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Sunday Wadical Woundup: Guns, Money and Conference News

February 21, 2010, 2:56 pm

“Hey, Amy” (Wait For It) “Where You Going/With That GunInYourHand?” For the most complete summary to date of the Amy Bishop Case, the University of Alabama-Huntsville prof who murdered and wounded her colleagues execution-style, go to today’s New York Times. As we all know by now, Bishop’s post-tenure denial rampage was not her first killing. However, today’s story raises a pointed question. The 1986 “accidental” fratricide in Bishop’s childhood home was immediately followed by Amy, then a college student, not calling 911 as one normally would in an accidental shooting, but demanding a vehicle from a car dealer, at gun point, claiming that she was being chased by an angry husband. Why did not someone, anyone, at least have her evaluated by a psychiatrist at some point after this and many other, less fatal, episodes of grandiosity? More than one person in Bishop’s life was clearly not operating in the land of the real, since the final tragedy in Huntsville was preceded by numerous occasions when Bishop’s behavior was violent, vicious and delusional. Added bonuses in the Times Sunday coverage are revelations about the anonymous tips after the Huntsville killings about the possibility that Amy had set a “herpes bomb” in the building; and the scary photo of Amy with hubby James Anderson, one of the people I would be pretty angry at if I had been widowed or orphaned by Bishop. Anderson is a corporate researcher who is also Bishop’s intellectual collaborator — if I were a prosecutor, or a civil litigator working for a bereft family, I would want to depose him about what he knew and when he knew it. Wouldn’t you?

A final note: I know the Second Amendment lobby (several of whom are personal friends of mine) would say that if Amy’s brother, or subsequently, the Huntsville biology department, had been packing, someone might have taken Amy out earlier. But I’m not sure I want to live in a world where you have to go to family dinners or department meetings dressed by Smith and Wesson. U haz gun control?

U Haz Gunz But No Research Moneyz? Ok, I’ll stop. I don’t know why Historiann and I think it is so funny to write in LOL cats language — we’ve never discussed it — but we do, and it sure dresses up a news item like this one. The American Historical Association has two grant deadlines coming up: the J. Franklin Jameson Fellowship in American History, co-sponsored ” by the AHA and the Library of Congress. It is awarded annually “to support significant scholarly research in the collections of the Library of Congress by scholars at an early stage in their careers in history. PH.D. degree or equivalent required.” The Jameson, of which your favorite Radical is an alum (lesson? Classy grad school credentials not required) has a March 1 deadline. On March 15 space history weenies will want to have filed for the Fellowship In Aerospace History, “supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), annually funds one or more research projects for six months to one year. Proposals of advanced research in history related to all aspects of aerospace, from the earliest human interest in flight to the present, are eligible, including cultural and intellectual history, economic history, history of law and public policy, and history of science, engineering, and management.” Up, up and away, as Astroboy used to say.

Here’s a hint, Junior Historians Guild: small grants like this are not only good for pushing your work forward and signaling to your colleagues that you are serious about your research agenda, they establish what is called a “grant record,” which then pushes you up the food chain for bigger, more prestigious grants.

Conference Deadlines Redux: Please note another change in the Berkshire Conference sidebar — we at Tenured Radical are in receipt of an extended deadline of March 19 2010. Go here for the call. Having trouble getting the panel together? Ask one of the thematic sub-chairs for help, or join H-Women and troll for conference buddies in the listserve like so many other people are doing.

“I was Gonna Go To Barbados, But The Job Market Tanked”: Got no plans for spring break? Why not toodle up to Harvard for the 10th annual Graduate Student Conference, “International Society and Its Discontents”, March 12-13 2010? It looks like a superb conference, and even if Cambridge (like almost every other college town) has lost most of its independent bookstores, it’s still one of the premier academic theme parks in the country. So drift on up, listen to some panels, meet your future colleagues, suck a little air and you will come home smarter. Guaranteed. And if it’s like the graduate student conferences I remember, there will be a ton of couch surfing, so don’t be shy — tell the organizers you have no place to stay and I bet they will help you.

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