Archive for March, 2009

March 3rd 2009
Clickers? Excuse me: are we training dogs here?

Posted under jobs & students & technoskepticism

clickerYou know I can’t go too many days without getting my technophobia on, kids!  Check out the new tag I’ve added here, “technoskepticism.”  I considered “technophobia,” but I don’t fear new technology–I just think that much of it is a waste of my time.  I remain open to the possibility that someday, somewhere some new technology will really excite me instead of cause me to slap my forehead and ask, “who falls for this $hit?”  And, you may not want to be reminded of this, but once upon a time 8-track tapes were the I-Pod of 1974, and Commodore 64s were the Facebook of 1982.

So–clickers.  Have you used them in class?  What kinds of advantages do you think they bring to a classroom in the humanities in particular?  I’ve been invited to attend a workshop on them, and I’m half tempted, given the ridiculous 123-seat survey course I’m scheduled to teach in the fall. Continue Reading »


March 2nd 2009
Women’s History Month book club: Judith Bennett’s “History Matters”

Posted under book reviews & European history & Gender & women's history

girlscholar1It is on!  Go over and check out the first post about Judith Bennett’s History Matters:  Feminism and the Challenge of Patriarchy at Notorious, Ph.D., Girl Scholar’s place.  Come on over and join in the discussion.


March 1st 2009
“But he’s such a nice guy!”

Posted under Gender & jobs & unhappy endings & women's history

mrniceguyVia Feminist Law Professors, Thus Spake Zuska asks, “Why do we think only really hideously evil human beings could be sexual harrassers?”

Now, regular readers of this blog know that Historiann’s path to career happiness and job satisfaction never did run smoothly until about the summer of 2004 or so.  But I’m very happy to report that I was never sexually harassed by anyone in the groves of academe–not in the past 22-1/2 years, anyway.  So take this hypothesis for what it’s worth, but, don’t you think that being a “nice guy” is a great cover when you’re sexually harassing people?  Men who have good social skills and can read people’s reactions to them accurately are probably much more adept at 1) abusing their power over women students and subordinates, and 2) getting away with it than men who, because they are less socially skilled, aren’t regarded so much as “nice guys,” but rather as creepy, strange, or just socially awkward.  Men who are perceived as creepy, strange, or socially awkward may be more likely to be reported as sexual harassers precisely because they’re not perceived as having a large number of allies and therefore they’re not influential in their work environment, whereas men who are socially skilled probably are seen as central rather than marginal players and as people who are decision makers (or who are allies of the decision makers.)  Continue Reading »


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