Search Results for "Judith Bennett's History Matters"

28th 2010
Is women’s history necessarily feminist history?

Posted under American history & class & European history & Gender & jobs & race & women's history

I know this sounds like a dumb question.  Most of us have been answering this for at least a decade, with the rejoinder “of course not!”  For the past twenty years, we’ve seen a complex de-coupling going on between women’s history and feminism.  (This was of course one of the laments in Judith Bennett’s wide-ranging evaluation of the relationship between history and femnism in History Matters.)  Women’s history is a large and rich enough field that there are histories of women that aren’t particularly feminist, just as the history of women has expanded far beyond the history of just feminist women to include the histories of women who lived before the invention of feminism as a political movement as well as women who weren’t feminists or even worked actively against feminism.  (As an outsider to modern U.S. women’s history, it seems to me that histories of right wing women’s activism have been particularly hot in the past decade.  Those of you who work in the field should feel free to correct my impressions if necessary, and add your own thoughts about recent work in your field.)

But, I was wondering today about women’s history.  What would happen if we just stopped writing it?  Who in the larger historical profession would notice, or care, or complain?  As a colleague in my field remarked to me last year, there are a number of women’s historians in my generation who wrote their first books in women’s or gender history, but then have written (or are writing) something definitely not women’s or gender history for their second books.

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30th 2009
“What about Women in Early American History?” In which Historiann and friends get up on their high horses and rope ‘em up good

Posted under American history & conferences & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & students & women's history

cowgirl3Howdy, cowgirls and dudes–here’s my long-overdue report on a conversation we had Friday afternoon, June 12 at the Omohundro Institute’s Fifteenth Annual Conference in Salt Lake City.  Called “What about Women in Early America?”it featured Karin Wulf of the College of William and Mary (and the book review editor for the William and Mary Quarterly); Sowande’ Mustakeem of Washington University, St. Louis; Andrea Robertson Cremer of Macalester College; and Historiann (natch.)

Wulf wore two hats as the chair of our roundtable, and as the person who shared e-mailed comments from Terri Snyder of California State University, Fullerton, who was originally supposed to join us on the panel.  (The Cali budget crisis waits for no woman!)  She opened the discussion by saying, “We may have had this conversation before,” and reminded us of previous conversations at the 2002 and 2008 Berkshire Conferences and at the Organization of American Historians’ annual conference in 2009.  (Regular readers here will remember too our discussions of Judith Bennett’s History Matters in March here and at Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar, Tenured Radical, Blogenspiel, and the wrap-up featuring Bennett herself, in which we aired a number of questions and anxieties many of us have about the future of women’ s history.) 

Wulf noted that among women’s historians in general, there is a “persistent concern. . . that in expanding [women's history] there is a diffusion” of interests that is leading us away from a focus on XX chromosome people.  In particular, she said that she perceives a decline in submissions of articles in women’s history at the William and Mary Quarterly and in the numbers of fellowship applications submitted to the Omohundro Institute that relate primarily to women’s history.  Finally, she said that the fashion for large-scale comparative, transnational, or neo-imperial frameworkslike Atlantic World and borderlands histories, with their neo-traditional focus on political and military history, may also play a part in creating these perceptions.  Continue Reading »


3rd 2009
The trolls under the bridge

Posted under Gender

troll2As you all know, ”Historiann” is a prankish name for this blog (and for this blogger)–I’m neither anonymous nor truly pseudonymous.  I made this decision for a number of reasons–mostly because I have specific training and areas of expertise, and I wanted to be clear about that.  But realistically, this blog caters to a community with a fairly specific cross-section of interests: women’s history, early American history, feminism, and the academic workplace, and how many people do you know who live at this exact intersection of “rusticated” and ”fabulous?”  So it would only have been a matter of time (and an IP address locator) before I was unmasked in any case.  (That said, I realize full well that being “out” as a blogger is a luxury of my rank and status as a tenured Associate Professor.)  

I’ve renewed a lot friendships and acquaintances with people through my blog, and I’ve met a lot of new people inside and outside academia I otherwise would probably never have met.  I really value your interest in my writing here and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from you because of your different professions, disciplines, and fields of expertise, and because even the academics among us teach at different kinds of institutions and have had different career trajectories.  We all imagine that our corner of the blogosphere is normative to some extent, which I realize is delusional, but it still disturbs me when I see or hear about people who use blogging differently–specifically, when they use the shield of (partial) anonymity the on-line world offers to be disagreeable, to attack, or even to threaten others.  Continue Reading »


6th 2009
Women’s History Month wrap-up

Posted under book reviews & Gender & GLBTQ & women's history

bennetthistorymattersThanks to all of you who participated in our Women’s History Month book club discussion of Judith Bennett’s History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism.  (Just in case you’ve missed our discussions, here they are:  Parts I, II, III, IV, and V.)  This post is an open thread to solicit your comments on our discussion, and advice for doing another book club in the future.

