Women’s and gender history has menstrual blood smeared all over it. If you read this post, you too will be contaminated.

George Catlin, “Comanche Village, Women Dressing Robes and Drying Meat,” 1834-35

UPDATED BELOW

I am so tired of reading “new” histories of the North American borderlands and “new” conceptualizations of “empire” that read  just like anything that Francis Parkman or Frederick Jackson Turner ever wrote, except minus the racism.  Now, that “minus the racism” part is important, don’t get me wrong.  But is it really an intervention for which modern historians should be congratulated when we assume that historical Native Americans were rational and had their own politics?

Having read a whack of recent histories that address the Great Basin and Great Plains in the past few years, a region whose economy was based in large part on the trade in bodies and the labor of female slaves from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, I want to hear more about these captive women and less about the men who lead those raids and profit from stealing, raping, exploiting, and/or reselling those women.  Every author alive today makes this point in his book–and yet, that’s just about the extent of his analysis.  I want books written from the perspective of these women and girls, not more books written from the perspective of the dudes on the horses, whether those dudes are European, Euro-American, or Native American.  Didn’t we get enough of those books about the manly exploits of armed and mounted men in the nineteenth century? Continue reading

Question of the day:

Has David Brooks had a stroke?  Or is Joe Nocera or Gail Collins in fact the author of this piece?

Mitt grew up in a modest family. His father had an auto body shop called the American Motors Corporation, and his mother owned a small piece of land, Brazil. He had several boyhood friends, many of whom owned Nascar franchises, and excelled at school, where his fourth-grade project, “Inspiring Actuaries I Have Known,” was widely admired. Continue reading

What chaps my a$$ this week?

I’m so glad you asked.  How about hosting a visit from the President of the United States in the quad next to your office and classroom building during the second week of classes, of course!  This is very exciting for Baa Ram U., as President Obama and the leadership here share the same neoliberal vision for higher education apparently, but for those of us who actually work here and teach face-to-face classes to actual human students with our own voices and physical bodies (for the time being!), what a pain in the a$$!  They’ve already started shutting down the parking lots adjacent to my building, and tomorrow (the day of the visit) we can’t even get into our offices.  They don’t care if we already have IDs and keys–no access, period.  But of course, we’re expected to teach our regularly scheduled classes!  Perfect.

I’ve seen a U.S. President up close (sorta).  Continue reading

GOTADNC!

Leaving campus today, I walked by a car with a Colorado license plate that read “GOTADNC.”  I thought to myself:  someone is advertising that she had an abortion (D & C)?  That’s pretty bold!  Or maybe the car belongs to a gynecologist, even though that doesn’t really make sense?  (As in:  “I just gotta do me some D & Cs!)  Or maybe it belongs to a local Dem pol who’s on her way to the Democratic National Convention?  (Get it?  GO TA DNC?  You betcha!)

So I e-mailed a colleague about this, and she Continue reading

Everybody knows.

As cynical as I try to be, I just can’t be cynical enough. Here’s what I’ve learned so far in our first week back to class at Baa Ram U.:

  • Departments across the university are offering online classes taught by grad student and adjunct labor in order to fund research and professional travel for their regular faculty and grad students.
  • Instead of “unethical” or “scandalous” or “a shocking abrogation of professional and moral values,” this is called “entrepreneurial.”  The money generated by teaching face-to-face classes doesn’t count for anything–the regular faculty have to become drummers and middle-managers of an expanded exploited class of laborers, in addition to doing our regular teaching, research, and service.
  • Apparently, the administrative class at my uni have adopted the values that bankrupted the banking industry:  sell something of dubious and unproven quality or value just to make a buck.  To hell with intellectual or educational values–we’re all about the money, honey! Continue reading

Ayn Ryan: the Gen X pol we deserve? Yes, but hardly the first.

 

Srsly?

Yes.  Yes, he is.  But Historiann must disagree in the strongest possible terms with Noreen Malone’s claim that Ayn Ryan is “the first member of his generation to run on a major party ticket.”  Is our collective historical memory shorter than four years now?  (Oh, the United States of Amnesia!  How we miss you already, Gore Vidal!  I picture you in an afterlife on the set of the Dick Cavett show with fellow guests Norman Mailer, Bill Buckley, and Truman Capote, all of you just as bitchy as ever, forever!) Continue reading

A World of Citizens: Women, History, and the Vision of Linda K. Kerber, October 5-6, 2012

From an e-mail I received recently:

We are pleased to announce that registration for A World of Citizens: Women, History, and the Vision of Linda K. Kerber to be held October 5-6 at the University of Iowa is now available.  Directions for registering for the symposium and banquet, a provisional program, and a link to the fellowship donation pages can be found here.

The theme of this symposium, “A World of Citizens: Women, History, and the Vision of Linda K. Kerber,” draws on important threads in Linda’s work over the decades of her career, and especially on her moving 2007 AHA Presidential Address, “The Stateless as the Citizen’s Other.” As a scholar of the rights, obligations, and complexities of citizenship; as a member of the generation which brought the study of women’s history into college and university curricula; and as the friend and teacher of another generation of historians, Linda’s influence reaches deep into our profession. Continue reading