[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!]
35 of my
favorite posts from my blog’s second year!
Me Too: In which I follow up the birthday favorites by highlighting five
posts that make clear just how much I too continue to learn about America.
Virginia, Cradle of American Studies: The first post in what I believe was
my first series (now of course the blog’s central format), on a few of
Virginia’s American Studies connections.
1: First Questions: A back to school post, highlighting both the
role that teaching plays in my American Studying and my (continued!) desire for
your input on my topics here.
2: Not Tortured Enough: On torture, American ideals and realities,
and how contemporary politics and overarching American questions intersect.
12: The Neverending Story: Perhaps the most vital American Studies
response I can imagine to September 11th and its decade-long
Native Voices: Linking the NEASA conference at Plimoth Plantation, the hardest
part of my dissertation and first book, and a key American question.
11: Remembering an Iconoclastic Genius: One of my most important jobs here,
I think, is to help us better remember important (and often inspiring) people
and histories and stories that we’ve forgotten; Derreck Bell is one such
19: The Importance of Reading Ernest: Making the case for an under-read
American great, and remembering to keep my literary interests present in this
space at the same time.
7: Moments That Remain 1: The fall’s NEASA conference was one of the best
weekends of my life, and it was very exciting to be able to bring a bit of it
to the blog.
14: Kids Say the Darnedest Things 1: Of the few different ways I’ve tried
to grapple with the Penn State scandal in this space, I think this series, using
student voices and ideas to remember the best of what college should be, is my
28: Bond, Racist Bond?: It’s not easy to analyze something we love—but I
tried that here, with one of my favorite films in my favorite series.
5: Defining Diversity: Transitioning from a topical post (one responding to
other American commentators) to the continued development of my own ideas about
American culture and identity.
12: Cross-Culture 1: It’s Not Only Rock and Roll: And then extending those
ideas to one of the many different media, genres, and disciplines that American
Studies helps us analyze.
19: Making My List 1: Memory Days: The Memory Days have become a separate
and ongoing project and page here, but this is where they began.
29: Year in Review 4: School for Scandal: Another stab at Penn State—not
searching for answers so much as highlighting some of the key American Studies
4: Gaga for American Studies: What American Studies can help us see in and
say about Lady Gaga. Enough said.
21: American Studies for Lifelong Learning: A series that helped me plan
the spring semester, connect my teaching to this blog, and, in this case, move
me toward both a new experience and what would turn out to be my third book.
23: Mexican American Studies: I’m maybe most proud of this series out of
all that I’ve done in this space this year, and this is where it started.
2: The Three Acts of John Rocker: Trying to do complex justice to a figure
and story that are both close to my heart (or at least the Atlanta Braves are)
and easily over-simplified.
16: Remembering Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Another far-too forgotten figure, and a
post inspired by an idea from a friend (which was the origin for the now-frequent
24: Detroit Connections: I think it’s fair to say that I hadn’t thought
about this topic at all prior to coming up with the series and writing the
post. That’s part of what a blog allows us to do, and while the results have to
speak for themselves, I love the opportunity.
6: Celebrating Zitkala-Sa: The whole Women’s History series was a lot of
fun, but any time I get the chance to recommend this unique and amazing author,
I take it.
21: Balboa Park: Family vacations will never be the same, now that they’re
part of my American Studying and blogging too. That’s fine by me.
27: Race and Danny Chen: Like the prior day’s subject, Trayvon Martin, Chen
is a tragically killed American whose story we should all know and with which
we have to engage.
4: Melville’s Confidence Man: A good reminder that both literature and
laughter have their place on the blog too.
19: How Would a Patriot Act? Part Three: This post on the amazing and
inspiring Yung Wing helped me continue developing book three.
26: Great American Stories, Part Four: One of the very best American short
stories, by one of my very favorite authors.
10: Maurice Sendak: Sometimes I feel locked into a week’s series, but
Sendak’s death reminded me that sometimes I need to shift gears and write about
a topical and important subject.
29: Remembering Pat Tillman: I hope I did justice to the complexities and
ambiguities in this American life and death; this remains by far my most-read
post on the Open Salon version of this blog, so it seems like it struck a chord
2-3: Remembering or Commemorating War: Michael Kammen, Kurt Vonnegut and
Clint Eastwood, and big American questions—if that’s not American Studying,
12: Playing with America, Part 2: But this is American Studying
too—analyzing some of the cultural and historical causes behind the hula hoop
16-17: Crowd-sourced Post on Material Culture: My first crowd-sourced post,
now one of my favorite aspects of the blog. Add your thoughts for this week’s!
6: Newton’s Histories, Part 5: To come full circle to the August 16th
post, Jonathan Walker reminds me of how much I still have to learn about
American history and culture.
27: Jennings on the Long Haul: And the inspiring life and career of Frances
Jennings reminds me of why continuing to learn, study, analyze, teach, and
write about America is so important and so rewarding.
best post tomorrow,
PS. You know
what to do!