Archive for the 'O Canada' Category

May 3rd 2012
I am Black Robe

Posted under American history & O Canada & students & weirdness

Black Robes

For the past several years in my colonial North America class, we’ve read several different books that deal with Jesuits as a part of the French colonial strategy. I’ve also had my students read selections from The Jesuit Relations and write essays using them as primary sources, and I usually also show the relentlessly depressing Black Robe (Bruce Beresford, 1991) in class, too. (Fratguy once offered the best review of this movie ever: “It’s Apocalypse Now, only with Jesuits and Indians!”) Every time, I find myself in an awkward position of defending the Jesuit perspective against my students’ reflexive secular and/or evangelical protestant anti-Catholic views about Jesuit missionary work.

It’s a very strange position to be in, as a non-Catholic Marxist feminist scholar. Continue Reading »

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February 1st 2012
Yes we CANada!

Posted under fluff & O Canada

But wait: there’s more! Continue Reading »

12 Comments »

June 1st 2011
Quebec libre, 2011

Posted under O Canada & women's history

Quebec City

I hope your summers are off to a fine start. In Quebec City, it’s lovely late spring weather–not too hot, but warm and sunny and just right!  (Well, today was pretty hot actually, and a cold front is going to blow through tomorrow, but we’re always ready for that in the true North, strong and free.)  The tulips, crabapples, and lilacs are just flowering here–so it’s especially floral and picturesque.

The fun thing about Quebec is that it’s (in the words of one of my traveling companions) a “free city,” especially in the tourist centers of the upper and lower cities inside the city walls.  It’s got a relaxed and playful vibe–people walk around in everything from skins from the waist up (men, anyway) to suits and more formal wear.  The teenagers and young adults of the city were sunning themselves and showing off their tats on the walls of the city.  The historic parts of the town are tres touristique, and there are more tacky T-shirt shops than ever, but hey–everyone has to make a living, right?  Being a francophone Canadian means that one lives in a very small country, and not everyone wants to get rigged up like a Musketeer to go to work.  Continue Reading »

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April 11th 2011
Monday movies: Paddle to the Sea

Posted under American history & art & childhood & Dolls & happy endings & O Canada & students

All of this talk about elementary school makes me remember one of my favorite movies from my school days: Paddle to the Sea (1966). We saw this annually in Great Lakes country where I grew up. And of course, it stars a doll–Kyle Apatagon’s clever creation, “Paddle to the Sea.”

Do you know this movie, or does it stir a distant memory? I find it mesmerizing still–it’s a glimpse of an experience that’s something new for most urban or suburban children. If you have young children in your life please share this movie with them.

24 Comments »

January 25th 2011
It’s funny because it’s true! Plus some thoughts on mortification practices outside of graduate school.

Posted under American history & Bodily modification & European history & fluff & jobs & O Canada & students & the body & weirdness & women's history

Don't ask.

Wasn’t that an old Homer Simpson line or something, “it’s funny because it’s true?”  Anyway–here’s something I found pretty funny, although some of the commenters don’t seem to get the joke.  Actually, I think the author, Daniel J. Ennis, gets it right:  the oversupply of Ph.D.s is due to the satisfactions of smugness:

I don’t spend much time on The Outside, but I meet nondocs in the grocery, and at church, and at unavoidable family gatherings, and I see them struggle to achieve the smug. So much alcohol, so much philandering, so much striving for promotion to V.P., attachment to sports teams and political parties, time lavished on soup kitchens and animal shelters, on raising kids and caring for the aged, so much windsurfing and cross-training … so many airy castles designed to prove that there are good lives to be lived without that ne plus ultra of credentials. We were acquainted with those people before we went to graduate school. As Bob Dylan (honorary doctorate, Princeton) put it, “All those people we used to know /they’re an illusion to me now.” The nondoc trades thousands of dollars and hours for an uncertain shot at self-satisfaction. The person with a Ph.D. has a lifetime supply.

.       .       .       .      .       .      

