I have to admit it: I sometimes think historicizing has become a little overrated. At the same time, though, we all have access to over 20 years of academic discussion in H-AMSTDY’s Discussion Logs (and all the other H-Net logs, too) so we may as well use it to see if we can glean any perspective on today’s issues.
Welcome to H-Amstdy, a forum for research and teaching in the field of American Studies, and for interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary perspectives on culture. The network focuses on the cultures of North America and the United States, and offers an international perspective on the study of American culture.
We accept posts CFP's, announcements, queries and discussion. As long as you're subscribed to H-Amstdy, posting is easy. Just click the orange "Start a Discussion" button at the top of this text. Enter your message, add a few keywords, and click "Review" at the bottom of the page. If everything looks OK, click "Submit to Editor" and that's it! You can reply to any post at the bottom of the post. One of our editors will review your post (usually within 24 hours).
You'll find Recent Discussions on the left, Queries and Responses on the right, and general Announcements at the bottom. On the far right under H-Amstdy Resources are links to American Studies posts from all over H-Net, H-Amstdy CFP's, H-Amstdy Jobs, and a few other features.
Follow us on Twitter at @H_AMSTDY
Read Richard John's book, "Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications." John is at Columbia University and is usually quite willing to help people out with questions.
You can also contact me if you like, firstname.lastname@example.org - curator at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.
At the start of this discussion I had many questions about how to categorize blogs on the list, and for a while I was thinking my questions had changed (as most early research questions do). But late in the discussion “groups blogs” and “e-magazines” have come up, though in reference to difference websites. I’ve been thinking they really are the same thing. Some people have given good reasons why they are valuable: the synergy around the subject, the multiple points of view. I think there’s also something about them that aesthetically and psychologically resembles journals.
A quick clarification regarding my post. Ms. Spark wondered if I was suggesting that bloggers get more intense and begin using footnotes. No, I'm not in favor of that. My post meant to ask if the relaxed nature of bloggers (which I think is fine) has influenced scholarship in general. Has blogging caused us to expect less in the way of academic publications? I'm not sure about that question. My guess is that it has. But, in any case, I endorse the casual quality of blogs. They're important.
I agree with Louis Caton that bloggers should, at least in their own minds, write nothing to a lay audience that can't be justified with thorough scholarly apparatus. Sadly, most blogging is performed by ideologues with unscholarly motives, including venting, revenge, or pushing a particular ideological line.
Thank you to everyone on the list who provided such smart and generous suggestions—there are too many of you to name but I appreciate all of your assistance. As requested, I have compiled a list here of the texts and other resources recommended by the group. I hope others find these many suggestions helpful as well.
I'm developing a first-year writing course on U.S. Protest Literature, and I'm looking for sources on social media. Ideally, the sources would not only discuss social media as a platform for protest movements (although this would be welcome), but also address literary questions of genre, language, form, etc. I could use essays that will help me frame this unit as well as more accessible pieces to assign to students. Thanks!
You may wish to consider the short essays on individual American objects in Section VII of Hazel Carby and David Brody, eds., Design Studies: A Reader (Berg, 2009).
Also see Jules Prown and Kenneth Haltman, American Artifacts (Michigan State University Press, 2000).
"Object Lessons" is a series of essays and books edited by Ian Bogost and Christian Schaberg for The Atlantic and Bloomsbury. Not a few discuss American objects. See: http://objectsobjectsobjects.com/
Rachel Waltner Goossen, a historian at Washburn University, published an article on toys and nationalism in 2013 in _Peace & Change_ (volume 38, no. 3). Title is "Disarming the Toy Store and Reloading the Shopping Cart: Resistance to Violent Consumer Culture." I THINK that there is a collection of nonviolent toys created directly in opposition to nationalism and militarism out there in some Mennonite cultural archive, maybe the Kauffman Museum in Newton, Kansas--at least, they would be a good source to contact.
Another good resource is the "Object Lessons" column in the online journal Common-place (www.common-place.org), which focuses on American history and culture to 1900. Each version of the "Object Lessons" column focuses on an individual object, explaining its production and placing it in historical context. The columns are written by scholars in the field, but are intended to be accessible to a general readership. And they're free!
Director of Academic Programs
American Antiquarian Society