January 10th 2015
I don’t want to say this twice.

Posted under: art, fluff

youthere

6 Comments »

January 8th 2015
Books for babes, and more SoCal beauty for those of you still suffering from the Alberta Clipper

Posted under: American history, art, book reviews, captivity, childhood, Gender, race, women's history

children'sbookshelfToday’s post is a query from a reader about children’s books related to one’s field of history.

Dear Historiann,

I don’t know if this would interest you, but I’m stumped on my own. A colleague is having a baby, and another colleague is hosting a department shower. The host has requested that we each, in addition to any other gift, bring a book for the baby’s library. Specifically, something related to our field of history.

I think it is a lovely idea, but I have no idea if there are good, current children’s books in my field, which, broadly construed, is American Women’s History. Do you think your blog readers would have ideas?  

Would this interest me?  It’s been a subject that, for a number of mundane reasons, has been at the front of my mind for at least the last decade. Continue Reading »

29 Comments »

January 7th 2015
We are all Charlie

Posted under: European history, unhappy endings

noussommestous

A shocking assault on liberty of expression and human life today in Paris at the offices of Charlie Hebdo.  What weak faith these killers must have if they believe their Prophet must be avenged because of a French satirical magazine.

Oui, Je suis Charlie.  Nous sommes tous Charlie.

5 Comments »

January 5th 2015
History versus literature: a ceasefire at last?

Posted under: American history, art, bad language, happy endings, jobs, local news

bookgunDoes it seem to you that in the past few years, we’ve reached a kind of rapprochement among historians and literary scholars?

The last time I had a long-term fellowship–which I’m embarrassed to admit was I was fifteen years ago already!–it seemed to me that there was a great deal of hostility between historians and literature scholars.  This was at the Newberry Library in the winter and spring of 1999, and I recall a number of not-very-helpful comments from literature people to historians along the lines of “you can’t say this!!!”  Similarly, there were rude interjections from historians, who would inform a literature scholar that “you can’t do that!!!”

I remember being lectured by an only-slightly-senior colleague in an English department about my reading of captivity narratives, and when I complained about what I heard as pretty unhelpful advice to another literary scholar, I was informed that I was “just being defensive.”  (And maybe I was.  But why was that?  Was it because I was being talked to like I wasn’t an expert in my own field and I hadn’t won a long-term fellowship on my merits?  Ya think???)  I remember the frustration of a literary scholar who was writing a book about representations and historical experiences of a particular subject in both colonial America and the modern (20th century) U.S., and was skipping the entire nineteenth century who was informed by historians at the Newberry Library a few years later that “you can’t do that.”

Clearly, the historians were disturbed by the implications of her argument for their sacred cow, Change Over Time, but as a literary scholar she doesn’t need to worry about that, just as I as a historian didn’t have to write my book like a literature scholar would. Continue Reading »

22 Comments »

January 3rd 2015
Gender, history, and best-sellers

Posted under: American history, Gender, publication, women's history

See more brilliance at www.manfeels-park.com

See more brilliance at www.manfeels-park.com

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a so-called “Founding Father” in possession of a good fortune must be in want of the twentieth biography written by a man in this century!

Why do I say this? I was alerted to this interesting fact sheet via Marla Miller on Twitter yesterday.  Go ahead and click it–I’ll wait. Continue Reading »

21 Comments »

December 30th 2014
Tomorrowland is today! On fresh starts, feminist protest, and the citizens of Greater Shut-upistan

Posted under: American history, art, bad language, book reviews, captivity, class, European history, Gender, happy endings, Intersectionality, jobs, O Canada, the body, women's history

tomorrowland

It looks like I completely failed to blog a single word last week.  Once this blog starts to feel like another job, I’ll pull the plug, so in the meantime I’ll enjoy my off-line life when I will!  I hope you’re all having lovely winter breaks/holiday seasons/time away from the classroom/unstressful time with family and friends.

Two weeks ago, I sent my book off to begin its long and winding journey to eventual publication.  So now what do I do with the rest of my sabbatical?  I’ve got some fun ideas that I want to explore that have to do with women’s bodies, material culture, fashion, and citizenship in the Early U.S. Republic, and there are more sources at the Huntington Library than I can probably process in the next five and a half months.  But I can dream, can’t I?

While it may seem perverse, I hope that I don’t see any readers’ reports for at least a few months, because then I won’t feel obligated to respond to them and make a plan with an editor.  I want some time to dream and play, and to think about the second half of my scholarly career.  Tempus Fugit, my friends.  I’ve now written two books that several people told me I couldn’t write, shouldn’t write, and/or was stupid to write because everybody already knows that, nobody cares, and I should just stop talking about my ideas. Continue Reading »

9 Comments »

December 19th 2014
A Very Special Christmas

Posted under: happy endings, local news

sandiegoxmas

Christmas trees on the beach are A Thing here.

Because it’s 65 degrees and sunny I refuse to admit that Christmas is one week away.  The stress of the holidays just does not exist for me this year.  (This is also probably due to the fact that I’m not working my usual day job, and the fact that my book is off to the editor now, so this is a Very Special Christmas for me!)  For the past six weeks, I’ve been walking around Pasadena and San Marino thinking, “isn’t that cute?  They think it’s Christmas!”   Continue Reading »

14 Comments »

December 16th 2014
Christmas crowds: they must be good for something, right?

Posted under: American history, book reviews, European history, fluff, happy endings, local news, publication, women's history

sleepingbeautyxmas

Crowds of peasants amble through Sleeping Beauty’s castle

A reader writes:

Dear Historiann,

For a Christmas gift exchange, I’m buying a present for someone I don’t know very well . When I asked someone who knew her much better what would work, I was told, books, and history – “not too academic, but not dumbed down”. She’s read a lot about the (American) Civil War, and history generally. So I would like to crowdsource my Christmas shopping to your readers. What recent books would you put in the category of not dumbed down, but not too academic, interesting to a curious informed reader?

Well, friends:  what do you think?  I assigned Drew Faust’s This Republic of Suffering:  Death and the American Civil War (2008) to a senior seminar a few years ago, and it went over really well.  I found the book fascinating and *I* could see the interventions she made in the historiography, but I don’t think they would distract a non-academic reader.

(Whether or not one would want to give a book about death for Christmas–well, that’s another question, isn’t it?  Maybe I should brace myself for a follow-up Dear Historiann letter, in which a reader wonders why a Secret Satan Santa gave her a book about death and what it might mean about their relationship.)   Continue Reading »

20 Comments »

December 11th 2014
We work hard all day, but our work is play!

Posted under: art, childhood, fluff, happy endings, jobs

Ah, sabbatical:

(That should be Santa’s Elves.) How can I ever return to my day job? Maybe I’ll try to pull a Runaway Bunny, and turn myself into a rare book to hide on the shelves of the Huntington Library, and hope that my Department Chair and colleagues don’t disguise themselves as librarians and pull me off the shelf! Continue Reading »

4 Comments »

December 9th 2014
Just another dull day at the Huntington

Posted under: fluff, happy endings

Huntingtonshoot

 

Historiann, Carla Mazzio, Mark Harmon, Kathleen Wilson, and Susan Juster

 

11 Comments »

« Prev - Next »