Archive for the 'happy endings' Category

November 25th 2012
The historian’s curse, naturally

Posted under American history & happy endings & the body

I am so tired of reading books by people whose historical frame of reference is <100 years.  (I am not thinking of peer-reviewed histories here.  I’m talking about general-interest non-fiction, which is my usual “just for fun” bedside table reading.  But I’m of the firm belief that non-fiction should be based on research and grounded in research and a reasonable perspective.  Even polemics must be based in fact.)  What has my brassiere in a twist now, you may well ask? Continue Reading »

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November 22nd 2012
Mentoring and Mojitos: reflections on the 2012 Gay-S-A

Posted under American history & happy endings & Intersectionality & jobs & women's history

Well, well, well–we finally pulled up to the ranch late on Sunday night, but with all of the stall-mucking and fence-riding to be done, as well as another holiday to prepare for, I’ve had no time at all to blog about the great time and intense learning that was the 2012 Gay-S-A in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  I won’t bore you with the specifics of the intellectual conversations that I had, but rather will instead entertain you with a “slice of life” overview of the conference that will perhaps offer some useful strategies for those of you prepping for MLA, AHA, or the other large disciplinary conferences that will meet in the next few months.  (Tenured Radical, Madwoman with a Laptop, and GayProf have all beat me to the conference round-up, so you can go there for the intelleckshul content.  This blog post is–mostly–a bagatelle, a lagniappe if you will–just for fun.)

Among the many interesting things I learned:

  • You can make new friends and impress important people if you show up at a graduate student panel at 8 a.m. on a Friday morning.  I don’t want to go into it, but you can get a (perhaps undeserved) reputation for being a decent person for doing something like that, something you might have done anyway just because you were interested in hearing the papers.  Shhhhh!!!
  • This may be especially important if you disappointed a lot of people at your panel.  The panel was a great success, especially for a first-day, almost first-thing in the morning panel.  But as I whispered to GayProf as we were being introduced, “I have the feeling that thirty people in this room are disappointed, thinking ‘that’s not what I thought he/she looked like!’”
  • I like to go swimmin’ with bare-naked women and swim between their legs.  True!  (And that naked woman will apparently be me this weekend, because I foolishly left my brand-new bathing suit in the hotel bathroom.  Oh well–I didn’t like the bottoms, although the top was super-cute–see photo below.)  And it’s also true that you can have substantial intellectual conversations and engage in serious problem-solving while swimming in the ocean or pool, and while sitting around afterwards in your bathing suit or sundress.  I think this might be due to the fact that it’s difficult to be pretentious or cagey when you’re only half-dressed (or worse.) Continue Reading »

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October 27th 2012
A felony arrest by the “language police!”

Posted under American history & bad language & childhood & happy endings & wankers

Relicts of childhoods past.

Hey, kids–good news!  Self-appointed language liberator Ann Coulter has proclaimed “retard” to be OK again, and not at all an insult to disabled people, because she says so.  So get your “retard” on again, friends!

What?  You’re not interested in dusting that one off from elementary school in the 1970s and 1980s?  I bet you don’t even laugh at dead baby or fart jokes, either.  I guess the language police got to you, too. Continue Reading »

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September 30th 2012
The Color of Christ: America’s own personal Jesus?

Posted under American history & happy endings & local news & race

Our friend Paul Harvey, the proprietor of Religion in American History and a Professor of History at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, has had a banner month in September.  First, his new book with Edward J. Blum, The Color of Christ:  The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America (Chapel Hill:  University of North Carolina Press, 2012)  has just been published.  Then the authors got a nice bit of publicity from the Chronicle of Higher Education a few weeks ago when it published a brief explanation of their argument, along with some thoughtful comments about Mormonism, Mitt Romney, and representations of Barack Obama as a Christlike figure.

The book ranges over the entire course of American religious history, from puritan prohibitions on representing Christ at all, to Mormon imaginings of a blue-eyed, phenotypically northern European-looking Jesus, to the emergence of a black Jesus in the Civil Rights era.  As the publisher’s website suggests, “[t]he color of Christ still symbolizes America’s most combustible divisions, revealing the power and malleability of race and religion from colonial times to the presidency of Barack Obama.”

But that’s not all!  Last week, I got an e-mail from Fraguy while he was at Denver International Airport, reporting that Harvey and Blum had published an opinion piece in the New York Times about “Fighting over God’s Image.”  They point out that Americans bloviating over “Muslim rage” about recent profane American representations of the prophet Muhammad overlook the fact that “Americans have had their own history of conflict, some of it deadly, over displays of the sacred.”  Continue Reading »

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September 27th 2012
The ethics and politics of peer teaching evaluations

Posted under happy endings & jobs & students & wankers

As a member of my departments Tenure and Promotion and Executive Committees this year, I’ll likely be writing at least two evaluations of the teaching of my regular junior and adjunct colleagues.  I’ve read dozens of these over the years by my colleagues (and have written at least half a dozen myself, if not more).  Additionally, as a friendly informal mentor to several junior women in my field, I’ve had the chance to read letters evaluating their teaching by their colleagues.

One of my mentees sent me a letter today that got me thinking about the ethics and politics of writing these evaluation letters.  She just recently received a letter from a colleague that was 1) from a class taught nearly six months ago which then proceeded to 2) pick nits about the introductory blurb on her syllabus, and 3) criticize her for letting her students figure out a primary source together in class rather than just telling them everything they need to know.  Would you be surprised to learn that this is also a letter from a person who has been an Associate Professor for at least 30 years?  No, I didn’t think so.  The writer of this letter just couldn’t let someone 30-some years his junior, and the author of three peer-reviewed articles in top journals and a forthcoming book, be an expert in her own field.

