While I’m working away at my day job, go read this post by Echidne, in which she discusses the ways in which the media discuss the “fertility crisis” in some European countries without noting the extreme pressure on women who are mothers in said countries to leave the workforce. (Or in one case she cites, pregnant women and mothers are just proactively pink-slipped.) She notes that even with generous maternity leave policies, most mothers do not return to work after the birth of just one child in both Germany and Italy. This sidles up to a point that I’ve made here before (and even in my day job writing recently) about the global and apparently transhistorical resistance to see women as rational economic actors who make decisions about their lives that respond directly to their political, cultural, and economic environments. Continue Reading »
Archive for the 'European history' Category
Good morning, y’all! It’s another changeable day here in southern Maine, so just in case I end up spending the day at the beach and you don’t, here are a few items that will keep you entertained indoors:
- First of all, have you been reading Tenured Radical lately? It’s difficult to keep up with that woman, but I particularly loved Thursday’s cranky screed, “Question: Why Do Development Offices Raise Money for Sports When Academics Are Being Cut?” Excellent question! As many of you know, I’m opposed philosophically and budgetarily to the free men’s sports farm clubsthat even Podunk Colleges and Directional State U.’s feel the need to provide to the for-profit teams of the NBA and the NFL, but when even sports-loving dyke proffies start wondering about the size and heft of the Athletic Department’s budget, compared to (for example) the Classics Department, somehow I feel less like the vox clamantis in deserto. (And I don’t actually read a word of Latin!) Repeat after me: club sports good, free farm clubs bad.
- TR also shares what not to do when pi$$ed off by your colleagues. (What is it with the peeing, boys? Seriously?)
- In “Fat Girl Woes,” New Kid on the Hallway writes, “You know what really annoys me? The way some stores that carry my size online won’t carry that size in the stores. I mean, clearly those stores would like to sell me stuff and take my money, but they don’t want me actually to shop in the store? You know, in public?” (She’s not just a student-blogger any more–she has finished her law degree and really needs to wear suits pretty much all day long in her new career.) I’ve noticed over the last several years that the combined forces of vanity sizing (what was once an 7-8 or a 5-6 is now a 4 or XS, for example) plus the fat discrimination New Kid reports means that the range of sizes represented on most store racks is narrower than ever.
- Joyce Chaplin reviews Mary Beth Norton’s new book, Separated by their Sex: Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World, in tomorrow’s New York Times Book Review (h/t Blake at Down and Out in Denver.) Chaplin writes, “The materials are rich, but most historians will be surprised that Norton goes after them with the equivalent of a power tool that has lost its edge. [Ed. note: OUCH!] Continue Reading »
I’m off to a conference this week, and I’ve been thinking about some of the wacky papers I’ve given over the years. I’ve always looked at conferences as opportunities to test out new ideas, and the best times I’ve had at conferences have been times when I’ve delivered a paper that offers a fresh–some would say dubious–new interpretation or argument. After all, most conference papers are 10 pages long and should take no more than 20 minutes of the audience’s time–it’s not like we’re going to be able to clobber them with a truly convincing pile of evidence, so why not focus more on the specific interventions we’re making?
I once gave a conferece paper titled “Fields of Screams,” after an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon on an old episode of The Simpsons. It was about borderlands warfare and masculinity, and although I discarded the specific argument in that paper it helped me work out some ideas about space and gender. Recently, I’ve been having fun shocking people with Judith Bennett’s “lesbian-like” interpretive frame for understanding eighteenth-century Ursulines. I’m not sure where this idea is going, but it’s fascinating to see some people react so strongly and so negatively to the use of the word “lesbian” to talk about the eighteenth century! Continue Reading »
Matt Bai of the New York Times claims in this brief piece that “Gingrich Run Reflects His Sense of History.” Don’t laugh America–Bai says this isn’t a vanity run for president to get his own teevee deal:
[H]aving spent a fair amount of time with Mr. Gingrich for a cover story I wrote for The New York Times Magazine two years ago, I never had much doubt that he was serious this time around. The thing you have to understand about Newt is that he is, by training and temperament, an avid historian, and he is as true a believer as you will ever find in the concept of destiny.
An Army brat growing up, flat-footed and near-sighted, Mr. Gingrich was the perpetual new kid in school who wasn’t going to star on the football team. But he found an outlet for his passion in the histories he read, especially those concerning great heroes. He imagined himself — and, reasonably or not, still does — as a lead protagonist in the history of his own time, a consequential character in the grand American narrative.
In particular, Mr. Gingrich is a devotee of the historian Arnold J. Toynbee, who meditated on the concept of “departure and return” — the idea that great leaders have to leave (or be banished from) their kingdoms before they can better themselves and return as conquering heroes. One of Newt’s heroes, the French general and statesman Charles de Gaulle, embodies just this kind of romantic narrative, having spent 12 years out of power before returning to lead his country. So does Ronald Reagan, who traveled the country after losing his bid for the Republican nomination in 1976, then came roaring back to win it all four years later. Continue Reading »
See if you can spot the stars of today in this clip from yesteryear:
Well, it was funny in the 1980s if you were 16 or 17. . .
As we suspected, the Thomas Gradgrinds of the world are busy proliferating in school administrations across the nation because of school “Rhee-form” measures that push teachers to focus on facts only, and only those facts immediately relevant to the subject matter they’re teaching. A friend of a friend who teaches High School American and World History in a wealthy school district writes about a recent evaluation by her principal:
“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.” This quote was put on my white board for the daily “Do Now” which is a warm up activity for students while I take roll. I read it to the kids and provide a bit of background for context. Besides quotes, I sometimes put up SAT vocab words.
We have a new principal who came in for an informal eval the day I had this quote on the board. When we met to discuss my eval, he told me it was inappropriate as I am not teaching philosophy….”everything I do in class must be connected to the US History content standards for testing purposes.” When I, rather perplexed, explained that I use quotes to inspire my students–from philosophers, world leaders, authors, scientists, proverbs–and that for example, when we our studying WWII, Churchill–that historical actors provide us with a wealth of wisdom which is one of the benefits of knowing history–he told me that I am not teaching philosophy, and that “good teachers” find a way to inspire while teaching their subject content. Continue Reading »
Oh, yeah: Haircut 100 from 1982. Very cute, and totally nonthreatening. (Most of the bandmates look like your friends’ dads–at least, the way they might have looked in 1982.) They have to have been the most American top-40 radio friendly “ska” band of the 1980s.
What was it with all the saxophones in the 1980s? Continue Reading »
This is Arthur Lopez’s “Robert Reina del Cielo,” or “Rodeo Queen of Heaven,” a clever little santo, or devotional sculpture of the Holy Family that I saw today at the Denver Art Museum (more info here, although as you’ll see they misspell cielo.) Ain’t it swell? Dig baby Jesus’s hand raised in the preaching (and/or bronco busting and bull-riding) position, just as in the European tradition.
At least it’s the most important parts of the Holy Family–the Madonna and Child, natch. Joseph: he’s always seemed like the Ken of the Holy Family to me. Barbie and Skipper seem to do just fine without him.
Howdy, folks! I made it to Austin, Texas last night for an intense conference here over the next two days, Centering Families in the Atlantic World co-sponsored by the Omohundro Institute and the Institute for Historical Studies here at the University of Texas. And then Thursday afternoon, I’ll be talking about this here blog at the Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality in a talk called “Cowgirl Up,” in which I’ll address some important eternal questions of the academic feminist blogosphere, such as Continue Reading »