Category Archives: The Book

The Public Professor Site Redesign

cropped-Profile-Picture.jpgFive and a half years after its initial launch, this site is receiving a substantial update for the first time.  Some of it is aesthetics, with new colors, imagery, and font.  Some of it involves updating content.

The “Pages” at the top of the site (eg. “Me” and “Books I Done Written”) are not only renamed, but also updated.  Click inside and see.

In addition, I’ve added two new pages: “Books I Might Write” and “CV.”  The former contains brief overviews of book projects I’m working on.  Beyond the infamous Communities book that was responsible for launching this site but has yet to see the light of day, there are also working manuscripts on music and misadventures from the road.  The “CV” page contains my Curriculum Vitae, which is what professors call their resumé.  Is our pretentious Latin name for it better than your pretentious French name for it?  Who knows.  The bottom line is, we’re all pretentious.

Enjoy!

P.S. Yes, I’ll keep blogging here on the front page.  If you’d like to sign up for email notifications, or get them via Facebook or Twitter, that’s just to the right near the top of any page.  Viva la blog! (That’s pretentious Spanish for, “None of this stuff ends up on my resumé.”

I Wrote a Goddamned Coffee Table Book

Rounds Reinhardt, 20th Century in 100 Mome;ntsI wrote my first poem when I was 11 years old.  Simple quatrains with an ABCB rhyme scheme, it was a meditation on the 6th grade coming to an end.  I enjoyed the work of writing it and was proud of the finished product.  I think the money line was:

I sit in wood shop
carving my bunny
Looking at it
I feel kind of funny

Up until that point, whenever an adult had posed that most rote of questions (What do you want to be when you grow up?), I typically responded “baseball player” or “president of the United States.”  The former because I loved playing baseball, even if I wasn’t very good at it.  The latter because, if you had to make an abstract choice about the far distant future, why not just pick the top thing?

But after assiduously penning those verses into lined loose leaf paper, another idea began to take vague form: Perhaps I could write for a living. Continue reading I Wrote a Goddamned Coffee Table Book

My Second Book: Welcome to the Oglala Nation

Reinhart book cover (photo by Reinhardt)I’m happy to announce that my second book was recently published by the University of Nebraska Press.  Special thanks to editor Matthew Bokovoy, editorial assistant Heather Stauffer, and the entire UNP staff for all of their help and professionalism during the past several years in shepherding this project to completion.

The book is entitled Welcome to the Oglala Nation: A Documentary Reader in Oglala Lakota Political History.  The UN Press website for the book is here.  The Amazon page for the book is here. Continue reading My Second Book: Welcome to the Oglala Nation

State of the Blog Address: My 500th Post

WWII celebrationThis past Monday I hoisted my 500th post to this blog.

Wow, that went fast.

My first post was only three and a half years ago.

But while 500 in 45 months is a testament to what at times has been a dizzying pace, there are also signs that I’m slowing down, at least for now.  And so I thought this benchmark might be a good opportunity to take stock of the website.

Back in 2010 I was looking for a way to market a book manuscript about the decline of American communities.  My friend/agent at the time (he’s still a dear friend, though no longer my agent) alerted me to the harsh realities of modern publishing.  The industry had been ravaged by the internet and that creepy monopolist Jeff Bezos.  It was harder than ever for a first time author to get a book deal.

Yes, yes, I had already written an award-winning book, but it was an academic book, based on my doctoral dissertation and geared towards a scholarly audience.  That kinda stuff didn’t count.  In the commercial world I was still a first time author.  And first time authors needed to build their own audience ahead of time, my agent/friend told me.  You had to prove to publishers that you had a loyal following that could be counted on to buy your book.

“Get on the internet and make some noise,” my friend/agent suggested.

For the record, my dear friend is arguably even less technologically inclined than I am.

How would I get on the internet?  How would I “make some noise?”  Neither of us actually had a clue.

Around this time, I’d been talking to another dear friend out in California.  Rae had been generous enough to not only read the book manuscript in question, but she had also offered very insightful feedback.  And it also just so happened that Rae knew a little bit about making noise. Continue reading State of the Blog Address: My 500th Post

Bright, Shining Rae

About a year ago, my agent (yes, I have an agent) said to me: Akim, get on the internet and make some noise.

At the time, I was working on the proposal for my hopefully forthcoming book about the decline of communities in America.  But before shopping it around to publishers, he said it would be good for me to build a little name recognition, to do some advanced marketing, so to speak.  Publishers like that kind of thing, especially for first-time authors.

Now technically, I’m not a first time author, but my other book is an academic one, thick with footnotes and burdened by Professor-speak.  So as far as commercial presses are concerned, I might as well be a first time author.  That’s why my agent thought I should “get on the internet.”

But what would I do on the internet exactly?  Your guess was as good as mine.  I mean, promoting the book would be a good start.  But at the end of the day, I’m just a decent historian and a less than mediocre guitar player.  What do I know about the interwebs?

“Timing, degree, and conviction are the three wise men in this life,” R.I. Fitzhenry once said.  I’ve got a few degrees, and I’ve even been convicted once or twice, so I guess it was timing’s turn to make a substantial appearance in my life.

Enter my old friend Rae.

Continue reading Bright, Shining Rae

Marketing Community

My friend Martin saw this sign while walking down the street in Chicago.  He thought of me, snapped the picture, and emailed it.

I don’t mean to pick on the fine people at Roosevelt University, which I’m sure is a wonderful school.  They felt they needed a slogan, and they probably hired a marketing firm to come up with something, paid them way too much money, and ended up with this.  It’s what a lot of schools do, particularly as more and more of them are headed by administrations that think a school shouldn’t actually be run like a school, but rather should be run like a business.  My own school, Towson University, did the same thing shortly before I arrived here in 2001.  They dropped the word State from their name, added a fancy new logo that looks something like an accidental paint smear from a semi-dry brush, and got themselves a slogan.  I think the latest one is Towson: Thinking Outside.  I guess the marketing firm that dreamed it up thought it would be clever to leave off “The Box.”  Nothing like turning a lame, business-speak cliche into a witty pun for the purpose of branding your university. Continue reading Marketing Community

Disintegration: The Decline of Community in America

A Book by Akim D. Reinhardt

Seinfeld episode #28 “The Alternate Side”

Elaine: “I’ll be ostracized from the community.”

Jerry: “What community? There’s a community?”

Elaine: “Of course there’s a community.”

Jerry: “All these years I’m living in a community, I had no idea.”

Do you live in a community? If you’re in the United States, then Akim Reinhardt’s answer is, “Probably not.” In Disintegration: The Decline of Communities in America, Reinhardt makes the claim that there are no real, historic communities left in the U.S. Furthermore, he traces their decline over the last two centuries, showing how America slowly transformed from a country that was dominated by small, rural communities at its founding, to a modern nation of enormous cities, sprawling suburbs, and fractured rural areas.

The result has been a flourishing of individual liberties and freedoms, but also intense political partisanship. Since there are no more communities to set and enforce values and rules of behavior at the local level, Americans often find themselves battling fiercely over would-be community issues. Abortion, gun control, sex education, gay marriage, and countless other hot button topics can’t be decided at the community level because there are no communities left to decide them. And when enough interested citizens believe these issues are too important to be left up to individual choice, they dedicate their time, energy, and money to fighting it out in the media and political arenas, attempting to pass laws that will settle these issues for everyone.

Reinhardt challenges you to re-conceptualize the world you live in. Whether it confirms your sneaking suspicions or contradicts ideas you’ve always taken for granted, Disintegration will encourage you to consider fresh ideas about how you understand and relate to (or don’t) the people around you, and why things are the way the are.