Chauncey DeVega’s interview with Richard Slotkin at We Are Respectable Negroes

Check out part two of Chauncey’s podcast series on the relationship between America’s gun culture, citizenship, race, and masculinity, which features Richard Slotkin, the Olin Professor of English at Wesleyan University, and the man whom I would like to nominate as the Dean of American Violence Studies.  Some of you may know Slotkin through his incredible work on the long, dark history of racialized violence and gun culture in the United States in books such as Regeneration through Violence:  the Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860 (1973), The Fatal Environment:  the Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization (1985), Gunfighter Nation:  the Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America (1992), among other history titles and three historical novels.  No other scholar has researched violence, firearms, and America’s frontier mythology across such an enormous span of time and space. Continue reading

At last! Mansplanations from an angry C-SPAN 3 viewer.

Drat!  My nefarious radical plot to start a “sex week” at Baa Ram U. has been discovered.  Behold!  A viewer named Bruce, who apparently writes like a blog SPAMbot, has caught me out:

I heard your classroom teaching “clothes of the 17th-18th century” It sounded like you were obsessed with breasts, and fully made that your focal point to those innocent brains of the all female class.* NO-not all slaves walked around bare breasted, and in fact, few ever did if you researched the truth.** Just why in the hell have you made this your theme in the class instead of talking about basic items, like dresses, suits, dress up ideology in those days.*** You must be one of those liberals trying to start a sex week on campus there?****

And it would have worked too if it weren’t for those meddling C-SPAN 3 cameras!

On a more serious note:  my C-SPAN lecture has re-opened my eyes to the power of television.  Continue reading

We can haz ERA now?

Now that we have unisex bathrooms (in many places, they’re disguised under the sneakily wholesome name “family bathroom”) and women fully recognized for the combat roles they’ve played in the past few wars, can we have an Equal Rights Amendment?  I haven’t checked in with Phyllis Schlafly recently, but as I recall, her Eagle Forum was full of dark warnings about the fate of the republic should unisex bathrooms and women in combat ever come to pass.

But lo:  the sun still rises on Columbia in the East!  And don’t tell Mrs. Schlafly, but there are several states that permit not just unisex bathrooms or same-sex civil unions but gay marriage.  Shhhhhhhh!   Continue reading

DVR alert: Historiann in re-runs this weekend on C-SPAN 3.

I’ve been informed that my lecture on stays, material culture, and early American women’s history will air again this weekend on C-SPAN 3:  Saturday at 11:20 a.m., Sunday at 6:20 a.m. (for the after-hours crowd, I guess, or the extremely bored parents of insanely early-rising infants), and Monday morning at 7:20, EST.

Of course, the streaming video is still available, at any hour of the day or night that suits you.

For the real costume history junkies among you:  check out this video of a woman dressing another one in Ursuline choir nun habit.  (Follow that link, then click the link on the right side of the page under “Vidéos” that says, “L’habit religieux des Ursulines de Québec.”)  It’s in French, as it’s on a website assembled by Laval University in Québec, but even non-French speakers can get the gist.  Continue reading

Is it really “higher education” without tenured faculty?

How many of you college or university faculty members would have gone into your line of work without the hope of tenure?

I was thinking about this with respect to a survey of provosts published by Inside Higher Ed today.  Among other interesting findings, the provosts surveyed said this about tenure:

The survey found that 70 percent of provosts at public and private four-year institutions (and 54 percent of those at community colleges, where tenure is less common than it is at four-year institutions) agree that tenure “remains important and viable at my institution.” (Not surprisingly, the figure was only 3 percent of provosts in for-profit higher education, where tenure is rare.)

But while 70 percent see that as the status quo, support for tenure among provosts appears soft at best. Asked if they favored or opposed a system of long-term contracts for faculty members over the existing system of tenure in higher education, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of provosts said that they favored such a system. Support was strongest among for-profit provosts (80 percent), but at majority-plus levels in every sector of higher education, two-year and four-year, public and private. At private doctoral universities, 67 percent of provosts favor such a system.

Another question sought provosts’ thoughts on the long-term future of tenure. They were asked to agree or disagree (on a five-point scale) with the statement: “Future generations of faculty in this country should not expect tenure to be a factor in their employment at higher education institutions.” The percentage agreeing or strongly agreeing: Continue reading

In-NOGGER-ation Day

Barack Obama has just been inaugurated in the public ceremony in his honor this Inauguration Day.  Once again, most newsreaders fail pronounce INAUGURATION properly, and instead say “In-NOGGER-ate.”

The nog season is over, people.  Please, for the sake of the republic:  encourage your fellow citizens and informed observers around the world to pronounce the whole word “inauguration” clearly and properly, before we face another “In-NOGGER-ation.”

We don’t own the guns: the guns own us.

From the Denver Post yesterday morning:

LONGMONT — Police are looking for a .380 semiautomatic pistol that a resident reported he lost while riding a motorized scooter through a north Longmont neighborhood and along a bicycle path on Wednesday, police reported.

Cmdr. Jeff Satur said police volunteers and a police K-9 searched the man’s route along Mountain View Avenue, Pace Street along the east sidewalk, 17th Avenue west from Pace, to Alpine Street and the bike path along the Rough and Ready Ditch to Independence Drive, but did not recover the gun.

“He believes the gun fell out of the holster,” Satur said.

The disabled man has a concealed-carry permit and uses a motorized scooter to help him get around. Satur said the gun was loaded when it was lost.

Police are worried that a child may have found the gun. Continue reading