On behalf of all the little people who have helped me (and who pay taxes), I'd like to accept my 2009 Inspiration Award -- bestowed here and here. You like me; you really like me! [Admittedly, one of the award-givers also happens to be a graduate student of mine, but hey, like I told him previously, flattery will get you everywhere].
The rule for this award is that you pay it forward with awards of your own. Here are some of my blog inspirations. These mostly have nothing to do with the subject of this blog, and include people I've never met, spoken to, or even corresponded informally with, but bloggers that I would not want to live without.
- Tim Burke, Easily Distracted: One of the sharpest, most thoughtful blog commentators on all things academic, on African history, on life in academia, on video games, and whatever else strikes his fancy.
- Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory: anybody who can teach high school, engage actively in scholarship, and squash stupidly reactionary neo-Confederate and "black Confederate" pet theories all at the same time deserves a special place in blog heaven.
- Baldblogger: My contributing editor here pulls off a similar feat of multi-tasking as does Levin: teaching, writing, publishing, blogging in multiple places, and featuring the work of authors (memorably that of Ed Blum, in a multi-part interview) in a way that brings out the best of someone else's work.
- Tenured Radical: the irrepressible Claire B. Potter has way too much fun in life and blogging; see my previous entry on her "Twelve Days of Christmas, University Cutbacks Version."
- PhD in History: Somebody needs to make that guy President of the AHA. He fills up some of the void left by the late and lamented "Invisible Adjunct." Even when I disagree with him, his arguments are formidably data-driven.
- It's a New World Every Heartbeat: My dear college friend Margaret Ellen Martin's episodic and artistically rendered reflections on life, love, and literature. Also has the best (and undoubtedly only) line of poetry written about me, from those days: "fur feathers flying from his winter coat." Captured my cheapskate quality exactly and precisely.
- A Historian's Craft: Rachel Leow is a graduate student, originally from Malaysia, who posts pictures of beautiful libraries under the heading "bookporn," and lately is posting about research in Indonesian archives. Since I remember my days sauntering through Indonesia, Thailand, and other locales in SE Asia with an almost pungent nostalgia, reading her blog helps me live that again a bit, vicariously; it's also just fun to sense her excitement as she makes her way through life, travel, research, and historical thought.
Religion Dispatches gets an honorable mention. It's not really a blog, more like an online magazine, full of outstanding short thought pieces from many of the most outstanding American religion scholars of the day. They have included plenty of work from my contributing editors and guest posters; I sort of feel like the farm team for them, and happy to do so.
For those who want to accept the award and pass it on, here are the rules that seem to be passed down: (1) put the logo of the award on their blog if you can make it work with their format (the painting of Marie Antoinette); (2) link to the person from whom you received the award; (3) nominate 5-7 other blogs; (4) put the links of those blogs on your blog.