Holiday roundup: too lazy to post edition

No posts! (How am I still upright?)

Howdy, friends!  I’m still (mostly) on holiday break here, but I thought you might enjoy some thoughts from bloggers more energetic than I am right now.  I hope to be back later this week–I just don’t seem to have any original thoughts to share at the moment.  So, herewith are my recommendations for your bloggy perusals:

Women in Early America: CFP and reminder

Today’s post is a public service announcement that proposals for “Women in Early America,” a workshop jointly sponsored by the William and Mary Quarterly and the University of Southern California-Huntington Library Early Modern Studies Institute, are due Friday, October 15.  This workshop is one in an annual series designed to identify and encourage fresh trends in understanding the history and culture of early North America. 

My original post on this workshop is here.  The conference website with instructions for applying is here.  I’ll just add two things:  first of all, this is a dee-luxe conference.  The setting, the accomodations, the food, and of course the intellectual companionship will be brilliant.  You really shouldn’t miss out, if you have anything at all to say about women’s history.  Secondly, the Call for Papers emphasizes that all of early North America is game, so Mexican and Canadian history is more than welcome.  As Claudio Saunt, Ned Blackhawk, and others have argued, there really is an early American West, too–so think about it and do yourself a favor by applying to this conference. 

For those of you who have never been to the magical, enchanting Huntingon Library and Gardens, here’s a little preview of the wonders that awaits you.  Continue reading

We dwell in possibility

Public History Tour 2010!

Where in the world is Historiann on this summer’s random public history tour?  Well, here’s a clue on the left–some of us dwell in possibility, wherever we go.  I had never visited before, and neither had my subset of the attendees of the Little Berks conference this year, at Mt. Holyoke College.  The Big Berks–otherwise known as the Fifteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, will be at the University of Massachusetts next June.  (Check out that new website!)  The program committee meets tomorrow–so keep your fingers crossed if you submitted a proposal last winter.

So many interesting people are here–the elusive Clio Bluestockingshowed up, and seated herself near me at dinner last night.  (I’ve had a lot of people tell me they’re reading this blog–only compliments so far, but the conference is only half over!)  After dinner last night, Mary Beth Norton and Judith Zinsser spoke about the history of the Berkshire Conference, and the “ladies” who founded it (including the tradition of trillium-spotting and bourbon-drinking.  Unfortunately, threatening thunderstorms and hail had us looking for more indoor-oriented activities today.)  Norton noted that the official name of the organization is the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, not the Berkshire Conference of Women’s Historians, and she lamented that there are very few non-women’s historians who attend any more since the Big Berks conference on women’s history effectively “took over” the identity of the organization. Continue reading

Women's history: we haz it, but does anyone want it?

Good morning, friends–today’s post is a front line dispatch from my faithful correspondent Classy Claude, who is in Washington, D.C. at the Organization of American Historians’ annual meeting.  Yesterday, he attended a star-studded panel, “State of the Field:  History of Women/Gender/Sexuality,” and reports that the panel and the audience ended up discussing the question, “are undergraduates interested at all in women’s history these days?”  Great question, Claude!  Everyone else, read through his report and join in the conversation below.

Classy Claude checking in from the OAH, this year in Washington, DC.  First of all, it is HOT here!  I arrived yesterday and as the plane was coming in for a landing the pilot informed us that the high was 90 degrees.  [Ed. note:  Claude–take off the suit and tie!]  This unseasonable warmth also seems to have produced a remarkably high pollen count.  I went for a run yesterday upon arrival and at the end my eyes were so red and bloodshot that Classy Claude looked more like Cannabis Claude.  And the sneezing! 

But on to matters historical… Most of my day was filled up with grad school friend reunions but I did make it to one of the OAH’s “state of the field panels,” this one of particular interest both to myself and other Historiann readers: Women/Gender/Sexuality.  The panel was moderated by Robert Self and was comprised of Nancy Cott, Nayan Shah, Stephanie McCurry, Regina Kunzel (who was ill and whose comments were delivered by Self), and Brenda Stevenson (Iris Stevenson, a DC attorney, delivered the paper that her sister, recovering from an ankle injury, was unable to give herself). Continue reading

Historiann hits the Old Northwest Territory, again!

Sorry for the radio silence these last few days–I’ve been on the road, in the air, and on the ground at Michigan State University to give a talk about my current research project and to discuss my book with a class here.  (More news–including a podcast!–coming soon.)  I’m always happy to visit what we in Colorado call the East:  it’s a beautiful spring here, with lovely green grass and flowers bursting open everywhere I look.  The accomodations are far from spartan–in fact, they and the hospitality here have been downright stately.  And who wouldn’t love to visit a university campus with its own dairy and retail store? 

Fragrant white magnolias

Scented white magnolias!

The former Michigan Agricultural College has a lot in common with Baa Ram U., which was originally called Colorado Agricultural College (“for Eighth Grade graduates!”)  Our Deans and Provosts like to call MSU a “peer institution,” but from my perspective in the History department, that’s ridiculous:  MSU’s history department has 54 faculty members, 100 graduate students, and a Ph.D. program.  They also get pre-tenure leave.  We got nothin’ compared to that. Continue reading

Spring breakin'

Catch you next week!  Don’t forget:  proposals for panels, workshops, and single papers for the 2011 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women are due March 19!  So spend whatever time you’d otherwise be spending at Historiann.com this week putting together a proposal for the Berks instead.

We’ll have to do a massive femblogger meetup there.  The conference will be in Amherst at the University of Massachusetss, June 9-12–the Pioneer Valley is lovely in the late spring, friends!  And remember:  this comet only comes around every 3 years, so if you miss this one, you’ll regret it for sure.

Intellectual migrations: how and when to switch fields?

From the mailbag at Historiann HQ, a question about working outside the historical field in which one originally trained:

Dear Historiann,

I have a question about working outside one’s dissertation field, and wonder to what extent the topic of one’s dissertation dictates the career.  Is it permanent?  I am now working on a topic largely unrelated to my doctoral work, and I have already discovered this to be less-than-an-asset on the job market.  For jobs in my dissertation field, any search committee would look askance at current project; for jobs in “current project field,” they will look askance at the dissertation.  (Think: dissertation on revolutionary France, current project on Argentina). 

To what extent are we defined by a choice of dissertation topic, even throughout our careers? I have heard people commenting about a very senior (famous) historian who wrote a recent book, saying “how can he work on Y? He’s a specialist on X!” (X being his doctoral subject). He completed his Ph.D. 30 years ago, and has written a number of books. My view is, surely he’s had time to become a specialist in some other field/s of history since then. But this view is obviously not shared by all in the discipline. Should a junior scholar wait til after tenure to bust out their “true historical passion?”

Signed,

Roving Renata

Renata, I agree with you that people in our profession can be extremely fussy and fuddy-duddy about switching fields and gaining new competencies.  (And as someone who wrote a book that wasn’t a revision of her dissertation at all but was an entirely new project–well, let’s just say that I can relate to your anxieties.)  People are unusually identified with their first books, especially if their first books were well received.  I once had a colleague who was absolutely haunted by this.  He once said to me, “it’s just agonizing to think that people will read my first book and think that that’s who I am as a scholar!”  Continue reading