Archive for the 'captivity' Category

March 22nd 2011
Sexism at The Nation? Surely not!

Posted under American history & bad language & captivity & Gender & publication & wankers & women's history

UPDATED MARCH 23: POLLITT RESPONDS, HISTORIANN RETRACTS SNARKY BITS

Then don't bother writing for The Nation, darling!

Via TalkLeft, we learn that Katha Pollitt is (once again) shocked, shocked to find there’s sexism at the house organ of the so-called American “Left,”  The Nation magazine!

It’s been a long time since anyone seriously maintained that women in power, simply by virtue of their gender, are reliably less warlike than men—how could they be, given that men set up and control the system through which those women must rise? But apparently Nation blogger Robert Dreyfuss has just noticed this fact.

In a post entitled “Obama’s Women Advisers Pushed War Against Libya” (originally titled “Obama’s Women” tout court) he’s shocked-shocked-shocked that UN Ambassador Susan Rice, human-rights adviser Samantha Power and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were keen on intervening militarily in Libya. The piece is dotted with arch and sexist language—the advisers are a “troika,” a “trio” who “rode roughshod over the realists in the administration” (all men) and “pushed Obama to war.” Now it’s up to the henpecked President to “reign (sic) in his warrior women.” Interestingly, the same trope—ballbreaking women ganging up on a weak president—is all over the rightwing blogosphere.

.       .       .       .      .       .      .       .      

[C]an you imagine a piece in The Nation titled “Black President Opts for Bombs” or “Qaddafi, a Man, Threatens to Massacre Rebels, Most of Whom Are Also Men”?

Misogyny—it’s the last acceptable prejudice of the left.  Continue Reading »

35 Comments »

March 16th 2011
History and humor

Posted under American history & art & captivity & childhood & Gender & Intersectionality & publication & unhappy endings & women's history

Sit down and let me pour you a cup!

As you may have noticed if you are a regular reader of this blog, I like teh funny, and even if my sense of humor ain’t exactly your cuppa joe, I like to write to amuse myself, at least.  My problem now is that I can’t find a lot of humor in the book I’m writing.  I wrote a book about guys and guns and warfare in the Northeastern borderlands of what’s now the U.S. and Canada, so although that wasn’t a happy story for most of the people I wrote about, there were a lot of really fatuous English men and women I could mock in that book.  I realize it’s a low trick, but having a mockable bad guy or set of bad guys in your book is one way to leaven the story and add a little humor.  After writing about warfare for the better part of a decade, I looked forward to what I imagined to be a retreat into the relative safety and comfort of the cloister in order to write about a little English girl (Esther Wheelwright, 1696-1780) who was taken captive by the Indians at 7 and wound up in the Ursuline convent in Quebec at the age of 12, where she remained for the rest of her life.  

But, the problem for me right now is that there just isn’t a lot of humor in the story of a little girl whose life was filled with warfare and trauma for her English family, and the starvation, disease, and eventual destrution of her Indian family.  She arrived safely at the monastery and lived to the age of 84, but early modern nuns are just so earnest with their apostolic missions, such do-gooders that I haven’t found a lot of humor or texture in that part of the story, either.  They were not late medieval mystics who wrote long, fantastic narratives or offered descriptions of the various ways in which they mortified their bodies.  They were not aristocratic European nuns who flaunted their wealth and had men jumping in and out of their cells in between secret plots to make another Borgia prince the Pope.  They were teachers!  I’m a teacher, and many of you reading this are teachers–you know how boring and earnest we all are!  Who wants to read about about a bunch of teachers?   

In short, I have a humor problem with this book, and no really obvious bad guys to target for the cheap yuks.  (At least I’m having a hard time making scurvy and smallpox variola take the fall for everything.) Continue Reading »

24 Comments »

December 22nd 2010
Christmas shopping for the kids just got a lot easier!

Posted under captivity & childhood & Dolls & Gender & wankers

All kids love log!

Have you heard the pseudo-scientific news?  Human girls are biologically programmed to play with dollies like little mommies!  A recent study suggests that female juvenile chimps play with sticks and nurture them like babies, whereas male juveniles turn their sticks into weapons or other manly toys–it’s scientifically proven.  Echidne has the goods, as I knew she would.  She’s got an interesting follow-up post on a 2007 study of a Senagalese chimp community that found that female adult chimps led the way in tool-making and killing in their communities–but as she notes, that study didn’t go viral now, did it?  She writes, “[I]t’s every bit as significant as the new stick study, only it shows female chimps as tool makers and as killers. So are we going to draw conclusions about human society from that one, too?”

