Archive for July, 2009

July 12th 2009
I’ll be darned, I’m right again!

Posted under American history & jobs & wankers & women's history

maddowclownYou know, I really hate to say I told you so–oh, but who am I kidding.  I love to say it!  I TOLD YOU SO.  Rachel Maddow–so full of promise, so smart on Air America, and such a total sellout on MSNBC–and Historiann saw it coming all along.  Say it:  you were right, Historiann!

Bob Somerby has been on fire this summer, stamping his feet and screaming about the mal-, and nonfeasance of the so-called “progressive media” on TV, that is, Keith Olbermann’s and Rachel Maddow’s shows on MSNBC.  Most people say, and apparently believe, that this year is the Dems main chance to do something about health care reform–if they don’t do it now, 2010 will be all about the midterms and then 2011 will be all about the 2012 Presidential election.  Why isn’t there any reasonably informed coverage of the facts and issues at stake in health care reform in our so-called “progressive media” (that is, on single-payer systems, of which there are many varieties to study and learn from around the world)?  Sing it with me children:  As Somerby says, “other nations are spending half as much,” and are getting better results than we get!  We wouldn’t accept this kind of low-quality for high prices when it comes to trivial consumer goods–why do we permit this when the consequences are life or death for many Americans?

So now, back to Maddow.  How did she spend her precious hour of network news time Thursday night?  The first thirty minutes were spent on John Ensign’s extramarital affair.  (And Somerby reminds us that Maddow actually spent time the previous night reading his love letters on the air!  Good God.)  This might be justified if Maddow had a local news program in Reno or Las Vegas, but really–that’s your top news story, Rachel?  Says Somerby: 

Corporate interests will win again—because, in place of real information, they keep handing you distractions. Sex toys.

Continue Reading »


July 11th 2009
Lessons for Girls, #13: You are not what you wear.

Posted under childhood & Gender & wankers & women's history

maliaobama070809Remember Lessons for Girls?  Well, Roxie, the terminally ill Wire-Haired Fox Terrier got busy living this week enough to make a contribution to our files.  Her advice, inspired by Malia Obama’s peace sign tee-shirt, is very simply that “[y]ou are not what you wear, even if everyone around you is obsessed with what you happen to have on, so wear what you want and to hell with what anybody says.”  Furthermore, “[i]f people are staring at you, stare back — fiercely, beautifully, directly.”  Well said, Roxie–especially for a girl who probably has only limited experience with clothing, outside of those undignified Halloween getups some humans make their pets wear.  (I’m not judging–hey, I tried to put a tiny Pilgrim hat on one cat and an Indian headdress on another last fall–I’m just saying.  Cat Thanksgiving tableau?  EPIC FAIL!)

I especially like that second part about returning the male/public gaze.  Dog knows that Malia Obama has had more of that than most of us get in a lifetime, although while she’s under Secret Service protection, she’ll probably be spared some of the cruder and uglier comments about her appearance than many of us have heard screamed at us on the street (although not in newspapers, magazines, on TV, or on the non-peer reviewed world wide timewasting web, sadly).  Back when Historiann was a young and carefree mere slip of a cowgirl in Philadelphia, Continue Reading »


July 10th 2009
On prohibiting faculty-student sexual relationships

Posted under Gender & GLBTQ & jobs & local news & students & unhappy endings

Here’s something to get your ick on first thing in the morning:  Vance Fulkerson, a theater professor at the University of Northern Colorado since 1990, has been arrested for secretly videotaping boys and young men who used his bathroom, apparently for many years.  Yesterday, the Denver Post reported that Fulkerson “engaged in unwelcome sexual conduct with male students for nearly two decades and that while school officials were aware of complaints, they did nothing,” and today’s front-page story says that “[a] long-standing culture of permissiveness at the University of Northern Colorado has allowed some students and faculty in the theater department to date, attend parties together and share alcohol, drugs and, in some cases, sex,” according to more former students and a former faculty member, voice professor Alex Ryer:

Ryer had no previous university teaching experience when she was hired as a full-time professor in 1999 to take Fulkerson’s place in the musical theater department while he took a year-long leave of absence. She remained on staff through 2004.

She said she soon discovered that physical relationships between students and teachers were “more common than not,” she said.

“I just assumed from my previous experience in the workplace, and from my own moral code, that those kinds of relationships were wrong,” she said. “But at UNC, you saw it everywhere you looked. It may have been male-male or male-female or female- female . . . it was every combination.”

