I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about conference themes, specifically organizing themes for some of the really big conferences like the AHA, the OAH, the Berks, etc., as opposed to smaller conferences focused on more specific subfields. He wondered why historians bother with coming up with themes, when the themes tend to be so broad that pretty much anyone with a brain can figure out a way of making their research fit the chosen theme, which ends up making the conference about everything and no specific theme in the end. Continue Reading »
Archive for the 'conferences' Category
Attending a big conference like the Organization of American Historians is fun, especially when it’s in an pleasant place like San Francisco in the spring in mid-April. What I do is so marginal to the OAH conference that I’ve got lots of free time to attend panels and hear how experts in other subfields talk about their work, explore the city with old friends, and go to parties! Here are some observations and lessons learned, in no particular order:
- No matter how big the conference, you will never see some people, and you will continue to run into the same people again and again. Aside from the few early American feminists I kept running into at some of the same panels, over the course of three days every time I strolled through the hotel lobby or some of the other open spaces I saw either Roy Ritchie or Alice Kessler-Harris. I also never saw a colleague of mine who was there the whole time–not even at a distance.
- “Early America” now goes through most of the antebellum period, at least according to the OAH. Stop fighting it, Historiann and others who specialize in anything before the nineteenth century! I think I witnessed the single paper that included anything on the seventeenth century. These are now like the Dodo–and not even in much greater evidence at conferences like the Omohundro Institute annual conference. (Speaking of which: did you hear that they cancelled their party scheduled for Friday night when they learned that they had booked it in a club that doesn’t offer membership to women? Good for them, but that’s quite a huge loss on the party, in addition to what’s surely a major donor problem now.)
- (Aside on the temporal issue: I keep hearing that The Sixteenth Century Society is a fun group, and their understanding of the long sixteenth century is pretty long, from 1450 to 1660. Your thoughts? I was becoming kind of a semi-regular at the Western Society for French History and French Historical Studies, so I’m all for going European if that’s what it will take.)
- My source inside the Journal of American History editorial board meeting said Continue Reading »
Chauncey DeVega called me up a few weeks ago to talk about the Newtown murders, and in particular about the deep historical connection between white masculinity and firearms ownership. We also talked about why Americans can have very different perceptions of physical safety, their own rights, and American history itself. In any case, you can eavesdrop on our conversation: it’s available here at We Are Respectable Negroes and at the Daily Kos as well. You can also access the interview here directly and either listen to it or download the mp3. As you will hear, Chauncey is a very smart guy, and I struggled to keep up with him intellectually. I had a great time, and will eagerly listen to all of the interviews he’s podcasting on his blog.
In other news: Gerda Lerner, the pathbreaking women’s historian, died yesterday at age 92 (h/t to cgeye on the blog and Indyanna via a private e-mail for tipping me off.) I for one am glad that her connection to Communism is right there on page 1 of her New York Times obituary–Betty Friedan might be rolling over in her grave about the prominent discussion of the CP, but can’t we be okay already with the truth of the historical connections between Communism and other mid-twentieth century Progressive movements like Civil Rights and feminism? Continue Reading »
The 2013 annual conference of the Western Association of Women Historians will be at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon May 16-18. Individual paper and panel proposals are due Friday, September 14! Get your proposals in soon–the CFP and the forms are available here. The call is utterly broad, and remember: you don’t have to live in the U.S. or Canadian West in order to join or participate:
All fields and periods of history are welcome, as are roundtables on issues of interest to the historical profession. In order to foster discussions across national boundaries, we particularly encourage the submission of panels organized along thematic rather than national lines. All proposals will be vetted by a transnational group of scholars, and preference will be given to discussions of any topic across national boundaries. That said, single papers and panel proposals that fall within a single national or regional context will be given full consideration. . . [W]e particularly encourage proposols that include premodern time periods.
