My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Friday, August 18, 2023

August 18, 2023: Birthday Bests: 2021-2022

[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, 45 favorite posts from my 12th year of AmericanStudying:

1)      August 27: American Teens: John Hughes Films: A series inspired by my pair of high schoolers concluded with this fun way to reconsider classic 80s films.

2)      September 11-12: Tayna Roth’s Guest Post on “The Real Miss America”: I’ve had a ton of great Guest Posts this year, and you’d better believe I’m gonna highlight them all, starting with this one drawn from Tanya’s excellent new book!

3)      September 18-19: Domestic Terrorism: 9/11 and 1/6: I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking and talking about January 6th, 2021, including in this comparative weekend post.

4)      September 24: American Modernists: F. Scott Fitzgerald: Want to read Fitzgerald beyond Gatsby? This phenomenal short story is a good place to start.

5)      October 8: AmericanFires: The Great Chicago Fire: I promise I won’t use much of this space to promote my Saturday Evening Post columns, but this one lined up really well with a blog series.

6)      October 15: SitcomStudying: We Love Lucy: Getting to revisit and rethink familiar subjects is one of the real perks of this blog, and I enjoyed the chance to AmericanStudy I Love Lucy.

7)      October 19: Work in Progress: Lesson Plan for CT Humanities: A fun story of the long afterlife of one of my first online pieces—and now I can share the lesson plan itself!

8)      November 3: Action Figures: Charles Bronson and Death Wish: In a series inspired by Bronson’s 100th birthday, it was fun to explore and challenge my preconceptions about his seminal film.

9)      November 13-14: 11th Anniversary Tributes: Gotta share my tribute to what the Railton family have meant to this blog (and beyond)!

10)   November 20-21: The Montgomery Bus Boycott: 21st Century Legacies & Echoes: There are lots of good reasons to learn history, but high on the list has to be what it can help us understand in our own moment.

11)   November 27-28: Emily Lauer’s Guest Post on Afrofuturism in Museums: Emily is my first three-time Guest Poster, and since she keeps doing such great work, I couldn’t be happier about that!

12)   December 4-5: Crowd-sourced Online Reading List: I ended a series for Project Gutenberg’s 50th birthday by sharing these recommendations from fellow OnlineAmericanStudiers.

13)   December 13: Fall Semester Recaps: First Year Experience Seminar: FYE was a tough class to teach and an even tougher one to get right—but when I did, it sure felt extra meaningful and helpful.

14)   December 20: Wishes for the AMST Elves: Higher Ed Funding: This whole series was fun to write as ever, but this is the most universally relevant for my week’s wishes to be sure.

15)   December 27: Year in Review: The Braves: Celebrating yet also critiquing the surprising success of a favorite team—that’s the AmericanStudier way!

16)   December 31: Year in Review: New Novels: I don’t get to read for pleasure too much these days, but these are books well worth finding time for.

17)   January 5: 2022 Anniversaries: 1872 and Henry Wilson: I always learn a lot when I research specific years for the blog, and this discovery about Grant’s second vice president was no exception.

18)   January 14: Women in Politics: Shirley Chisholm’s Campaigns: Running for president was just the tip of the iceberg of Chisholm’s impressive political and activist career.

19)   January 25: American Gangsters: Capturing Capone: Any time I get to write about Tintin, I promise to share it in these series!

20)   January 31: Bill MurrayStudying: Tootsie: Ditto any time I get to write about one of my favorite 80s films and how it (mostly) still holds up.

21)   February 12-13: Kurtis Kendall’s Guest Post on Athlete Activism: And really really ditto when I’m sharing a Guest Post from an FSU English Studies alum!

22)   February 19-20: More Podcasts We Love: Please check out all the podcasts highlighted in this weeklong series—and now here’s my own episode of Drafting the Past!

23)   February 22: Non-Favorite Myths: The Supreme Court: One of those times I really wish I had been less prescient in my analyses and predictions about our current climate.

24)   March 5-6: Megan Kate Nelson’s New Book on Yellowstone: Always great when I can end a series by highlighting a wonderful new book from a friend!

25)   March 11: The Pacific Theater: “I Shall Return”: Douglas MacArthur, quite the asshole but still a powerfully inspiring leader as well. Such is the AmericanStudying dance!

26)   March 21: Rock and Roll Groundbreakers: The Moondog Coronation Ball: If you thought I was going to miss a chance to write “Moondog Coronation Ball” a couple more times—well, you thought wrong.

27)   March 28: Stand-Up Studying: Anthony Jeselnik: Few things better than getting to analyze a cultural work you love, and finding new layers in the process.

28)   April 9-10: Arbor Day Activists: One of the people most responsible for Arbor Day’s existence was Birdsey Northrop. I feel like we all need to know that.

29)   April 18: Boston Marathon Studying: The First Marathon: There’s a lot of pretty fascinating stuff about the 1897 Boston Marathon—here’s just some of it.

30)   April 23-24: Tiffany Chenault’s Guest Post: Boston Marathon RECAP: My friend and SSN Boston co-leader Tiffany ran her first Boston this year, and had a lot of great thoughts about the experience!

31)   April 26: Ulysses Grant Studying: His Book: Dedicating a whole series to the underappreciated Grant was fun, and I learned a lot, as illustrated by this post on his wonderful memoirs.

32)   May 7-8: Scholarship on Internment: I’ll never pass up a chance to re-up highlights of favorite scholarly voices and works!

33)   May 14-15: Spring Semester Reflections: Adult Ed and Two Sandlots: Getting to teach adult learning classes centered around a book in progress was a new, and very rewarding, experience.

34)   May 21-22: Aviation Histories: Amelia Earhart: There’s so much more to Earhart than just her most famous flights.

35)   May 28-29: Sydney Kruszka’s Guest Post: Why We Should All Read Maus: I’ve been able to share three Guest Posts now from students taught by my friend Robin Field—and I’d love to share ones from y’all’s students too!

36)   June 9: Judy Garland Studying: Judgment at Nuremberg: I had completely forgotten that Judy Garland was in Judgment—much less how stunningly good her performance was.

37)   June 11-12: LGBTQ Icons: Garland was also an icon and inspiration to the LGBTQ community—as we the other four women I highlighted in this post.

38)   June 13: Revisiting Beach Reads: Tony Hillerman: With the excellent new Hillerman adaptation Dark Winds recently out, it was fun to dip back into a childhood favorite.

39)   June 25-26: Las Vegas Studying: Vegas in Song: This whole Vegas series was a blast, but I especially enjoyed the chance to write about The Killers and so many other Vegas songs.

40)   July 9-10: 4th of July Contexts: Patriotism in 2022 America: Do I need to say more about why this is an all-too relevant topic?

41)   July 12: Investigative Journalists: Nellie Bly: Another one where I learned so much about my subject for the day.

42)   July 19: UtahStudying: National Parks: Lots in this one I enjoyed learning, but I’m sharing mostly for the unforgettable quote about Bryce Canyon and cows.

43)   July 26: Christmas (Songs) in July: “Winter Wonderland” and “Jingle Bells”: You know you want to read about how I AmericanStudied those holiday classics—in July!

44)   August 1: AmericanPhones: The Great Gatsby: Had a Gatsby post in my first few in this list, gotta have one in my last few as well. Rules are rules.

45)   August 6-7: Hettie Williams’ Guest Post on Beyoncé’s Renaissance: Always excited when I can end a list like this with my newest Guest Post!

Newest bday post this weekend,


PS. You know what to do!

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