Comments on: Why I’ve fallen down on the (uncompensated) job this term History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 17:08:06 +0000 hourly 1 By: Janice Sat, 12 Nov 2011 01:15:08 +0000 Historiann, that sounds like a fabulous course and a great set of readings. I love Grafton’s book and am itching for an excuse to teach from it. Someday. . . .

We’ve been using the first one as a case study in our undergraduate methods course for sophomores – great bit to open the eyes of students to why professional ethics matters! I think they were also engaging with Hoffer, if not the whole book, at least a segment.

One of the objectives for the seminar that I teach is to prepare students for their topic defence, so we teach them how to write a proposal and how to expand their bibliographic reach, for example. I also spend half of the course taking a particular subfield and leading students through the historiographic variety. This year I’m doing media history so we’ve looked at the history of the book as well as more modern media.

I used Leslie Howsam’s “Old Books and New Histories: An Orientation to Studies in Book and Print Culture” to start the ball rolling on this half of the term and then have asked each student to choose a set of readings from a longer list each week. So I can thrown McLuhan, Darnton, Eisenstein and all sorts of others into the mix. I might branch out and get them to read and react to Steve Anderson’s “Technologies of History: Visual Media and the Eccentricity of the Past” for the end of the term.

It’s invigorating to teach grad students but very intimidating, especially when you’re not teaching “your subfield” but something as broad-reaching and technically demanding as methods or historiography. I know that some of my colleagues talk about the joy of leading grad students to explore their own specialty – I’ve never gotten to do that.

By: Historiann Fri, 11 Nov 2011 15:13:03 +0000 Thanks, Janice–great idea. I’ve taken a more philosophical approach to my historiography class, which is more about the ethics and politics of history than a methodology class. (Our students also have to take at least one research seminar, which I assume covers methodology better than I could.)

My course is organized around an exploration of the history of professional history itself, and then an in-depth investigation of a variety of “history scandals” that have been in the news in North America over the past 25 years. Here’s the reading list:

Michael Bellesiles, Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture (2000; 2003)

Antoinette Burton, Archive Stories: Facts, Fictions, and the Writing of History (2006)

Shelley Ruth Butler, Contested Representations: Revisiting Into the Heart of Africa (1999; 2007)

Anthony Grafton, The Footnote: A Curious History (1997)

Peter Hoffer, Past Imperfect: Facts, Fiction, Fraud—American History from Bancroft and Parkman to Ambrose, Bellesiles, Ellis, and Goodwin (2004;2007)

Edward Pearson, Design Against Charleston: The Trial Record of the Denmark Vesey Slave Conspiracy of 1822 (1999)

Bonnie G. Smith, The Gender of History: Men, Women, & Historical Practice, 2nd edition (2000)

Jon Wiener, Historians in Trouble: Plagiarism, Politics, and Fraud in the Ivory Tower (2005)

Deborah Gray White, Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower (2008)

Richard White, Richard White, Remembering Ahanagran: A History of Stories (1998; 2003)

(Plus supplementary articles and forums from the Journal of American History and the American Historical Review, and a bunch of articles on the EEOC v. Sears trial of 1984-86.)

By: Janice Thu, 10 Nov 2011 22:27:05 +0000 We’re down four or five lines over the past three years. That’s certainly part of the problem as I’m on many more committees these days. I’m not teaching new preps unless you count the graduate directed readings which essentially is since it’s a course to support my grad student’s research topic (only related to my own research by virtue of exploring a subject in the same national history that has a century of overlap with my own studies).

You have my sympathies because creating new courses is about the most difficult work we do. There’s no peer review to tell us if we’re doing it right or wrong and few useful guidelines to make a course ‘click’. So it’s a huge effort that very few people outside of students and colleagues will see enough of the outcome to admire.

By the way, I teach our graduate methods course all the time – I’d love to blog some on what is important to teach in practices and how to teach it. I adore Miles Fairburn’s “Social History: Problems, Strategies and Methods” for hitting a sweet spot between all sorts of methodological insights and a sweeping overview of historiographic themes. But I’m always looking for new books and new techniques to liven up the course!

By: Comrade PhysioProf Thu, 10 Nov 2011 18:44:55 +0000 DOY!

By: Canuck Down South Thu, 10 Nov 2011 05:20:54 +0000 Notorious’s description of her grad student days is ridiculously intimidating (as a grad student myself). Here I’d hoped that one gained stamina as one got older, but this thread is definitely not encouraging in that direction…!

By: Susan Thu, 10 Nov 2011 05:10:04 +0000 As someone who can’t keep track of her own brain, I suspect it’s all the other things that go on when you hit your stage of a career. You usually manage two or three smart and/or funny posts a week: seems pretty good to me! There are days I don’t even look at blogs I’m so busy. (Today, it’s just been catching up from a day when we didn’t have any email.)

By: Notorious Ph.D. Thu, 10 Nov 2011 03:38:06 +0000 Jane B. speaks truth.

By: Z Thu, 10 Nov 2011 03:22:54 +0000 At one time I would come home from teaching 3 classes plus doing all the other student things and meetings, and read journal articles *to relax* and come back to reality – by letting my brain run at regular speed, I just realized.

Then I got too tired – my brain was mush by 5 (or 8, I get off work at 5 some afternoons and 8PM others). But actually, the idea that relaxation comes from letting brain run at regular speed helps; I should relax by reading journal articles when tired just as one relaxes by working out even if tired.

By: nicolec Thu, 10 Nov 2011 03:00:15 +0000 I really want to to take your sexual history class…so fascinating! Are you enjoying it?
I imagine it takes a great deal of time to create a class, let alone two….

By: truffula Thu, 10 Nov 2011 02:08:02 +0000 I must admit that I don’t understand this reactionary sentiment, this things (including my productivity) were soooo much better in the past. Oh come on. My day had fewer obligations when I was a graduate student but I was working on somebody else’s (finite) time line. I did not have liberty. Now, my day is wound up tight as can be but I’m teaching a comic book in a science inquiry class. It’s all good.