Category Archives: American HIstorical Association

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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February 17, 2008, 7:50 pm

Sticky Wiki

Cruising around the blogosphere as one does, and following link to link, I ended up on Academic Cog’s December post about the academic job wiki. My favorite Cog was upbraiding midnight raiders who erased sections of the wiki, claiming that they had done so as a “political act” to protest the oppressions of the job market. I agree with Miss Cog, mutilating the wiki was a mean thing to do, although I think it was probably a function of wiki-madness itself, perhaps enhanced by drink, that gave some jerk the idea that hir own rotten year on the job market could be made better by destabilizing other people’s peace of mind. Having never really thought much about this job market wiki before last year (when I stumbled upon it and, to my horror, found a colleague’s divorce detailed by a disappointed job hunter as the reason why s/he was given a job, purportedly by sympathetic friends, that…

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December 31, 2007, 2:00 pm

The AHA for Dummies; or, A Guide to History’s Oldest Annual Meeting Designed for the Novice Conference Goer

Is she in Heaven? Is she in Hell? That damned, elusive Radical!” (A cry often heard at conferences, originated by the Baroness Emmuska Orczy.)

This is just to say: if you are pseudonymous, anonymous or a lurker, I insist that you come up to say hello to me at the AHA. I would love to meet you. I can’t tell you precisely where I will be at any given time, and the blogger meet-up is, I think, scheduled for a lunch I am supposed to eat elsewhere. But I can certainly be found at my own panel, Sunday at 11 (pray god it doesn’t start to snow at 9 as it did in Atlanta a decade ago); and I can also be found at the interviewing workshop Tony Grafton has organized for Friday during the 9:30 a.m. session where, as I understand it, there will be role playing of various kinds. I am looking forward to learning a few things too, so come one, come all. In between, I can only specifically promise …

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December 6, 2007, 2:22 pm

A Chorus Line: Preparing for the Preliminary Interview

There are two songs that run through my mind at this time of year: one is the Blondie tune, with the blistering opening: “I’m in the phone booth/It’s the one across the hall.” Ok, graduate students have cell phones, but still. It conveys the sense of urgency that those of you who have job applications out there are feeling right now. You are waiting for the phone to ring but pretending you aren’t while wondering if maybe someone else’s phone……oh God, please let it ring.

But there will be interviews. There will. You have to believe that. Which is why my other song is from “A Chorus Line,” but later for that. So I am going to take a little vacation from my unexpected engagement with the neocon world, and get back to what I do best: Giving Career Advice.

First of all, here’s something you can control at this out of control moment. Do you have a message on your voicemail that is …

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November 30, 2007, 12:17 pm

The Radical of America Goes to Washington City (with Apologies to Lauren Berlant and Harriet Jacobs)

I am here in Washington D.C., getting ready to get on a shuttle and go to another city, after interviewing job candidates at the anthropology meetings — otherwise known as the AAA. The anthropology meetings are actually a lot like the American Historical Association (AHA) meetings — which will be at the exact same pair of hotels, the Omni and the Marriott, in January. In fact, the last time I came to the AHA, it was at this same set of hotels too. It is also a particularly difficult set of hotels: the Marriott is actually two different buildings, pinned together, which means that the floor numbers do not match up. I remember this vividly because — yes, you guessed it — this is where I also interviewed for jobs, ‘lo these many years ago, and where I met with the Zenith hiring committee. When I found them. Since I was on the right floor on the wrong side of the hotel.

So today,…

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