Archive for June, 2011

June 19th 2011
Don’t fence me in

Posted under fluff & happy endings & local news

Thanks, Maine!  We enjoyed the fried clams, the beaches, the Dunkin’ Donuts, and the pediatric surgeons.  We’re saddling up to ride out this morning–see you when we’re about a mile higher than Scarborough Beach.  I have to say, living at altitude makes running at sea level feel like I could run forever.  (For the first few weeks, anyway, and then the lungs adjust to the luxurious concentration of oxygen you eastern fops and dandies enjoy.)

You know what I always say, friends:  don’t fence me in.  Continue Reading »

6 Comments »

June 18th 2011
Saturday round-up: slutty college years edition

Posted under American history & art & bad language & book reviews & childhood & European history & fluff & Gender & jobs & students & the body & unhappy endings & wankers & women's history

Good morning, y’all!  It’s another changeable day here in southern Maine, so just in case I end up spending the day at the beach and you don’t, here are a few items that will keep you entertained indoors:

  • First of all, have you been reading Tenured Radical lately?  It’s difficult to keep up with that woman, but I particularly loved Thursday’s cranky screed, “Question:  Why Do Development Offices Raise Money for Sports When Academics Are Being Cut?”  Excellent question!  As many of you know, I’m opposed philosophically and budgetarily to the free men’s sports farm clubsthat even Podunk Colleges and Directional State U.’s feel the need to provide to the for-profit teams of the NBA and the NFL, but when even sports-loving dyke proffies start wondering about the size and heft of the Athletic Department’s budget, compared to (for example) the Classics Department, somehow I feel less like the vox clamantis in deserto.  (And I don’t actually read a word of Latin!)  Repeat after me:  club sports good, free farm clubs bad. 
  • TR also shares what not to do when pi$$ed off by your colleagues.  (What is it with the peeing, boys?  Seriously?)
  • In “Fat Girl Woes,” New Kid on the Hallway writes, “You know what really annoys me? The way some stores that carry my size online won’t carry that size in the stores. I mean, clearly those stores would like to sell me stuff and take my money, but they don’t want me actually to shop in the store? You know, in public?”  (She’s not just a student-blogger any more–she has finished her law degree and really needs to wear suits pretty much all day long in her new career.)  I’ve noticed over the last several years that the combined forces of vanity sizing (what was once an 7-8 or a 5-6 is now a 4 or XS, for example) plus the fat discrimination New Kid reports means that the range of sizes represented on most store racks is narrower than ever.
  • Joyce Chaplin reviews Mary Beth Norton’s new book, Separated by their Sex:  Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World, in tomorrow’s New York Times Book Review (h/t Blake at Down and Out in Denver.)  Chaplin writes, “The materials are rich, but most historians will be surprised that Norton goes after them with the equivalent of a power tool that has lost its edge. [Ed. note:  OUCH!] Continue Reading »

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June 17th 2011
Jesse Lemisch on “Founders Chic”–on video!

Posted under American history & students

Fat, bald, toothless, and chic?

Via someplace I forget–it might have been the H-OIEAHC discussion groupHistory in the Classroom is really nice website featuring video interviews and panel discussions with several prominent U.S. historians and 1960s political activists given to K-12 teachers.  For example, Robert P. Moses speaking about Civil Rights and his algebra project; Tom Hayden on the Port Huron Statement nearly 50 years later; Blanche Wiesen Cook on Eleanor Roosevelt; Kim Philips-Fein on conservative opposition to the New Deal; Hasia Diner on immigration history; Candace Falk on the Emma Goldman Papers; Carola Suarez-Orozco on the issues facing immigrant children; and Ira Berlin on the Four Great Migrations of African American history, among other fascinating topics. 

