Archive for the 'race' Category

February 18th 2013
Colorado Dems lead the way on gun safety legislation; who will follow?

Posted under American history & Gender & race

Go ahead: make my day.

The Colorado House passed four bills today:

• House Bill 1229 requiring background checks for all gun transactions;

• House Bill 1226 banning concealed weapons on campuses;

• House Bill 1228 instituting a fee for gun buyers to cover the cost of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to perform background checks; and

• House Bill 1224 limiting magazines to 15 rounds.

All of these seem to me to be modest and reasonable measures.  We’ll see what the Dem-majority Senate and Dem Governor John Hickenlooper decide to do.

 

While this debate was engaged last week, a local manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines has threatened to leave the state if the 15-round limit is signed into law.  This is the kind of thing that usually brings Dems to their weak little scaredy-cat knees, but I think they should do a jujitsu move with this and ask if 200 jobs are really worth the health and safety of our schools, parks, and public spaces.  As this article by Dan Baum in the Wall Street Journal makes clear*, the NRA doesn’t in fact represent gun owners–it represents munitions manufacturers.  Why should we permit ourselves to be manipulated by the financial interests of one industry?

It’s downright un-American to ignore the public interest and let one industry run our politics.  Continue Reading »

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February 3rd 2013
Intimate body care: never a highly paid occupation

Posted under American history & class & European history & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & race & the body & women's history

NPR featured a story tonight about how poorly compensated home health care work is.  Currently, they are not entitled either to the minimum wage nor to overtime pay.  Most make between $8-10/hr., while the company that employs them pockets the $18/hr. payment from Medicare. Spokespersons for the home health-care industry were permitted to whinge and whine about the terrible hardship that a minimum wage and overtime requirements would put on their businesses.

The tone of the story tilted towards compassion for the workers and their clients, but they story’s historical perspective looked back only 40 years when I think a critical component of this story is the longue durée of this kind of low wage work, work that now (as in the past going back at least 500 years) is performed overwhelmingly by working-class women, and in the Americas for the most part, by black and brown-skinned working-class women.

Intimate body care has never been a well-compensated occupation.  Continue Reading »

26 Comments »

January 29th 2013
Chauncey DeVega’s interview with Richard Slotkin at We Are Respectable Negroes

Posted under American history & Gender & race & unhappy endings

Check out part two of Chauncey’s podcast series on the relationship between America’s gun culture, citizenship, race, and masculinity, which features Richard Slotkin, the Olin Professor of English at Wesleyan University, and the man whom I would like to nominate as the Dean of American Violence Studies.  Some of you may know Slotkin through his incredible work on the long, dark history of racialized violence and gun culture in the United States in books such as Regeneration through Violence:  the Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860 (1973), The Fatal Environment:  the Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization (1985), Gunfighter Nation:  the Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America (1992), among other history titles and three historical novels.  No other scholar has researched violence, firearms, and America’s frontier mythology across such an enormous span of time and space. Continue Reading »

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January 25th 2013
DVR alert: Historiann in re-runs this weekend on C-SPAN 3.

Posted under American history & childhood & class & Gender & Intersectionality & local news & race & students & the body & women's history

I’ve been informed that my lecture on stays, material culture, and early American women’s history will air again this weekend on C-SPAN 3:  Saturday at 11:20 a.m., Sunday at 6:20 a.m. (for the after-hours crowd, I guess, or the extremely bored parents of insanely early-rising infants), and Monday morning at 7:20, EST.

Of course, the streaming video is still available, at any hour of the day or night that suits you.

For the real costume history junkies among you:  check out this video of a woman dressing another one in Ursuline choir nun habit.  (Follow that link, then click the link on the right side of the page under “Vidéos” that says, “L’habit religieux des Ursulines de Québec.”)  It’s in French, as it’s on a website assembled by Laval University in Québec, but even non-French speakers can get the gist.  Continue Reading »

9 Comments »

January 14th 2013
The first rule of white club

Posted under American history & race

Why do white people write as though “the South” is comprised only of white people?

A friend of mine, interviewing candidates for a fellowship, once complained that students trained at Yale always wrote “southern history” this way, in the tradition of C. Vann Woodward:  exclusive of African Americans.  My sense is that it’s only a matter of time for white conservative southerners, who will eventually be outnumbered by white northern in-migration, Mexican and Central American immigration, and African American re-migration as the great-grandchildren of the Great Migration return to their ancestors’ native land.

