January 26th 2014
Posted under: American history, class, Gender, Intersectionality, jobs, race, women's history
The Republicans–they just can’t help themselves! First, we hear of Two-Buck Huck’s “Uncle Sugar” comments, and then we see that other Republicans are accusing Texas Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis of dishonesty because although she lived in a trailer park with her eldest daughter, she didn’t live long enough in a trailer park; and because her second husband helped send her to law school, we shouldn’t buy her hard-luck tale of scrappy bootstrapping. Liza Mundy has some thoughts on the Davis fracas in Politico:
The kerfuffle began last weekend, with the publication of a profile in the Dallas Morning News that filled out gaps in her story, and continued all week as Davis was spun by her critics as a social climber, an ingrate, a neglectful mother. She has been chastised for starting out in her marriage as a dependent (golddigger!), and finishing it as a lawyer so financially successful that she was the one paying child support to her ex-husband (careerist harpy!).
The exact same things could be said about Bill Clinton and Barack Obama but no one ever writes this way about male pols because our culture presumes that men are entitled to claim the benefit of women’s labor and pretend that everything they accomplish belongs to their efforts only. Both Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton were the high-earning heavy-lifters in their marriages before their husbands ran for president.
[Davis] is being subjected to a double standard. Behavior that would be unremarkable in a man—leaving your kids for prolonged periods in the capable hands of your spouse, as Barack Obama did, as did zillions of other fathers who campaigned for public office—is somehow suspect, even unnatural, in a mother. Following your fundamental nature; learning that there is a whole big world out there; adjusting your aspirations upward; getting some help from people who believe in you, people whose well-being is entangled with your own: this is the stuff of the typical American success story, the American dream. It’s a story we fall in love with, except, apparently, when the dreamer happens to be female. Continue Reading »
January 24th 2014
Posted under: American history, Gender, jobs, local news, students, technoskepticism, unhappy endings, wankers
Booted and rarin’ to go!
Who’s knows what you want, what you really really want? I do, and what you want is a round-up, of course. It’s been too long. Take a gander, friends:
- MOOC meltdown! (Quelle suprise!) It’s almost as if I know what I’m talking about! From Inside Higher Ed: “A professor’s plan to let students in his Coursera massive open online course moderate themselves went awry over the holidays as the conversation, in his words, “very quickly disintegrated into a snakepit of personal venom, religious bigotry and thinly disguised calls for violence.” But some students have accused him of abusive and tyrannical behavior in his attempts to restore civility.” Cue Nelson Muntz. I suppose there’s something to be learned from internet hatefests, but I don’t think it should be for college credit.
- Speaking of college credit: check out this experiment in using Twitter to engage students in survey classes run by my colleague Robert Jordan. He writes, “The students, primarily freshman, have formed groups of 10-15 individuals tasked with the goal of a producing and publishing a work of digital public history via Twitter over the course of the semester. . . . [S]tudents quickly learn to discern an academic from a non-academic source; work collectively to determine the best narrative structure for the publication of their particular topic; develop an awareness of the opportunities and challenges inherent to communicating information through digital media; utilize digital and physical library resources; construct Chicago Manual of Style-formatted bibliographies for their sources; and become “knowledgeable users” of several digital technologies.” I’d say that’s pretty darn good for students in a 100-level survey course. You can find Robert on Twitter at @rjordan_csu–this semester he’s offering a new undergraduate course in digital history that will in part be co-taught by my colleague, Sarah Payne, who’s teaching a digital history methods course at the graduate level.
- As my late high school French teacher used to say, run, don’t walk over to Vanity Fair to read Joshua Prager’s portrait of Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” behind the key Supreme Court decision on abortion 41 years ago in Roe v. Wade. I’ve heard the moral of this story before–about McCorvey’s ideological flip-flop from pro-choice to anti-abortion, and the argument that McCorvey isn’t so much a political activist as an opportunist. That’s probably not new to most of you either–and really, I don’t blame McCorvey for attempting to profit from her own exploitation, considering that she doesn’t have a lot else going for her. No, I was more interested Continue Reading »
January 23rd 2014
Posted under: American history, Gender, GLBTQ, students
From a correspondent:
Call for Papers: “Religion and Sexual Revolutions in the United States”
Graduate Student Conference, May 9, 2014
John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis
The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis invites paper proposals for a graduate student conference on the topic of “Religion and Sexual Revolutions in the United States.” We are interested in graduate student papers that focus on any aspect of religious responses and/or contributions to changing sexual cultures in the United States, from the colonial period to the present. While we expect the conference to generate insights on the sexual revolutions that grew out of the 1960s and 1970s, we also invite submissions that interpret the idea of “sexual revolution” more broadly, to include for example: the sexual politics of new religious movements during the First or Second Great Awakening; religious responses to the “flapper” and “pansy” crazes of the 1920s; or religious voices in the feminist “sex wars” of the 1980s. We particularly welcome proposals that complicate existing narratives about religious conservatism and sexual politics, that highlight leftist and centrist religious responses to sexual revolution, or that emphasize the contributions and reactions of minority religious communities and new religious movements to shifting sexual cultures and debates. Continue Reading »
January 22nd 2014
Posted under: American history, bad language, jobs, local news, unhappy endings
Time for some stall-muckin’!
