[On August 15th, this AmericanStudier celebrates his 46th 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 46 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, 39 favorite posts from the 2015-2016 year on the blog:
Stories: The Changing Cape: One of my favorite things about blogging
remains the chance to explore in depth topics about which I thought I knew a
lot already—Cape Cod certainly qualifies, and this whole series was a wonderful
reminder of how much I have to learn.
9/11: The Siege: I can’t imagine a work of art, in any genre, that more Americans
should see and engage with in 2016 than Ed Zwick’s prescient 1998 film.
Days: The Great Molasses Flood: I never expected a Dennis Lehane
novel would give me a week’s worth of topics, but The Given Day did, and this largely forgotten historical moment
Texts: See You in September: Little inside blog-baseball here: sometimes
I create a series and then see what might fill it. The results are always
surprising, and I hope as interesting to read as they are to search and write!
2015: The chance to share great AmericanStudies voices and sites is
always welcome, and these three are just as worth your time in 2016!
Revolution: Crispus Attucks: Think you know all about Mr. Attucks, first casualty
of the Revolution? Well, so did I until I researched and wrote this post.
Senier’s Guest Post on Dawnland Voices: Voices
is one of the most important American anthologies ever published, and it was an
honor to share these thoughts by its editor.
Century Villains: Wilson Fisk: If I couldn’t write about an American
character and performance as rich as Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, why
maintain this blog??
Inventors: Eli Whitney’s Effects: But at the same time, the cotton gin
is just as crucial to a blog called AmericanStudies as is a streaming Netflix
Ups: Little Rock and Race: My first visit to Little Rock, for the
Southern Historical Association conference, was just as inspiring as you would
Thanks-givings: Longmire: Am I sharing this post only because I got
into a Twitter conversation with Lou Diamond Phillips thanks to it? No, but
that doesn’t hurt!
On Not Taking the 13th Amendment for Granted: It’s not
easy to really think through all the paths American history could have taken,
and why each moment is so complex and central. But it’s important that we try,
as I did in this post.
Friends: The Darker Side of Friends: It’s also not easy to critique works
of art that give us pleasure, but just as important that we do so.
the AmericanStudies Elves: Ida B. Wells’ Crossroads: There’s
a reason this moment will be at the heart of my next book—there are few more
inspiring ones in our history.
2015: Trump: Hard to remember the way we felt about candidate Trump back in
late December—but even more crucial to AmericanStudy his unprecedented and
historically horrific campaign now, of course.
Tom Sawyer Island: If you guessed that my first trip to Disney
World would yield some rich AmericanStudies topics, well, you guessed right!
Century Civil Rights: An MLK Day series concluded with some of the
many current fronts in the ongoing battle for civil rights and equality for
Williamsburg: The Governor’s Palace Maze: There’s nothing quite like
researching and writing a blog post about a favorite childhood place.
Debates: Missouri Activism Update: Our 24-hour news cycle culture moves
way too quickly past stories on which we should linger—and the Missouri
football team’s inspiring activism is one such story to be sure.
Non-favorites: “Africa” and Graceland: Paul Simon fans didn’t appreciate
this one so much, and I got some reasoned and convincing pushback—but I still
would call Simon’s album dangerously close to cultural appropriation.
Readings: Macklemore, J. Cole, and #BlackLivesMatter: This was
a seriously fun series to think about and write, and these are songs and
artists well worth your time.
Memories: Anglais and French: I took a lot away from my first trip to
Montreal, but perhaps most striking was the multi-lingual model the city offers
us in the US.
Rican Posts: The Statehood Debate: We’ve recently seen another
troubling moment in this evolving and too-often-overlooked American history.
Recaps: Many Thanks: I loved everything about my NeMLA conference
in Hartford, and about writing this recap series. But I have to highlight here
one more time my overwhelming gratitude for all those who made it happen and
Century Humor: Melville’s Chimney: This deeply weird short story had
stuck with me for decades, and AmericanStudying it offered some much-needed
Reconstruction: The Civil Rights Act of 1866: The battle for whether and how we
should remember Reconstruction during its sesquicentennial will likely continue
for a good long while—and I fully expect to keep adding my voice to that
Outlaws: Bonnie and Clyde: One of those posts where I started in a
totally different place from where the research and histories took me.
Century Patriots: Deepa Iyer: Highlighting contemporary critical patriots
was a lot of fun, and I’d emphasize in particular this increasingly vital new
Music Icons: Florence Foster Jenkins: Before you see the Meryl Streep
movie, read the Ben Railton post!
Reflections: A Writing Associate in Major Authors: The
opportunity to share inspiring favorite FSU students is always a blog
60s Rock: Jimi Hendrix’s Covers: From Florence Foster Jenkins to Jimi
Hendrix—the six degrees of AmericanStudier!
Scholarly Books: Finding Light between the Pages: You
should read all the wonderful books in this series—but for my birthday week,
I’ll share this one on my own forthcoming project!
Election and 2016: If you need any more reason to see this
election as a crucial one, history offers us a compelling such argument.
Beach Reads: Crowd-sourced posts are always great, but the beach reads series
brings out a particularly wide and deep group of voices and nominees.
Lessons from Canada: It can be tough to let current events impact
the blog when I’m trying to write and schedule them in advance—but it’s always
worthwhile, and this post and series are great illustrations of that.
Irony and “Summertime Sadness”: Cleanth Brooks, Emily Dickinson, T.S
Eliot, and Lana Del Rey—ain’t that AmericanStudies!
the Wind Turns 80: Revisiting Rhett Butler: I enjoyed the chance to revisit the
subject of my first article, and to see where my ideas have shifted and where
Critical Patriotism: Frederick Douglass’ July 4th Speech: No
better place to end this list than with a figure and text that offer
pitch-perfect exemplification of all that I’m trying to do, here and
birthday best post tomorrow,
know what to do!