We don't blog about American Studies but we do blog as American Studies-scholars (mostly) at Points: the Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society. That is to say, we are historically grounded, inter- and multi-disciplinary, and polyglot in a good way. Or at least we try to be.
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I'd like to second the point about group blogs. I think anyone contemplating the issue has to begin with a sober awareness that blogging is simply not going to contribute to your assessment for tenure and promotion -- at least not at most institutions I know of. You can write a post that is read by tens of thousands of people around the globe, reaching a vastly greater audience than a monograph or an article in a top journal, but it probably won't amount to a hill of beans as far as your department or college is concerned.
If you blog, contributing to a group blog is definitely the way to go. You gain synergy, which is very important on the web.
I have opted out of blogging ( I do have a website, www.lilianbarger.com) because I think that in order to get an audience you do have to address issues of the moment and for me as a historian that requires more time than the 24 hours news cycle. The public wants answers, not just analysis. I also want to write in a different mode that requires more space, time and reflection, i.e. books. I have no interest in putting my fleeting feelings and opinions out there. As someone mentioned above, nobody cares.
I am also experimenting with a similar assignment for this coming fall. I ran the assignment in an online setting this summer, so far so good. In the online, I didn't have room to have them read any theory but this last week I had them use the website http://objectofhistory.org/ to complete a worksheet asking students questions about the physicality of the object, uses of the object, and the context of the object.
Hi there, I would be inclined to say that he is simply a person who makes and sells (and possibly applies) brickdust. Brickdust was used for cleaning but also to make a sort of mortar/cement. Perhaps try some very old newspapers if you have access.
I have found American Artifacts by Jules Prown and Kenneth Haltman useful for this purpose. You might check it out.
Of course, not all of the essays are equally good, but that is pedagogic ally useful as well. Jennifer Roberts' analysis of the Lava Lamp is particularly strong.
The fact that the essays all started as seminar papers can also be inspiring for students.