UNC has a policy that “discourages” professor-student sexual relationships, citing concerns about fairness, the appearance of bias in evaluating students, and concerns about the university’s vulnerability to sexual harassment claims.  But, one university official said, “the university cannot legally prohibit relationships between any consenting people 18 or older.”  Continue Reading »


July 9th 2009
I do not know this Jesus of whom you speak

Posted under American history & European history & fluff & local news & weirdness


Toto, I don’t think we’re anywhere near Calvinism any more!  This Jesus apparently “Saves, Delivers, Satisfies.”  Delivers and Satisfies?  What is Jesus, then–the new Chinese restaurant in town?  Can we get fries with that?  Ye gads.

John and Margaret Winthrop and all of the Mathers (Increase, Cotton, and possibly even Jerry) are spinning in their graves.


July 8th 2009
Why we call it patriarchal equilibrium, Part II: Historiann says, “Make my day.”

Posted under Gender & happy endings & jobs & wankers & women's history

cowgirlbroncobestedAs hinted at in yesterday’s post, “Why we call it patriarchal equilibrium, Part I,” Historiann has had her run-ins with this phenomenon, patriarchal equilibrium, and with the interference of administrators in the advancement of women faculty.  Still, it came to me as a surprise, since I’m such an easygoing cowgirl who looks for the best in people and who does my darndest to get along with everyone.  (All y’all who know me can attest to that!)  Well, being super-friendly and determined to get along is no defense against a phenomenon with the force and strength of several millennia of history, not to mention awesome institutionalized power across world cultures!

Anyhoo, here are the true facts:  When I came up for tenure at Baa Ram U., I sailed through the department with a unanimous vote, won strong recommendations from my Department Chair and Dean, and then. . . Continue Reading »


July 7th 2009
Why we call it patriarchal equilibrium, Part I: Buffalo shuffling off women faculty

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

cowgirlhayoopsYou be the judge, and be sure to read the comments–the first one is from a SUNY Buffalo faculty member.  Here are the numbers for tenure and promotion at SUNY Buffalo, where according to Inside Higher Ed, Provost Satish Tripathi has tenured 90% of male candidates, but only 75% of female candidates from 2003-08:

[Sex bias] is not [restricted to] an isolated incident at Buffalo, according to a group of professors who recently studied campus data about tenure considerations spanning 2003 to 2008. They say their analysis, released in February, shows that the provost and president have favored awarding tenure to men at a higher rate than to women.

During the five-year period, 144 non-tenured assistant professors — 91 men and 53 women — were considered for tenured associate professor positions. Nearly a quarter of all female candidates were not promoted, in comparison with 10 percent of all males.

Of the 50 women who gained approval from the president’s review board, the provost then denied tenure to 9 (18 percent). In contrast, he denied tenure to 3 of the 76 men (4 percent) who had board approval. He also overturned the negative recommendations for 9 of the 15 men (60 percent) who had not been approved by the board, effectively granting them tenure. He did not do the same for any women. The president has never reversed the provost’s decision.

Got that?  He reversed positive  tenure decisions for women who had won tenure votes in their departments, colleges, and then from the president’s review board.  Conversely, he reversed negative decisions against male candidates!  Patriarchal equilibrium, much? Continue Reading »


July 6th 2009
Honourable Mention! What an honour!

Posted under American history & book reviews & Gender & happy endings & O Canada & publication & women's history

ainaAbraham in Arms:  War and Gender in Colonial New England won an Honourable Mention for the 2008 Albert B. Corey Prize/Prix Corey from the Canadian Historical Association.  The prize is awarded every other year jointly with the American Historical Association to the best book in Canadian-American history.  Should the winner of the 2008 Corey Prize (Sharon A. Roger Hepburn, for Crossing the Border: A Free Black Community in Canada, University of Illinois Press, 2007) be unable to fulfill her duties, I’ll be happy to swing into action.  Here’s the flattering and generous citation from the CHA:

Abraham in Arms argues that religious ideas about gender and family provided the vital context in which the people of colonial New England, New France, and “Indian Country” understood the cross-cultural warfare between them through the 17th and 18th centuries. It is a richly imaginative and theoretically innovative fusion of religion, gender, family, diplomacy, and war that offers yet another persuasive argument that no study of war can avoid addressing the social role of gender and family life in animating the normative use of violence. It is a book destined to be influential to historians of other times and places.  Continue Reading »


July 3rd 2009
Another round for all of my friends!