This appears to be Baa Ram U.’s management strategy right now. But first the good news from the Pueblo Chieftan (h/t Jonathan Rees): Sociology proffie Tim McGettigan’s access to email has been restored, but his ability to send out mass emails is currently blocked. (Chancellor Michael Martin, CSU Deputy General Counsel Johnna Doyle, and CSU-Pueblo president Lesley Di Mare have never heard of twentieth-century technologies like gmail, hotmail, yahoo, or early 21st-century technologies like blogs or Twitter.) As Rees says, anything less than an abject apology for comparing him to mass-murderers and a full restoration of his email privileges is unacceptable. Engaging or arguing with your political opposition is fine, and even welcome; petty over-retaliation is not. It only makes you look weak and stupid.
I agree with Rees. CSU needs to back down entirely and apologize. Let’s review:
- McGettigan sends group email suggesting parallels between Martin’s plan to fire faculty and staff to the Ludlow Massacre.
- CSU-Pueblo suspends McGettigan’s email access, compromising his ability to do his job
- CSU-Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare releases a statement claiming that “Considering the lessons we’ve all learned from Columbine, Virginia Tech, and more recently Arapahoe High School, I can only say that the security of our students, faculty, and staff are our top priority. Continue Reading »
January 21st 2014
Posted under: American history, class, jobs, local news, race, students, unhappy endings, wankers
Sorry to be out of touch over the long weekend, friends. I’ve been sick, and was made even sicker by this article forwarded by a colleague:
On Friday, many at Colorado State University-Pueblo nervously awaited word from administrators on exactly how many jobs would be eliminated there. Officials had warned that the number could be as high as 50 — a prospect that angered many students and professors at the university who dispute administrators’ assertions that the institution faces a deficit requiring layoffs.
Timothy McGettigan, a professor of sociology, sent out an email to students and faculty members in which he urged them to fight the cuts. His subject line was “Children of Ludlow,” referring to a 1914 massacre of striking coal miners in southern Colorado. McGettigan compared the way the central system administration was treating Pueblo to the bloody way coal mine owners treated their workers 100 years ago. He went on to say that, just like a century ago, those without power were being mistreated.
He said that the announcement that afternoon would reveal who was on Chancellor Michael Martin’s “hit list,” and said that the chancellor was “putting a gun to the head” of those who would lose their jobs, “destroying the livelihood of the people that he is terminating” and “incinerating the best opportunity that southern Coloradans have to earn their own little piece of the American dream.”
“On Monday afternoon, a spokeswoman for Colorado State-Pueblo sent an email to Inside Higher Ed saying that McGettigan had violated the policy on use of electronic communications. Further, she released a statement from President Lesley Di Mare, in which she invoked recent incidents of violence in education. “Considering the lessons we’ve all learned from Columbine, Virginia Tech, and more recently Arapahoe High School, I can only say that the security of our students, faculty, and staff are our top priority,” Di Mare said. Continue Reading »
January 15th 2014
Posted under: American history, happy endings, jobs, local news, O Canada, publication, women's history
I would have made a poor nun!
Last autumn I wrote a blog post in which I described my plan to finish a draft of my book by the end of 2013. My scheme involved waking up at 4 a.m. several days a week to write for a few hours while the house was dark and quiet. Well friends, I have failed to do that, but in many respects I consider the experiment a success. Furthermore, I learned some things that may be of use to the rest of you. To wit:
- I did not complete a draft of the entire six-chapter book, but I produced a pretty polished draft of chapter 4 and I have something called chapter 5, which is probably better than I would have done without even trying this early morning experiment. So, I would say that I have about 5/6 of the book drafted, and would therefore give myself a B for effort and a B-/C+ for achievement.
- The main reason I didn’t finish all six chapters is that I pooped out after about five weeks of very steady writing and engagement. I caught a cold in early October, went to a conference, and then midterm papers and exams came in. In early November I had a trip out of town, and then it was Thanksgiving and I caught another cold, and that’s where October and November went. And then December, with final exams and papers and grading, not to mention the rest of the holidays and family visiting? You can imagine.
- Biggest lesson learned? The 4 to 6 a.m. writing experiment is a great thing to do for two weeks or a month at a time, but expecting to keep up that schedule amidst the demands of my day job was unrealistic. Continue Reading »
January 12th 2014
Posted under: American history, childhood, Gender, happy endings, jobs, students, women's history
Eric Foner, a distinguished historian of the Reconstruction-era of the United States, makes a terrific point in an interview with David Cutler at The Atlantic. (My apologies if the title of the article is his takeaway point: “‘You Have to Know History to Actually Teach It.’” ) To wit, Foner says:
I tell my students nowadays who are in graduate school and going on to become teachers—the number one thing is to have a real passion for your subject and to be able to convey that to your students. Obviously the content is important, but that’s not as unusual as being able to really convey why you think history is important. I think that’s what inspires students.
