazing letter from my American idol to his teenage daughter.
21) February 17: YA Lit: Little House on the Prairie: What we can and can’t learn about history from young adult lit kicks off a chapter-book-inspired series.
22) March 8-9: Crowd-sourced Non-Favorites: One of my most epic crowd-sourced posts ever rounded out a series on American things that don’t quite do it for us.
23) March 21: Cville Stories: 21st Century Tensions: Nostalgia, fear, and the current divisions that threaten communities like Charlottesville and America.
24) March 27: Caribbean Connections: Bob Marley: On whether it’s entirely possible for an artist to cross cultural borders, and why the crossing matters in any case.
25) April 2: Baseball Stories: Field of Dreams and The Brothers K: My Opening Day series included this post on divisive decades and histories, and whether baseball can bring us together.
26) April 16: Animated History: The Princess and the Frog: On race, representation, and seeing ourselves and our histories on screen.
27) April 28: Reading New England Women: Catharine Maria Sedgwick: A series on 19th century New England women kicks off with a funny, telling story that was way ahead of its time.
28) May 7: NeMLA Follow Ups: Roundtable on Contingent Faculty: Three meaningful ways we can move forward with a crucial issue.
29) May 12: Spring 2014 Recaps: 21st Century Writing: A semester recap series starts with three wonderful student papers from my Writing II course.
30) May 22: AmericanStudying Harvard Movies: Love Story: On the enduring appeal of fantasies, romantic and communal, and what it means to share them with future generations.
31) June 14-15: War Stories: Board Games: A D-Day series concludes with a special post on three board games from which I learned a good deal about histories of war.
32) June 17: AmericanStudying Summer Jams: Summertime Blues: The summer song that gave multi-layered voice to the experience of youth.
33) June 24: AmericanStudier Camp: Hello Muddah: As part of a summer camp series, the novelty song with an extended, very American afterlife.
34) July 14: American Beaches: Revere Beach: A beach series kicks off with three telling stages of one of our most historic beaches.
35) July 22: American Autobiographers: Olaudah Equiano: The controversial personal narrative that should be required reading whatever its genre.
36) August 1: Uncles and Aunts: Uncle Elephant: A series inspired by my sister’s birthday concludes with the children’s book that’s as sad and as joyous as life itself.
37) August 5: Virginia Voices: Thomas Nelson Page: For my latest return to VA, I highlighted interesting Virginia authors, including the question of whether and why we should read this once-popular writer at all.
Next birthday best post tomorrow,
PS. You know what to do!
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