Archive for the 'conferences' Category

January 30th 2010
From the mailbag: How to assemble a conference panel with complete strangers?

Posted under conferences & jobs & students

A stranger's just a friend you haven't met!

Because of Homostorian Americanist’s recent correspondence with a silly high-schooler who was fishing for someone to do her homework, reader Nervous Ned writes in to ask, ” What is the appropriate way to contact another professional historian and ask hir to participate in a panel as a chair or commenter?”  This is a great question–it’s something that lots of us are doing these days, because of all of the calls for papers that emphasize transnational this and comparative that.  The odds are that crafting a panel these days will require reaching far beyond one’s sub-field.  Ned explains his problem:

I have been working with a couple of other people to assemble a comparative, modern history panel for the next American Historical Association annual meeting. Myself and another panelist are junior faculty at distinctly un-prestigious state schools. The third panelist is a grad student.  We did not personally know any prominent scholars with a reputation for working on [the nominal topic of the panel], so we decided to e-mail scholars whose work we admired and thought would be able to critique our papers. The Grad Student offered to email a couple people because she had met them tangentially at a conference. These did not pan out, so I emailed a scholar I admired who had written about [this field] in [my area of geographical expertise].  But after reading your post on student XXXX and hir insistent e-mail pestering I realized that we may have acted inappropriately, by emailing senior faculty and associate professors out of the blue.  

Is there a good way to go about talking to scholars you are not acquainted with and asking them to help you out with your panel or work, especially for someone like a grad student or junior faculty member who is not really well connected? More importantly, I have not heard from the person I emailed.  I probably should have worked the grapevine and gotten some sort of introduction, but its a little late now. Should I apologize? 

Signed, 

Nervous Ned 

Dear Ned, 

Apologize???  For doing your job and also helping to mentor a graduate student?  Continue Reading »

10 Comments »

January 10th 2010
AHA report part deux, check (it) out now! Hugs and learning for everyone! (Except straight historians.)

Posted under conferences & GLBTQ & happy endings & jobs

UPDATED BELOW

Classy Claude has returned from the American Historical Association’s annual conference in San Diego to the wintry climate were he currently resides.  Classes begin tomorrow for Claude–alas, what lessons did the professor learn at the 2010 AHA?  You might be surprised!   

I have now returned from San Diego – and leaving was somewhat painful, I have to say.  The weather was just about perfect, and the sad truth was that anyone leaving San Diego today was clearly going somewhere where it would not be.  

I don’t have oodles to report because, in true AHA fashion, I didn’t actually go to all that many sessions – only one yesterday, and it was my own, and none today.  (I did not see the John D’Emilio talk discussed in the comments yesterday, but I, too, heard that it was fantastic.)  I did, however, attend the anti-Manchester rally yesterday right outside the Hyatt.  The protest was scheduled yesterday for two reasons: it was the two-year anniversary of the day that Doug Manchester made the donation that enabled people to begin the signature drive, which put Proposition 8 on the ballot in the first place.  His involvement was even more insidious and instrumental than I had thought!  Secondly, the AHA is among the few major organizations not to honor the boycott.  So, I went to the protest in solidarity with the anti-Manchester, anti-Hyatt, anti-Prop 8 gang.

The protest, which was supported by many different organizations, was a joint venture of both queer and labor organizers and it was – some grandstanding aside – pretty wonderful to see the kind of cross-class, multiracial support that was in evidence.  Fired Latina Boston Hyatt housekeepers roused the crowd talking about Hyatt hotels’ nasty labor practices and a racially diverse crowd of queer activists talked about their support for labor, and then labor talked about the fact that there was no real equality for them or for anyone at all until all people were treated with justice.  There’s nothing like a common enemy to unite disparate groups.  Be still my leftist heart!  Continue Reading »

12 Comments »

January 10th 2010
AHA 2010 report: no jobs, but excellent views

Posted under conferences & jobs

Reader and commenter Frustrated Full Professor sent along this photos of the view from her hotel room.  First thing in the morning, at right:

Similar view at dusk, at left.

And finally:  lest we forget, San Diego is a big military town.  Anchors aweigh!

I’ll post Classy Claude’s second report as soon as it comes across the teletype machine.  (Claude’s kind of a retro guy.)  Don’t miss C. Vann Winchell’s reporting on this year’s “still sleepy AHA,” as ze calls it.