(Every time I read a letter like this, whether it’s in a tenure file or passed to me by a friend looking for advice, I’m reminded of the value of modesty and generosity in being a good colleague.  Because, really:  who wants to be THAT guy?  Those letters are so transparent–like a cry for help, almost.  Any smart committee, chair or dean can see right through them.)

Here’s my question for you readers:  if you are in the position to write letters like this, what’s your approach?  Continue Reading »

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September 9th 2012
How d’ye like them apples?

Posted under American history & childhood & fluff & happy endings & local news

This is September in Colorado:  cool nights and warm afternoons with clear, blue skies.  We’re lucky to have an heirloom apple tree in our yard, which this year is absolutely loaded with fruit.  (The hot, dry summer has been perversely great for the Colorado fruit crop.  This tree ain’t exactly an orchard, but it appears to share in the local bounty.)  With any luck, we’ll have enough pies and applesauce to last us until the apple blossoms open next spring.

Maybe it’s due to my huge fangirl crush in the 1970s on Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House series, but I’ve always been inordinately charmed by “free food,” and aggressively motivated to do something with it when I find it.  When I was a little girl, I loved finding those ferny weeds in people’s lawns that looked like Queen Anne’s Lace, but whose roots resembled (and tasted like) thin, pale carrots.  (Maybe they were Queen Anne’s Lace?  I don’t know.)  I remember a scrawny clover whose lemony leaves we used to chew.  My greatest childhood discovery was perhaps a patch of strawberries along a lazy spring that burbled up in the woods by my house. Continue Reading »

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August 17th 2012
A World of Citizens: Women, History, and the Vision of Linda K. Kerber, October 5-6, 2012

Posted under American history & happy endings & jobs & students & women's history

From an e-mail I received recently:

We are pleased to announce that registration for A World of Citizens: Women, History, and the Vision of Linda K. Kerber to be held October 5-6 at the University of Iowa is now available.  Directions for registering for the symposium and banquet, a provisional program, and a link to the fellowship donation pages can be found here.

The theme of this symposium, “A World of Citizens: Women, History, and the Vision of Linda K. Kerber,” draws on important threads in Linda’s work over the decades of her career, and especially on her moving 2007 AHA Presidential Address, “The Stateless as the Citizen’s Other.” As a scholar of the rights, obligations, and complexities of citizenship; as a member of the generation which brought the study of women’s history into college and university curricula; and as the friend and teacher of another generation of historians, Linda’s influence reaches deep into our profession. Continue Reading »

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August 15th 2012
Yellowstone: le safari de l’Amerique du Nord

Posted under fluff & happy endings & local news

In our Yellowstone adventure, every day was full of marvels and wonders we don’t get to see or experience in our everyday lives.  We saw, in order:  lots of elk (bulls mostly), marmots, a coyote, bison galore, a black wolf, and a black bear!  (Fratguy thinks it was a grizzly bear, but I say it was black and I’m sticking to my story.)  Several brown, cutthroat, rainbow, and brook trout were caught (and released.)  Plus of course we saw loads of geysers, hot springs, mud pots, fumaroles, and the like volcanic wonders, like Castle Geyser here on the right.

Once again, I was struck by the numbers of French, German, Japanese, and Chinese tourists.  I also heard some Russian and Italian spoken by other parties.  All of western Wyoming really was full of French people–we chatted with a few families on a French tour who stopped in the same hotel we did last night in Jackson Hole. Continue Reading »

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August 7th 2012
Gone fishin’.

Posted under fluff & happy endings & local news

Mama needs a break, kids.

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit several of our major National Parks and Monuments this summer– Arches National Park Escalante National Monument, Capitol Reef National Park, Mesa Verde, and now Yellowstone.  (Touring these parks is kind of an expansive version of a staycation for us westerners.)

I wonder what kind of charismatic megafauna we’ll see–moose?  A bear?  A cougar?  I haven’t seen a cougar up close and personal since I almost stepped on one’s tail in Strathcona Provincial Park in British Columbia in 1997.  It was the one time in my life when I was left literally speechless, and could only gesture to the giant tail and the terrific haunches to which it was attached.  I can probably live happily without coming that close to a cougar ever again. Continue Reading »

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July 26th 2012
The dog blog is dead. Long live the mad blog!

Posted under American history & art & happy endings & jobs & women's history

Self-Portrait of a Madwoman

Last week, we lost a powerful voice in the queer academic and dog-friendly blogosphere:  Roxie Smith Lindemann of Roxie’s World announced her final departure from the blogosphere, only a little less than three years after her death.  However, her typist Moose has decided bravely to carry on blogging under a human pseudonym at a new blog called The Madwoman with a Laptop.

The Madwoman at MWAL, otherwise known as noted Willa Cather scholar Marilee Lindeman, describes herself on the new blog as “English prof, blogger, queer, feminist, non-geek fascinated by social media, making life up as it goes along. Play on. Tenure means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Her second post at the new blog is a thoughtful reflection on mid-career funks, the (corrupt) business of higher education, and the cardboard management-speak  slogan of “rebranding.” She writes:  Continue Reading »

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