History is powerful, probably more powerful in the American South than in other American regions, so this will likely take the majority of the present century, but the shift is already well under way.  Continue Reading »

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January 12th 2013
A dumb and dishonest view of American history education in Texas

Posted under American history & class & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & race & students

Simple arithmetic foils dumb report!

Via Inside Higher Ed, we learned yesterday that the National Association of “Scholars” has issued a report on the alleged dominance of race, class, and gender in American history survey classes at both the University of Texas at Austin and at Texas A&M University.  Its analysis, called “Recasting History:  Are Race, Class, and Gender Dominating American History?,” claims that vitally important topics in political, intellectual, and military history (for example) are being ignored because of professors’ insistence on elevating “RCG” topics above all others:

We found that all too often the course readings gave strong emphasis to race, class, or gender (RCG) social history, an emphasis so strong that it diminished the attention given to other subjects in American history (such as military, diplomatic, religious, intellectual history). The result is that these institutions frequently offered students a less-than-comprehensive picture of U.S. history, 5.

The report’s methodology, such as it is, is a laughably incomplete review of just course syllabi and web pages to determine faculty research interests in “RCG” topics, as the NAS calls it:  “[W]e divided course readings and faculty interests into 11 broad content categories well established in the discipline,” 10.  So, how do the course reading assignments in UT and TAMU American history courses break down?  Here are their numbers, found on p. 16 in the report.  I’ve taken the numbers from a chart and arranged the above topics in descending order in their appearance in course readings on syllabi: Continue Reading »

51 Comments »

January 10th 2013
Joe Scarborough is right

Posted under American history & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & race & unhappy endings & wankers & women's history

This time, anyway.  The President’s cabinet is a total sausage party, and it’s getting even whiter too now with the resignation of Hilda Solis.  I guess women just can’t keep up with the boys in the weekly pickup hoops games.

Binders full of hypocrisy, anyone?

9 Comments »

January 8th 2013
The Full Crazy

Posted under American history & Gender & Intersectionality & race & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness

Inside the mind of a Second Amendment rights absolutist who believes that the right to “keep and bear arms” empowers Americans to take up arms against the state, among several other charmingly evidence-free beliefs.  I don’t think I’d ever say this in my lifetime, but kudos to Piers Morgan for allowing all of us to see, hear, and smell the crazy.  (And of course, he’s a 9/11 Truther, and just as angry as a Scientologist about psychopharmacology.  You’ve heard of the Full ClevelandThis is the Full Crazy.)

Something else I’d never thought I’d write:  Alan Dershowitz is right, and good for him for reminding us that not all Americans look like that crazy guy, and that we’re still Americans if read the Second Amendment differently (as in the not-crazy way.)

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January 3rd 2013
A conversation with Chauncey DeVega about guns, masculinity, and the white violent crime epidemic; Gerda Lerner’s life and death; and why I’m okay with skipping the AHA (again!)

Posted under American history & childhood & class & conferences & European history & Gender & Intersectionality & race & women's history

Chauncey DeVega called me up a few weeks ago to talk about the Newtown murders, and in particular about the deep historical connection between white masculinity and firearms ownership.  We also talked about why Americans can have very different perceptions of physical safety, their own rights, and American history itself.  In any case, you can eavesdrop on our conversation: it’s available here at We Are Respectable Negroes and at the Daily Kos as well.  You can also access the interview here directly and either listen to it or download the mp3.  As you will hear, Chauncey is a very smart guy, and I struggled to keep up with him intellectually.  I had a great time, and will eagerly listen to all of the interviews he’s podcasting on his blog.

In other news:  Gerda Lerner, the pathbreaking women’s historian, died yesterday at age 92 (h/t to cgeye on the blog and Indyanna via a private e-mail for tipping me off.)  I for one am glad that her connection to Communism is right there on page 1 of her New York Times obituary–Betty Friedan might be rolling over in her grave about the prominent discussion of the CP, but can’t we be okay already with the truth of the historical connections between Communism and other mid-twentieth century Progressive movements like Civil Rights and feminism?  Continue Reading »

27 Comments »

December 26th 2012
Historiann, archived

Posted under American history & childhood & class & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & local news & race & students & the body & women's history

Hi, friends!  I hope you’re enjoying a lovely holiday and/or winter vacation.  Several of you have e-mailed me or left questions in the comments here on the blog about whether the lecture I recorded for C-SPAN, “A Pair of Stays,” would be archived or available as a podcast.  The answer to both questions is yes, so here are the relevant links:

 

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