Readers of this blog might be especially interested in the second video topic at that link, “Jesse Lemisch:  Historians, Power, and Politics,” a public talk he gave last month on his “classic critique of the historical profession: ‘Present Mindedness Revisited: Anti-Radicalism as a Goal of American Historical Writing Since World War II.’  Continue Reading »

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June 15th 2011
Call for Contributors: Women in Early America

Posted under American history & Gender & GLBTQ & publication & women's history

Thomas Foster, author of Sex and the Eighteenth-Century Man (2006), and the editor of two recent collections of essays in early American history of sexuality and gender, Long Before Stonewall:  Histories of Same-Sex Sexuality in Early America (2007) and New Men:  Manliness in Early America (2011), is looking for contributors for a new volume to be published by New York University Press called Women in Early America.  I’ll let Foster take it from here–this is from an e-mail he sent to me, which I believe was also published recently on h-net:

Women in Early America is an anthology on women in America from contact through the Revolutionary era. Proposals for essays that employ a transnational approach and that rewrite master narratives are especially encouraged. As the volume is largely intended for use in undergraduate courses, essays that are written for that audience and that address major themes in women’s and gender history courses are also particularly desirable.

New York University Press has expressed strong interest in publishing this project. I’m in the process now of soliciting proposals for chapters so that I may put together a book prospectus within the next few months to secure a contract. If you are interested in proposing an essay for this volume, please send an abstract and cv to tfoster4 AT depaul DOT eduContinue Reading »

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June 14th 2011
Classy Claude’s report from the Berks

Posted under Berkshire Conference & conferences & women's history

Good morning, friends.  Although I didn’t make it to the Fifteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, my faithful reporter Classy Claude did.  (Does this guy get around, or what?  Some of you may remember Claude’s other reports of recent AHA and OAH meetings.) 

I’m back!  In light of Historiann’s absence from the Berks – and needless to say, she was missed by many – her faithful conference reporter Classy Claude is happy to offer readers a snapshot of one conference-goer’s experience. Obviously a conference is different for different people, depending on sessions attended and so forth, but I will recount some highlights. 

This Berks quite literally got off to start with a bang.  There was a crazy thunderous storm on Thursday afternoon (hail in some places!) as the first sessions were getting underway, as many attendees were taking advantage of tours through local historical sites, and as Classy Claude was doing a little work at the Sophia Smith Collection at nearby Smith College.  All of these opportunities had been coordinated with, or organized by, the conference planners.  Thus, one real highlight of the conference was the opportunity to take advantage of these nearby historic sites and local archives. 

The conference was located on the UMass-Amherst campus, primarily in the Campus Center, which itself houses a hotel (where many of us stayed, though rumor has it that rooms booked up quickly) and was connected via various passageways to the Student Union and a parking garage.  Because the weather was rainy on a couple days (Saturday also), this had the effect of making sessions not in the central complex more sparsely attended.  I found this to be so in a session I chaired and one I attended about young women and premarital pregnancy (which included Historiann’s blogging pal, Knitting Clio).  Continue Reading »

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June 12th 2011
Physicians “opting out:” gender and medical education as a privilege, not an entitlement

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

Karen S. Sibert, MD, a Los Angeles anesthesiologist, raises the alarm about the looming shortage of doctors in the U.S., and notes that this is especially alarming given the trend among younger women doctors to work part-time at a moment when they’ve become more than half of all primary care physicians in the U.S.  (H/t to commenter Susan for this one.)  Sibert writes in the New York Times this morning:

[I]ncreasing numbers of doctors — mostly women — decide to work part time or leave the profession. Since 2005 the part-time physician workforce has expanded by 62 percent, according to recent survey data from the American Medical Group Association, with nearly 4 in 10 female doctors between the ages of 35 and 44 reporting in 2010 that they worked part time.

This may seem like a personal decision, but it has serious consequences for patients and the public.

Medical education is supported by federal and state tax money both at the university level — student tuition doesn’t come close to covering the schools’ costs — and at the teaching hospitals where residents are trained. So if doctors aren’t making full use of their training, taxpayers are losing their investment. With a growing shortage of doctors in America, we can no longer afford to continue training doctors who don’t spend their careers in the full-time practice of medicine.

