Read This: Rebecca Onion Blogs for Slate

Here at AMS::ATX we love blogs (obviously) and we love our UT AMS Ph.D. students (naturally).  So we couldn’t be happier to announce that our very own Rebecca Onion, who recently defended her dissertation entitled How Science Became Child’s Play: Science and the Culture of American Childhood, 1900-1980, has recently launched a blog on called The Vault.

Published by Bain News Service, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

This description of the blog comes our way from Rebecca:

I’m now running a blog on, called The Vault. I post one interesting historical document or object every day, most of which will come from archives, special collections, and museums.

The idea is to showcase stuff that jumps out of the historical record. These are the kinds of documents that made me laugh out loud, cringe, or become unexpectedly sad while doing archival research for my dissertation. Examples thus far: a “lab technician” microscope set for girls from 1958; a photograph of a Better Baby contest winner from 1910; a memo from one of Nixon’s aides in which he suggests alternative names for the space shuttle program.

It’s been great fun to hear back from readers about the posts; I love feeling like I have an audience with which to share my weird enthusiasm for research.

If anyone has interesting documents or objects that deserve inclusion, by all means, get in touch. And follow @SlateVault on Twitter, or like Slate’s The Vault Blog on Facebook, to get notifications of posts as they run.

Read this: “Main Currents,” American Studies Fall 2011 Newsletter

We’re pleased to announce that the American Studies Fall 2011 newsletter, “Main Currents,” is now online and ready for your perusal! Check it out here to see some fascinating stories and discussions with faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and alumni of the department, in addition to research and project updates.

We won’t spoil the content for you, but we will say this: the folks in the American Studies department have been busy doing a lot of fascinating things all over the board.

Read This: The Carbon Diaries

“Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum. – 2006″ – Kurt Vonnegut, from his Confetti project

Last month, Sara Reardon’s research, “Climate Change Sparks Battles in the Classroom,” based on interviews with 800 members of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, reported that “climate change was second only to evolution in triggering protests from parents and school administrators.” I read this finding while I was immersed in Saci Lloyd’s three YA books about climate change and energy troubles, The Carbon Diaries 2015, The Carbon Diaries 2017, and Momentum. As I’ve mentioned on my blog before, I’m in the very preliminary stages of research for a new project on the ways that American environmentalists have used “future generations” as an argument for acting to forestall environmental disaster; I’m also very interested in the ways that we tell these “future generations” about the problems we’ve caused, and whether, and when, these narratives amount to apologies. To me, Lloyd’s books feel like something sui generis: YA science fiction that addresses these issues of intergenerational environmental justice head-on.

Continue reading here.

Read This: Brain Pickings


Brain Pickings

One of the things we’re hoping AMS :: ATX will do is alert you to valuable resources outside of the American Studies world. There’s no better place to start than with Brain Pickings, a “discovery engine for interestingness, culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers, and separating the signal from the noise to bring you things you didn’t know you were interested in until you are.”

Curated primarily by Maria Popova, a critic who also writes for Wired UK and The Atlantic, Brain Pickings offers posts on “art, design, science, technology, philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology, ecology, anthropology, you-name-itology.”

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!