I *love* getting letters!
Friends, this semester is busybusybusy for me–I’m doing a lot of talks for the book, in addition to the usual teaching and service. I’ve just given up entirely on that little thing called “scholarship” until the spring semester is over. (How many more weeks to go is that? Oh, lord.)
Fortunately, a troubled soul wrote a letter asking for our advice. That’s worth at least 20 minutes of work avoidance, don’t you think? Give a broad a break–I’ve got a few ideas, but let her know what you think, especially if you’re a fellow scientist and have a better grasp of the traditions and etiquette of academic culture in the sciences. Read on, friends–the highlights in the letter below are my own: Continue reading
A belated Valentine to all my readers!
Oh, my friends: so much is happening globally, nationally, regionally, locally, and even here at the Black Cat Ranch that it’s hard to find time to blog even just one little bit these days. My apologies! Over the weekend I saved up some bits and bobs of oakum, old yarn, and loose string that might distract you from that sense of impending doom that weighs on so many of us these days. Who knows? It might help, and it surely can’t hurt, right? So, andiamo, mi amici–
- First, a request from a reader, Catherine Devine, who writes: “I’m designing a ‘NEVERTHELESS SHE PERSISTED’ banner, and I want to have the names of women across time, occupation and location in the background. Esther Wheelwright’s definitely there 🙂 I have the beginning of a list, but I’m white and not a historian. Your readers are sane and and well informed. I’m looking to politics, art, science, literature – anywhere. There will be plenty of room on the banner. If you’re willing, please have people send me names & references to catherinedevine at mac dot com with ‘Persisted’ in the subject line. I’m hoping to create one of the only footnoted banners ever. Oh yeah, I’m not doing this for profit. I will share the file for printing.” Readers, can you help? You can also leave suggestions in the comments below–I’ll be sure to let Devine know when this post goes live so she can check in there, too.
Yale University Press. 2016
Teaser Tuesday is back after a three-week holiday hiatus with a penultimate post, this one from the penultimate chapter of my book, The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright. Today I offer you a little eighteenth-century intrigue surrounding Mother Esther near the time of her first election as mother superior in late 1760, after the British conquest of Québec. Anglo-American and British officials were reflexively suspicious of French and French Canadian religious women, whom they routinely portrayed not just as religiously dangerous but also as political schemers. While the Jesuits were thought to be the most dangerous of the religious orders because of their “Turbulent and Intriguing Genius,” as we’ll see in this excerpt, religious women–especially mothers superior–were also regarded as potentially dangerous and destabilizing of British imperial control: Continue reading
This is most unusual: a fresh tomato harvest on November 1, and no clear signal of a hard frost anytime soon.
Yes, it’s strange. Frequently, we’ve already had a little, or even a lot of snow and/or a sleet storm on the Front Range. Officially I think we had at least one overnight hard frost last month, but our tomatoes are in a south-facing garden against a very heat-retaining and radiating brick wall. That, plus the fact that at this altitude, we rarely get to eat our own tomatoes until September makes these tomatoes very welcome. Continue reading
Joseph Adelman and Liz Covart were at the Huntington last weekend talking about the digital humanities and early American history. (Wish I were there! My ears were burning, though–I hear that this blog came up a lot.) Joe got a lot of questions about use of Twitter for academics, and published a post explaining his approach in “Is there a right way for academics to tweet?” He writes:
For me, the most important decision to make about using Twitter is to decide what you want from it and use it clearly that way. My own strategy, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, is to treat Twitter like the hallways of a conference, where you can discuss serious matters about academia and the news, but also shares stories with friends about one’s kids, sports, pop culture, and the news.
The “conference hallway” is a great way to think about Twitter. It’s a public space, so although not everyone at the conference is listening in on your specific conversation, anyone can if they choose to do so. Joe concludes his essay with some great advice: Continue reading
The New York Times apparently has an inexhaustible supply of so-called liberals who are baffled and enraged by any criticism of their views by the so-called “left.” Desperately worried that Yale’s 2015 Halloween memo has faded into distant memory, they publish Lionel Shriver’s complaint that young people criticized her opinions on social media! As the kids these days say: Srsly!
When I was growing up in the ’60s and early ’70s, conservatives were the enforcers of conformity. It was the right that was suspicious, sniffing out Communists and scrutinizing public figures for signs of sedition.
. . . . .
As a lifelong Democratic voter, I’m dismayed by the radical left’s ever-growing list of dos and don’ts — by its impulse to control, to instill self-censorship as well as to promote real censorship, and to deploy sensitivity as an excuse to be brutally insensitive to any perceived enemy. There are many people who see these frenzies about cultural appropriation, trigger warnings, micro-aggressions and safe spaces as overtly crazy. The shrill tyranny of the left helps to push them toward Donald Trump.
(Deep background: This post recalls some of my earlier arguments about the dynastic nature of American politics, about which Americans are mostly in denial, at least when the dynasties involve male pols only. American politics became even more royalist in the first half of the twentieth century, when the U.S. emerged as a major international player. They’ve become even more royalist in the succeeding 70 years since World War II, in the years that the U.S. became a “superpower” and then the global hegemon.)
Queen Elizabeth I, 1592, by Marcus Gheeraerts
Hillary Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia last week. It’s an entirely treatable condition suffered by more than one recent pol on the campaign trail, but looking at the media coverage of this ridiculous non-story, you’d think that she was Henry VIII on his death bed without a male heir. And that’s the American press coverage–it’s almost as though reporters on the 2016 campaign trail are unaware that the health of the nation is not entirely dependent on the health and heartiness of our Dear Leaders. Continue reading