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January 9th 2010
Historiann EXCLUSIVE: Classy Claude at the AHA in San Diego

Posted under American history & Berkshire Conference & conferences & GLBTQ & jobs & women's history

Once again, Historiann’s better-traveled and more in-the-loop friend Classy Claude is at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting, and has volunteered to report back what he’s seen and heard.  Here, he updates us on the Doug Manchester/Hyatt boycott, a prominent American women’s history panel, and who puts on the best free reception.  Try not to hate him because he’s in San Diego–hate him because he’s beautiful, and employed!  

Greetings from sunny San Diego!  My view of San Diego Bay from the 17th floor of the Hilton gives some idea of just how lovely and temperate it is here right now (see the photo on the right, by Claude himself.)  And the Hilton conveniently provides running maps to cover various distances along the promenade.  Historiann, you would love it!  

 I have no actual idea of the numbers at this year’s AHA, but I can’t help but think that it’s down from recent years.  Not one of the panels I have attended so far, for instance, has had its full component of scheduled speakers. Reasons for these absences are manifold. First, the abysmal job market: if there are fewer interviewers and interviewees (the main purpose here for most), then fewer attendees.  Second, getting to San Diego is expensive for most North Americans.  Combine that with the fact that many colleges and universities have slashed travel budgets and it becomes prohibitively expensive for many.  Third, there are the Midwestern storms that certainly have delayed some people’s arrival and may well have stranded them altogether.  And fourth, the gay and labor boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt (led by UNITE HERE and Equality California, but with many other organizational supporters) seems to have led some gay would-be attendees to cancel as well.  

As many of Historiann’s readers know, before the 2009 meeting it came to the attention of some AHA members that the owner of the Hyatt, Doug Manchester, had given about 100K to the successful Proposition 8 campaign (to ban same-sex marriage in California).  Continue Reading »

9 Comments »

January 9th 2010
AHA report: Put on a giant smiley-face mask, if you have to

Posted under conferences & fluff & happy endings & jobs

While I’m waiting for the exclusive report from Classy Claude to be filed from this year’s meeting of the American Historical Association, I thought I’d draw your attention to a comment from The History Enthusiast, who said that everyone in the pit on Thursday was a real Debbie Downer:

As a first-timer at the AHA Job Center I can report that it was much quieter than I expected (everyone was so tense!) and there were very few people milling around. That shouldn’t really be a surprise.

What struck me, though, is that when I smiled at people no one would smile back. I understand that the market is stressful (hello, I’m on it too) but some of the people I saw looked like they were going to cry. And there haven’t even been interviews yet! We were just dropping off CVs at the collection booth. I made small talk with one of the volunteers and he looked at me as if I had three heads. My guess is that none of the other applicants had spoken to him without having a look of sheer panic cross their face. Yes, I’m nervous too. Yes, this is a big frickin’ deal. But good God, it is not healthy to be so freaked out that you won’t even look other people in the eye. I find that very disturbing.

Those are all things I’d expect on Saturday when the interviews are in full swing, but today? Seriously. I feel like I was the only sane person in the room.

That sounds about right for the pit most years, right friends?  My bet is that The History Enthusiast will compare favorably to the Debbie Downers, especially since the departments hiring this year must be cheered by all of the top-notch candidates they’ll be able to lure.  Continue Reading »

8 Comments »

January 7th 2010
Checking in on the AHA-hahahahaha? (Lolsob.)

Posted under conferences & Gender & jobs & unhappy endings

From a distance, of course–Potterville is about 1,137 miles away, 4,659 feet higher, and 70 degrees colder than San Diego this morning.  Damn! but I wish I were waking up in the Hotel del Coronado today.  It’s -11 here now–but it will be sunny, at least!  The sun is about the only thing San Diego will have in common today with the High Plains Sub-Zero Freezer we’re locked in until the weekend.  Classy Claude will be filing a first-person report later this weekend, if he can peel himself off the beach, shake the sand out of his drawers, and find a wifi hotspot. 

First, the good news:  the 2010 annual meeting of the American Historical Association is in San Diego!  That’s it for the good news I’ve heard.  If you’re there and not interviewing for jobs, interviewing for jobs you’re unlikely to get, or interviewing dozens of candidates for a job at your institution, at least you can do it without wearing boots and lugging a giant coat around a big hotel because you’re stuck yet again in Chicago or Boston.  (Who’s with me on pushing the AHA to south and west, friends?  We’ll throw Denver in there too, for you winter sports enthusiasts.  How about instead of Chicago, Boston, Chicago, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, and Chicago, we have Dallas, Phoenix, San Diego/L.A., Denver, and San Francisco?)

