Inspiration: Mapping Chicago from Below

The history of cartography is often remembered as a legacy of white men.  With “imperial eyes” (Pratt, 1992), cartographers granted power to largely northern white nation-states through borders and names with the stroke of a pen. From the age of exploration to mid-twentieth century redlining, maps have shaped people, places, histories, and our identities.  Ultimately, maps visualize […]

Teaching: Mind Mapping American Bodies

In my American Studies courses I ask students to construct a mind map with an accompanying essay reflecting back on the course. The assignment aims to secretly get students to think about a structural analysis of power

Teaching: Maps of American Food

I’m in the throes of organizing a course for the American Studies program at Purdue on food studies – a class exploring the connections between food, identity, and place.  Today’s visual inspirations are maps I’ve found trying to embed certain recipes within US regions and cities.  What could you add to these maps?  How would your […]

Research: Dance Moves

Having recently read Kyra Gaunt‘s essay in Generations of Youth, “The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip Hop” as part of our unit on “youth and place” in the American Studies undergraduate course I am teaching this summer, I watched clips from a 1985 PBS documentary on double dutch called Black […]

Teaching: Mapping Transnational Toy Routes

I’m teaching an American Studies course this summer on conformity and rebellion in youth culture.  A major component of youth culture in America over the past century has been the near constant creation of new toys. An assignment for the course was an investigation of America’s toy culture, and included two parts.  Part 1 asked […]

Inspiration: Teen Brains

I teach an online undergraduate course in American Studies at Purdue University, and today we’re reading a chapter from Julie Elman’s book Chronic Youth on teen brains.  Elman argues that even though we’ve always talked about teen behavior craziness since about the 1890s when the concept of adolescence emerges, in the 1980s and 1990s a […]