February
27th 2013
Mid-week roundup: it’s never to soon to start the Great Forgetting!

Posted under: American history, art, Gender, GLBTQ, jobs, technoskepticism, women's history

Up on my hobbyhorse, again!

Howdy, friends:  quick post today as I’m up to my commuter horse Revenue’s a$$ in meetings today and the rest of this week.  As we shall see, it’s never too soon to start the Great Forgetting!  (That is, the tendency of men and women both to choose to ignore, overlook, or hide the importance of women throughout history.)  Here goes:

  • NPR featured a story last night on two women’s efforts to combat the Great Forgetting of women’s role in the Seattle punk and grunge music scene in the early 1990s.  “[Gretta] Harley and [Sarah] Rudinoff also wanted to address the disconnect between the history they had lived and the histories they saw written. In 2011, the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind sparked numerous tributes to the grunge era that didn’t capture the Seattle music community they remembered. ‘We started looking at the books that were written by different authors, and the women were absent, almost completely absent,’ Harley says. ‘And we thought, ‘Wow, this is a story that really hasn’t happened yet.” ”  So, after recording more than 30 oral histories of women who were a part of the scene, they wrote a play called “These Streets” in order to document women’s presence in the grunge movement.
  • Speaking of oral history:  Temple graduate student Dan Royles describes his Kickstarter campaign to raise $6,000 to transcribe the oral histories he has done on AIDS activism in the African American community in the 1980s and 1990s.  As of this morning, he’s at $5,374–let’s raise a little coin for him in the next 36 hours, shall we?  (If he doesn’t make his goal, he doesn’t earn a dime.)  Come on:  even if you don’t care much about recent U.S. history, his description of the work he put into developing his Kickstarter campaign is worth at least a double sawbuck, don’t’cha think?  I never did anything so worthwhile or noble in graduate school, so as soon as I publish this post, I’m going to give him $75.
  • Commenter and fellow blogger quixote writes in an email:  “This seems directly relevant to the value — or not — of online learning, although I haven’t seen anyone making the connection:  Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer causes uproar with telecommuting ban.”  ‘”To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices,” Jackie Reses, Yahoo’s human resources chief, wrote in the memo sent out Friday.”  So, sometime showing up for a little face time actually enhances productivity, communication, and yes, learning?  “‘The surprising question we get is: ‘How many people telecommute at Google?’ And our answer is: ‘As few as possible,’” Patrick Pichette, Google’s chief financial officer, said recently. ‘There is something magical about spending the time together.’”  quixote concludes, “What’s sauce for the goose has to be sauce for the gander.”

Now, get out there and make a little magic, as recommended by our most influential corporate overlords!  (Just how many people have Yahoo or Google hired with degrees from Phoenix, Kaplan, or Western Governors “University?” versus Stanford or CalTech?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?)

11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Mid-week roundup: it’s never to soon to start the Great Forgetting!”

  1. cgeye on 27 Feb 2013 at 10:45 am #

    This will be held at Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art next month. I have to hear tell about this from *Westword*? For shame….

    Feminist Bloggers (Thursday, March 28)
    This conversation centers on women in social media, and why and how feminism fits in the blogging mainstream. Covering everything from feminist blogging to mommy and music blogging, artist blogger Ellina Kevorkian and history and sexual politics blogger Ann Little will lead this panel discussion.

    http://blogs.westword.com/showandtell/2013/02/feminism_co_at_the_mcas_2013_l.php

  2. cgeye on 27 Feb 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Also, on the parallel Riot Grrl movement:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2011/09/20/140640502/revolution-girl-style-20-years-later

  3. Indyanna on 27 Feb 2013 at 11:06 am #

    The funny thing is (not funny at all, of course), in the actual ecology of the music scene there, important women actors could hardly have *not* been involved. But in the re-telling of it, it’s perfectly possible to leave them out of the memory part with relatively little penalty. There is a real value for this kind of retributive oral history, done by participants more than by scholars, and focusing on the raw restored evidence more than on the effort to construct the interpretive grand narrative. Not that there’s anything wrong with the (idea of) an interpretive grand narrative, but I think you get more attention from the culture at large with simply demonstrating the unmediated and undeniable fact that the official history is just plain wrong on the facts. The entire “1960s” needs to be rewritten on this basis, and I think that while it’s a very good thing that younger academics are beginning to be able to see that era as having been consigned to history in ways that some of us probably just can’t, more participant-rememberer work is also needed. With the evidence fresh from the attic, before it can reach (or not reach) the archives.

