Category Archives: American HIstorical Association

November 11, 2009, 2:01 pm

The American Historical Association Annual Meeting: To Boycott Or Not To Boycott?

As many of you are aware, in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8 in California, the decision to hold the the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA) became controversial. This is because the meeting will be held at a hotel owned by someone who helped to finance the campaign to repeal reforms that had extended political marriage to same-sex couples (nothing required churches to perform those marriages.) Your favorite Radical is, as we speak, making final preparations to depart for South Africa, where such discrimination is viewed in the national constitution as the equivalent of racism and is banned. What I think is also important to note is that South Africa is reputedly still a very homophobic country where, if it were put to a vote, discrimination against GLBTI (the I stands for “intersex” and is always included by South African queer activists) would…

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June 17, 2009, 1:39 pm

Why Wait For Gay Marriage to Get Yours? AAUP Committee On Sexual Diversity And Gender Identity Wants You!

This opportunity for concrete activism just in from Ian Lekus, chair of the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History (CLBGTH), an affiliated society of the American Historical Association (which is still the cheapest membership of all time: $US 5 for students, retirees, and the unemployed, to $US 150 for lifetime members. So join!)

This note is to update you all on the “Harvesting the Grapevine” project, sponsored by the Sexual Diversity and Gender Identity (SDGI) Committee (which I have chaired since November 2005) of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and funded by the Arcus and Gill Foundations, among others.  In 2006, the SDGI Committee wanted to provide historical and sociological analysis of those campuses which had secured LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination clauses and/or partner benefits.  The idea was to build recommendations based upon…

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January 15, 2009, 6:28 pm

On Jobs and the Jobless: Listening To The Underemployed

Sterling Fluharty, who blogs at PhDinHistory, writes (in response to this post where I urged job-seekers to stop attending panels that seemed to be only increasing their anxiety about ever being employed): “Do you really feel it is pointless for the AHA to have panels on the job market? What if ideas for reforming the market and fixing its problems emerged from these sessions?”

Well, OK, if you put it that way. And anyway, saying that those panels are pointless would be doing a disservice to those who put them together, as well as to those who benefit from them. This advice — like my advice to stay off the wikis — was only for those of you who use sessions organized by the Professional Division as concrete venues for self-destructive obsessing about your powerlessness. I hope it didn’t cause the intended audiences to run to the over-priced hotel bar instead, or prompt any of you …

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January 5, 2009, 2:49 pm

Hello, American Historical Association: My Name Is The Tenured Radical And I Am Here To Recruit You

So today I am home from the American Historical Association Annual Meeting, and instead of re-reading job candidate files, I am thinking about transgender activist Sylvia Rae Rivera, who is pictured on the left (as she always was.) I am thinking about San Francisco organizer Harvey Milk, pictured below, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office and the person from whom I have ripped off my title. As those who have seen the new Gus Van Sant movie Milk or read Randy Shilts’s book The Mayor of Castro Street know, the signature opening line of Harvey’s political speeches played on the stereotype of predatory criminal queers obsessed with “recruiting” the young into their “lifestyle.” He would hop up on whatever platform was available and screech, “My name is Harvey Milk, and I am here to recruit you!”

Thanks to a commenter, one of my first reads today (after the New York Times

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January 4, 2009, 8:35 pm

AHA Day 3: A Cautionary Tale

Helpful advice to graduate students: stop going to sessions about the job market. My sense is that it is simply making people unnecessarily hysterical. Yes, the job market this year is very, very bad. But whether it will be next year no one knows. I repeat no one knows.

So please, stop going to these sessions. Go home and write instead.

December 30, 2008, 1:37 pm

Grand Hotel: The AHA Conference Interview Redux

Baron: You’re so beautiful. It tore my heart to see you in despair like that…Please don’t cry any more…I’d no idea you were so beautiful. I’d like to take you in my arms, and not let anything happen to you, ever…I’ve never seen anything in my life as beautiful as you are….

