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 Richard Bachmann's blog 


The Pains of Being a ... "Professional"!

As I already wrote in previous posts, I'm interning at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum (ACHSM) here in Athens. Now in my second quarter, I have really come to love this place and what I'm doing there! Most of this quarter I have spent in the museum's Special Collections archive organizing thousands of photo files. What might sound extremely boring at first turns out to be a very satisfying and interesting task.


Athens and the Excitement of Friendship

I am a battery that needs to be often recharged. I require the excitement of friendship; I must have the constant stimulation of friends. I do not spark automatically, but must have other minds to rub up against, and strike from them by friction the spark that will kindle my thoughts.

                             Randolph Bourne - "The Excitement of Friendship" (1912)


"I Hear America Singing"

Since its founding in 1776, intellectuals and ordinary citizens are fascinated with the unique character of the Untied States of America. At a time when Europe entered into the long nineteenth century – an age of nationalism, cultural bigotry, and deadly quarrel – the US set out to become the first transnational and multicultural country in the world. Certainly, America's coming of age was not always free from pain and marked by many setbacks.


Fight Back USA! The Formation of A New Progressive Force?

It's an exciting time to be in the US right now! As visible in Wisconsin, Ohio, and numerous other US states, a clash of two political cultures is rattling America at the moment. To put it simply, it is a clash of, on the one hand, fiscal conservative Republicans who intend to seriously cut down public spending and  union rights and, on the other hand, a revitalized 'progressive' grassroots movement that opposes these measures. (I put 'progressive' in single quotation marks here since not all of these grassroots activists are progressives.


“Where the Old Allegheny and Monongahela Flow”

Wow, who could have imagined that ten weeks of school would go by so fast! As it seems, the workload designed by the adherents of the American work ethic at OU has the magical potential to let days feel like hours and weeks like a day. Especially during the last two weeks of school I was busy as hell, writing a paper about Rebel Consumerism and the Counterculture of the 1960s, finishing this quarter's GLC project, and preparing for my finals.


In Ohio, You Don't Need a Weatherman...

to know which way the wind blows. Unfortunately, this is especially true when it comes to state politics and the future of public employee unions in Ohio. As the notorious Scott Walker in Wisconsin, the “Hosni Mubarak of Wisconsin,” as some people have come to call him here, Governor John Kasich has also introduced a bill in the Ohio Senate which would tremendously restrict the power of public employee unions if passed.


". . . Knowledge Being Necessary to Good Government and the Happiness of Mankind . . ."

What a wonderful Saturday morning! With 40 Fahrenheit it's still quite cold, but the sun is shining, and as always, this has a tremendously uplifting effect on my spirit. We are only in week 7 right now, but it already feels as if we have been here for half a year. American university culture is so different from what I'm used to in Germany!


Excavating Athens's Past

After I dwelled a little bit on the present state of southeast Ohio in my last blog entry, let's focus on exploring its past today. Two weeks ago I started my internship at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum (ACHS&M). ACHS&M's self-defined mission is to "collect, protect, exhibit, and educate the public about the material culture of Athens County." As probably everybody knows 'material culture' is a copious concept. According to ACHS&M's website, the museum has more than 40,000 items in its collection.


A Vivid College Town and the Harsh Reality Around it

Athens is vibrating. Laughter and bawling arise from the bars on Court Street. Sounds of joy vitalize the city for a moment and finally vanish into the dark winter sky of southeast Ohio. With the beginning of the winter quarter life came back to this place. As thousands of students poured into the city, an American small town became a vivid college town again. Glitter cocktail dresses and red cups at night, a tired crowd during the day. With books to read and assignments to finish, everybody seems to be constantly in a rush.


Getting Started...Ready To Go!

So we finally made it to Athens, Ohio, and our hazy dreams and expectations are ready to come true! Although our trip began with a one and half hour delay in Leipzig, it was a pleasant one. Stepping on a plane on December 25 isn't that bad! At least you have a fair chance to get some extra space on the transatlantic flight – nice! As it turned out, once again I had worried too much. Everything went exactly according to plan: no further delays or weeks spent at an airport due to snow delays, no turn-downs by immigration officials, and no broken red wine bottles in my backpack.

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