[On August 15th,
this AmericanStudier celebrates his 44th 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 44 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,
44 favorite posts from the past year of AmericanStudying:
24: Katrina at 15: Nature or Nuture?: I always enjoy posts that get me way
out of my comfort zone, and writing about meteorology to kick off this
anniversary series definitely did the trick.
31: Fall Semester Previews: A Policy of Care: I sure wasn’t happy with much
about how the last academic year went—but I stand by everything I wrote in this
post, and am so glad I made this my priority for each and every student.
Post: The Rock Springs Massacre and Working-Class White Supremacist Violence:
Think this is the only time I’ve ever shared a piece outside the blog’s daily
operations; it didn’t end up running for my Saturday
Evening Post column, so you got it here!
9: History through Games: Careers: Every piece in this series was a ton of
fun to write, but none more so than this trip through American history and
culture via the board game Careers.
19-20: Nazis in America: Project Paperclip and Hunters: I learned a whole lot while researching and writing
this series, all inspired by watching the problematic but compelling Amazon
original show Hunters.
26-27: Crowd-sourced AutumnStudying: I won’t include every crowd-sourced
post from the last year in this list—but I could, because I love love love
every one of them.
5: Recent Reads: How Much of These Hills is Gold: Gotta highlight two posts
from this series of book recommendations: this one, on the best novel I read
9: Recent Reads: Susie King Taylor’s Memoir: And this one, on a favorite
historical source I found (and about which I ended up recording a
whole podcast episode as well!).
15: Confederate Memory: The Shaaras: Revisiting childhood favorites through
an analytical lens is never easy, but it sure is important, especially when it
comes to topics like Civil War memory.
24-25: The World in 2020: If you look back through these bday lists, you’ll
see that I hardly ever directly engaged current events in the blog’s early
years. That’s been one main thread of my public scholarly evolution, as this
31-November 1: Robin Field’s Guest Post on Toni Morrison & the Rape Novel:
Also might not highlight every Guest Post in this list, which is a sign of the
very nice fact that I had more than ever before in this past year. (If you want
to write one, you know what to do!)
9-13: AmericanStudies’ 10th Anniversary and Online Public
Scholarship: Once again gotta highlight a couple interconnected posts,
these anniversary reflections…
14-15: Anniversary Acknowledgments: And these anniversary, heartfelt
21-22: Laura E. Franey’s Guest Post on The Keepers: I do have to highlight
this Guest Post as well, since they rarely line up so perfectly and
thoughtfully with the whole week’s series as Laura’s great post did!
27: Book Thanksgivings: Y’all: Having a book coming out is a chance to
thank so many folks, and I hope you’ll read every post in this series. But if
you read just one, make it the one dedicated to you!
5-6: AIDS and COVID: I could have written many more posts about COVID than
I did, and I think that was the right call. But this series concluder made
sense, and helped me think through some historical contexts and contrasts.
19-20: Crowd-sourced Fall 2020 Reflections: I value all my semester
reflections, and I hope you’ll check them out. But this was a year for
community and solidarity, so here’s a small expression of those more vital than
26-27: AmericanWishing: My Sons: Do I really need to say any more than that
28: Year in Review: Race, Memory, and Justice: 2021 has shaped up to be
even more defined by those themes as 2020 was.
4: Hope-full Texts: “A Long December”: Not sure I ever would have predicted
that I’d get to write about my favorite Counting Crows song in this space. Very
glad I was wrong!
17: Emily Hamilton-Honey’s Hope-full Guest Post: I think this is a first
for the blog—an online friend and fellow AmericanStudier read a series and
crowd-sourced post and had so many thoughts that it turned into a Guest Post!
21: MLK Histories: Where Do We Go from Here?: We all have a lot more to
learn about and from MLK; for me, this final book of his was a striking case in
6-7: Sports in 2021: Revolutionary Change: I think it’s fair to say sports
have and haven’t lived up to this potential over the last six months—but
there’s still time!
