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My New Book!
My New Book!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

August 11, 2021: Birthday Bests: 2014-2015

[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!]

In honor of my 38th birthday, 38 favorite posts from 2014-2015 on the blog!

1)      August 18: Films for the Dog Days: Dog Day Afternoon: A part of a sweltering summer series, I analyzed the gritty crime drama that’s sneakily subversive.

2)      September 5: Fall Forward: A New Teaching Challenge: My Fall 2014 semester included a brand new course on a brand new (to me) topic, and that was a very good thing.

3)      September 11: More Cville Stories: Fry’s Spring: Four exemplary stages to the Virginia hotspot where I spent many a summer’s day.

4)      September 15: Country Music and Society: Gender and Identity: On Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and gender-bending in one of our most traditional cultural genres.

5)      September 23: Women and War: Rosie the Riveter: Two ways to complicate and enrich our collective memories of an enduring American icon.

6)      October 8: AmericanStudying Appalachia: Murfree’s Mountains: An AppalachianStudying series gave me a chance to write about one of our most complex and talented authors.

7)      October 25-26: De Lange Follow Ups: My Fellow Tweeters: My whole experience as a Social Media Fellow at the De Lange Conference was amazing, and I’d love for you to check out the weeklong series of follow ups. But I can’t not focus on my amazing fellow Fellows!

8)      October 29: AmericanSpooking: The Birds and Psycho: For my annual Halloween series, I considered defamiliarization, horror, and prejudice.

9)      November 7: Exemplary Elections: 1994: My election week series ended with this highly influential recent election—and with this Lawyers, Guns, and Money post discussing and greatly amplifying my own thoughts.

10)   November 14: Veterans Days: Miyoko Hikiji: The veteran and book that help broaden and enrich our concept of American veterans—and now she’s running for the Iowa State Senate!

11)   November 28: 21st Century Thanks: E-Colleagues: A Thanksgiving series concludes with five colleagues I haven’t had the chance to meet in person, yet!

12)   December 3: AmericanWinters: The Blizzard of 78: Two AmericanStudies contexts for an epic winter storm (which little did I know in December we’d end up surpassing in terms of total Boston snowfall in one winter!).

13)   December 13-14: Andrea Grenadier’s Guest Post on Charles Ives: Another great year for Guest Posts, including this gem from Andrea on a difficult and important composer.

14)   December 24: AmericanWishing: Chesnutt’s “Wife”: Charles Dickens, one of my favorite American short stories, and holiday introspection were on my wish list this year.

15)   December 31: End of Year Stories: The Immigration Debate: Two online pieces of mine that have contributed to an ongoing political and American debate.

16)   January 6: Waltham Histories: The Waverly Trail: Three profoundly American moments in the history of a beautiful natural wonder.

17)   January 20: MLK Stories: Selma: What’s important and inspiring, and what’s a bit more problematic, about the wonderful recent film.

18)   January 26: AmericanStudying Sports Movies: Bad News Bears and Boys: A Super Bowl series starts with our obsession with lovable losers.

19)   February 2: American Conspiracy Theories: Roswell: Historical and cultural contexts for one of our craziest American conspiracy theories.

20)   February 20: American Studying Non-Favorites: Low Five: Five historical figures with whom I have a bone—or a whole skeleton—to pick!

21)   February 26: Western Mass. Histories: The Bridge of Flowers: Three evocative stages of a unique Massachusetts landmark.

22)   March 2: Forgotten Wars: The Second Barbary War: The anniversary of a forgotten Early Republic conflict inspired this post and series on wars we should better remember.

23)   March 14-15: All That Crowd-sourced Jazz: Crowd-sourcing at its finest, with fellow AmericanStudiers adding wonderful nominations to my week’s series on jazz.

24)   March 24: American Epidemics: The Measles: An all-too-timely post, on three stages in the history of a frustratingly persistent disease.

25)   April 2: April Fools: Minstrel Shows: What we do with comic art that’s just not funny any more.

26)   April 6: Baseball Lives: Hank Greenberg: Why we should remember one of our greatest Jewish American athletes—and an inspiring icon.

27)   April 18-19: Crowd-sourced Reading List: Another great crowd-sourced post, this one on nominations for an AmericanStudies reading list.

28)   April 27: Communist Culture: “The Palace-Burner”: What one of my favorite American poems can teach us about difference, empathy, and identity.

29)   May 11: Semester Conclusions: I Can’t Breathe: Remembering one of my most radical classroom moments, and why it wasn’t.

30)   May 19: BlockbusterStudying II: Ghostbusters: Science, the supernatural, and Weird Tales in one of our funnier and more original summer blockbusters.

31)   May 26: Decoration Day Histories: Frederick Douglass: As part of a series on Memorial Day’s origins, I highlighted Douglass’s amazing 1871 Decoration Day speech.

32)   June 2: Mount Auburn Connections: Blanche Linden: Three inspiring sides to a hugely influential AmericanStudier, scholar, and teacher.

33)   June 12: North Carolina Stories: Moral Mondays: Two historical parallels for the crucial contemporary protests and activism.

34)   June 19: AmericanStudies Beach Reads: A Tragic, Compelling Life: Why we should get serious at the beach, and the perfect book to help us do so.

35)   June 26: Gordon Parks and America: Portrait Photos and the Past: A series inspired by a wonderful (and ongoing) MFA exhibit concludes with some thoughts on what portraits can’t teach us about the past, and what they can.

36)   July 1: The 4th in Focus: Fireworks: The history, symbolism, and limitations of an American holiday tradition.

37)   July 11-12: Samuel Southworth’s Guest Post: In Honor of the 150th Anniversary of the US Secret Service: In my most recent Guest Post, Sam considers the organization’s history, role, and importance, with a fascinating foonote in comments to boot.

38)   July 20: Billboard #1s: “I’ll Never Smile Again”: A series on Billboard hits starts with what’s hugely different about 1940’s #1 hit, and what’s not so different at all.

Next birthday best post tomorrow,


PS. You know what to do!

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