I ran this by Tenured Radical over our lunch in Seattle a few weeks ago, but I wondered if we shouldn’t have published our comments not as four stand-alone commentaries on Bennett’s book, but rather as a conversation among the four of us on four different topics raised by the book.  (That is, a transcription of a ”conversation” over e-mail that we’d each take a segment of to edit and post on our blogs.)  I enjoyed the book club, but it felt like some comments were landing on our blogs from outer space, rather than being a part of an ongoing conversation.  (By this, I don’t mean it is the fault of the commenter in most cases–it’s more a problem with the technology and format.)  I suppose another way to address this problem would be to liveblog the book club–this would necessarily exclude some for whom the time doesn’t work, but it would be a way of fostering more of a conversation among the commenters who are free to participate.  Even more exclusive would be to set up a space on the blogs that would require registration so that only people who affirmed they had read the book could participate–we would surely have fewer people, but perhaps a more in-depth conversation.

If you wanted to participate but didn’t, what could we have done to include you?  If you participated but were frustrated, what should we have done better?

And with that, we now return to our regularly scheduled men’s history for the other eleven months of the year!


30th 2009
Women’s History Month Book Club: Bennett talks back at Notorious, Ph.D.

Posted under book reviews & European history & Gender & women's history

bennetthistorymatters4Head on over to Notorious, Ph.D., Girl Scholar today to read Judith Bennett’s comments about our discussion of her book this month.  She really disagrees with my generational analysis, claiming that’s not what she meant at all, and she wants us to talk more about her concept of ”patriarchal equilibrium,” which she sees as the fundamental contribution of the book. Continue Reading »

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23rd 2009
Women’s History Month Book Club: Part the Fourth at Blogenspiel

Posted under book reviews & European history & Gender & women's history

bennetthistorymatters3It’s another Monday in March:  are you ready to rumble?  Head on over to Blogenspiel where Another Damned Medievalist hosts this week’s discussion of Judith Bennett’s History Matters:  Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism.  As an early medieval Europeanist, ADM wonders if there is a place and time where an emphasis on the continuity of women’s lives is not so useful.  She writes, “[p]atriarchal equalibrium feels like it exists. It looks like it exists. It explains so damned much. But I think Bennett shows enough evidence that it’s an equalibrium made up of different factors in different times and places that it’s … hard to get a grip on.”  Click here to read the rest!

In case you missed all of the excitement so far, you can see part I here, part II here, and part III here.  Next week, we’ll all head back to Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar for a fifth post by Judith Bennett herself! 

Remember, folks:  keep it clean and above all on topic!  See you over at Blogenspiel.

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17th 2009
Tuesday roundup: Pure marshmallow fluff, but we like it! edition

Posted under American history & art & Dolls & European history & fluff & happy endings & students & women's history

The National Museum of the American Peep

The National Museum of the American Peep

Easter is so late this year and we’ve got several more weeks until we can cuddle fluffy baby bunnies and chicks, so check out these shiny, happy news tidbits:

  • Clio Bluestocking has created the Peep show di tutti Peep Shows:  “The National Museum of the American Peep” features her incredible energy, creativity, and artistry on display.  Don’t miss it!  Be sure to click through all of the photos here.
  • Feeling blue?  You won’t after you read this story and watch this video of The Compliment Guys at Purdue University (via Inside Higher Ed.)  Awwwww-don’t you just want to join a big group hug now? 
  • Part III of the conversation about Judith Bennett’s History Matters is just getting started at Tenured Radical–come on over and join the fun.
  • And now, the best news of all:  Notorious, Ph.D., Girl Scholar and Dr. Crazy at Reassigned Time have been awarded tenure and promotion!  Yes, my pretties:  our cowgirlropeMarxist feminist takeover of higher education is nearly complete!  I’ll be giving you your final instructions soon–you’ll know it’s me when I ring twice, hang up, ring twice again, hang up again, and ring a third time because I can’t figure out this damned text messaging business.  IF U CN READ THS U R DAVID HOROWITZ.  C U L8TR, H8TR!
  • Leave your good news in the thread below.  Fellowships?  Scholarships?  Sabbaticals?  Articles and/or books accepted for publication?  Negative medical test results?  Big tax refund?  Etc.  Sing it!


