Women's History Month book club: Judith Bennett's "History Matters" Part III at Tenured Radical

bennetthistorymatters2Tenured Radical has posted her essay for Part III of our discussion of Judith Bennett’s History Matters, where she discusses premodern history, the academic job market’s bias towards the modern, and Bennett’s call for women’s historians to write more “lesbian-like” history.  The conversation is happening there now, so come on over and join in the fun!  (If you haven’t read them already, see part I by Notorious, Ph.D. here, and see my contribution, part II, here.) 

Sister bloggers, don’t forget TR’s announcement that the Journal of Women’s History wants submissions for their roundtable on “Feminism, Blogging, and the Historical Profession.”  See the CFP after the jump.

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"LOL! You're fat!" Self-hating self-promotion and the future of the G.O.P.


Meghan McCain

24 year-old Meghan McCain was one of the few bright spots of her father John McCain’s presidential campaign last year, and she’s deeply concerned about what she sees as the Republican party’s lack of message for young people.  (And personally, I think she’s right–although it’s not like the Democrats have all that many prominent young leaders in their camp, either.)  Well, 44 year-old talk radio host Laura Ingraham has decided that a trenchant critique of Megan McCain’s ideas is beyond her, so she has resorted to name-calling, as in, McCain is “too plus sized to be a cast member on the television show The Real World.”  Nice.  Well, this is what you get when you advance the eminently sane argument that Ann Coulter is a nutter, not to mention an ineffective spokesperson for selling the G.O.P. to the younger generation:  ” I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time. . . . if figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off, then they are definitely turning off other members of my generation as well. She. . . appeal[s] to the most extreme members of the Republican Party—but they are dying off, becoming less and less relevant to the party structure as a whole.” 

McCain is correct–the G.O.P. has a major youth problem, and based on conversations with my students, jumping up and down about gay marriage and Bill Clinton’s sex life in the 1990s is, shall we say, not the way to go, my friends.  The majority of people in their twenties don’t even understand, let along share, the animosity towards gay people and gay marriage that motivates the older end of the Republican base, and please recall–even 29 year-olds today were only eighteen when Clinton was impeached.  For better or worse, they just don’t care about the signal event that made the careers of right-wing pundits like Ingraham and Coulter.  Continue reading

Historiann.com EXCLUSIVE! Ruth Karras answers your questions, dishes some more

Ruth Mazo Karras returns today to answer some of the questions left in the comments to her previous post about publishing in Gender and History, whose North American headquarters have recently moved to the History Department at the University of Minnesota.  Ruth is a distinguished medieval European historian who serves as one of three North American co-editors of Gender and History, along with Sarah Chambers (colonial Latin America) and Regina Kunzel (U.S. History).  Today she answers your questions and dishes some more:  about choosing the right venue for your work, and how to list articles not yet published on your C.V. with greater precision.

ruthkarras2Thanks for all your kind comments on my post about publishing in Gender and History.  I’m glad some of you found it useful advice for publishing in humanities journals in general, too.

Magistra wanted to know whether G & H has any statistics on how often different articles are read.  We do have stats on frequency of downloads.  Unfortunately I only have hardcopy, it’s in my office, and we’re on break.  I can tell you that there aren’t any medieval articles in the top 10.  There is one early American article near the top of the list that sticks in my mind:  Toby Ditz, “The New Men’s History and the Peculiar Absence of Gendered Power:  Some Remedies from Early American Gender History.”  Many of the most frequently downloaded articles are like Ditz’s in that they are very methodologically or theoretically oriented; the ones that focus more closely on research findings don’t appeal to as wide an audience, although that doesn’t mean we don’t publish them.

I agree with Bennett that it is important for scholars working on earlier periods to be part of the conversation in women’s and gender history (and history of sexuality, which strict Foucauldian constructionists will tell you didn’t exist before modernity).  True story:  when I became president of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, I had a long-time member tell me Continue reading

J'accuse, or, I got yer class warfare right here, pal.

jaccuseIs anyone else tired of the “we’re all to blame for this mess” meme that has been deployed by the people principally responsible for the ongoing financial meltdown?  Here’s an especially cutesy version of it by Joel Stein–don’t blame the immediate past President of the U.S., don’t blame the bankers, blame people who bought “tasting menus and backyard bouncy castles”–that is, Jane and Joe Q. Middle-Class Public.

It’s terribly fashionable these days to ridicule people for being “upside-down” in mortgages for houses that can’t be sold at any price these days.  I know that my flabber was regularly gasted by stories of people who make about what I do getting mortgages for $300,00 and $400,000 homes.  But we hear very little about why residential real estate went up so much in the 2000s, and why homes that could be had in the $150,000-$200,000 range in some neighborhoods nearly doubled in price in less than a decade (and make that “nearly tripled” in some places in California.) 