It isn’t fashionable (and certainly isn’t politically correct) to criticize “work-life balance” or part-time employment options. How can anyone deny people the right to change their minds about a career path and choose to spend more time with their families? I have great respect for stay-at-home parents, and I think it’s fine if journalists or chefs or lawyers choose to work part time or quit their jobs altogether. But it’s different for doctors. Someone needs to take care of the patients.

I think she makes a number of great points, but I wonder why she casts this as purely a problem of female fecklessness?  Continue Reading »

56 Comments »

June 11th 2011
Why I had to skip the Berks

Posted under Berkshire Conference & childhood & Gender & happy endings & the body & women's history

Thanks for your kind comments and e-mails–our family emergency has been resolved.  I’m sure you’re wondering what on earth could keep me away from the Berkshire Conference 2011, especially considering that there won’t be another one until 2014!  Well, friends–there isn’t a lot that would keep me away from it, but there’s something I haven’t told you about Famille Historiann before that might put this into perspective:  Continue Reading »

63 Comments »

June 9th 2011
Off to the Berks!

Posted under Berkshire Conference & conferences & happy endings & women's history

And don’t expect me to liveblog it–I’ve got too much to do meeting up with old friends and making new ones in the meat world this weekend.  It looks like central Massachusetts is going to be a stinkbox today–with drier and cooler weather on the way for the weekend.  Yay!  Tenured Radical has a nice preview of what’s going on, and I’m sure she’ll have lots to report about the weekend after it’s (mostly) all said and done.

For those of you who will be joining us at the Berks:  watch for the cowgirl boots, and say “hi” if you feel like it!  Continue Reading »

11 Comments »

June 8th 2011
It’s your misfortune, and none of my own

Posted under American history & bad language & class & students & unhappy endings

Check out this pickup from Flavia last week featuring some public boo-hoo-hooing by one of suburban Philadelphia’s tragically overlooked and underprivileged, those who didn’t get into their top choice college:

The following letter appeared on today’s NYT letters page in response to a recent Times article about the lack of economic diversity at elite colleges and universities:

To the Editor:

David Leonhardt forgot about me. I grew up in suburban Pennsylvania and attended private school before Bryn Mawr College, the University of Pennsylvania and now the University of Oxford. And yes, my parents paid for it all.

I realize that not needing to work at 7-Eleven afforded me more time to study, read and learn. But I used it. Acceptance letters don’t come because my parents foot the bill; kids like me get in because we are responsible, passionate and talented.

In theory, hard-working, low-income kids deserve help; in practice, their 1,250 SAT scores’ counting for more than my 1,300 doesn’t reflect meritocracy.

College admissions are a zero-sum game. Universities putting their “thumb on the scale” for a South Bronx applicant’s 1,250 lessens the weight of my achievements. His 1,250′s win is my loss.  Continue Reading »

39 Comments »

June 7th 2011
The intellectual value of being wrong

Posted under American history & Berkshire Conference & conferences & European history & Gender & GLBTQ & jobs & women's history

I’m off to a conference this week, and I’ve been thinking about some of the wacky papers I’ve given over the years.  I’ve always looked at conferences as opportunities to test out new ideas, and the best times I’ve had at conferences have been times when I’ve delivered a paper that offers a fresh–some would say dubious–new interpretation or argument.  After all, most conference papers are 10 pages long and should take no more than 20 minutes of the audience’s time–it’s not like we’re going to be able to clobber them with a truly convincing pile of evidence, so why not focus more on the specific interventions we’re making?

I once gave a conferece paper titled “Fields of Screams,” after an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon on an old episode of The Simpsons.  It was about borderlands warfare and masculinity, and although I discarded the specific argument in that paper it helped me work out some ideas about space and gender.  Recently, I’ve been having fun shocking people with Judith Bennett’s “lesbian-like” interpretive frame for understanding eighteenth-century Ursulines.  I’m not sure where this idea is going, but it’s fascinating to see some people react so strongly and so negatively to the use of the word “lesbian” to talk about the eighteenth century!  Continue Reading »

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