Archive for the 'conferences' Category

June 5th 2010
We dwell in possibility

Posted under Berkshire Conference & conferences & Gender & GLBTQ & women's history

Public History Tour 2010!

Where in the world is Historiann on this summer’s random public history tour?  Well, here’s a clue on the left–some of us dwell in possibility, wherever we go.  I had never visited before, and neither had my subset of the attendees of the Little Berks conference this year, at Mt. Holyoke College.  The Big Berks–otherwise known as the Fifteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, will be at the University of Massachusetts next June.  (Check out that new website!)  The program committee meets tomorrow–so keep your fingers crossed if you submitted a proposal last winter.

So many interesting people are here–the elusive Clio Bluestockingshowed up, and seated herself near me at dinner last night.  (I’ve had a lot of people tell me they’re reading this blog–only compliments so far, but the conference is only half over!)  After dinner last night, Mary Beth Norton and Judith Zinsser spoke about the history of the Berkshire Conference, and the “ladies” who founded it (including the tradition of trillium-spotting and bourbon-drinking.  Unfortunately, threatening thunderstorms and hail had us looking for more indoor-oriented activities today.)  Norton noted that the official name of the organization is the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, not the Berkshire Conference of Women’s Historians, and she lamented that there are very few non-women’s historians who attend any more since the Big Berks conference on women’s history effectively “took over” the identity of the organization. Continue Reading »

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April 9th 2010
Women’s history: we haz it, but does anyone want it?

Posted under American history & conferences & Gender & GLBTQ & Intersectionality & jobs & race & students & women's history

Good morning, friends–today’s post is a front line dispatch from my faithful correspondent Classy Claude, who is in Washington, D.C. at the Organization of American Historians’ annual meeting.  Yesterday, he attended a star-studded panel, “State of the Field:  History of Women/Gender/Sexuality,” and reports that the panel and the audience ended up discussing the question, “are undergraduates interested at all in women’s history these days?”  Great question, Claude!  Everyone else, read through his report and join in the conversation below.

Classy Claude checking in from the OAH, this year in Washington, DC.  First of all, it is HOT here!  I arrived yesterday and as the plane was coming in for a landing the pilot informed us that the high was 90 degrees.  [Ed. note:  Claude--take off the suit and tie!]  This unseasonable warmth also seems to have produced a remarkably high pollen count.  I went for a run yesterday upon arrival and at the end my eyes were so red and bloodshot that Classy Claude looked more like Cannabis Claude.  And the sneezing! 

But on to matters historical… Most of my day was filled up with grad school friend reunions but I did make it to one of the OAH’s “state of the field panels,” this one of particular interest both to myself and other Historiann readers: Women/Gender/Sexuality.  The panel was moderated by Robert Self and was comprised of Nancy Cott, Nayan Shah, Stephanie McCurry, Regina Kunzel (who was ill and whose comments were delivered by Self), and Brenda Stevenson (Iris Stevenson, a DC attorney, delivered the paper that her sister, recovering from an ankle injury, was unable to give herself). Continue Reading »

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April 6th 2010
Historiann hits the Old Northwest Territory, again!

Posted under American history & conferences & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & O Canada & race & students & women's history

Sorry for the radio silence these last few days–I’ve been on the road, in the air, and on the ground at Michigan State University to give a talk about my current research project and to discuss my book with a class here.  (More news–including a podcast!–coming soon.)  I’m always happy to visit what we in Colorado call the East:  it’s a beautiful spring here, with lovely green grass and flowers bursting open everywhere I look.  The accomodations are far from spartan–in fact, they and the hospitality here have been downright stately.  And who wouldn’t love to visit a university campus with its own dairy and retail store? 

Fragrant white magnolias

Scented white magnolias!

The former Michigan Agricultural College has a lot in common with Baa Ram U., which was originally called Colorado Agricultural College (“for Eighth Grade graduates!”)  Our Deans and Provosts like to call MSU a “peer institution,” but from my perspective in the History department, that’s ridiculous:  MSU’s history department has 54 faculty members, 100 graduate students, and a Ph.D. program.  They also get pre-tenure leave.  We got nothin’ compared to that. Continue Reading »

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March 12th 2010
Spring breakin’

Posted under Berkshire Conference & conferences & women's history

Catch you next week!  Don’t forget:  proposals for panels, workshops, and single papers for the 2011 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women are due March 19!  So spend whatever time you’d otherwise be spending at Historiann.com this week putting together a proposal for the Berks instead.

We’ll have to do a massive femblogger meetup there.  The conference will be in Amherst at the University of Massachusetss, June 9-12–the Pioneer Valley is lovely in the late spring, friends!  And remember:  this comet only comes around every 3 years, so if you miss this one, you’ll regret it for sure.

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March 7th 2010
Intellectual migrations: how and when to switch fields?

Posted under conferences & European history & jobs & publication & women's history

From the mailbag at Historiann HQ, a question about working outside the historical field in which one originally trained:

Dear Historiann,

I have a question about working outside one’s dissertation field, and wonder to what extent the topic of one’s dissertation dictates the career.  Is it permanent?  I am now working on a topic largely unrelated to my doctoral work, and I have already discovered this to be less-than-an-asset on the job market.  For jobs in my dissertation field, any search committee would look askance at current project; for jobs in “current project field,” they will look askance at the dissertation.  (Think: dissertation on revolutionary France, current project on Argentina). 

To what extent are we defined by a choice of dissertation topic, even throughout our careers? I have heard people commenting about a very senior (famous) historian who wrote a recent book, saying “how can he work on Y? He’s a specialist on X!” (X being his doctoral subject). He completed his Ph.D. 30 years ago, and has written a number of books. My view is, surely he’s had time to become a specialist in some other field/s of history since then. But this view is obviously not shared by all in the discipline. Should a junior scholar wait til after tenure to bust out their “true historical passion?”

Signed,

Roving Renata

Renata, I agree with you that people in our profession can be extremely fussy and fuddy-duddy about switching fields and gaining new competencies.  (And as someone who wrote a book that wasn’t a revision of her dissertation at all but was an entirely new project–well, let’s just say that I can relate to your anxieties.)  People are unusually identified with their first books, especially if their first books were well received.  I once had a colleague who was absolutely haunted by this.  He once said to me, “it’s just agonizing to think that people will read my first book and think that that’s who I am as a scholar!”  Continue Reading »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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