  4. Dan Royles on 27 Feb 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Thank you, Historiann! As of this morning, we are fully funded, thanks in no small part to a deluge of pledges from the Tenured Radical post. Hopefully more of us can use crowdfunding and DH tools like Omeka to push back against the Forgettings in popular and academic history.

  5. Historiann on 27 Feb 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    cgeye–I was going to blog about the Feminism & Co. event, but I don’t think they’ve finalized the guest list. (That’s why it’s only me and one other person named in the Westword notice.) I’ll get the full details up on this blog as soon as I get them myself! But yes, I’ll be live at the MCA in Denver on March 28, 4 weeks from tomorrow.

    And, congratulations to Dan! Great job! Now, get back to work. Some of us may want to use your primary source collection for our history of sexuality courses. I’m just sayin’.

  6. Matt_L on 27 Feb 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    Re: the great (grunge) forgetting – Good for Harley and Rudinoff. Its better that they take charge and do the collecting themselves rather than waiting for the boys at the Experience Music Project to come around to the idea (in thirty years). It is horrifying to think that women have been erased from the Seattle music scene of the 1990s so quickly, especially since they were so present on stage and involved in everything off stage.

    I appreciate the connection you and quixote made between the demand for physical presence at workplaces Google and now Yahoo and excellence. Its interesting how this magic of personal physical interaction is completely forgotten in the discussions of on-line education. I’d say for the most part, you are damn right, the children of tech companies and venture capitalists will not be attending University of Phoenix, but thats a given, they don’t go to San Jose State either. But do the tech companies hire directly from those places? Probably not.

    But I do know of more than one college drop out from my undergrad alma mater (UCSC) who landed an entry level job in the tech industry based on their skills. Later on they picked up a BA through night school or on-line institutions like Western Governors. So non-traditional colleges like on-line and extension serve a purpose. There is a place for on-line, but it will never be the magic cost saving pony that everyone thinks it is.

    (And as a complete aside, regardless of the kind of workplace google and yahoo claim to be, I am skeptical about the effectiveness of cutting back on flex-time or work from home options. It really is kind of BS to say its going to create a better atmosphere. For example, the only time my wife can get any work done is the two days a week she works from home. Otherwise her boss just sits in the cube next to her and talks her ear off about everything and anything. If its not that, then its the one to two-hour long meetings three times a week that destroys her productivity. If you aren’t going to give people flex time, give them an office with a door they can shut and don’t have so many damn meetings, professionals tend to get more work done if you fuck with them less.)

  7. Profane on 27 Feb 2013 at 4:20 pm #

  8. mandor on 27 Feb 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Along the lines of not forgetting, Alice Bag has a collection of interviews with women involved in the 70′s era Los Angeles punk scene.

  9. Susan on 28 Feb 2013 at 12:54 am #

    And on the value of Human connection in education, this from david Brooks on online education in today’s conversation between David Brooks and Gail Collins in the NY Times:

    “The whole thing may be undone by the reality that people learn best from people they care about. Without face-to-face emotional connection, nothing sinks in beyond the next test. Often the students who do best are the ones who make the most appointments to visit their professors during office hours.”

    And Collins:
    “You know, I have a lot of books on my iPad, but when I try to read them, I find myself wandering off to play games. Those are books I’m interested in. I can’t imagine what would have happened to me in college if my biology class had been on the same computer as “Words With Friends” and “Doom.””

  10. Evan on 28 Feb 2013 at 4:33 am #

    Julia Downes has recently published this book on girls in music since the 1960s, which I believe has a significant section on the punk-grunge-riot grrl ‘scenes’:

    http://www.supernovabooks.co.uk/womenmakenoise.html

  11. cgeye on 28 Feb 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    A good a place as any to start reading commentary on the Emory University compromise treatise brouhaha:

    “The hope of mobility and the belief in education as the vehicle for providing it is the pie we should be debating. Ideological debates that dance about the edges of the real issue punt not unlike the three-fifths compromise did on reconciling the U.S. with her great stain. So while Wagner’s rhetorical appeal to slavery as a shining example of ideological compromise is ill-advised, logically fallible, and culturally clueless it is useful for understanding how elites view themselves and the rest of us. Enslaved bodies are not at stake and symbolic matter cannot and should not be equated to horrors of slavery. But there is a real debate going on, materially and ideologically, and those with the authority to have the debate are choosing not to engage it because doing so means questioning their role in perpetuating the inequalities of a system from which they benefit.”