October
6th 2008
Little Berks blogger meetup round-up (yee-haw!)

Posted under: Berkshire Conference, Gender, women's history

UPDATED BELOW

Well, it sounds like a great time was had by all, gosh darn it, although I wasn’t in attendance (*sniff!*  Maybe next year I should volunteer to arrange for the Little Berkshire Conference to meet in the Rockies instead of the, um, Berkshires?)  The laydeez–Tenured Radical, Knitting Clio, and Clio Bluestocking–have posted reports on the conference, and two of them wrote about their conversation Saturday about women’s history blogging.

Although she missed the first night of the conference due to a bad cold, KC writes about a great idea of hers, namely, linking the Sunday seminars with the new Berks blog although as a place for starting the conversation before the conference, and for keeping the conversation going afterwards.  (Who knows if there will be seminars or not in 2011–that’s up to the next Program Committee co-Chairs–but I think making better use of the blog is a wonderful idea, especially if it can involve Big Berks content and connections, too.)  Tenured Radical writes very movingly about how blogging was for her “the best kind of middle-aged crisis,” in that it permitted her to be “a historian who is once again having fun.”  She relates more information about the Unpleasant Events she endured a few years ago, saying that “my writing had been purposely trashed as part of a departmental political struggle,” which led to a crisis in self-confidence about her writing and her chosen career (natch!)  Fortunately, the blogosphere saved her!

TR also drops the very interesting point that “Nancy Cott, Director if the Schlesinger Library, is currently working with her staff on a project to archive feminist blogs permanently, which will cause a blog like mine to ultimately be ‘fixed’ in a way it never will be while it is up on [the web.]“  (Don’t they know that Google cache is forever?  Well, “forever” is a Google-dependent concept now I suppose, so it’s probably good that the girls down at the “Schles” are at work to preserve touts les bons mots ici!) 

Finally, Clio B. hasn’t posted a final report about her presentation, although she leaves us some intriuging clues in some thoughts about connections between Sandy Bardsley’s talk about women in the wake of the Black Death, and her prospective thoughts about women bloggers.  Bardsley presented some compelling evidence about the decline of women’s public voices after the plague:

One of the audience members pointed out that this last point — about women’s public voices — anticipated tomorrow’s panel on blogging. One of the points that I want to make on that panel is related to the abuse that many female bloggers have endured sometimes simply by daring to venture a voice into the public. This seems so cliche and expected. Of course when women venture into the public sphere, they sustain vicious attacks. Of course, when they protest sexism, they are told to suck it up. They should, in other words, to be a “man” about it. What original can I bring to this conversation, especially in the absence of some concrete data?

Well, Clio–we’re waiting!  Don’t leave us in suspense any longer (although I understand that your return was delayed in Yonkers.  Ouch!)  I’ve already shared my thoughts about feminist bloggers attracting surprisingly creepy, persistent, and disturbed trolls–let us in on your secrets!  (Secret recipes for troll repellent, that is.  How about Erica’s hot dogs and hard-boiled eggs en gellée?  That’ll fix his wagon.)

Whoops–it’s time for the chuckwagon to pull up here at El Rancho Historiann.  Come and get it, gals!

UPDATE, 10/7/08Clio B. has posted her notes and reflections on the discussion about blogging.  She is getting contrite about having complained about students in the past on her blog, but I still think it’s OK in some cases to blow off steam about frustrations with students on academic blogs, even when one is the teacher and tenured and all that.  Sometimes, students (like everyone else) say and do obnoxious things, and it’s perfectly OK to complain about that (anonymously, of course).  It’s not OK to mock students for being unsophisticated or not very bright, IMHO–that’s just mean–but it’s fine to call out bad behavior and ask for help from others if you need advice about dealing with a student. 

Interestingly, most academic blogs focus their ire on the bad behavior of colleagues.  Hmmm….

Oh, and thanks for pointing us to this intriguing title:  How to Suppress Women’s Writing, by Joanna Russ.

9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Little Berks blogger meetup round-up (yee-haw!)”

  1. Knitting Clio on 07 Oct 2008 at 5:32 am #

    Thanks for the round-up. There definitely is interest in continuing the seminars — although maybe spreading them throughout the conference instead of having them all on one day (that was the major complaint — some wanted to attend more than one). Let’s talk more about the blog idea.