In a follow-up question, Foner explains this in terms of the deficits in historical education he sees at the high school level:
The first thing I would say is that we have to get away from the idea that any old person can teach history. A lot of the history teachers in this country are actually athletic coaches. I mention this in class, and students always say, “Oh yeah, Coach Smith, he taught my history course.” Why? Well, Coach Smith is the football coach, and in the spring he’s not doing much, and they say, “Well, put him in the history course, he can do that.”
They wouldn’t put him in a French course, or a physics course. The number-one thing is, you have to know history to actually teach it. That seems like an obvious point, but sometimes it’s ignored in schools. Even more than that, I think it’s important that people who are teaching history do have training in history. A lot of times people have education degrees, which have not actually provided them with a lot of training in the subject. Continue Reading »
January 10th 2014
Posted under: American history, conferences, Gender, Intersectionality, race, students
From the Call for Papers I received from the American West Center‘s Director Greg Smoak:
“Western Lands, Western Voices,” a three- day interdisciplinary symposium exploring the past, present, and future of public engagement in the Humanities and Social Sciences will be held in Salt Lake City, September 19-21, 2014. The symposium marks the fiftieth anniversary of the University of Utah’s American West Center, the oldest regional studies center of its kind in the West. Our goal is to bring together college/university and community based practitioners for a lively discussion of the place and power of publicly engaged/applied scholarship in the American West.
Subjects: We seek submissions from college and university based scholars, community based organizations and institutions, state and local historical and cultural entities, and indigenous Nations. The symposium will engage diverse fields including history, anthropology, political science, ethnic studies, literature, cultural studies, and the arts. We strongly encourage participants and projects that span disciplinary divides. Submissions from graduate students, early career scholars, and community based scholars are particularly encouraged, as are those that address innovative ways of reaching public audiences. Continue Reading »
January 8th 2014
Posted under: American history, conferences, European history, Gender, GLBTQ, happy endings, Intersectionality, jobs, students, technoskepticism, the body, women's history
Howdy, friends! I spent last weekend at the American Historical Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. Here’s what I saw & did, at least the not-unbloglich parts.
- Tenured Radical and I had coffee on Friday and then dinner on Saturday and spent the whole time figuring out how to silence and oppress more junior scholars, in-between her multiple appearances on the program and her incessant blogging and tweeting about the conference. Honestly, those of you who want to take her on had better stock up on your Power Bars and Emergen-C, because her energy and enthusiasm for her work online and as a public intellectual are utterly overwhelming. I’m ten years younger than she is, and I’m already at least a week behind her! For those of you who are interested, see her three blog reports: AHA Day 1: Digital History Workshopalooza, AHA Day 2: Fun With the Humanities, AHA Day 3: Remember the Women, and her always lively Twitter feed. (Excuse me–I have to go have a lie down after just linking to all of that activity.)
- Clever readers will hear echoes of Abigail Adams’s counsel to John Adams in Tenured Radical’s “Remember the Women” blog post. I also keep thinking of that scene from Lena Dunham’s Girls in which the character she plays, Hannah, asks the other women, “Who are the ladies?” (Shosh has been quoting a heterosexual dating advice book aimed at “the ladies,” and Hannah’s question implies that “ladies” is a stupid, made-up, narrow way to talk to real women, who come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and sexualities, etc., and both Hannah and Jessa resent being lumped into the notional category of “ladies”–just click the embedded video below.) That was the essence of Tenured Radical’s question for the women on the “Generations of History” panel she writes about in her AHA Day 3 post when she asked what the panel would have looked like if it had included a lesbian, for example, or even some women for whom marriage and children were never a part of their life plan.
Continue Reading »
January 4th 2014
Posted under: American history, class, Gender, race, unhappy endings, women's history
John Judis lists his top ten American history books. “They’re my favorites; they’re not the best books, because I haven’t read comprehensively, especially in certain periods. It’s much heavier on the history of religion than on social history, and on the Progressive Era than on, say, the Civil War.” Everyone is entitled to her favorite writers and periods of history. Fair enough.
See if you can guess why Historiann has a problem with this list (aside from the fact that the latest publication date on his list is 1988!):
- Perry Miller, Errand into the Wilderness, (1956).
- William McLoughlin, Revivals, Awakenings and Reform, (1978).
- Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, (1969).
- Michael Paul Rogin, Fathers and Children: Andrew Jackson and the Subjugation of the American Indian, (1988).
- Herbert Croly, The Promise of American Life, (1909). Continue Reading »
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