Feminism, Catholicism, and American Catholic women's history

Frances Slocum, a Catholic Miami adopteee, observed in 1837; executed ca. 1863-71 by George Winter. Tippecanoe County Historical Association (www.tcha.mus.in.us/winter.htm)

Kathleen Sprows Cummings has an interesting post at Religion in American History on “Notre Dame’s Laetare Medalist and Catholic Women’s Identity.”  She notes that “[i]n the midst of the controversy surrounding the invitation to President Barack Obama, few people have remarked on the other person slated to address Notre Dame’s class of 2009: Mary Ann Glendon, winner of this year’s Laetare Medal. The Laetare Medal, regarded by some as ‘the most prestigious award conferred annually on American Catholics,’ was instituted in 1883 to honor a person whose witness to the Catholic faith has shaped his or her public endeavors.”  Cummings writes that it’s good to see a woman honored–in recent years, the winners have been overwhelmingly men, in contrast to “the medal’s early years, when women were honored much more routinely.”

She goes on to discuss the central point of the post, which is that American Catholic women have frequently been much more likely to identify Catholicism rather than their sex as the reason for any marginalization or discrimination against them.  Moreover, many in the women’s suffrage movement made specific appeals to anti-Catholic bias, so Catholic women didn’t see mainstream feminism as a movement they could identify with:  “the suffrage movement, whose core members were white, middle-class, Protestants, replicated the religious biases of the larger culture in many respects.”  Cummings goes on to note that  Continue reading

Amorphous system beats, kills women and children!

The Denver Post today ran an AP story on the increase of domestic violence over the past few months, which some attribute to “the ailing economy”:

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — Some hospitals report seeing more than twice as many shaken babies as a year ago. Deaths from domestic violence have increased sharply in some areas.

Calls to domestic-violence hotlines have risen too, and more than half the callers said their families’ financial situation has changed recently.

Across the country, these and other signs point to another troubling effect of the recession: The American home is becoming more violent, and the ailing economy could be at least partially to blame.

“Our children and families are suffering,” said Alane Fagin, who runs a Long Island nonprofit group called Child Abuse Prevention Services. “With more layoffs expected, the threat of foreclosure looming over so many and our savings disappearing, even the best parents can feel stressed out and overwhelmed.”

But who, who, who could be doing this, and how can we stop it?  This article doesn’t seem interested in letting us know until the very last paragraph:  Continue reading

Sex and salary negotiations: no way out

Dr. Crazy hits it again and dares to talk about money.  (You’ll recall that she has bravely led us on the topic before.)  Specifically, she writes about her money–how much she makes, and how it stacks up against her peers:  “Now, when I did my negotiating, lo, those many years ago, I sort of felt like I didn’t exactly set the world on fire. I only ended up getting a bump of a grand to what they initially offered, and I felt like I was a bit silly even having bothered to ask. However, I now see how that bump has grown so man, any bump you can negotiate to your base is totally worth it.”  In the comments, we started talking about salary negotiation, and it called to mind my first experience with negotiations when I was offered my first tenure track job.  So, here’s the true story from the Historiann archives, with the actual numbers, although they embarrass me deeply.

angrymanphoneWhen I was offered my first tenure-track job in 1997, I was offered $32,000 a year plus moving expenses.  I thanked the chair of that department, and said I’d get back to him.  At that point I had taught at two different institutions for a year and a half total, so when I called him back the next day I asked for more money, pointing out truthfully that the offer he had tendered was $1,000 less than I had earned the previous year as a full-time lecturer when I was still ABD.  I had completed my Ph.D., and thought that my degree plus the experience merited consideration.  (Plus, who accepts an opening offer in what we all know is a negotiation?)  I can’t remember any longer what exactly the chair said, but his tone of voice and his mood indicated that he was irritated that I was asking for more money.  (Seriously–what did he expect?)  I was shocked that he seemed to be treating me in such a hostile manner–remember, I hadn’t accepted the job yet, so a rational and responsible department chair would be trying to talk me into taking the offer, not talking to me in a contemptuous fashion.  I remember distinctly saying, “Well, L., this is how the game is played, isn’t it?” to suggest that his agitation at my counter-request was out of place.  He then became obviously angry, and shouted into the phone, “This isn’t a game to me!”

Continue reading

Wednesday round-up: flashing red at angry bulls edition

cowgirlmatadorWell, well, well:  If all I have to do to drive up my hits is use the word “adjunct” in a headline, why didn’t you tell me sooner?  Man, that worked better than calling a certain prominent (and dead) early modern British historian a you-know-what!

For all of you pro-pr0n readers out there, you’ll be just thrilled to know that this blog is getting hits when people google the title of a certain trashy flick that was briefly screened Monday night at the University of Maryland.  That’ll teach me to suggest that women shouldn’t be degraded on their own campuses just for kicks, I guess!  It’s tremendously entertaining–and sexy!–to watch images of people who must resort to sex work in order to pay the bills.  What was I thinking?  I know, I know–that’s what women–especially poor women–are for!  I keep forgetting.  And let’s not also forget:  women have no expectation of safety or bodily integrity on most campuses, so why cry about a little spank movie?  Clearly, I have no sense of perspective.  May I offer you a HandiWipe? Continue reading

Adjuncts jumping to the tenure track?

tootletrainYes, indeedy!  P.D. Lesko writes at the Chronicle On Hiring blog,

I have lost many excellent writers over the years that I have been publishing the Adjunct Advocate. Some simply stopped freelancing, and others landed full-time writing jobs. A third group is made up of writers who landed tenure-track jobs; six of them in the past 18 years. They share some of the same characteristics. In fact, the six of them took an almost identical path toward the tenure track. It got so that I could tell which of my freelance writers who were adjuncts on the prowl would, eventually, end up sending me a “Dear P.D.” letter. I have come to think of them as the Six Musketeers.

So how did they do it?  Here are several of the character traits they had in common:

Women's History Month wrap-up

bennetthistorymattersThanks to all of you who participated in our Women’s History Month book club discussion of Judith Bennett’s History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism.  (Just in case you’ve missed our discussions, here they are:  Parts I, II, III, IV, and V.)  This post is an open thread to solicit your comments on our discussion, and advice for doing another book club in the future.

I ran this by Tenured Radical over our lunch in Seattle a few weeks ago, but I wondered if we shouldn’t have published our comments not as four stand-alone commentaries on Bennett’s book, but rather as a conversation among the four of us on four different topics raised by the book.  (That is, a transcription of a “conversation” over e-mail that we’d each take a segment of to edit and post on our blogs.)  I enjoyed the book club, but it felt like some comments were landing on our blogs from outer space, rather than being a part of an ongoing conversation.  (By this, I don’t mean it is the fault of the commenter in most cases–it’s more a problem with the technology and format.)  I suppose another way to address this problem would be to liveblog the book club–this would necessarily exclude some for whom the time doesn’t work, but it would be a way of fostering more of a conversation among the commenters who are free to participate.  Even more exclusive would be to set up a space on the blogs that would require registration so that only people who affirmed they had read the book could participate–we would surely have fewer people, but perhaps a more in-depth conversation.

If you wanted to participate but didn’t, what could we have done to include you?  If you participated but were frustrated, what should we have done better?

And with that, we now return to our regularly scheduled men’s history for the other eleven months of the year!