While there is nothing more miserable and annoying than a doctorate-in-training, once that little sucker breaks out of the cocoon she can beat her wings like the butterfly she was meant to be. In mixed company (i.e. groups of doctorates and nondocs) she can let slip “when I was working on my doctorate” and the room becomes hers. In mixed marriages (distasteful, perhaps, but sometimes useful to pay for life’s little necessities, like health insurance), the Ph.D. can be the ultimate weapon in a decades-long struggle for emotional dominance. Nobody argued with The Professor (Ph.D., Botany, UCLA) on Gilligan’s Island. All those marooned nondocs depended on his serene intelligence when the chips were down. Continue Reading »

30 Comments »

January 7th 2011
The Kennedys yanked by the “History” Channel: ‘not a fit for the History brand’! (Plus, they’ve got several episodes of Pawn Stars already in the vault.)

Posted under American history & art & bad language & O Canada & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness

After all the sturm und drang last winter about the alleged historical inaccuracies of the “History” Channel’s planned miniseries The Kennedys because of the political sympathies of the creators, the “History” Channel itself has pulled the plug on the show (via The Daily Beast.)  The Hollywood Reporter says that a network rep released a statement that “upon completion of the production of The Kennedys, History has decided not to air the 8-part miniseries on the network. . . . While the film is produced and acted with the highest quality, after viewing the final product in its totality, we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand.” 

Developed by Joel Surnow, the conservative co-creator of 24, along with production companies Asylum Entertainment and Muse Entertainment and writer Stephen Kronish, the project drew fire from the political left and some Kennedy historians. Even before cameras rolled, a front-page New York Times story last February included a sharp attack from former John F. Kennedy adviser Theodore Sorenson, who called an early version of the script “vindictive” and “malicious.”
 
History and parent A&E said at the time that the script had been revised and that the final version had been vetted by experts. Indeed, the script used in production had passed muster with History historians for accuracy.

“History historians?”  WTF?  How bad does it have to be to not be fit to share the same channel as Ice Road Truckers? Continue Reading »

16 Comments »

October 4th 2010
Women in Early America: CFP and reminder

Posted under American history & conferences & O Canada & women's history

Today’s post is a public service announcement that proposals for “Women in Early America,” a workshop jointly sponsored by the William and Mary Quarterly and the University of Southern California-Huntington Library Early Modern Studies Institute, are due Friday, October 15.  This workshop is one in an annual series designed to identify and encourage fresh trends in understanding the history and culture of early North America. 

My original post on this workshop is here.  The conference website with instructions for applying is here.  I’ll just add two things:  first of all, this is a dee-luxe conference.  The setting, the accomodations, the food, and of course the intellectual companionship will be brilliant.  You really shouldn’t miss out, if you have anything at all to say about women’s history.  Secondly, the Call for Papers emphasizes that all of early North America is game, so Mexican and Canadian history is more than welcome.  As Claudio Saunt, Ned Blackhawk, and others have argued, there really is an early American West, too–so think about it and do yourself a favor by applying to this conference. 

For those of you who have never been to the magical, enchanting Huntingon Library and Gardens, here’s a little preview of the wonders that awaits you.  Continue Reading »

15 Comments »

September 8th 2010
Historiann-thologized!

Posted under American history & book reviews & captivity & Gender & happy endings & O Canada & publication & women's history

To paraphrase Sally Field when she won her Academy Award:  “They like me!  They really like me!”

I’ve been dying to tell you about this for more than 18 months now, but I’ve been waiting for the publication of Women’s America:  Refocusing the Past (7th edition) to announce that editors Linda K. Kerber, Jane Sherron DeHart, and Cornelia Hughes Dayton have included a substantial excerpt from chapter 4 of Abraham in Arms in this latest edition of their American women’s history reader. 

I’m especially pleased about this, not just because Women’s America is one of the top two women’s history readers*, and not just because I’m in the company of leaders in my field like Sara Evans, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Mary Beth Norton, Jennifer Morgan, Carol Karlsen, Carol Berkin, Annette Gordon-Reed, Sharon Block, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, and Jeanne Boydston, not to mention Dayton and Kerber themselves.  I’m also especially thrilled because they picked a chapter about women that I was particularly proud of, and which has gone largely unremarked upon by my reviewers, most of whom have been military historians who are much more interested in my chapters on guys and guns.  (Go figure!  They have all reviewed the book favorably, for which I am truly grateful.)  I wrote what I thought was some pretty interesting women’s history too–and I’m so gratified to know that top scholars in my field like Kerber and Dayton find value in my work.

