The calendar has worked its way round to March, and here at The Junto that can only mean one thing: Junto March Madness is back! The principle is simple: we ask our readers to nominate books about early American history, then we pair them off against each other, until there’s only one book left standing. Last year’s tournament can be found here: Edmund Morgan’s American Slavery, American Freedom ultimately proved victorious.
This year, we’re going to be doing the same thing, only with a twist: entrants to the tournament will be limited to books published since 2000. Last time around, we noticed a tendency to reward older, more established books. We wanted to bring the same liveliness of discussion to more recent works, and to highlight recent work that deserves the prominence of old favorites. We’ll be asking for nominations next week, but we wanted to give you some advance notice so you could start thinking of the books you wanted to receive full consideration.
To repeat: We are NOT soliciting nominations today. We’ll put up a full nominations thread next Wednesday, the 12th, and readers will then be able to nominate works in the comments section of the March 12th post. The nomination window opens as soon as the March 12th post is up and closes the next day, March 13th, at 5pm.
And to repeat what we said last year: don’t take this too seriously. It’s intended to be a bit of fun – to promote works we think might be underappreciated, and to instigate some thought-provoking discussions on recent directions in early American history. No poll can truly reflect the worth of a book; we understand that. But the process is enjoyable. We hope you’ll have as much fun with this year’s tournament as we did running it last year – and we look forward to seeing your nominations next Wednesday!
Junto March Madness 2014 Schedule
March 12/13: Reader Nominations
March 14: Announce Brackets
March 17/18: First Round Voting
March 20/21: Second Round Voting
March 24: Round of 16
March 26: Quarterfinals
March 31: Semifinals
April 2: Final
A year ago today, I introduced the world to The Junto.
For those who care, chocolate is the official Junto birthday cake flavor. Duh.
Since then, my admittedly lofty goals of success have been dramatically achieved by our cast of bloggers. I aimed to gather some of the brightest young minds in the field, and I have been pleased with the consistent quality and quantity of posts throughout the year. We have had posts nearly every weekday, along with our popular “This Week in Early American History” roundup every Sunday, which totaled 292 posts for the year. It would be impossible and unfair to highlight the “best” posts because there have been so many quality posts that, quite frankly, probably belong in a more professional setting than a blog. Some of our most popular include Michael Hattem’s overview of Assassin’s Creed III (thanks, Reddit!), the multi-author roundtable on Walter Johnson’s River of Dark Dreams, Rachel Herrmann’s response to new(!) cannibalism developments, and Matt Karp’s reviews of Django Unchained and Twelve Years a Slave. And our academia-related posts have also been highly popular, as the response to posts on digital workflow and creating a CV attest. And who can forget our epic March Madness Tournament? Indeed, the quality of the content is reflected in the fact that The Junto has been featured in the American Historical Association’s “What We’re Reading” seven times. Continue reading
The Junto is happy to announce the addition of Sara Damiano, a PhD candidate in the History Department at Johns Hopkins University, to the blog’s membership. Continue reading
As Michael Hattem noted in his post on Monday, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, along with a handful of other prestigious organizations, is hosting what promises to be a monumental conference on the American Revolution this weekend in Philadelphia. Titled, “The American Revolution Reborn: New Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century,” it is a combination of roundtable discussions with prominent historians as well as pre-circulated papers from up and coming scholars. (I’m about halfway through the papers, and they are terrific.) There will certainly be lots of important ideas to discuss, and we’ll have several followups (including a post and a podcast) to help digest what went down. Continue reading
Today, The Junto is happy to present the first episode of “The JuntoCast,” our new monthly podcast featuring Juntoists discussing issues related to early American history, academia, pedagogy, and public history. As we embark on this venture, the first few episodes will be experimental as we try to find the best method for recording a podcast with 3 or 4 participants literally thousands of miles apart. The podcast will appear once per calendar month and the length of the podcast will likely vary anywhere from fifteen to forty-five minutes. As always, any feedback will be greatly appreciated, including suggesting future topics to be covered. Continue reading
We’re proud to note that the 121st monthly History Carnival, featuring the best recent blogging about all fields of history, will be hosted by Michael Hattem here at The Junto on May 1. We need your help to make it a success. What fascinating, scintillating, disturbing, provoking, amusing, and illuminating things have you seen in history blogs this month? Please let us know using this form. This friendly little form right here. It’s easy and quick to nominate your favorite blogposts.
If you’re not familiar with the History Carnival, more information is available at the main website. The most recent edition of the Carnival was hosted brilliantly on April 1 by Debs Wiles at Got Soil?
We at the Junto are sad to bring news this morning that our amazingly popular if rather silly March Madness competition is no more. We’ll leave the existing posts up for now, but there’ll be no more posts, no more voting, and therefore no more surprise upsets. Over the weekend, we received a communication from the law firm of Prilo & Foal, acting for a New York publisher that we are unable to name. It turns out our little competition may be in breach of some competition and advertising laws – to be honest it’s all a bit beyond us, but suffice to say it doesn’t seem worth getting into any trouble over a bit of fun.
“Have you met with any thing in the author you last read, remarkable, or suitable to be communicated to the Junto? particularly in history, morality, poetry, physics, travels, mechanic arts, or other parts of knowledge?”
-One of the questions Benjamin Franklin devised for his friday Junto meetings
We aim to have a bit more diversity than the original Junto group.
It is with great honor that I welcome you to The Junto, a new blog on early American history. Staffed by a host of junior academics studying a broad range of topics—our brief bios are found at the end of the post, and more details are found on each individual author’s page—we aim to provide frequent content related to the academic study of America prior(ish) to the Civil War. But more than just serving as a sounding board for our authors and a clearinghouse for various news, events, and calls for papers, we hope that The Junto will become a vibrant community for the field of early American studies. Continue reading
The Junto is a group blog made up of young early Americanists dedicated to providing content of general interest to other early Americanists and those interested in early American history, as well as a forum for discussion of relevant historical and academic topics. The blog’s launch date is set for December 10, 2012.
In the meantime, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@TheJuntoBlog).