The key here is that it was only some neighborhoods that went through the roof, and my guess is that  much of the speculation was driven by the parental frenzy to live in a “good” school district.   Continue reading

Historiann.com EXCLUSIVE! Publishing in "Gender and History," by co-editor Ruth Karras

ruthkarras1Today, we’ve got a special guest blogger, Ruth Mazo Karras, who is writing in her capacity as one of the new North American co-editors of Gender and History.  Many of you may know her because of her record as a leading medieval European historian and historian of gender and sexuality for more than two decades.  She is the author of Slavery and Society in Medieval Scandinavia (1988), Common Women:  Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England (1996), From Boys to Men:  Formations of Masculinity in Late Medieval Europe (2003), Sexuality in Medieval Europe:  Doing Unto Others (2005), and most recently, Law and the Illicit in Medieval Europe, co-edited with Joel Kaye and E. Ann Matter (2008).  She wants all of you women’s and gender historians and historians of sexuality to submit your articles for consideration, and in this post, she walks you through Gender and History’s editorial process.  My guess is that those of you who are new to academia will find it an extremely useful overview of how to get a journal article published.  I’m not so new myself, but I always find it helpful to know what I can expect from a journal, so there may be something here to tempt even you world-weary old pros.

Please submit your comments and questions in the thread below–Ruth has promised to read them over and respond to them in a separate post next week, but we can also use the thread to talk over your issues, problems, and advice regarding academic publication, especially in journals.  I think it’s wonderful that Ruth is interested in doing some guest posts here on behalf of G & H–and I hope that many of you will be encouraged to send something in.

ghParticularly because the discussion of Judith Bennett’s History Matters here earlier this week and at Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar last week drew many comments from people who work in earlier periods, I asked Historiann if I could put in a plug for a journal that is definitely not afraid of the distant past:  Gender & History.   I’d like to encourage all you historians of women, gender, and/or sexuality-or scholars in other fields who do historical work-to consider submitting your work to G & H.  As we say on the web site:  “Spanning epochs and continents, Gender & History examines changing conceptions of gender, and maps the dialogue between femininities, masculinitiesand their historical contexts.  The journal publishes rigorous and readable articles both on particular episodes in gender history and on broader methodological questions which have ramifications for the discipline as a whole.” 

G & H has a slightly different structure than many journals.  It is published by Wiley-Blackwell in Oxford and has two separate editorial offices, one in North America and one in the UK.  All book reviews are handled through the UK office.  The current UK co-editors are Karen Adler and Ross Balzaretti of the University of Nottingham.  You can submit articles to either editorial office; it doesn’t matter where you yourself are located.   Sarah Chambers, Regina Kunzel, and I, at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, became the North American co-editors in September 2008.  My field is medieval Europe; Sarah’s is colonial Latin America; and Regina’s is 20th century U.S. 

I’ll try to answer here a few of the questions you may have about journal publication in general, and this journal in particular.  If you have further questions, please post them in the comments, and Historiann has promised to let me do another guest post in a few days to respond.  Continue reading

Of heresy, fun, and gatekeeping speech acts

It's. . . The Bishop!

It's. . . The Bishop!

Go read Prof. Zero’s “A Heretical Post,” subtitled, “writing is fun, and publishing is easy.”  Here’s a sample:

The book I am reading now has one of those prefaces I dislike, that list all the funding, leave time, help, and culinary support the author had. Without all of this they could never have taken the first step toward formulating their book. This kind of preface makes sure we know the writer has an élite lifestyle, and intimates that writing is impossible without that. These prefaces thus perform a gatekeeping speech act: if you are not in my social stratum, you cannot write. But it is not true that one cannot write while also doing one’s own research and cooking, and it is not true that one cannot do one’s own editing.

.          .          .          .        .          .          .          .          .          .          .       

My theory on it was that the life of the mind was fascinating, being a research professional was interesting, teaching was fine, and service/administration was all in a day’s work. I had also noted that fieldwork = adventure travel = fun, and because interacting with other intellectually oriented people = fun.

What I did not expect to encounter was the investment of so many professors in suffering and/or false stoicism, and the common idea that suffering = research. I also did not expect to have to work with the assumption that writing + publishing = pain you must endure for survival’s sake only. Continue reading

The Van Dykes, and the generation gap among lesbians

The author on her (lesbian) wedding day

The author on her (lesbian) wedding day

Ariel Levy is now a staff writer for The New Yorker.  (When did this happen?  Why wasn’t I told first?)  Let’s face it:  The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books–they’re still Sausage Parties, but they seem to be even moreso with a vengeance in the past decade or so.  So, it’s big news that the New Yorker has hired a feminist writer to write professionally about feminism and gender issues.  Hooray! 

A few weeks back, Levy had a great article about women’s history and LGBTQ history that is a must-read for women’s history month.  She writes about a band of lesbian separatists who imagined a different kind of life and family for themselves, and lived their dreams (out of a van, so they called themselves the Van Dykes) for a few years in the 1970s on the road in North America.  It’s a familiar story to anyone with any familiarity with American utopian movements–from the Shakers, to the Oneida community, to Battle Creek, and so on:  idealism and a real hope for a different world succeeds for a while, but then fails because they lose the zeal of the founding generation and/or they’re driven apart by sexual jealously.  The charismatic leader of the Van Dykes, Lamar Van Dyke, admits that modern lesbianism seems mystifyingly conformist, while Van Dyke’s determination to live her life on her own terms elicits Levy’s admiration: Continue reading