Comments on: Classy Claude’s report from the Berks History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:56:15 +0000 hourly 1 By: Berkshire Conference of Women Historians | Blog Wrap-Ups Wed, 22 Jun 2011 18:46:22 +0000 [...] Although Historiann herself was very unfortunately not able to attend, her reliable correspondent, Classy Claude, filed a report on her behalf. Classy Claude and Another Damned Medievalist issue pleas for better [...]

By: Another Damned Medievalist Tue, 21 Jun 2011 12:30:42 +0000 And another thing … I think I mentioned this at mine, but one of the most enjoyable panels I went to was the one that was kind of all medieval (that is, that in the Eurocentric sense of the X-timeframe=medieval), but really geographically widespread. France, Islam (specifically Syria), and Mongol Empire. The papers went together pretty well, and it was very useful to the part of me that teaches world civ.

Lest people think I’m simply ranting about ‘not enough of my stuff’ — I’m not.

But also, I was thinking about this again today, and really, am more pissed off. Why? Because: Women Historians. Women Historians.

Because the more and more I think of it, I feel like the program committee decided that there are certain fields and approaches more suitable to Women Historians (and I note that there were men giving papers…)*

But: Women Historians, NOT (necessarily) Women’s History, History of Women, Feminist History, Gender History, Activist History That Promotes A Particular Agenda.

It’s not even the marginalization of pre-modern: it’s the implication that what some of us study is wrong, that we’re somehow less worthy. Excuse us while we do hard-ass research that requires foreign language skills, palaeographic skills, skill-sets that most 20th C people haven’t even thought of, because they live in a world where there are easily accessible records, and provide all sorts of useful information that allows y’all** to (were you to actually show up to anything … old and stuffy?) compare and say, “Oh look! this is NOT how it has always been!”

It’s not often I feel accused by my colleagues of not being feminist enough, or global enough, or too straight. But reading the comments here and elsewhere made me a bit more aware of some of the underlying feelings that the program invoked. I don’t like feeling like I have to prove that my politics are worthy, especially when I know that I *am* a feminist, that I do women’s history (or the history of women), that I teach about gender and do some gender history, that I am not too straight (as if anybody can be too anything).

I do not like feeling like I do the wrong kind of history for a conference that is supposed to be for me.

*not that I care. But it’s important in the context of the impression of acceptability.

By: Indyanna Sun, 19 Jun 2011 23:51:34 +0000 One of my favorite early academic memories is of going to a Society for Industrial Archaeology meeting in Philadelphia. A friend of mine was chairing a session.
She was pretty junior, and a garrulous old prospector of a high-theory field archaeologist was going on endlessly about some damned thing, with audience members flashing my friend the “cut across throat” sign to call it off. She finally intervened insistently, ejecting the guy from the lectern, and it ended with him retreating up the center aisle of the small auditorium throwing over his shoulder “that’s all right, I’ll be back next year in Denver, and I’m going to finish this talk then…” I didn’t know from the discipline, then or now, but I guess that would be a “height of fame” moment.

By: Comrade PhysioProf Sun, 19 Jun 2011 22:02:18 +0000

People do not know when to shut up. When we are told that we have 10 minutes, or 15, or however many we are told by our session chairs, it is quite simply the height of arrogance to assume that we can talk for as long as we want.

Not only is it arrogant; it is also fucken stupid. Nothing makes your audience hate you more than going long. And unless you are already at the height of fame in your field, you need people to not hate you in order to advance in your career.

By: Susan Reverby Wed, 15 Jun 2011 03:02:36 +0000 As a former program co-chair and local arrangements chair too (don’t ask it was 1987 before some of you were talking), it is true that the program committee makes all the difference. We tried to plan for each major area of history at every session. Claire Potter is right that it also helps to go to the Little Berks and get to know people.
With four years in between it suggests folks should plan to go. I always loved going to sessions on topics I knew nothing about just to hear what was happening.

By: Susan Amussen Tue, 14 Jun 2011 21:01:44 +0000 Just an addendum: the one great privilege and power of the Berks President is to choose the program chairs. (The rest is just a lot of work.) The program chairs choose their committees (when I did it, we had three subcommittees). So those choices are really important. So those of you who were at the Berks, do make sure that Franca Iacovetta knows what your concerns were.

That said, as TR noted, each set of Program Chairs chooses and theme and sets their own priorities. I could note lots of patterns: we had the most African-American scholars when we were at UNC; we had the largest Latina representation when Vicki Ruiz what president. Etc. Each thing you do means there is something you don’t do…

By: Nikki Tue, 14 Jun 2011 20:24:30 +0000 Kathie–well that is very interesting. Thanks.

By: Kathie Tue, 14 Jun 2011 18:39:36 +0000 Nikki – in fact, yes you can put panels on the program if people don’t apply. That is exactly what we did in 2008 when I was on the program committee – we developed panels and recruited presenters for underrepresented topics. That is why I said it takes a lot of personal involvement, it was more work for us, but the end result was a Berks with more for everyone.

By: Nikki Tue, 14 Jun 2011 17:57:16 +0000 Thanks, Tenured Radical!

By: Tenured Radical Tue, 14 Jun 2011 17:31:47 +0000 Want to be involved in the planning committee? A couple suggestions:

1. Come to the Little Berks in the fall.
2. Write this year’s program chairs & ask them to forward your name to next year’s chairs.
3. Copy —> Franca Iacovetta, the new prez.

And yes, you can represent fields when folks don’t apply. Recruit, recruit, recruit — recruiting people to send panels in is the best, and of course using the many field-specific listserves we now have to send out special appeals works well.