From the editors’ introduction to “Captivity and Conversion:  Daughters of New England in French Canada,” p. 103:

Ann Little’s essay introduces us to the geopolitics of the second half of the colonial period.  Protestant England and Catholic France, along with their independent-minded Indian allies, engaged in a succession of imperial wars involving North American territory from the late seventeenth century through the Seven Years’ War of 1756-63.  In 1700, English settlers far outnumbered the 15,000 French soldiers, missionaries, fur traders, and habitants(farmers) clustered chiefly in settlements along the St. Lawrence River.  However, the English occupied only a narrow sliver along the eastern seaboard, while the French claimed authority (and established mutually adventageous relations with native groups) from Louisiana to Canada along the Mississippi River and around the Great Lakes.  It was not at all clear if one European power (France, Spain, orEngland) could gain ascendancy over the continent as a whole.

The author takes us on a detective’s journey to recover the voices of and find out what happened to the children, teenagers, and grown women who were captured from New England towns and farms in wartime raids by Abenaki allies of the French.  Continue Reading »

28 Comments »

September 4th 2010
The re-creationist view of history

Posted under American history & art & class & Intersectionality & jobs & O Canada & race

Yeah, right!

What happens at the intersection of history, art, and commerce, when historical sites and/or historical re-creations are turned into tourist attractions?  Some folks on my blogroll have been writing thoughtfully on these questions. 

First, Flavia at Ferule and Fescue went to North America’s “Shakespeareapalooza” this summer (a.k.a. the Stratford Shakespeare Festival) and writes about the curious flava of the festival:

[T]he best parts of the festival were the most amateurish, in the best sense of that word: though the actors were all professionals, there was a palpable sense that they and the audience (even the annoying lady with the dyed-red hair in the row behind us, who was loudly showing off her Shakespearian expertise before the show and during intermission) were there out of love for the plays, for Shakespeare, and for live theatre. And if you have to be a tourist in a tourist town, it’s pleasant for it to be one with three bookstores on the main drag, where you can saunter to a tasty post-show dinner at midnight, and where all the other tourists also have rolled-up programs popped beneath their arms.

But the less amateurish stuff was less agreeable. The mainstage production–the one in the fancy theatre, with the big-name star, and with lots of special effects–was dreadful.

And speaking of dreadful–some inept “social media” hack from the Stratford Festival “argued” in the comments with points she didn’t make, in a commentary on the festival that was overwhelmingly positive.  Whatever, d00dz!  Keep on practicing using those interwebs, will you?

Next, Chauncy DeVega at We Are Respectable Negroes wonders about the practice of sleeping in slave cabins:  is it “Honoring the African Holocaust and our Ancestors, or Trivializing their Memory?”  He writes, Continue Reading »

17 Comments »

July 25th 2010
Summer bounty in Quebec, 1749

Posted under O Canada & the body

August 21, 1749

The meals here are in many respects different from those in the English provinces.  This depends upon the difference of custom, taste, and religion, between the two nations.  French Canadians eat three meals a day, viz. breakfast, dinner, and supper.  They breakfast commonly between seven and eight, for the French here rise very early, and the governor-general can be seen at seven o’clock, the time when he has his levee.  Some of the men dip a piece of bread in brandy and eat it; others take a dram of brandy and eat a piece of bread after it.  Chocolate is likewise very common for breakfast, and many of the ladies drink coffee.  Some eat no breakfast at all.  I have never seen tea used here, perhaps because they can get coffee and chocolate from the French provinces in America, in the southern part, but must get tea from China.  They consider it is not worth their while to send the money out of the country for it.  I never saw them have bread and butter for breakfast.

Dinner is exactly at noon.  People of quality have a great many dishes and the rest follow their example, when they invite strangers.  The loaves are oval and baked of wheat flour.  For each person they put a plate, napkin, spoon, and fork.  (In the English colonies, a napkin is seldom or never used.)  Sometimes they also provide knives, but they are generally omitted, all the ladies and gentlemen being provided with their own knives.  The spoons and forks are of silver, and the plates of Delft ware.  The meal begins with a soup with a good deal of bread in it.  Then follow fresh meats of various kinds, boiled and roasted, poultry, or game, fricasees ragouts, etc. of several sorts, together with different kinds of salads.  They commonly drink red claret at dinner, either mixed with water or clear; and spruce beer is likewise much in use.  The ladies drink water and sometimes wine.  Each one has his own glass and can drink as much as he wishes, for the bottles are put on the table. Continue Reading »

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