One of the aspects of these studies that purport to show the essential or biological basis for gendered behaviors in humans is how selective we are in looking to the non-human animal kingdom for justification of human behaviors.  After all, what is “natural” behavior?  $hitting outdoors, scratching our crotches, and smearing our scent everywhere is “natural,” I suppose.  Human societies have developed multiple different technologies and etiquettes for dealing with all of these “natural” needs and urges.  Continue Reading »

20 Comments »

September 8th 2010
Historiann-thologized!

Posted under American history & book reviews & captivity & Gender & happy endings & O Canada & publication & women's history

To paraphrase Sally Field when she won her Academy Award:  “They like me!  They really like me!”

I’ve been dying to tell you about this for more than 18 months now, but I’ve been waiting for the publication of Women’s America:  Refocusing the Past (7th edition) to announce that editors Linda K. Kerber, Jane Sherron DeHart, and Cornelia Hughes Dayton have included a substantial excerpt from chapter 4 of Abraham in Arms in this latest edition of their American women’s history reader. 

I’m especially pleased about this, not just because Women’s America is one of the top two women’s history readers*, and not just because I’m in the company of leaders in my field like Sara Evans, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Mary Beth Norton, Jennifer Morgan, Carol Karlsen, Carol Berkin, Annette Gordon-Reed, Sharon Block, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, and Jeanne Boydston, not to mention Dayton and Kerber themselves.  I’m also especially thrilled because they picked a chapter about women that I was particularly proud of, and which has gone largely unremarked upon by my reviewers, most of whom have been military historians who are much more interested in my chapters on guys and guns.  (Go figure!  They have all reviewed the book favorably, for which I am truly grateful.)  I wrote what I thought was some pretty interesting women’s history too–and I’m so gratified to know that top scholars in my field like Kerber and Dayton find value in my work.

From the editors’ introduction to “Captivity and Conversion:  Daughters of New England in French Canada,” p. 103:

Ann Little’s essay introduces us to the geopolitics of the second half of the colonial period.  Protestant England and Catholic France, along with their independent-minded Indian allies, engaged in a succession of imperial wars involving North American territory from the late seventeenth century through the Seven Years’ War of 1756-63.  In 1700, English settlers far outnumbered the 15,000 French soldiers, missionaries, fur traders, and habitants(farmers) clustered chiefly in settlements along the St. Lawrence River.  However, the English occupied only a narrow sliver along the eastern seaboard, while the French claimed authority (and established mutually adventageous relations with native groups) from Louisiana to Canada along the Mississippi River and around the Great Lakes.  It was not at all clear if one European power (France, Spain, orEngland) could gain ascendancy over the continent as a whole.

The author takes us on a detective’s journey to recover the voices of and find out what happened to the children, teenagers, and grown women who were captured from New England towns and farms in wartime raids by Abenaki allies of the French.  Continue Reading »

28 Comments »

April 22nd 2010
Invasion of the pod people

Posted under American history & captivity & Gender & Intersectionality & O Canada & race & women's history

If you just can’t get enough Historiann, or you’ll click on anything having to do with women’s and gender history, borderlands history, Native American history, or colonial North American history, or you’re just reallyreally bored, you can check out “Inroads:  Episode #2,” the podcast that graduate student Justin Carroll made of my talk at the CIC-American Indian Studies Consortium at Michigan State University earlier this month.  (At least you can find out what I sound like, if not what I look like!)  Those of you who are technologically adept can probably figure out how to put it on your i-Pods so that you can take me with you on your jog or trip to the gym.  (And who wouldn’t love working out to a discussion of religious education, self-mortification, and artistic expression among women in Wabanakia and Quebec in the eighteenth century?  Talk about “Sweatin’ to the Oldies!”)

The AISC has other podcasts that might be of interest to many of you:  Carroll also has posted a podcast of “From Ph.D. to Professor,” in which three MSU faculty members (Heather Howard, Susan Applegate Krouse, and Kimberli Lee) plus Susan Lobo of the University of Arizona discuss their professional development and the process of publishing their books.  Continue Reading »

13 Comments »

April 19th 2010
Late April watching and waiting

Posted under American history & captivity & jobs & local news & students & unhappy endings

Stanley Fish reminds us that today is the fifteenth annivarsary of the Oklahoma City bombings, and that April 19 is significant to domestic terrorists for many reasons, but most of all because it was also the day of the invasion and burning of the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas in 1993:

For those who fear government and hold fiercely to the motto of New Hampshire — “Live Free or Die” — April 19 is both a holy and an unholy day; unholy because it marks the naked exercise of state power (at least in the case of Waco and before that of Ruby Ridge), and holy because it serves as a rallying cry for those who wish to “take back” their country from the socialists, communists and one-worlders who, they believe, have hijacked it. Blogger Eric Boehlert declares on Mediamatters.org that “April 19th remains an almost mythical date among dedicated government haters.”

