The following report comes to us from UT American Studies professor Dr. Jeff Meikle:
Did someone mention summer vacation? This year I must simply reply as I always do when the exterminator or the AC guy marvels at all my free time–that summer is when the teaching’s done and I get down to my other work. Not to complain, but this summer is a kind of payback for all the fun of last summer, when I could have reported on a wide range of travels, foreign and domestic. This summer, however, I’m traveling mentally through American landscapes imagined 70 years ago by postcard artists in Chicago, and writing what could be likened to blog posts on individual cards, for which I’m relying on old-fashioned archival and library research, myriad websites yielding occasional nuggets of information totally inaccessible even 15 years ago, my own projective fantasies, and a loose script enabling me to organize the individual bits in some sort of intellectual but often associative narrative. What you see in this photo depicts the literal physical place I’m burrowing further into. I’ve turned down several requests this summer to review this or contribute to that, and I thought about pleading no time in response to this request. But something about it appealed to me, and the photo allows me to step back from everything both physically and mentally. Next summer I also intend to spend a lot of time wandering through landscapes–but real ones, not virtual, and mostly outdoors.