16th 2009
Women’s History Month book club: Judith Bennett’s “History Matters” Part III at Tenured Radical

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

bennetthistorymatters2Tenured Radical has posted her essay for Part III of our discussion of Judith Bennett’s History Matters, where she discusses premodern history, the academic job market’s bias towards the modern, and Bennett’s call for women’s historians to write more “lesbian-like” history.  The conversation is happening there now, so come on over and join in the fun!  (If you haven’t read them already, see part I by Notorious, Ph.D. here, and see my contribution, part II, here.) 

Sister bloggers, don’t forget TR’s announcement that the Journal of Women’s History wants submissions for their roundtable on “Feminism, Blogging, and the Historical Profession.”  See the CFP after the jump.

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13th 2009 EXCLUSIVE! Publishing in “Gender and History,” by co-editor Ruth Karras

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

ruthkarras1Today, we’ve got a special guest blogger, Ruth Mazo Karras, who is writing in her capacity as one of the new North American co-editors of Gender and History.  Many of you may know her because of her record as a leading medieval European historian and historian of gender and sexuality for more than two decades.  She is the author of Slavery and Society in Medieval Scandinavia (1988), Common Women:  Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England (1996), From Boys to Men:  Formations of Masculinity in Late Medieval Europe (2003), Sexuality in Medieval Europe:  Doing Unto Others (2005), and most recently, Law and the Illicit in Medieval Europe, co-edited with Joel Kaye and E. Ann Matter (2008).  She wants all of you women’s and gender historians and historians of sexuality to submit your articles for consideration, and in this post, she walks you through Gender and History’s editorial process.  My guess is that those of you who are new to academia will find it an extremely useful overview of how to get a journal article published.  I’m not so new myself, but I always find it helpful to know what I can expect from a journal, so there may be something here to tempt even you world-weary old pros.

Please submit your comments and questions in the thread below–Ruth has promised to read them over and respond to them in a separate post next week, but we can also use the thread to talk over your issues, problems, and advice regarding academic publication, especially in journals.  I think it’s wonderful that Ruth is interested in doing some guest posts here on behalf of G & H–and I hope that many of you will be encouraged to send something in.

ghParticularly because the discussion of Judith Bennett’s History Matters here earlier this week and at Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar last week drew many comments from people who work in earlier periods, I asked Historiann if I could put in a plug for a journal that is definitely not afraid of the distant past:  Gender & History.   I’d like to encourage all you historians of women, gender, and/or sexuality-or scholars in other fields who do historical work-to consider submitting your work to G & H.  As we say on the web site:  “Spanning epochs and continents, Gender & History examines changing conceptions of gender, and maps the dialogue between femininities, masculinitiesand their historical contexts.  The journal publishes rigorous and readable articles both on particular episodes in gender history and on broader methodological questions which have ramifications for the discipline as a whole.” 

G & H has a slightly different structure than many journals.  It is published by Wiley-Blackwell in Oxford and has two separate editorial offices, one in North America and one in the UK.  All book reviews are handled through the UK office.  The current UK co-editors are Karen Adler and Ross Balzaretti of the University of Nottingham.  You can submit articles to either editorial office; it doesn’t matter where you yourself are located.   Sarah Chambers, Regina Kunzel, and I, at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, became the North American co-editors in September 2008.  My field is medieval Europe; Sarah’s is colonial Latin America; and Regina’s is 20th century U.S. 

I’ll try to answer here a few of the questions you may have about journal publication in general, and this journal in particular.  If you have further questions, please post them in the comments, and Historiann has promised to let me do another guest post in a few days to respond.  Continue Reading »


11th 2009
The Van Dykes, and the generation gap among lesbians

Posted under American history & book reviews & Gender & GLBTQ & women's history

The author on her (lesbian) wedding day

The author on her (lesbian) wedding day

Ariel Levy is now a staff writer for The New Yorker.  (When did this happen?  Why wasn’t I told first?)  Let’s face it:  The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books–they’re still Sausage Parties, but they seem to be even moreso with a vengeance in the past decade or so.  So, it’s big news that the New Yorker has hired a feminist writer to write professionally about feminism and gender issues.  Hooray! 

A few weeks back, Levy had a great article about women’s history and LGBTQ history that is a must-read for women’s history month.  She writes about a band of lesbian separatists who imagined a different kind of life and family for themselves, and lived their dreams (out of a van, so they called themselves the Van Dykes) for a few years in the 1970s on the road in North America.  It’s a familiar story to anyone with any familiarity with American utopian movements–from the Shakers, to the Oneida community, to Battle Creek, and so on:  idealism and a real hope for a different world succeeds for a while, but then fails because they lose the zeal of the founding generation and/or they’re driven apart by sexual jealously.  The charismatic leader of the Van Dykes, Lamar Van Dyke, admits that modern lesbianism seems mystifyingly conformist, while Van Dyke’s determination to live her life on her own terms elicits Levy’s admiration: Continue Reading »


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