Archive for the 'captivity' Category

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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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August 1st 2009
Seriously–I need this doll for my research.

Posted under American history & captivity & Dolls & O Canada

I’m so glad I’m not the only historian with a dolly fetish!  Clio Bluestocking, the intrepid CC instructor and scholar of Frederick Douglass and the women in his family sent in her report about what she did this summer at an NEH institute in Baltimore.  On a field trip to a  Civil War museum in Virginia, she found a Frederick Douglass action figure!  Go check it out.  She writes, “He even has a small copy of The Narrative, as well as a pissed off expression.  Notice, too, that he was on sale.  This picture was not taken in the gift shop, but in my hotel room because, yes, I bought it. (And I just realized how creepy it sounds to say that I bought a Frederick Douglass.)”  This of course connects back to my post on Thursday about Marla Miller opening her book with a discussion of Colonial Barbie, and our discussion in the comments.  Why do some dolls based on historical periods or individuals get produced, and others don’t?  Many of you noted the elite and healthy bias of the historical dolls, compared to the miserable reality of the lives of most people in the past.

captivitybookshelf2

Can you see your book on my shelf?

A few years ago, Dr. Mister Historiann found some Seven Years’ War era lead figurines–made by a company that mostly makes lead soldiers, I’m sure, but to their credit they also made some civilian victims of war, too–and he gave them to me for my birthday.  So here are my English captives with their co-captors, who appear to be both Iroquois and Algonquian.  (Unlikely, unless they were Catholic mission Indians, but wev.)  You’ve never seen a 30-something year old woman so excited about a birthday gift as I was that year!  Continue Reading »

15 Comments »

May 28th 2009
No more photos from Abu Ghraib because of rape scenes?

Posted under American history & book reviews & captivity & Gender & unhappy endings & women's history

UPDATED BELOW

That’s what the Daily Telegraph says that Major General Antonio Taguba told them!  (Hat tip The Daily Beast.)  How utterly predictable!

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

 What–you thought that invasion and occupation were going to be easy?  Continue Reading »

16 Comments »

February 26th 2009
Two more days left in Black History Month…

Posted under American history & captivity & jobs & race

Slave cabins, The Hermitage, Nashville, TN

Slave cabins, The Hermitage, Nashville, TN

…so perhaps this idea won’t reach you until it’s too late!

(Kidding.  I assume most readers of this blog who are American historians do African American history ever month of the year, at least in months that you teach.)

Commenter Sharon recently wired me an idea that’s absolutely brilliant: 

Your blog entry about slave sites had me thinking.  Over the last few years, I have tried to incorporate slave-related sites into my travels so I can photograph them for a course I teach called Homescapes: the material culture of everyday life in America, 1600-1860.  Some historic sites do better at interpretation than others, but I’ve yet to see one that is truly admirable. (Of course, I tend to be disappointed about the interpretation of pretty much everything at historic sites–don’t get me started about women’s history.)

In this context, I just went into Picasa (the Google photosharing app) and searched on “slave quarters.”   The results are very interesting.  Clearly, tourists make a point of photographing slave sites, and the images are pretty amazing.

I wish more tourists labeled exactly where they took the photos they post to Picasa.  I might never have to leave home again.

I thought this was such a great idea that I’d pass it along to all of my readers.  My guess is that many of you are always on the lookout for great images to show your students, something that’s more difficult for those of us who teach in earlier periods, and it’s also harder for those of us who want to show our students examples of anything other than high style architecture or material culture.  (And, by the way, doesn’t Sharon’s Homescapes course sound fascinating?  Lucky students!)  Have some others of you found Picasa already?  How is it working out for you?

Sharon’s dispatch makes me think that museum studies people and other public historians might consider surveilling Picasa and other photo sharing sites like it (yes, even the dreaded Facebook and MySpace b^ll$h!t social networking sites!) to see what aspects of house museums and historic sites people photograph.  What Sharon has found at Picasa indicates that there is significant public interest in the history of slavery, and perhaps museums and local history organizations will be inspired to offer more of it.

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