New Orleans at 300: A Year in Review and a Look to the Future

nola2018-Featured-Thumbnail.jpgAs 2018 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on this year and its meaning for a place that has become near and dear to my heart (and in-progress dissertation): New Orleans. Founded by the French in 1718, Louisiana’s largest city has been celebrating its tricentennial for months and in a way that only New Orleans can. Ranked number one on the New York Times “52 Places to Go in 2018” list, New Orleans continues to attract first-timers curious to discover “America’s most foreign city.” Repeat visitors, myself included, just can’t get enough, although my trips have taken me beyond Bourbon Street, from the attic of the city’s colonial-era Ursuline convent to the notarial archives of Orleans Parish, hidden within a twenty-story office building a stone’s throw from the Superdome. My own excursions aside, how exactly have we gone about celebrating, remembering, and thinking about the history of early New Orleans in 2018? What does the future hold?

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A Threenager! Or, The Junto Turns Three

Thanks go to Michael Hattem for providing the statistics for this post. Michael not only produces The JuntoCast, but also manages much of the formatting, editing, and other technical details of The Junto.

three-candlesThree years ago, founder Ben Park introduced The Junto. Today, we offer our annual “state of the blog” post.

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The Junto Enters the Terrible Twos!

I acknowledge the generous help of Michael Hattem in gathering all the statistics and relevant information for this post. And just as he is the real puppeteer behind the curtain of the post, he serves a similar function for the entire blog in general; appreciation is herein expressed, once again, to him.

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-oldTwo years ago today, The Junto announced its entrance into the academic blogging world. When I originally conceived of the idea for the blog and pitched it to three fellow grad students (Michael Blaakman, Katy Lasdow, and Eric Herschthal) in an uptown Manhattan coffee shop in September(ish) 2012, I merely wanted to come up with a small community that could alleviate my alone-ness of studying American history while living in the UK. A few months later, the blog was born; two years later, our empire expands. It is becoming fairly common to meet people at an academic conference and, after I share my name, the person replies, “Oh, you’re Ben Park from The Junto?” It makes me smile every. single. time. I could have hardly conceived of where the blog has gone since our humble beginnings. Yet here we are. What follows is a general report of what has taken place since we last celebrated our blog’s birthday. Continue reading

One Year Older and Wiser, Too…: The Junto Turns “1”

A year ago today, I introduced the world to The Junto.

For those who care, chocolate is the official Junto cake flavor. Duh.

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