That old snag again?
Eyal Press has written about his experiences teaching journalism at SUNY-New Paltz recently. Contrary to the most popular university-themed clickbait you might have seen at The Atlantic or The Huffington Post in the past academic year, he finds that complaints about “political correctness” fascistically controlling class discussions and about this so-called “coddled” generation of students to be overwrought. Says Press:
I’d been hired to teach an undergraduate journalism seminar that focused on polarizing, divisive subjects: abortion, immigration, Islamophobia, the gun debate, campus rape. Issues likely to touch sensitive nerves, in other words, and to stir considerable discomfort among my students.
Several of the students in my class felt strongly about these issues. A few chose to write term papers that drew on personal experiences as well as on research and interviews they did. But no one in the class seemed uncomfortable talking about them. Nor did anyone object when I told them that, especially when reporting on issues close to their heart in which they had a personal stake, it was essential to talk to people whose opinions they did not share and to imagine things from multiple points of view, including views that disturbed or repelled them. None of the students called for “trigger warnings” to be placed on any of the books or articles on the course syllabus, despite the fact that several contained vivid descriptions of abuse and violence. When students aired criticisms of the readings in class discussions, the objections were about the quality of the work, not the offensiveness of the content.
This is what I’ve been reporting from my perch at a public Aggie in the West. My students are far from privileged, and as Press reports, the issue they’re most worried about is the debt they’re accruing in pursuing higher education. In a class he visited with 15 students, Press asked how many would be graduating with student debt. Continue reading
Since I’ve got another book in the bag, this summer is all about readin’ and reflectin’. I’ve never had a summer in which I was not engaged in writing a monograph for more than twenty years: first it was a dissertation, then it was Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England (which was not a revision of my dissertation, oh well. . . ), and then it was my forthcoming The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright. And that about covers the previous 24 summers!
So what the heck am I doing with myself?
I’m giving myself the gift of just reading and dreaming about what might be an interesting project that will bring together my interest in women’s and gender history, sexuality, fashion, the body, and material culture. I’ll be reporting here and there about what I’ve read and who else might be interested in reading what I’ve read too.
For example, I finally have had the chance to look over The First Book of Fashion: The Book of Clothes of Matthäus & Veit Konrad Schwarz of Augsburg (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), edited, translated, and with essays by Ulinka Rublack and Maria Hayward. It’s nearly a coffee-table kind of book in terms of its size and production values. I first heard about this book last winter via Twitter, which led me to Rachel Herrmann’s fascinating interview with Hayward about fashions in the courts of Henry VIII and Charles II of England. Continue reading
The Western Association of Women Historians is coming to Denver in just a few short weeks, May 12-14. We’ve got a fantastic program with a LOT of star power–if you’re in the area, stop by for just a day, or stay for the whole conference! If you’re flying in from out of state, you can take advantage of the brand-spankin’-new train from Denver International Airport to Union Station in Denver*, which is just one mile from our conference hotel (and a free Mall Ride shuttle bus away.)
The whole gang here at Historiann HQ wish you and yours a quiet, ad-free holiday of your choice this spring. I’ve had such an overwhelmingly positive reaction about my decision not to provide content for free at sites that are run by advertising dollars that I thought today I’d also direct your attention to other ad-free and content-rich history blogs. Most of these are group blogs, except for The Way of Improvement Leads Home, which is run by the indefatigable John Fea of Messiah College:
- Tropics of Meta: historiography for the masses! Mostly modern U.S. history, California history, media studies, race, and gender.
- Nursing Clio: a group blog on gender, sexuality, and the history of medicine
- U.S. Intellectual History: big-tent intellectual history as it’s written and taught by junior and emerging scholars.
- African American Intellectual History: same as above, with a focus on black intellectuals from the eighteenth century to the present.
- Religion in American History: a group blog on the obvious, with contributors who cover the richness of American religious history from the colonial era to the present.