Who wouldn’t want a trip to Portlandia to round out the academic year? (Duh!!!) It’s a great place to meet people, network, and feel supported in your work. And this year will feature a very much deserved tribute to the career of Lois Banner. Continue Reading »
Every time I visit the Huntington Library and Gardens–which has always been in May and June–the beautiful show of blossoms continues into the streets of Pasadena. Lucky me!
At a conference this weekend, actually talking to people F2F rather than on blogs and over e-mail. Remarkable! (I need to get out of town more often.)
The conference planned in honor of Mary Beth Norton’s career now has a program posted online, as well as new information about accomodations for the big weekend, September 28 and 29, 2012.
Mary Beth Norton, Eric Foner, and Linda Gordon comment on Mark Fiege’s The Republic of Nature: An Environmental History of the United States (2012) at last week’s Organization of American Historians annual meeting. Unfortunately, this video doesn’t include the questions and comments from the audience.
Michelle Rhee, putative “reformer” of public schools, will be speaking at the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities meeting this June, for a reported speaker’s fee of about $50,000. (Rheediculous! But then, you know that the APSCU doesn’t have to be careful with their money–they’re only spending your U.S. taxpayer dollars, friends, as for-profit unis are the welfare queens of the higher education world.
Now, maybe she’s going to administer for-profit unis the kind of dope-slaps she delivered on a regular basis to public school teachers in Washington, D.C., during her brief, troubled era as the public schools chancellor there. After all, they have abysmal rates of alumni employment, leaving their students with just a crushing load of student debt without even the fond memories of tailgating, Thursday-night keggers, fraternity hazing rituals, or having after-hours consensual sex in a History seminar room. (Talk about a wicked cheat!) Continue Reading »
Lee Skallerup Bessette offers some good advice for people on the academic job market in “Dressing for Success” without blowing a lot of dough. Her advice: make sure that whatever you wear fits well and is in good condition, and she offers a lot of ideas and resources for building a professional wardrobe without a lot of money. However, she focuses a lot on “suits” for some reason, when I personally don’t think I’ve worn anything that can be called a “suit” for at least 6-7 years, and most men in my field don’t wear suits either. Beyond the conference, as some commenters note, we almost never teach in suits. The men in my department tend to wear long-sleeved shirts and ties when they teach, but most of the men professors in other departments wear jeans or khaki pants with a fleecy vest and hiking boots. (That’s the preferred look around here, anyway, but it’s probably more casual on average than other parts of the country might be.)
My advice to job candidates is to dress to fit in with the best-dressed folks at the professional conference where they’ll be interviewed. After all, you’ll be spending more time on average hanging out in the book exhibit and lobby and attending sessions than you will be spending in interviews, and you’ll want to look and feel reasonably comfortable all day long. And fitting in is what you want to convince your potential future colleagues you can do. Continue Reading »
I heard a rumor recently that Mary Beth Norton will retire from Cornell University this year*, and I was delighted to hear that she’ll be honored at a conference organized by a few of her recent students. (Apparently, some special people got e-mailed invitations already; I guess mine must have fallen out of one of the fiberoptic Pony Express intertubes in Nebraska, or something! Thanks to reader Perpetua for bringing it to my attention.)
On Friday, September 28th, participants will gather at the A.D. White House for a series of sessions inspired by distinct aspects of Professor Norton’s scholarship and teaching. That evening, attendees will continue the celebration at a catered reception at the Johnson Art Museum. The conference will conclude with a morning roundtable and brunch on Saturday, September 29th. If you are interested in contributing a brief paper to one of the sessions, please email Molly at email@example.com or Susanah at ssromney AT gmail DOT com.
The conference is being organized by two of Professor Norton’s former students (and now historians), Susanah Shaw Romney, PhD ’00, and Molly Warsh, BA’99. The event has received generous support from Cornell’s History Department; Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Society for the Humanities; and numerous other on-campus and off-campus entities.
You can go to the conference blog and sign up for updates by entering your e-mail address. I hope that Mary Beth will get a good audience for this event–she has always been among the most enthusiastic of women’s historians, and a very generous mentor and colleague to junior scholars like me. Continue Reading »