Well, it sounds like a great time was had by all, gosh darn it, although I wasn’t in attendance (*sniff!* Maybe next year I should volunteer to arrange for the Little Berkshire Conference to meet in the Rockies instead of the, um, Berkshires?) The laydeez–Tenured Radical, Knitting Clio, and Clio Bluestocking–have posted reports on the conference, and two of them wrote about their conversation Saturday about women’s history blogging.
Although she missed the first night of the conference due to a bad cold, KC writes about a great idea of hers, namely, linking the Sunday seminars with the new Berks blog although as a place for starting the conversation before the conference, and for keeping the conversation going afterwards. (Who knows if there will be seminars or not in 2011–that’s up to the next Program Committee co-Chairs–but I think making better use of the blog is a wonderful idea, especially if it can involve Big Berks content and connections, too.) Tenured Radical writes very movingly about how blogging was for her “the best kind of middle-aged crisis,” in that it permitted her to be “a historian who is once again having fun.” She relates more information about the Unpleasant Events she endured a few years ago, saying that “my writing had been purposely trashed as part of a departmental political struggle,” which led to a crisis in self-confidence about her writing and her chosen career (natch!) Fortunately, the blogosphere saved her!
TR also drops the very interesting point that “Nancy Cott, Director if the Schlesinger Library, is currently working with her staff on a project to archive feminist blogs permanently, which will cause a blog like mine to ultimately be ‘fixed’ in a way it never will be while it is up on [the web.]” (Don’t they know that Google cache is forever? Well, “forever” is a Google-dependent concept now I suppose, so it’s probably good that the girls down at the “Schles” are at work to preserve touts les bons mots ici!)
Finally, Clio B. hasn’t posted a final report about her presentation, although she leaves us some intriuging clues in some thoughts about connections between Sandy Bardsley’s talk about women in the wake of the Black Death, and her prospective thoughts about women bloggers. Bardsley presented some compelling evidence about the decline of women’s public voices after the plague:
One of the audience members pointed out that this last point — about women’s public voices — anticipated tomorrow’s panel on blogging. One of the points that I want to make on that panel is related to the abuse that many female bloggers have endured sometimes simply by daring to venture a voice into the public. This seems so cliche and expected. Of course when women venture into the public sphere, they sustain vicious attacks. Of course, when they protest sexism, they are told to suck it up. They should, in other words, to be a “man” about it. What original can I bring to this conversation, especially in the absence of some concrete data?
Well, Clio–we’re waiting! Don’t leave us in suspense any longer (although I understand that your return was delayed in Yonkers. Ouch!) I’ve already shared my thoughts about feminist bloggers attracting surprisingly creepy, persistent, and disturbed trolls–let us in on your secrets! (Secret recipes for troll repellent, that is. How about Erica’s hot dogs and hard-boiled eggs en gellée? That’ll fix his wagon.)
Whoops–it’s time for the chuckwagon to pull up here at El Rancho Historiann. Come and get it, gals!
UPDATE, 10/7/08: Clio B. has posted her notes and reflections on the discussion about blogging. She is getting contrite about having complained about students in the past on her blog, but I still think it’s OK in some cases to blow off steam about frustrations with students on academic blogs, even when one is the teacher and tenured and all that. Sometimes, students (like everyone else) say and do obnoxious things, and it’s perfectly OK to complain about that (anonymously, of course). It’s not OK to mock students for being unsophisticated or not very bright, IMHO–that’s just mean–but it’s fine to call out bad behavior and ask for help from others if you need advice about dealing with a student.
Interestingly, most academic blogs focus their ire on the bad behavior of colleagues. Hmmm….
Oh, and thanks for pointing us to this intriguing title: How to Suppress Women’s Writing, by Joanna Russ.