Sunday, August 25, 2013

Why our blog is called "An American Studies"

We decided on this name because words matter and this blog's title can be read three different ways:
  1. AN American Studies (as opposed to American Studies or THE American Studies) suggests that this just one attempt at making sense of a vast topic...
    Photo by Spiro Bolos, taken at New Trier High School
    ...And anyone who thinks they are covering everything essential to this enormous enterprise in a year long course — or perhaps in over the course of their lives — is just kidding him or herself.
  2. This blog will reflect the "studies" — gathering, questioning, and trading information with a community of scholars — of one American. Millions of people are approaching the topic of "America", but we don't presume to speak for them.
  3. An American [is a person who] studies. While this does not happen always (maybe it is an impossibility), it is necessary for our country to achieve its highest ideal — that all of its citizens can achieve self-fulfillment. Studies — in the broadest possible sense of that word — must be part of this achievement.

1 comment:

CallieWalsh said...



The correlation I see between the New Trier photograph and post is that words really do matter. It looks like without the smudges and erase marks the photograph would read "Don't Buy In, Grades Won't Make You Happy". Here, I envision a girl fed up with the school system and New Trier's ultra competitive atmosphere writing to warn students not to "buy into" the North Shores message that grades, little black letters on a piece of paper, will make you happy.

However, some letters are smudged allowing the picture to be read as "Buy In Grades Make Happy". Now this message makes me envision something completely different. This time I envision a girl who used to slack off but has now found a path to academic achievement (making her proud and happy) and because of this wipes off the words "Dont, Wont, and You" to let other students in on her findings.

By taking out 3 words, both the meaning of the sentence is completely changed as well as the visions of the individual who wrote the them. Every word matters.