For the government, April 19 is a day to worry about. When F.B.I. agents arrested nine members of the Christian militia known as the Hutaree in late March, they acted because of information indicating that the group was planning an attack on police officers sometime in April. The betting is that the date they had in mind was April 19. Continue Reading »

10 Comments »

November 19th 2009
Guerrilla theater: talk to the hand, Romeo

Posted under art & captivity & students & weirdness

gorillatheaterCheck this out, from Flavia at Ferule and FescueOur intrepid young Shakespearean was teaching Trolius and Cressida one day last week, when

I heard the door open, slightly behind me, I didn’t look over. I was mid-sentence, and figured it was a student slipping in late.

Instead, a young man and young woman walked right into the center of the room and started performing part of the banquet scene from Romeo and Juliet.

We stopped abruptly. F()cking theatre kids, I thought. They must be advertising a production. A$$holes. But since I knew the scene, and they’d already started, I figured I’d let them finish–surely they were just going to do the shared sonnet, and would be done in another dozen lines.

But they got to the end, kissed, and kept going.  Continue Reading »

25 Comments »

November 15th 2009
“Jackal” lifestyle very aging

Posted under American history & captivity & fluff & the body & unhappy endings

ksmI was lounging in bed drinking coffee and reading the paper this morning about Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent announcement that several of the 9/11 masterminds would be put on trial in New York, and learned a startling new fact, courtesy of a New York Timesstory by Mark Mazzetti that was excerpted in The Denver Post:  Khalid Sheik Muhammed (“KSM” in National Security shorthand) is only 44 years old!  Yegads.  He’s younger than the President, but looks about half a generation older.  (This photo helps underscore the reasons why so many men shave their beards off when they start turning gray.)  I’m sure his attorney will want him to have a makeover before the trial and to dress him in a western-style suit–but my guess is that he’s going to stick with the full-on jihadi look.

I guess living in caves on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and/or in the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is a very aging lifestyle.  Continue Reading »

13 Comments »

October 16th 2009
Vindication

Posted under American history & captivity & childhood & local news & weirdness

Most days, I’m perfectly happy that we keep our TV in the basement out of the way, and that it only gets the bare minimum of cable channels (local broadcast stations plus, for some odd reason, MTV 2, CMT, and Oxygen. As if!) Yesterday and today, I’m really, super-especially happy not to have a TV with the complete cable package.

(I considered posting the video clip here, but I thought that would be abetting the exploitation of the child-named-after-a-raptor who made national news yesterday. If you’re curious, you can see the video at The Daily Beast.)

I don’t care if the “balloon boy” was a hoax or not–how can anyone not see that doing interview after interview with CNN, Larry King, and the Today show (to name just a few examples!) is maybe not what children are all about? Continue Reading »

13 Comments »

September 8th 2009
Captivity, Rape, and Concubinage, 1492-1800: sensationalizing your curriculum!

Posted under American history & captivity & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & race & students & the body & women's history

janemcrae1

"Death of Jane McRae," John Vanderlyn, 1804

Via Inside Higher Ed, the Boston Globe says that faculty at local colleges and universities are sexing up their course titles.  So, at Boston College, “German Literature of the High Middle Ages” becomes “Knights, Castles, and Dragons,” Middlebury College’s Economics Department now offers “Economics of Sin,” and at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst one can enroll in “The Light Fantastic: Wonders of Biology Under the Microscope.”  Why the outburst of creativity this year?

“The dean’s office monitors enrollment, and humanities tend to suffer,’’ said Nicolas de Warren, philosophy professor at Wellesley College who is coteaching The Stars and the Sages: Philosophy and the Cosmos. “With such a rich offering of courses, there’s a kind of competition, and titles that speak immediately to students can make a difference.’’

Those of us who teach at large, allegedly “public” universities probably don’t have a problem with getting the butts in the seats this year–my classes remain mysteriously full of apparently attentive students, for some reason, although I’m doing everything in my power to drive them away.  But, let’s have some fun, shall we?  Continue Reading »

36 Comments »

« Prev - Next »