It’s time to pull your Berkshire Conference proposals together, friends! The deadline for papers and proposals for the June 1-4, 2017 conference at Hofstra University has been extended to February 5; see the call for papers and other information here. The conference theme for the triennial conference is “Thinking and Talking About Women, Genders, and Sexualities Inside and Outside the Academy”
An email from former Berks President, the eminent European medievalist Ruth Karras, reaches out specifically to those of us working in histories before 1800: “Proposals are coming in for the 2017 Berkshire conference, however we are beginning to notice some holes, specifically in the premodern period. Therefore, I am writing to ask for your help. Please consider submitting a proposal for a paper, panel, roundtable or one of our other sessions. In addition, please circulate this to your colleagues and networks.” She continues:
The organizers of the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders and Sexualities have asked me to help publicize the extension of time on their Call for Papers, and to encourage medievalists and early modernists to submit proposals. They do very much want more premodern content. There has been some talk about how the conference theme doesn’t sound like it’s premodern-friendly, but it could be, and in any case not everything on the program needs to speak directly to the theme. Below is what I received from one of the organizers. If you feel moved to publicize this on your blog, I am sure they’d be grateful, and you might be helping fellow premodernists.
From the mailbag today, a note from Sheila Skemp at the University of Mississippi:
A number of us returned from the (excellent!) Omohundro Institute Conference in Halifax this spring with a sense of uneasiness. While the program was truly impressive, it did not include a single panel devoted to women/gender issues. Given the strength of the field, this is truly troubling. And we want to make sure that this does not happen again.
It’s true. I reviewed the program, paper-by-paper, and while there were two paper titles that specifically mentioned women as historical subjects, they weren’t about women’s or gender history: Megan Hatfield of the University of Miami gave a paper subtitled “War, Family, and the Transformation of Identity in the life of Eliza Pinckney,” and Rachel Hermann of Southampton University spoke on “‘Their Filthy Trash:’ Food, War, and Anglo-Indian Conflict in Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity Narrative,” (a subject I’ve written about before, in Abraham in Arms.) CORRECTION, 7:45 P.M. MDT: I missed Craig Bruce Smith’s paper on “Women of Honor: Feminine Evolution through Dedication to the American Revolution. That said, there were twice as many men named Craig on the program as there were papers focusing on women with a gendered lense. Skemp continues: Continue reading
I won’t be at the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women this year, but I wanted to alert you to a few sessions in particular that focus on women’s history and public history, the National Women’s History Museum controversy, and finally, the winner of the first Peg Strobel travel grant competition.
First, Sonya Michel has informed me that she has posted a number of relevant responses to the breakdown between Joan Wages, President and CEO of the NWHM, and professional historians at the Coordinating Council for Women in History website.
Second, there are two events that will interest folks gathering in Toronto at the Berks that pertain to the NWHM fracas:
- Session 123: “Women’s History Meets Public History,” Saturday May 24, 8-10 a.m., University College 144
- Open Meeting re: Historians and the Women’s History Museum in Washington, DC, Sunday May 25, 9:30-11:30 a.m., University College 44 (lower level)
Third, congratulations to Tracey Hanshew, a Ph.D. student at Oklahoma State University, who won the Peg Strobel Berkshire Conference Travel Grant! And you will not believe what she’s writing about, friends: cowgirls! Continue reading
Good morning, friends. Although I didn’t make it to the Fifteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, my faithful reporter Classy Claude did. (Does this guy get around, or what? Some of you may remember Claude’s other reports of recent AHA and OAH meetings.)
I’m back! In light of Historiann’s absence from the Berks – and needless to say, she was missed by many – her faithful conference reporter Classy Claude is happy to offer readers a snapshot of one conference-goer’s experience. Obviously a conference is different for different people, depending on sessions attended and so forth, but I will recount some highlights.
This Berks quite literally got off to start with a bang. There was a crazy thunderous storm on Thursday afternoon (hail in some places!) as the first sessions were getting underway, as many attendees were taking advantage of tours through local historical sites, and as Classy Claude was doing a little work at the Sophia Smith Collection at nearby Smith College. All of these opportunities had been coordinated with, or organized by, the conference planners. Thus, one real highlight of the conference was the opportunity to take advantage of these nearby historic sites and local archives.
The conference was located on the UMass-Amherst campus, primarily in the Campus Center, which itself houses a hotel (where many of us stayed, though rumor has it that rooms booked up quickly) and was connected via various passageways to the Student Union and a parking garage. Because the weather was rainy on a couple days (Saturday also), this had the effect of making sessions not in the central complex more sparsely attended. I found this to be so in a session I chaired and one I attended about young women and premarital pregnancy (which included Historiann’s blogging pal, Knitting Clio). Continue reading
Thanks for your kind comments and e-mails–our family emergency has been resolved. I’m sure you’re wondering what on earth could keep me away from the Berkshire Conference 2011, especially considering that there won’t be another one until 2014! Well, friends–there isn’t a lot that would keep me away from it, but there’s something I haven’t told you about Famille Historiann before that might put this into perspective: Continue reading
And don’t expect me to liveblog it–I’ve got too much to do meeting up with old friends and making new ones in the meat world this weekend. It looks like central Massachusetts is going to be a stinkbox today–with drier and cooler weather on the way for the weekend. Yay! Tenured Radical has a nice preview of what’s going on, and I’m sure she’ll have lots to report about the weekend after it’s (mostly) all said and done.
For those of you who will be joining us at the Berks: watch for the cowgirl boots, and say “hi” if you feel like it! Continue reading
I’m off to a conference this week, and I’ve been thinking about some of the wacky papers I’ve given over the years. I’ve always looked at conferences as opportunities to test out new ideas, and the best times I’ve had at conferences have been times when I’ve delivered a paper that offers a fresh–some would say dubious–new interpretation or argument. After all, most conference papers are 10 pages long and should take no more than 20 minutes of the audience’s time–it’s not like we’re going to be able to clobber them with a truly convincing pile of evidence, so why not focus more on the specific interventions we’re making?
I once gave a conferece paper titled “Fields of Screams,” after an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon on an old episode of The Simpsons. It was about borderlands warfare and masculinity, and although I discarded the specific argument in that paper it helped me work out some ideas about space and gender. Recently, I’ve been having fun shocking people with Judith Bennett’s “lesbian-like” interpretive frame for understanding eighteenth-century Ursulines. I’m not sure where this idea is going, but it’s fascinating to see some people react so strongly and so negatively to the use of the word “lesbian” to talk about the eighteenth century! Continue reading
Come and git us!
Howdy, friends! It’s just a month until the Fifteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women will convene at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst on June 9-12. (See the program here–it explains it all.) I can’t wait!
Tenured Radical, Clio Bluestocking, Another Damned Medievalist, Janice Liedl, Knitting Clio, and I have found a good time for a blogger (and blog reader) meetup, after the sessions end on Friday afternoon, and before the dining hall closes at (the improbably early hour of) 7 p.m. So, we’ll be hanging out in the Grad Lounge of the Lincoln Campus Center from 5:30 to 6:30–come join us and enjoy the beverage of your choice! If you consult the campus map on page 27 of the program, you’ll see that the Lincoln Campus Center is also the conference hotel, and is right across the street from Worcester Dining, where you can find your dinner after the meetup. Continue reading
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