13-14: Short Stories I Love: Ilene Railton’s Stories: If you thought I
wouldn’t share this Valentine’s series post, well, you were sorely mistaken.
20-21: Crowd-sourced Non-Favorites: The annual crowd-sourced airing of
grievances didn’t disappoint!
27-28: Adam Golub’s Guest Post on Creativity and American Studies: Adam was
one of my first online AMST colleagues (and Twitter follows), and it was a joy
to finally get to share a bit of his work in this Guest Post.
8: Spring Break Films: Spring Break: Like most universities, we didn’t get
a Spring Break this year—but I took us all down to sunnier climes through this
fun series, starting with this (rightfully) forgotten 80s film.
13-14: Of Thee I Sing Update!: Of
Thee I Sing was published on March 15, so I kicked off a series on its
central concepts and my book talk plans with this special post (I hope you’ll check
out the whole series, as well as
this page with talks, podcasts, etc.!).
29: Key & Peele Studying: Negrotown: Dedicating my annual April Fool’s
series to my favorite sketch comedy duo was a very good and very fun idea.
6: NeMLA Recaps: Grace Sanders Johnson’s Talk: I enjoyed everything about
this year’s virtual NeMLA conference, and hope you’ll check out the whole
recaps series—but Grace’s talk was one of the most inspiring I’ve ever heard.
21: RadioStudying: Alan Freed: If you’re like me, you know the name Alan
Freed largely if not solely through the payola scandal. Suffice to say, there’s
a lot more to the man and his legacies than that!
24-25: Kate Jewell’s Guest Post: A Love Letter to College Radio: I’ve
team-taught numerous AmericanStudies with Kate, which means I was super excited
to finally feature a Guest Post from her and just as excited to share it with
you again here!
8-9: Victoria Scavo’s Guest Post on Gender Roles in Italian American Culture
& Literature: Fine, maybe I am gonna share most of the year’s Guest
Posts. They’re just all unique and meaningful—like this one, from an
undergraduate student of my friend and her fellow Guest Poster Robin Field!
10: Spring 2021 Moments: Jericho Brown and the Power of Poetry: This Spring
was the toughest semester of my teaching career, but even amidst all that there
were moments of grace and inspiration. This one really stood out.
18: Small Axe and America: Remembering Reggae: It was fun thinking about
how to apply Steve McQueen’s wonderful film series about West Indian English
communities to AmericanStudying. This was my favorite in the series.
29-30: Sarah Satkowsi’s Guest Post on T.C. Boyle: You knew I couldn’t share
one Guest Post from a student of Robin Field’s and not the other!
5-6: A Memorial Day Tribute: War and patriotism are two topics it’s easy to
caricature—but both, individually and especially together, can and should be commemorated,
just not in the ways we far too often have and do.
11: Basketball Stories: WNBA Stars: The ad campaign for the new WNBA season
was about how we should all be ashamed we haven’t been watching. Not sure about
it as a marketing strategy, but, well, it’s damn accurate.
14: American Whistleblowers: Daniel Ellsberg: For the 50th
anniversary of the Pentagon Papers, this post got Twitter engagement from none
other than Ellsberg himself!
28: Talking Of Thee I Sing: GCE Lab School: It’s been a great Spring of
book talks and conversations about my new book, and I’d love for you to check
out this whole series and then suggest some more such opportunities, please!
10-11: Pop Culture Workers: Another very fun post to plan and write, from
John Sayles to Hustlers and a lot of work and works in between.
20: Expanding Histories: United States v. Burr: I’ve long professed my love
for Burr, so this was a tough but important look at the seedier sides of US
history to which he so fully connects.
26-August 1: AmericanStudiers to Highlight: Gonna cheat and make this whole
series one highlight, as you should really check out all these great folks
& voices (including Hettie Williams’ Guest Post on the weekend, natch)!
2: AmericanStudies Websites: Steve Railton’s Trio: I could say the same
about all the websites in this series; but I can’t help but single out this
series starts tomorrow,
PS. You know
what to do!