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!)

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

Western Association of Women Historians: proposals due Friday, September 14

The 2013 annual conference of the Western Association of Women Historians will be at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon May 16-18.  Individual paper and panel proposals are due Friday, September 14!  Get your proposals in soon–the CFP and the forms are available here. The call is utterly broad, and remember:  you don’t have to live in the U.S. or Canadian West in order to join or participate:

All fields and periods of history are welcome, as are roundtables on issues of interest to the historical profession.  In order to foster discussions across national boundaries, we particularly encourage the submission of panels organized along thematic rather than national lines.  All proposals will be vetted by a transnational group of scholars, and preference will be given to discussions of any topic across national boundaries.  That said, single papers and panel proposals that fall within a single national or regional context will be given full consideration. . . [W]e particularly encourage proposols that include premodern time periods.

Who wouldn’t want a trip to Portlandia to round out the academic year?  (Duh!!!)  It’s a great place to meet people, network, and feel supported in your work.  And this year will feature a very much deserved tribute to the career of Lois Banner.  Continue reading

Liberty’s Daughers and Sons: Celebrating the Legacy of Mary Beth Norton

The conference planned in honor of Mary Beth Norton’s career now has a program posted online, as well as new information about accomodations for the big weekend, September 28 and 29, 2012.

This could be your chance to meet Tenured Radical, who’s chairing the first panel on Friday morning the 28th! Alas, I will not be able to be there myself, much as I had hoped. Continue reading

Profiting from our neo-liberal Rheeality

Kiss my chaps!

Michelle Rhee, putative “reformer” of public schools, will be speaking at the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities meeting this June, for a reported speaker’s fee of about $50,000.  (Rheediculous!  But then, you know that the APSCU doesn’t have to be careful with their money–they’re only spending your U.S. taxpayer dollars, friends, as for-profit unis are the welfare queens of the higher education world.

Now, maybe she’s going to administer for-profit unis the kind of dope-slaps she delivered on a regular basis to public school teachers in Washington, D.C., during her brief, troubled era as the public schools chancellor there.  After all, they have abysmal rates of alumni employment, leaving their students with just a crushing load of student debt without even the fond memories of tailgating, Thursday-night keggers, fraternity hazing rituals, or having after-hours consensual sex in a History seminar room.  (Talk about a wicked cheat!) Continue reading

Dressing for a job interview? Just dress for the conference.

Lee Skallerup Bessette offers some good advice for people on the academic job market in “Dressing for Success” without blowing a lot of dough.  Her advice:  make sure that whatever you wear fits well and is in good condition, and she offers a lot of ideas and resources for building a professional wardrobe without a lot of money.  However, she focuses a lot on “suits” for some reason, when I personally don’t think I’ve worn anything that can be called a “suit” for at least 6-7 years, and most men in my field don’t wear suits either.  Beyond the conference, as some commenters note, we almost never teach in suits.  The men in my department tend to wear long-sleeved shirts and ties when they teach, but most of the men professors in other departments wear jeans or khaki pants with a fleecy vest and hiking boots.  (That’s the preferred look around here, anyway, but it’s probably more casual on average than other parts of the country might be.)

My advice to job candidates is to dress to fit in with the best-dressed folks at the professional conference where they’ll be interviewed.  After all, you’ll be spending more time on average hanging out in the book exhibit and lobby and attending sessions than you will be spending in interviews, and you’ll want to look and feel reasonably comfortable all day long.  And fitting in is what you want to convince your potential future colleagues you can do. Continue reading