15th, this AmericanStudier celebrated his 45th 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 45 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!]
are, 44 favorite posts from the 11th year of AmericanStudying:
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.
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.
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 last year…
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 post illustrates.
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
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
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
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 ever goals.
26-27: AmericanWishing: My Sons: Do I really need to say any more
than that title?
28: Year in Review: Race, Memory, and Justice: 2021 has shaped up to be even more
defined by those themes as 2020 was.
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
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
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
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.
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.!).
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
American Whistleblowers: Daniel Ellsberg: For the 50th anniversary
of the Pentagon Papers, this post got Twitter engagement from none other than
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.
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)!
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 filial focus.
birthday post tomorrow,
know what to do!