We've got some RiAH Academy Awards to give out tonight, and none of them are going to The Artist.
And no, sorry Adele, no awards for you either, not even for most number of repeats in a song since Bill Withers' refrain of "I Know" before the chorus in "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone."
Best New Baby: The award goes to Janine Giordano Drake, who took a few minutes away from finishing her dissertation on early twentieth-century Christian Socialism and writing excellent blog posts on the origins of the Social Gospel and all the current politicized bunk about a "war on religion," to have her baby Noelle Julianna Drake, born this weekend after a very short 21 hours of labor! Running the sweatshop that I do here, however, I expect her back here bright and early this week composing more excellent blog pieces for ya'll. Congratulations, Janine!
Best Wedding Anniversary. Mine. Today. 1995. You do the math. We all need, somebody, to lean on.
Best New Job(s): The award goes to two of our contributors: Heath Carter, newly minted Assistant Professor of United States History at Valparaiso University, and Darren Grem, who will still be cheering for his Georgia BullDawgs even as he assumes his new post as Assistant Professor of American History for the Rebels of the University of Mississippi! (Honorable mention to Jennifer Graber, whose work we have blogged about previously here and here, who will be decamping from the winterlands of Wooster College in order to take a new post as [Tenured!] Associate Professor of Religion for the Longhorns of the University of Texas!).
(And stay tuned, the category of best new jobs is going to be updated pretty soon with some other announcements, to be made at the appropriate time).
Best New Job Outside this Field: Absolutely delighted that my department has been able to make an offer in East Asian History. Suffice to say for now that if all goes well we'll be hiring a native of southern China and product of a top Ph.D. program who has recorded some great "Yangtze River Delta Blues" which combine blues with social protest themes. This search was like a full time job for me the last couple of months, and I have to say it was very inspiring to be able to talk to so many amazing candidates in this field, it left me with a much more positive outlook on the history profession than one normally gets, and makes me question those who snidely dismiss the contemporary crop of job candidates as somehow not up to snuff (scroll down about halfway into the linked post for an account of one such too-full-of-himself questioner at an AHA session on the job market). There is an academic history job market crisis, for sure, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the candidates.
Best New Article: Matt Sutton, "Was FDR the AntiChrist? The Birth of Fundamentalist Antiliberalism in a Global Age," just published in the Journal of American History 98 (March 2012): 1052-1074. Listen to Matt's podcast about the article here. This is but a preview of Matt's forthcoming book from Harvard University Press on the subject, and goes a long way towards explaining the origins of apocalyptic anti-statism in American fundamentalism. Graduate students -- if you want to know how to write clearly and well, read this and learn.
Best New Memoir: Friend-of-the-blog Joanna Brooks's memoir Book of Mormon Girl easily wins this category; see my review of it here.
Best Author Interview Blog Post Here in a While: That one goes out to Ed's joint interview with Kelly Baker and Tisa Wenger yesterday, make sure to check that out.
Best, or perhaps just most Premature, Facebook Page: Although it's about 6 months away from actual book-in-your-hand publication, I created a Facebook page this weekend (nothing like grading sitting in front of you to inspire such projects) for the book co-authored by Ed Blum and myself, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America (UNC Press). Feel free to "like" the page, although I have discovered that the new FB format makes it almost impossible to read the "updates" in between the obnoxious advertising. Anyway, later this month or in early April Ed is going to take over the blog for a week or so and put up a series of posts on Jesus and race in America, featuring some of the top scholars and theologians in the country contributing, so you all can look forward to that.
Best Party Time this Semester: obviously this one goes out to Randall, cruising around Norway and fending off his growing fan club there while the rest of us are filling out annual "ASSessment forms" for our universities. Read about some of his adventures here in his series "Norway Doorway."
Special Award for Grace under Fire: this one goes to John Fea, for his gracious response to Glenn Beck-inspired harassing attacks on him and his work
(Side note: would that the Republican candidates for President show the same grace and call for an elevation of public discourse when asked about the recent comments of a certain bigoted, crudely racist and sexist, but political-base-exciting, radio commentator. No such luck. True Profiles in Cowardice).
Honorable mention goes to my co-blogmeister Kelly Baker, who has endured deaths in the family and arms in a sling and trees falling on her house so far this year with courage and good humor. Maybe that Mayan apocalypse thing isn't aimed just at you, Kelly.
And now a special award, unrelated to the subject of this blog but kind of feel-good Hoosiers story:
Best Small-Town High School Basketball Team: My mother alerted me to this one -- Forgan, Oklahoma, a tiny speck of a town (population about 500) about 7 miles from where I grew up in the Oklahoma, Panhandle, just won the Class B state basketball championship in Oklahoma, 73-39. During the playoffs their average margin of victory was 39 points, and in the regular season their only loss -- a close one -- was to the #1 rated team in Class 6A, Tulsa Union. The Daily Oklahoman speculates here on whether they are the best small-school basketball team in OK state history. Who said nothing good ever comes out of Nazareth? I have to point out that my junior high b-ball team dusted Forgan pretty handily when we played them -- winning so handily, in fact, that the coach actually let me play a few garbage time minutes towards the end of the game -- but I guess the team has turned things around since 1974 or whenever that was. I'd also like to point out that Forgan had the only "putt-putt" golf course in the entire Oklahoma Panhandle, and I once got a hole-in-one there. Just sayin'.
The rest of you all -- send along your news of articles, books, jobs, I know I'm missing some awards that should be given out here.