Saturday, August 15, 2020
August 15, 2020: Birthday Bests: 2017-2018
[On August 15th, this AmericanStudier celebrates his 43rd (and strangest) birthday. 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 43 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!]
Here they are, 41 favorite posts from the 2017-2018 year on the blog:
1) Famous Virginians: Arthur Ashe: I enjoyed researching all the posts in last year’s post-Cville series, but this one on three influences on the legendary athlete stands out for me.
2) #NoConfederateSyllabus: Working on this document with my colleague and friend Matthew Teutsch was a highlight of the last year—it’s still evolving, so check it out and contribute, please!
3) Pledge Posts: Protesting the Pledge: Both of my sons have continued their acts of civil disobedience, and to say that they are now more salient than ever is to understate the case.
4) The Worst and Best of Allegiance: Salient enough, even, that I’m highlighting a second post from that same series!
5) Crowd-sourced Legends of the Fall: Some of the best crowd-sourced posts are those that feature multiple topics and threads, as this great one on both autumn and falls from innocence reflects.
6) Early Civil Rights Histories: The Little Rock Nine: Better remembering American heroes like the Little Rock Nine is more crucial than ever, and here I highlighted three complementary ways we can do just that.
7) LongmireStudying: Standing Bear: Not the last time the wonderful TV show will appear on this list!
8) Indigenous Performers in Popular Culture: Two of these folks I knew virtually nothing about before researching this post—and the third is Graham Greene!
9) Guest Post: Nancy Caronia on Italian Americans and Columbus Day: A complex and crucial topic, handled with thoughtfulness and passion by a colleague and friend—describes all of my great Guest Posts, and doubly so this one!
10) Children’s Histories: The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball: A new young adult novel that can add importantly to our collective memories of the Chinese Exclusion Act era.
11) 7 Years of Scholarly Blogging: Matthew Teutsch: Connecting to fellow public scholars has been one of the very best parts of this blog for me, so I’m gonna highlight all of the posts in this week’s series to try to return that favor!
16) Veterans Days: The Harrisburg Veterans Parade: One of those stunning moments that embodies both the worst and best of America, the exclusionary yet inclusive sides on which I’m focusing in my new book project.
17) Curry, LeBron, and Sports in the Age of Trump: Another one of those posts that has become only (if frustratingly) more relevant since I wrote it.
18) 80s AlbumStudying: Thriller and Dualities: Any time you have the chance to write, and then to highlight, a post on Michael Jackson’s Thriller, you do so!
19) Reconstruction Figures: The Fisk Jubilee Singers: Some of my favorite posts here have allowed me to learn a great deal more about topics for which my knowledge was shamefully lacking. This is a very good example of that phenomenon!
20) Longmire Lessons: Walt and Cady: Back to Longmire one more time, for a (SPOILERiffic) examination of where we leave some of the show’s wonderful characters.
21) Reviewing Resistance: Fitchburg State University: For a series on the year in #Resist, it was fun to think about some of the many ways my campus is doing its part!
22) Gay Rights Histories: The Society for Human Rights (1924): Speaking of shamefully lacking knowledge, I knew exactly nothing about this pioneering activist organization before researching this post and series.
23) Gay Rights Histories: Fitchburg State’s Exhibition: Much closer to now and to home, it was fun to think about why this FSU exhibit impressed me as much as it did.
24) Famous Boy Scouts: Michael Jordan and Hank Aaron: Did you know that these two legendary but contrasting athletes were both Boy Scouts?
25) Learning to Love Mariah Carey: My annual Valentine’s series concluded with my newfound and deep admiration for the musical icon.
26) Anti-Favorites: The Geary Act: We really, really really, need to better remember the horrific excesses of the Chinese Exclusion Act era.
27) Boston Massacre Studying: My Sons’ Thoughts: You didn’t think I’d miss a chance to share this Guest Post of sorts featuring my sons’ takes on the Boston Massacre, didya?
28) Black Panther Studying: Erik Killmonger: I haven’t stopped thinking about Michael B. Jordan’s Black Panther character since I saw the film.
29) Great American Novel Studying: Recent Contenders: There’s no such thing as The Great American Novel—but it makes for a fun debate, and an even funner way to highlight deserving books like this handful of recent classics.
30) NeMLA Recaps: Back to the Board: I’m so glad to have returned to the Northeast MLA Board that I have to share this post on my reasons for doing so one more time!
31) AssassinationStudying: Squeaky Fromme: Why a seemingly silly potential assassin was anything but.
32) Scholarly Tribute: Erik Loomis: A series on the Haymarket Affair concluded with a tribute to one of our best labor historians and public scholars.
33) Hap & Leonard Studying: Redefining Lynching: As of this writing the wonderful SundanceTV show Hap & Leonard has been cancelled—but no matter what we have three amazing seasons to return to, highlighted by season two as I detail in this post.
34) Nursing Histories: Medal of Honor Medics: The chance to highlight a few of the amazing Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipients made for a great end to this pre-Memorial Day series.
35) BlockbusterStudying: The Last Jedi: The latest in a series of posts through which I critique Yoda, praise Luke, and rethink the American mythos that is Star Wars.
36) McCarthyism Contexts: McCarthy’s Lies and Rise: Joe McCarthy rose to destructive power by lying all the time, and nearly destroyed the country with his continued falsehoods. Seems worth remembering.
37) The Supreme Court and Progress: Loving v. Virginia: Loving Day is one of my favorite American moments, and has so much to teach us about both our past and our present.
38) Summer Class Readings: “Of the Passing of the First-Born”: This chapter from Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk is one of the toughest and most important American texts I know.
39) Representing Race: Seven Seconds: If you haven’t yet seen this Netflix original show, I highly recommend it, for all these reasons and more.
40) KennedyStudying: Chappaquiddick: Posts that challenge my own ideologies and perspectives are ones I always try to highlight in these series, and this one did just that.
41) 17th Century Histories: Jamestown’s First Slaves: But so too are posts that help us unearth American histories and stories we all need to better remember, which remains my #1 priority in this blog and one I can’t wait to continue in the year to come!
New birthday best post tomorrow,
PS. You know what to do!