Comments on: Identity politics + aggressive ignorance = teh stupid http://www.historiann.com/2013/07/29/identity-politics-aggressive-ignorance-teh-stupid/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:29:14 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Law Girl http://www.historiann.com/2013/07/29/identity-politics-aggressive-ignorance-teh-stupid/comment-page-1/#comment-1624390 Mon, 26 Aug 2013 02:13:41 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=21603#comment-1624390 I struggle with this all the time. I specialize in Islamic law, I am not male, and not a Muslim. People ask me all the time if I am Muslim, usually by asking how I became interested in that topic. They are usually just curious and not very well informed. I have only been criticized twice by Muslims for having this interest, and those two people were not academics. The worst and nastiest offenders are professors who purport to be feminists but who are committed to reducing Muslim women to the stereotype and who attack me for not attacking Islam and for not being interested in writing about “Women in Islam.”

]]>
By: Mackintosh http://www.historiann.com/2013/07/29/identity-politics-aggressive-ignorance-teh-stupid/comment-page-1/#comment-1607415 Tue, 13 Aug 2013 20:37:06 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=21603#comment-1607415 The whole basis of identity politics is that knowledge and understanding can’t cross over experiential differences. If that is true then the whole project of history is bust because by definition we study moments that are gone and cannot be resurrected (ha!).

]]>
By: Z http://www.historiann.com/2013/07/29/identity-politics-aggressive-ignorance-teh-stupid/comment-page-1/#comment-1597675 Thu, 08 Aug 2013 03:13:49 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=21603#comment-1597675 ***And: another useful point is that if you have to be one to study it, then “it” is not definable as an object of study and is thus not a legitimate field even for people who “are one”.

]]>
By: Z http://www.historiann.com/2013/07/29/identity-politics-aggressive-ignorance-teh-stupid/comment-page-1/#comment-1597669 Thu, 08 Aug 2013 03:12:09 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=21603#comment-1597669 ***Also: I have used the questions, is it OK to write about men being a woman, is it OK to write about people born in other centuries, etc., a lot, and people don’t get it.

The best riposte I have come up with is: must icthiologists be fish? This works somehow…

]]>
By: Z http://www.historiann.com/2013/07/29/identity-politics-aggressive-ignorance-teh-stupid/comment-page-1/#comment-1597666 Thu, 08 Aug 2013 03:08:02 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=21603#comment-1597666 I am in a different demographic group than the people I study and I get questions on this regularly. How could I possibly know anything about another demographic group, and so on. I am also often asked how I could actually speak other languages than the one my parents spoke to me. I am sometimes even asked, in foreign languages and in the middle of a complex conversation, whether I speak that language.

If, on the other hand, my knowledge is deemed sufficient, I am often suspected of lying about my identity — I must secretly be a member of the group about which I know so much.

]]>
By: annajcook http://www.historiann.com/2013/07/29/identity-politics-aggressive-ignorance-teh-stupid/comment-page-1/#comment-1587474 Fri, 02 Aug 2013 00:41:55 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=21603#comment-1587474 I’ve spent a lot of my scholarly life thinking actively about “insider” and “outsider” perspectives … I am politically a feminist, bisexual in orientation, I’m a cis woman, I home educated growing up, and I was an agnostic in the Christian tradition growing up in an intensely protestant Christian culture … so when I write histories that explore these issues I am constantly thinking about my relative insider/outsider statuses in these communities.

My master’s thesis straddled the boundaries of insider/outsider identity. It was an oral history project with faculty who had once had me as a student, in a Christian-identified liberal arts program. I was a former student (insider), non-Christian (outsider), different generation (outsider), yet had an affinity for many of their approaches to education (insider). I never had my supervisors challenge my ability to do rigorous scholarly work because of my personal relationship and history with the subject … but I did feel it was important to write a section in my introduction explaining the ways in which my insider/outsider identities may have helped and hindered my scholarly explorations.

I have seen insider perspective be incredibly helpful (and outsider perspective be shallow, blinkered, or bigoted); I have also seen outsider perspective be invaluable (while insider perspective trends hagiographic, defensive, or lacking in wider context). It seems important to be very self-aware as a scholar of where your strengths and weaknesses in relation to any given topic are, and to seek feedback from people who will help you see a fuller picture.

]]>
By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2013/07/29/identity-politics-aggressive-ignorance-teh-stupid/comment-page-1/#comment-1584606 Wed, 31 Jul 2013 13:44:04 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=21603#comment-1584606 He wants to sell books, and his publicist probably guessed that there are a lot of Fox viewers who might be interested in a book about Jesus! I don’t think this interview did Aslan’s sales any damage, and in fact it will probably move some product for him.

There’s no such thing as bad publicity when you’re looking to sell a book like this one.

]]>
By: Nick http://www.historiann.com/2013/07/29/identity-politics-aggressive-ignorance-teh-stupid/comment-page-1/#comment-1584564 Wed, 31 Jul 2013 13:23:14 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=21603#comment-1584564 A friend of mine posted this to my Facebook the other day. When he started talking extremely slowly, I couldn’t stop laughing. Obviously, Fox News + Muslim writing about Jesus = derisive, assumptive questioning. You don’t have to look hard to find hundreds of other videos of Fox “reporters” getting destroyed in interviews.

Didn’t Aslan see this coming? His frustration makes me think he did not.

I get that Aslan has to promote his book, but intelligent people should probably just stay as far away from Fox as possible. He could have gone on literally dozens of other radio and TV networks. Why he chose Fox I don’t understand.

]]>
By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2013/07/29/identity-politics-aggressive-ignorance-teh-stupid/comment-page-1/#comment-1583341 Tue, 30 Jul 2013 22:33:19 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=21603#comment-1583341 Virago, no one ever explicitly challenged me about writing about men (perhaps because, duh, until about 40 years ago that’s pretty much all ANY HISTORIAN wrote about, amirite?). But I did have a period in my late 20s/early 30s when male scholars who were a full generation older than me expressed real discomfort that I was writing about my subject at all.

No one ever told me I couldn’t write about men because I am a woman, but older guys just didn’t want me to talk about power relations within marriages & families, or about the role of competition between men.

]]>
By: Dr. Virago http://www.historiann.com/2013/07/29/identity-politics-aggressive-ignorance-teh-stupid/comment-page-1/#comment-1583334 Tue, 30 Jul 2013 22:17:45 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=21603#comment-1583334 Historiann, have you ever been asked how you, as a woman, can study and write about men and masculinity? Because I have! By an *academic*! (Though, to be fair, said questioner was in the fine arts, not a researcher.)So you know what I said? I said, “Well, I’m not medieval, either — is that a problem?” My interlocutor didn’t get it and kept pressing the question, and even as I insisted that there are men writing about medieval women, and *none* of us are writing from “experience,” so it shouldn’t matter. None of it convinced hir. Sigh.

And Flavia, I’m glad I’m not the only one who has been thinking about the man being named Aslan! LOL!

]]>