[On August 15th, this AmericanStudier celebrated 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!]
Here they are,
42 favorite posts from 2018-19 on the blog:
Year Later: I don’t imagine I’ll ever visit Cville without thinking about
2017, but last year was particularly poignant, and I tried to capture some of
those thoughts in this post.
Century Massacres and Hate Crimes: While I hope always to do justice to
the distinct histories on which many of my posts focus, I’ve become
increasingly insistent on connecting to our contemporary moment as well. I hope
I did so compellingly here.
Protest Studying: The Whiskey Rebellion: Some of my favorite posts are those
where I know only the topic when I start, and have no idea where that topic
might take me. This was one of those!
Powell’s Guest Post on Refugee Literatures: Guest Posts remain one of my
favorite parts of the blog, and this was a particularly salient one.
Gay Studies: The Society for Human Rights: I could tell you that I already knew
about, indeed had heard of at all, America’s first, 1920s gay rights
organization—but I’d never lie to you like that, fellow AmericanStudiers.
Benard’s Guest Post on the New Bedford Whaling Museum: It’s
been awesome to watch my friend Akeia move into her role as the Whaling
Museum’s Curator of Social History, and it was just as awesome to get some of
her thoughts on that work here.
Studying: Doom: This whole series was super fun to research and write, and this
particular post brought me right back to late nights in my college dorm room.
Haunted Sites: Do I really need to sell a Halloween post on haunted historic
sites around the US???
Midterms: 1874: Another post where I learned so much, and which really pushed me
to rethink narratives of 1876 and the end of Federal Reconstruction.
Book Update!: On a professional level, the publication of my fifth and
most public book has been by far the best thing about this
past year. Still looking for any and all opportunities to talk about it this
Board Games: It’s always fun to revisit our childhoods and see what our
analytical lenses can help us understand—and, yes, nostalgically nerd out about
historical board games.
Histories: The Varsity Victory Volunteers: The VVV are one of my favorite
stories I learned for my book, and it was great to get to share a bit of that
Writings: The Crisis: I love when my teaching informs my blog and
vice versa, and both directions are part of this post on Tom Paine’s pamphlet.
in Review: Electing America: Our current political climate continues to
cause much despair, but figures like Veronica Escobar, Jahana Hayes, and Deb
Haaland give me reasons to hope.
Anniversaries: President Grant: Nuance is hard, all the time and
doubly so in such a heated moment as ours. But I keep striving for it, as I
hope this post exemplifies.
Predictions: I also strive more these days, as I said above, to connect this
blog to right now. Not sure yet whether I did so accurately here, but it was
fun to try!
American Literature: I enjoyed writing this whole Cuban American
series, but engaging with three wonderful recent literary texts made for a
particularly fun endpoint.
Af Am Life Writing: It had been too long since I got to share a
crowd-sourced post, and as always my fellow AmericanStudiers had a lot of great
responses & ideas!
(Sports) Debates: LeBron or Michael?: As my sons get older, conversations
with them make their way onto the blog a lot more often. This was one of those
Philippine American War: War or Insurrection?: So many huge and crucial American
histories remain entirely unremembered in our collective memories. This 20-year
war is certainly high on that list.
Love: The Opposite of Sex and You Can Count on Me: Is my
annual Valentine’s series an excuse to write analytical love letters to
favorite things of mine? Well, duh!
Non-Favorites: I don’t imagine my annual crowd-sourced Airing of Grievances
needs any further introduction.
Witch Trials: Tituba: Inclusive American histories don’t just highlight
figures and stories we need to remember—they open up so many vital contexts for
understanding all of us, past and present.
the Alamo: A Mexican Memoir: Another one of those texts and voices I
might never have learned about if it weren’t for a blog series.
American Literature: I know, I’m always adding more compelling
texts to the Must Read list. #SorryNotSorry!
The Chronicles of Prydain, Revisited: One of my favorite personal threads
from the past year has been watching my older son get into fantasy series I
loved as a kid. That started here, with the wonderful Lloyd Alexander!
Recaps: Homi Bhabha: Thanks to the great Claire
Sommers, NeMLA 2019 featured this stunning keynote address. Read all
about it, then submit an
abstract to join us at NeMLA 2020 in Boston!
Comedies: Airplane!: Not to get all Talking Heads on ya, but you
may find yourself writing about Airplane!
on your public scholarly blog, and you may ask yourself, how awesome is that??
Christ of the Ozarks: I’m sure plenty of folks already know that
there’s a 65.5 foot tall statue of Jesus in Arkansas. But I sure didn’t!
Day Texts: “This Land”: If you think I would miss any opportunity to
beg you to check out Gary Clark Jr.’s song and video if you haven’t yet, well,
you’d be mistaken.
Studying: Animated Activisms: Not gonna lie, writing about Captain Planet and FernGully brought.me.back.
King in Context: Rodney King: There are lots of reasons to revisit
historical moments like the Rodney King riots, but doing more justice to the
human figures at their center is very high on the list.
Writing: Sarah Kemble Knight: I’m not sure anyone who doesn’t take an
American Lit survey class (or read the Norton
Anthology for fun) is likely to encounter Knight’s travel narrative. That’s
a shame and one I tried to remedy here.
American as Blue Jeans: Jean Jackets: This was another unexpected and fun
series overall, but any post that features both The Boss and Miley Cyrus is
gonna show up in the Birthday Bests.
American Journeys: Philip Roth and Sarah Silverman: Blogging
allows me to experiment with ideas, and connections, I might otherwise never
think about. I think it yielded some interesting analyses here!
American Journeys: Michael Hoberman’s Books: Blogging also allows me to pay
tribute to wonderful colleagues and scholars like Michael!
Beach Reads: Ian Williams’s Reproduction: This whole series was a lot of fun
as always, but it was especially cool to learn more about my friend Ian’s debut
Century Lit: Jericho Brown: I wrote about Brown’s inspiring Twitter page
in this post, then he Retweeted my Tweet about the post and a ton more people
get into the conversation. If that ain’t the best of 21C lit—well, it is, so
America: Brother from Another Planet: Everybody should see John Sayles’s
1984 sci fi dramedy. I could say that about every Sayles film, but in this post
I said it about that one!
Renye’s on The X-Files: My latest and one of my favorite Guest Posts
from one of my favorite people!
Century American Anthems: It was fun to think about which recent songs
(and one recent poem) would work well as new anthems. What would you nominate?
Marilyn Monroe: Her American Origins: I learned a ton about Monroe in the
course of researching and writing this series, one more reminder that this blog
has meant a great deal to my own continued growth, day in and day out!
know what to do!