Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Talking American Nations with Maine Public radio's Maine Calling

I was the guest for yesterday's edition of "Maine Calling," the hour-long interview and call-in program of Maine Public radio, talking about the American Nations, their implications for US politics, and the ways in which the transcend the country's rural-vs-urban divide. (The latter the subject of this New York Times Opinion piece two weeks ago.)

The segment -- with some excellent questions from fellow Mainers calling in -- is now also available for online listening at this link.

Thanks again to Maine Public for having me on.

My next public talk in Maine is at the Colloquy Downeast in Blue Hill September 16 (on Lobster Coast themes).

Monday, August 13, 2018

Speaking on the Scots-Irish legacy in Maine and the nation, Aug. 14, Brunswick, Maine

This is the 300th anniversary of the coming of the Scots-Irish to New England and to mark the occasion, there's a multi-day conference taking place this week at Bowdoin College sponsored by the Maine Ulster Scots Project.

The 2018 Diaspora Conference and Reunion opens tomorrow morning, August 14 at Bowdoin's Kresge Hall and continues through Thursday, with presentations from scholars on both sides of the Atlantic.

I'm pleased to be giving the opening keynote Tuesday night on the impact of the Scots-Irish migration on both Maine and North America, issues I wrote about in some detail in The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier and American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America respectively. I'm preceded by Norman Houston, director of the Northern Ireland Bureau, the diplomatic mission of that part of the UK to the US and Canada.

Conference information can be found here.

At 1 pm tomorrow I'm also speaking about the political ramifications of American Nations in Maine Public radio's live interview and call-in program, "Maine Calling." Tune in if you can.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Is Pittsburgh in the Midlands?

In the seven years since American Nations was published, most readers have endorsed their county's placement among the eleven regional cultures I write about in the book. Two locations have generated some sustained pushback, however, both of them border cities on the Midland-Greater Appalachia frontier: Columbus, Ohio (assigned to Greater Appalachia in large part because of lingual evidence) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (a clear-cut Midland city in my reading of history, but surrounded on three sides by Greater Appalachia.)

This week, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staff columnist Brian O'Neill revisited his city's regional identity in this column, where he emphasizes its competing influences and seems to concede that calling it Appalachia might not be sufficient. It's a nice synopsis from the field, and represents a bit of a shift from our friendly debate in 2013, when O'Neill lamented the city's Midland designation (it's "the Paris of Appalachia" he insisted.)

As for Columbus, I've heard both pro and con arguments from readers there for its Appalachian designation, but nothing from the city's intelligentsia. Let's hope they weigh in one of these days -- the Cleveland Plain Dealer did in regards to the Western Reserve's Yankee character in comparison with southern Ohio's Appalachian one -- but not a word from the Dispatch.

[Update, 1/1/2019: O'Neill revisited this topic again in December.]

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Talking American Nations with CityLab, Sen. Collins' Roe position with CSPAN

I recently spoke with CityLab's Laura Bliss about the American Nations framework, where it came from, and how I came to create it. Here's her piece, which appeared last week. (The framework has been getting renewed attention on account of a New York Times OpEd that appeared July 26.)

With a Supreme Court nomination struggle looming, all eyes remain on Republican Senate centrists Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Last CSPAN's Washington Journal about Collins' position on Roe v Wade and the nomination, and what outside legal experts have to say about it. You can find the clip here.
month I spoke with

I last appeared on CSPAN last summer, talking about American Character and The Lobster Coast with their mobile crew on their visit to the Portland, Maine area. Previously, they broadcast my full American Nations talk at Iowa State.

And to round matters out, I appeared in the UK's Bristol Post recently discussing pirates, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard's death. (This the subject of my third book, The Republic of Pirates.)