Posted under happy endings

gayprofglass1This summer, I’ve had the opportunity to meet up with some new friends in the blogosphere–although in most cases it was our first meeting, it felt more like meeting an old friend because of our on-line conversations on each other’s blogs.  Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar took me out to lunch at a fabulous vegetarian restaurant in L.A., Another Damned Medievalist consented to hang out with some of my crazy Baa Ram U. colleagues when she came to Colorado recently, Dr. Crazy drove through miles of road construction to meet with me last week in Ohio, and this week GayProf  served up a few cocktails from his shaker and even cooked dinner for me at his house!  (Here’s a photo of the little prezzie I bought him for his birthday, so if you’re ever in Midwestern Funky Town you can ask him to mix you up one of 7 classic cocktails, since you can see he’s got the recipes and the necessary equipment!)  This blog has connected me with other bloggers and commenters I might never have run across in real life, and I’m so grateful to hear about your different experiences and perspectives.

I’ve also had the opportunity to see a lot of old friends in the last few months.  I really appreciate having old friends more and more.  I’ve moved around a fair amount in my adult life, but there are people in most regions of the country where I know I can hitch up Old Paint and pick up with them like I never moved away.  Thanks to all of you who have met me for lunches or coffees, or who have hosted me in your homes in California, Ohio, and Michigan over the past several weeks–I’m really glad you’re all in my life, and I’m grateful that many of you read and comment here regularly, since it keeps us in touch! Continue Reading »


July 3rd 2009
The Road to Wellville

Posted under American history & the body & women's history


Sojourner Truth's grave, Oak Hill Cemetery, Battle Creek

I visited Battle Creek, Michigan this week, for the first time since I was a child.  I’ve wanted to return ever since I read Nell Painter’s Sojourner Truth:  A Life, A Symbol (1996), when I learned that Battle Creek was Truth’s home for the last decades of her life.  (Truth had also lived in Northampton, Massachusetts–another progressive nineteenth-century American town.)  So we skipped the “Cereal City” sideshow, and went straight to the Oak Hill Cemetery, where we found Truth’s grave, marked by the stone on the left, and the historical marker on the right.  She’s in a fancy neighborhood of this necropolis–right behind C.W. Post’s mausoleum, and across the road from the whole Kellogg clan.

Because of the close associations between protestant evangelical denominations and nineteenth-century reform movements, Battle Creek’s history is inseparable from its history as the birthplace of Seventh Day Adventism, founded by James and Ellen White (1827-1915) in the 1850s.  They’re called co-founders, and James was a preacher and publisher, but it seems that it was Ellen’s visions and writing that were much more foundational to the philosophy and direction of the SDA church.  She is in fact remembered as the central prophet of their denomination by SDAs.  The SDAs were unusual for rejecting not just tobacco and alcohol but also meat–so they were vegetarians in addition to abolitionists and proponents of dress reform (and, of course, observed Saturday as the Sabbath.)  The SDA health regime was foundational to Battle Creek’s world-famous Sanitarium.  Ellen White quite literally made Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who usually gets all of the credit for turning Battle Creek into a fashionable health spa destination with his Sanitarium; it was she who recognized Kellogg’s promise and sent him to medical school.  Fun trivia fact:  Morningstar Farms, which makes all kinds of frozen meatless treats and meat substitutes, is an SDA company named after a mission/schoolhouse steamboat founded by a son of the Whites, who went South after the Civil War to evangelize and educate newly emancipated African American children. Continue Reading »


July 2nd 2009
Dr. Str!pper T!ts, I presume?

Posted under Bodily modification & Gender & technoskepticism & the body

NOTE:  This post was edited from an earlier version.  My apologies for those of you who might have come back here in the past few hours and found this post had temporarily “disappeared.”
Here’s one for all of the laydees out there in Historiann Nation:  Have you ever considered elective cosmetic surgery?  Now, don’t panic:  because of my natural beauty, enhanced only by vigorous exercise and protected vigilantly against the sun on the high plains desert by SPF 30+ at minimum, I’m certainly not considering “having some work done.”  I’m just wondering if educated, successful women such as yourselves have either thought about plastic surgery or have had it done. 

The reason I ask is that I have heard stories recently about highly successful professional women (that is, in professions nowhere near the entertainment industry) having serious plastic surgery–as in, massive breast implants and obvious facelifts.

Continue Reading »


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