(Ali G glossary here–scroll down for “respek.”) One of the disturbing issues raised in the li’l women’s history and Berkshire Conference hoedown we’ve been having around here lately is that of respek–or the lack of respek, more properly–afforded not just mid-career and junior schmucks like Historiann and Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar, but even to senior women scholars. Go read here and here (in the comments) for descriptions of the two sessions last month at the 2008 International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in honor of the career of Susan Mosher Stuard (h/t to New Kid on the Hallway–thanks, baby!), one of only two women’s historians that Historiann worked with in her entire undergraduate career. (And Stuard taught at Haverford College, while Historiann majored in History at Bryn Mawr! Shocking!) Read those descriptions, and gaze in wonder at the obnoxiousness of a few men, young and old, who are just full of advice for the first generation of women’s historians!
Have you ever met Merry Wiesner-Hanks? Do you really want to be that guy who thought he was schoolin’ MW-H? Or Connie Berman? Or Judith Bennett? I don’t think so. Because even if I could imagine an alternative universe where you would be more right than them about women’s history, you’d still look like a jerk. Come to think of it, you’d look a lot like Ali G! “I was finkin’, that women history, right? Is pre’ty much th’history of bonin’! Of womens being boned by the mens, right? And then servin’ the mens tea, or wha’ever.” It’s funny how our profession, which is supposedly so hung up on rank and authority, isn’t so much when it comes to women with rank and authority. Tips for toads: if you don’t know too much about a particular field of inquiry, then maybe ask an informational question rather than tell the people who invented that field of inquiry what they need to do to satisfy your demands.
Respek, man. Fink abou’it. Peace, out.
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