Inside Higher Ed reports that attendance is down at the AHA this year, because of the economy and the related dearth of open positions in history.  (There are also fewer drop-ins than there would be in major Eastern cities because of the West Coast location, too, and the additional travel expense for people in the Eastern and Central time zones especially.)  And, the AHA itself reported that it’s “A Grim Year on the Academic Job Market for Historians,” because “[d]uring 2008–09 job advertisements fell by 23.8 percent—from a record high of 1,053 openings in 2007–08 to 806 openings in the past year. This was the smallest number of positions advertised with the AHA in a decade.  To make matters worse, a subsequent survey of advertisers indicates that about 15 percent of the openings were cancelled after the positions were advertised.”  Marc Bousquet at How the University Works takes issue with the AHA report’s conclusion that the problem is an oversupply of history Ph.D.s, and says that it’s not an oversupply of qualified job candidates, but that it’s an undersupply of tenure-track jobs because of university administrators’ decisions over the past 25 years to hire more contingent faculty than tenured or tenure-track faculty proportionally. Continue Reading »

43 Comments »

January 1st 2010
New Year’s round-up: lit & critters edition, yee-haw!

Posted under conferences & fluff & unhappy endings & weirdness

elvgrenlibraryHappy New Year, friends, cowgirls, and countrymen.  In a few hours, Historiann et famille are off on another jaunt to a nearby ski town–as you may remember, I don’t ski, so it’s a reading weekend for me.  I’m going to nix the digital communication and go all codex for the remainder of the weekend.  I’m deep into some good books (thanks, Homostorian Americanist and Monocle Man!) and want to enjoy some fiction before going back to my usual diet of extremely serious and self-important non-fiction.  So, I’ll direct you to some interesting bons mots and bibelots I found on the world-wide non peer-reviewed internets:

  • 2009 ended with some sad news in Roxie’s World:  Roxie, the world’s longest-lived terminal veternary patient, died on Wednesday, December 30.  Fortunately, Mark Twain showed up for the wake to give her a proper sendoff–go read, if your computer keyboard is tearproof.  We are glad her final days were so prolonged and that her final exit was mercifully quick.  Much love as always to Moose and Goose, Roxie’s human companions and typists.  We’ll have a cup of kindness tonight in honor of Roxie’s happy life and good death thanks to their loving care (and that of their good friend, Geoffrey.)
  • Tom at Romantoes was at the Modern Language Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia this week, and he tells a story about his encounter with the real Philadelphia, Continue Reading »

12 Comments »

November 13th 2009
Friday round-up: heads up and screens down, boys! edition

Posted under American history & class & conferences & fluff & Gender & GLBTQ & students & wankers

elvgrengirlgun

It’s been an awful long time since we’ve had an old-fashioned round-up–I’ve been so busy with this, that, and the other thing that I haven’t been a good blog citoyenne lately now, have I?  Well, here’s a few things you can use to warm yourself up and keep your power dry:

37 Comments »

October 9th 2009
Friday Roundup: “I could teach you, but I have to charge” edition

Posted under American history & art & childhood & class & conferences & fluff & Gender & Intersectionality & local news

mymarxistfemdialecticI’m off to the Western Historical Association annual meeting in Denver today–while I’m out here are some interesting items to keep you thinking:

  • First up, listen to this interesting interview with Michael Chabon, who compares family life to fandom:  parents are the “main texts,” and their children are creators of fan fiction.  (Go to about 7:30 in the interview).  He also sees fandom as something essential to the human condition (25:00).
  • The C-Rox are heading home for game 3 of the playoffs this weekend with a victory under their belts.  I hope the Phillies bring their long underwear and their footie pajamas, ‘cos it’s butt-cold at 5,280 feet elevation this weekend! Continue Reading »

13 Comments »

October 6th 2009
Big Berks 2011: hip, happening, and now. Dig?

Posted under Berkshire Conference & conferences & women's history

berksbanner

You’ve been waiting for it all year long–and it’s here!  The next Berkshire Conference on the History of Women will be at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst June 9-12, 2011.  The call for papers and all of the details can be found here, and the deadline for proposals is March 1, 2010.  (That’s less than five months from now, girls and boys, so put your thinking caps on!  Tip of the thinking cap to Tenured Radical, who alerted me to this announcement.)

The conference theme for 2011 is “Generations:  Exploring Race, Sexuality, and Labor Across Time and Space.”  From the CFP:  Continue Reading »

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