  2. Indyanna on 07 Oct 2008 at 6:41 am #

    Historiann,

    I love the idea about designating the big escarpments out your way as honorary “Berkshires,” but for one thing. This might re-energize latent puritan imperialists, who would whip out those old “sea-to-sea” colonial charters and start-up their peculiar form of Manifest Westiny again. We here in Pennsyltucky would bear the brunt long before they got to the Western Reserve, much less the Fruitful Plains. “They” being wagonloads of bible-bashing patriarchs looking to impose “good order” on the likes of us Othereeenians. We might even have to start wearing socks to church!

    Other than that it would be cool to spread it around. It was a delicious weekend back here in the far East, and it must have been nice up there in the Taconics. (What we Middle Atlanticans have always called the “Berkshires!). Good news about the presidential election, too.

  3. Historiann on 07 Oct 2008 at 7:55 am #

    KC–the seminars were our idea to solve the Sunday Morning problem, which is that regular panels and roundtables were very under-attended, and some in 2005 had no audience at all, because people took early flights home to make it back to the Eastern and Central time zones from the Pacific time zone.

    I’m glad they attracted so much interest, but I’d regret losing that coping strategy for Sundays, which guarantees a good discussion without being dependent on attracting an audience.

    And Indyanna, I seriously doubt that I’d be able to move even the Little Berks out here, let alone the Big Berks. It’s a big-time conference now, and needs big-time conference services. The days are long gone when we could just take over a Seven Sisters campus and all sleep in the dorms and eat in the dining hall.

  4. Indyanna on 07 Oct 2008 at 8:46 am #

    Alas.

  5. Clio Bluestocking on 07 Oct 2008 at 9:40 am #

    You know, I thought about your place when they were tossing around ideas for future meeting sites!

    I actually had nothing original to bring to the conversation, but will post my outline anyway after I teach today.

    Knitting Clio is on to something with that Berks blog. There is some untapped potential there to turn the blog into a more dynamic and updated version of H-Women. Everyone seemed fascinated by blogs, but maybe a little uncertain as to the time commitment and the ways to implement blogs efficiently into their professional lives. Having a place to get used to the online environment of a blog because it is a direct extension of professional activity and the community that is so evident at the meetings might be a good place to start. (Does that make sense?)

  6. Susan on 07 Oct 2008 at 9:49 am #

    I do think it’s sort of funny that the seminars at the big Berks — as Historiann said, a strategy to deal with the Sunday Morning Problem — seem ready to take over! Of course one solution to the Sunday morning problem is to end the conference on a Saturday night, and not even pretend to have Sunday sessions. . .

    But Historiann and I have done our bit on this one, and it’s to whomever Kathleen Brown asks to chair the program for the next Big Berks to solve this one!

  7. Historiann on 07 Oct 2008 at 11:19 am #

    OK, Clio–glad you got home OK, and I’ll post a link to your new post when it’s up. I wonder if what we should do with the Berks is use it as a place to cross-post? (We’d need the keys to the blog, which we could probably get from Laura Lovett, or perhaps one of her grad students could do the cross-post.) Your long posts on Frederick Douglass’s sister Harriet would be ideal for something like that.

    Susan–we’ve created a monster! But, if people find the format/genre helpful, then that’s great. Maybe we should just dump the Sunday program stuff, and start the conference on Wednesday night. (Will that be difficult for people teaching on the quarter system, though? They find the conference difficult enough to travel to as it is, and since many of those quarter-system people teach in the U Cal/Cal State system, their travel days are pretty long when the conference is in the East, too!)

  8. Clio Bluestocking on 07 Oct 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    It is posted. Thank you for the link and the quote! You are an example of the generosity I mention at the end.

    Also, if your ears were burning over the weekend, that was because many people spoke of you with admiration and fondness. (Is that tacky to mention?)

  9. Historiann on 07 Oct 2008 at 4:51 pm #

    Hey, thanks for letting me know. I don’t think it’s EVER tacky to pass on compliments–it’s really nice to hear, especially because I have such high regard for the Berkshire Conference. (You’ll see why it’s nice to hear of compliments when you read tomorrow’s post here at Historiann!)

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