I was going to create a list on H-AMSTDY of blogs in the field of American Studies. I know (and quite enjoy) Ben Railton’s AmericanStudies and I recently found An American Studies by two high school teachers. And that’s about it. Oh, there many things called “blogs” run by American Studies departments that are little more than bulletin boards for upcoming events like this one and this one and this one. And some journals have established blogs; I suspect as publishers they are largely interested in figuring out a way to keep up with digital publishing without losing money and are trying to do a better job at it than the music industry has done. (Though I’d be interested to know for certain if those blogs an editorial choice or a business move.)
I’m surprised at how limited the American Studies blogosphere is, while other fields are quite rich. When I say rich, I mean rich in instances where a single person feels compelled to keep up a sustained discussion on a personal blog about our field; one person developing a singular voice in the field. This is not to say blogs that are compilations by groups can’t be equally fascinating. I put together a list of bloggers in Material Culture Studies it’s pretty large and mostly individuals. Coupled with the activity on Twitter using #materialculture it strikes me that the internet is alive and crackling with Material Culture Studies discussion, connection, and insight. By comparison, American Studies online seems…quieter. I’m wondering why.
I could be missing blogs. It could be that “American Studies” is simply way to broad and perhaps there are many blogs on more specific subjects that aren’t directly identified as “American Studies.” It could be that there’s actually more excitement and freshness in Material Culture Studies and in communicating online while American Studies has gotten kind of rigid and does things in only very tried and true ways, or that American Studies-ist are simply old fogies who don’t know how to use the internet (I’m just spit-balling here).
I’m still game to compile a list so let me know what blogs I’m missing and if I should maybe define “blogs” a little more broadly. There is a difference between an individual’s blog and an institution’s blog, but maybe I need to get over it. But while you’re at it, let me know why you think American Studies lacks individual bloggers, or if I’m way off base. And finally, why aren’t you blogging?