- The Junto: a group blog on early American history by historians based in North America and Britain.
- Borealia: a group blog on early Canadian history (First Nations/New France to Confederation, 1867)
- The Way of Improvement Leads Home: John Fea’s blog on early American history, American religious history, and early U.S. intellectual history. Fea is apparently a man unafflicted by hunger, thirst, or the need to sleep, as he’s just published yet another book, and he has a podcast now, too! (I am not worthy, but then, neither of most of you so we’re in good company.)
- Notches: A group blog on the history of sexuality, mostly European and North American.
Most of us who contribute to blogs like these have day jobs, or are madly finishing dissertations, or sometimes both. It’s honest labor, and we do it because we love history and refuse to believe that it’s irrelevant for understanding the world as we have inherited it. Peace, my sisters and brothers! Continue reading
When is an insurmountable delegate lead NOT an insurmountable delegate lead?
In The (New, New) New Republic, Eric Sasson asks the logical question: “Who Is the Hillary Voter?” Who are these people who irrationally continue to vote for the woman who just can’t excite women, or millennials, or white men? Sasson suggests that the “voters are angry” narrative that’s probably warranted among the Republicans has taken over political coverage in the Democratic primary race unfairly:
The voter we almost never hear about, however, is the Clinton voter. Which is surprising, since Hillary Clinton has won more votes in the primaries than any other candidate so far. She has amassed over 2.5 million more votes than Sanders; over 1.1 million more votes than Trump. Clearly Clinton voters exist, yet there has been very little analysis as to who they are or why they are showing up to vote for her.
. . . . .
We never hear that Hillary Clinton has “momentum”—what she has is a “sizable delegate lead.” No one this cycle has described Clinton supporters as “fired up”—it’s simply not possible that people are fired up for Hillary. No, what we gather about Clinton from the press is that she can’t connect. She has very high unfavorable ratings. People think she is dishonest and untrustworthy. She is not a gifted politician. She is a phony. Hated by so many. The list goes on.
Considering that narrative, one would expect Clinton to be faring far worse in the primaries. Instead, she currently holds a popular vote and delegate lead over Sanders that far surpasses Obama’s lead over her at this point in the race in 2008.
Surely not! But, maybe the news media are a little bit wrong about the prevailing mood of the electorate. Sure, some people are pissed off–maybe even the majority of Republicans–but clearly, the majority of Democrats aren’t: Continue reading
How’s this for women’s history month? For the first time in the long history of the republic, members of a major American political party voted decisively to nominate a woman as their presidential candidate, and no one noticed because all we want to talk about is the baloney-faced misogybag DONALD DRUMPF!
It’s true! Even articles online this morning purportedly about Hillary Clinton’s amazing wins in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Illinois are really all about her potential opponents Drumpf and (mysteriously, fantastically) Ted Cruz. I guess we really don’t want to admit that Clinton–with all of her older, darker, uncool, non-hipster voters–was able to win last night, and win big in both the south and the industrial midwest.
Deborah Tannen explains exactly why this is revolutionary–and importantly why we don’t want to admit it–in a succinct new article, “The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Disliking Hillary Clinton.” She analyzes not just Clinton’s long history in the public eye, but specifically draws a comparison to her current opponent for the Democratic nomination (and FINALLY brings up something I don’t see at all in public conversations about the candidates): Continue reading
Me & my neighbors in Potterville tonight
I’m just back from the caucus. It’s nice to see my friends and neighbors, but seriously: we vote by mail in this state. Why the FRICK are we stuck with this deeply undemocratic caucus which most people can’t or don’t know how to get to? I say secret ballots in primary elections serve democracy better.
THAT SAID, I arrived at the caucus at 6:40 to check in and find my precinct. After nearly an hour of standing around, waiting for stuff to happen, listening to the caucus Chair reading letters from a few Democratic candidates for down-ballot positions, and a short speech from my representative in the General Assembly, Dave Young, we got down to business. Continue reading