Comments on: The historian’s curse, naturally http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/25/the-historians-curse-naturally/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:26:05 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Sunday Morning Medicine | Nursing Clio http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/25/the-historians-curse-naturally/comment-page-1/#comment-1184011 Sun, 02 Dec 2012 13:38:22 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19968#comment-1184011 [...] The historian’s curse. [...]

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By: LouMac http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/25/the-historians-curse-naturally/comment-page-1/#comment-1179945 Thu, 29 Nov 2012 16:26:22 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19968#comment-1179945 H-ann – love your post on Le conflit, and the comments. Thanks! I hope you enjoy reading the book. It is not without significant blind spots (class, privilege), but I think it’s an important book nevertheless. Her chapter on the super-conservative social agenda of La Leche League is great. Most powerfully for me, she gives voice to the active choice *not* to mother, seeing it partly as a response to the middle-class pressure to be an Ueber-mummy and to give up all non-child-related identities in order to do so – to say nothing of economic independence. She argues this with respect to German women (using decent data, I think), but it rings true for me too as an Anglo woman who has chosen non-parenthood. Back when I thought I was straight and sort-of required to have children, I already saw it as a prison sentence largely because I was absorbing all these messages about breast-is-best, attachment parenting, feeding on demand, interacting with your child all the time to develop every possible brain cell, etc etc etc. (Luckily I realised I was neither – i.e. not straight and not required to have children – before creating mini-humans who would certainly have suffered greatly from my resentment.)

Here’s a link to a critique of the book by a colleague I respect a lot – I don’t agree with a lot of what she says but it’s perhaps the best, most philosophical critical reading in English that I’ve seen.
http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?id=809&fulltext=1

Hope you report back when you’re read it :)

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By: Maureen Ogle http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/25/the-historians-curse-naturally/comment-page-1/#comment-1178600 Wed, 28 Nov 2012 19:26:02 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19968#comment-1178600 Man, what a relief to read your post. But why would I be surprised: it’s the historian’s curse to take the long view and given that most people aren’t historians … Well, ya know, mostly what we historians read we interpret as hooey.

So. Thanks for the post and thanks, too, to all these terrific commenters. I’ve spent the last decade writing about the histories of “food” (beer and meat) and am thoroughly sick of being told how great the good old days were re. beer, meat.

“Natural,” my ass. Onward!

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By: Rachel http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/25/the-historians-curse-naturally/comment-page-1/#comment-1178497 Wed, 28 Nov 2012 17:51:22 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19968#comment-1178497 Shelley: If its for Hugh Jackman, then yes.

As a historic preservationist, I always crack up when I hear words like wilderness and natural, as if the built environment isn’t a “natural” part of human existence.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/25/the-historians-curse-naturally/comment-page-1/#comment-1178400 Wed, 28 Nov 2012 16:37:39 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19968#comment-1178400 Thanks for those references, LouMac. Your comment reminded me that I’ve been meaning to read The Conflict/Le Conflit for 2-1/2 years now. I checked the library catalog just now, and was thrilled to find that we have the English translation ON THE SHELF!!! so I just now ran over to check it out. (I was going to just break down and get the French edition, because the last time I checked there weren’t any English versions in our state intralibrary system.)

I wrote a post on Le Conflit when it first came out, and thought that yes, I was probably going to be nodding my head throughout.

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By: Dandelion http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/25/the-historians-curse-naturally/comment-page-1/#comment-1178267 Wed, 28 Nov 2012 14:50:23 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19968#comment-1178267 Years ago one of my American history professors detailed for the class how much alcohol the early American colonialists drank, and I can’t recall the amounts now but I can recall being really shocked by the quantities. His point was that with drinking water so compromised, people drank alcohol because it was safer. It’s always made me smile a bit when people glorify the “founding fathers” — to think that many of them at many a time were half-plowed. But whiskey is natural too.

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By: LouMac http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/25/the-historians-curse-naturally/comment-page-1/#comment-1177329 Tue, 27 Nov 2012 22:40:15 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19968#comment-1177329 Love the post and all the comments! (I suspect I know of which book you speak!) Re. the instrumentalising / fetishishing of the “natural” as “stand-in for totally socially constructed heterosexual nuclear family,” there’s some great work happening in Queer Ecology which addresses this head-on (Catriona Sandilands, Stacey Alaimo).

As for maternity as a “natural” mandate, well, barf. I have to say I agree with Elisabeth Badinter’s widely-derided book in this respect: the glorifying of “natural” motherhood actually creates more domestic, unpaid work for women (handwashing diapers, hand-mashing organic beets, pressure not to work outside the home). And it often goes hand-in-hand with ignorant, racist stereotypes of non-Western mothers as “more natural”.

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/25/the-historians-curse-naturally/comment-page-1/#comment-1177211 Tue, 27 Nov 2012 20:48:31 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19968#comment-1177211 I keep thinking about a novel I read back in (whatever) school in which a probably graduate student-level paleontologist time travels as a member of a research group back to the Gobi Desert in the Age of the Dinosaurs. In a fit of diligence that would probably bring in OSHA today, he gets too close, and is trampled by a stampeding herd of Brontosauri. Which in addition to being a total bummer, I think probably throws off all the metrics around “typical ways to die” in different aeons. But the conceit of the work was that if you get killed before you were born, and you could ever somehow get out of there and make your way back to where you were born, you weren’t actually born, because…. well, because that’s what the author said and my critical thinking tool was still in development in those days. On the “which time would you choose” question, I think that now that we’re beyond astroturf I’d go with the modern, natural or not. At least we have JSTOR. I think the author ended up naming a sub-species of Brontosaur after that all-in research associate who quite literally left it all on the playing field.

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By: Shelley http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/25/the-historians-curse-naturally/comment-page-1/#comment-1176958 Tue, 27 Nov 2012 16:32:37 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19968#comment-1176958 Although I write about women in the past, I myself agree with you. I’m always troubled by “time travel” films in which one or another character decides to stay in the past for love. Really? Love is more important than antibiotics?

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By: cg http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/25/the-historians-curse-naturally/comment-page-1/#comment-1176954 Tue, 27 Nov 2012 16:26:33 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19968#comment-1176954 Just last Wednesday, as I lay in bed with an (as-yet) undiagnosed kidney stone, vomiting, quivering from chills, and barely able to stand, I though about my nineteenth century dissertation subjects who had to live like that with no hope of recovery…..and I THOUGHT THE SAME THING.

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