Looking Back at American Studies on the 4th of July

Lady Liberty has, admittedly, seen better days–bring us your awesome, bring us your amazing, bring us your winners, but not your losers, not your bleeding Syrian refugee children, please, OK? Sad! But those of us who are native-born or newly minted Americans still find the country fascinating, infuriating, and crazy.  On this most festive of days, it is good to keep in mind all that is decent, inspiring, creative, and complex about the United States and its culture.

Over the years, ToM has covered a wide range of issues, from copyright to foreign policy to sports (the latter thanks mostly to our senior dude correspondents, Ryan Reft and Adam Gallagher). Our instincts have always run toward urbanism and media, on the whole, but we’ve also done a huge amount of stuff that might be considered American Studies, broadly construed: American fiction, film, music, art, and activism, in all their myriad forms.  There’s our Joan Didion crush–one of the most perceptive and acid observers of the American scene–and our work on fiction writers ranging from Randa Jarrar in Fresno to Richard Russo in the Rustbelt.  Wash down that cherry pie (as American as violence, as H. Rap Brown once said) with a double IPA and a heaping helping of ToM’s work on American studies as you celebrate the Fourth of July.

American Studies

Dog Days Classics — our series where we revisit classic works that influenced us in the past

East of East — our project of oral history, memoir, and creative nonfiction about communities in the San Gabriel Valley

Music — everything from riot grrls to Hmong b-boys

Film — most notably, our review of the greatest and most American American film: 1999’s Watergate farce, Dick

Military History — mostly about soldiers and their families, not battles