Grusinskaya (getting up): You must go now.

Baron: I’m not going. You know I’m not going. Oh, please let me stay.

Grusinskaya: But I want to be alone.

Baron: That isn’t true. You don’t want to be alone. You were in despair just now. I can’t leave you now. You, you mustn’t cry any more. You must forget. Let me stay just for a little while. Ah, please let me stay.

Grusinskaya: For just a minute, then.

Okay, so your conference interview won’t be this exciting. But here’s hoping it won’t be so mysterious, convoluted and indirect either. Surely you are starting to get excited? Aren’t you? So let’s start to prepare for…

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December 26, 2008, 6:57 pm

How To Succeed At Your AHA Interview Without Really Trying: Looking Smart

Last year around this time I posted my guide to novice American Historical Association Annual Meeting attendees. This year we go to New York! So much better than Chicago, which is only good for the Chicagoans, since none of the rest of us are ever allowed to arrive or to leave on our flights as they were originally scheduled, so cursed by the goddess is Chicago and its weather.

This year you can find me at the reception thrown by the Coordinating Council for Women in History. Saturday evening I will be receiving at the soiree held by the Committee on Lesbian and Gay History, an organization that is soon to be called something else (add Transgender and stir), but for now look for CLGH on the program. However, I won’t get to wander ’round the book exhibit or the convention as much as I like to because over the course of three days I will be locked in a room with a jury of my peers…

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November 24, 2008, 2:58 pm

What Works For Christians Could Work For Academics Too

Pastor Ed Young of the Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas has been urging his flock to improve their emotional well-being by having more sex. In fact, last Sunday he instructed the married couples in his flock to have sex every day prior to coming to church yesterday. The economic downturn (read: Republican trainwreck), in addition to the ordinary problems couples have (adultery, PTSD, child-rearing, exhaustion, quiet and/or open rage, working two or three jobs) are causing people to lose the intimacy that is the key to a healthy marriage, Young argues. In the longer term, the Seven Days of Sex should cause couples to at least double the amount of intercourse they have and “move from whining about the economy to whoopee!”

Well yes indeed. Of course, Young is not the first Christian to suggest this. From Henry Ward Beecher’s gospel of love through Marabel Morgan’s advice in…

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September 20, 2008, 9:23 pm

The Radical of America Goes To Washington City: Part 2

OK, so in my title I am once again ripping off Lauren Berlant, who was ripping off Harriet Jacobs to evoke the historic trope of the pilgrimage to our Nation’s Capital. But one of the ways you can tell I am a real political historian is that I just love Washington. I love Washington like my nephews love a Six Flags theme park. I am a sucker for that transformative moment of recognition that occurs when confronted with the instruments of my own citizenship: the White House, the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court. The Lincoln Memorial makes me weep. Sometimes I think this is because I am the child and grandchild of immigrants: my maternal grandparents came to this country in 1936, as middle-class bankrupts, with two children, and my grandfather thought he was going to die of tuberculosis. Instead, they got back on their feet with a little help from Dr. New Deal and became regular …

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June 7, 2008, 11:50 am

What To Do When Surrounded By the Patriarchy? Or, Rethinking Conference Hell

A reader who I will descriptively dub “Feminist Guy” (as sie has not given permission to use hir name) writes:

Dear TR:

Thanks for the post on AHA tips and tricks— the AHA has been one of the major Old Boys’ Clubs, but feminists (female and otherwise) have found their own ways to network there, and this is a great development. But there are still plenty of smaller subfield conferences where this isn’t the case — with attendance being dramatically tilted towards Old White Straight Guys. (In fact, I’m attending one as we speak— let’s call it Little Patriarchy Conference.) If you’ve never been to a particular conference before, you might not even realize this imbalance until you’re already checked
into the hotel.

What’s a junior, feminist-trained scholar to do when blindsided by a conference like this? How can/should women who find themselves at LPC react, and how do they/we build…

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