Category Archives: American HIstorical Association

October 9, 2007, 8:35 pm

All I Want Is A Room Somewhere: the Radical Hits the Road

I flew out of Teeny Airport this morning, this time at a reasonable hour, which you can do if someone else has invited you for a visit and a travel agent is making the arrangements. I changed planes in Connector City and continued on to Mini Airport, which is in the middle of either a midwestern, an eastern or a southern state, depending on how you think of those categories. Or this place. Anyway, it is a super big research university, surrounded by very, very beautiful country. I am here for two days of talking to folks, and then I go on to another city, where I will meet with wads of my scholarly peers at the Annual Meeting. I will also have dinner with the Mother of the Radical (otherwise known as MOtheR, or the Maternal Unit), which I am looking forward to, as we have not had a sitdown since August. A convention is an excellent time for seeing relatives, I have found. It is not…

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July 8, 2007, 1:56 pm

Saigon. I’m Still In Saigon. Or, It Sucks To Work On My Book

I bet you all have been wondering: with all of the Radical’s interests on display in the last month, is she really writing her book? What was all that fuss and bother about at the beginning of the summer? Has she just gone underground? Is there a book? Or is this “book” a blogosphere fiction?

Well the answer is, I am finishing my book. And it sucks. Utterly. It is like the last three weeks of pregnancy in August when, it has been my observation, it is relentlessly hot, peeing has become an hourly event, and my pregnant friends are weeping hysterically and saying, “Just cut it out, OK?” So in the interests of getting to work today (and not extending the childbirth metaphor), I would like to purge my mind of everything self-destructive, poisonous and distracting with the….(drum roll) “Four Reasons Why It Sucks To Work On My Book” post. I am giving you only the four top reasons (…

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June 25, 2007, 9:45 pm

History Activism and the Bush Administration, Part III

In response to this post and this post on the attempts of the Bush Administration to keep itself from going down in history, Barbara Weinstein, President of the American Historical Association, e-mailed me to explain why the Executive Committee of the American Historical Association (AHA) is not currently storming the gates of the White House as I had requested. With her permission, I publish Barbara’s response; in a nutshell, she reassures all of us that the organizations representing professional historians in the United States are not “sitting on their hands,” as I put it, while the Administration passes a large magnet back and forth over the RNC server. Quite the opposite.

“I think Tony Grafton has already responded to your comments about the AHA and the OAH not doing enough to protest the machinations of Cheney, Bush, & Co. regarding government records,” Barbara writes, “but I just…

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June 22, 2007, 1:47 pm

The Perils of Nanny Dick: An Update on the Bush Administration Archive

According to the New York Times, Dick Cheney’s office has consistently resisted any oversight of how his office handles classified materials: you can read about it here. That oversight normally comes from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), an agency that was established because of the advocacy of the American Historical Association in the last century. But here’s the beautiful part: when the NARA office that deals with the preservation of classified records persisted in its attempt to do its job under the 1978 Presidential Records Act, Cheney shifted tactics from simple obstruction and tried to get the office itself abolished.

These. Bush. People. Are. So. Awful. And the mystery is — why didn’t they think they would ever get caught at this? Or did they think they might get caught, but they would have so effectively gutted the justice system by that time that…

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June 19, 2007, 2:27 pm

The Bush Administration Has No History

I learned on National Public Radio this morning that the investigation of White House email practices, that began with an investigation into the firing of Federal prosecutors, has revealed a widespread practice in the Bush White House of erasing emails and evading the terms of the 1978 Presidential Records Act. According to NPR, there are only 130 emails remaining of any sent by Karl Rove in the first term. The Wall Street Journal reports that according to the House Oversight Committee chaired by Henry Waxman (R-California), 51 of 88 White House officials have been deleting their emails from the Republican National Committee server. You can read the full story here.

National Public Radio also reported this morning that lawyers for the RNC, who have acknowledged that White House advisors and staffers used RNC email accounts purposely to avoid going through the White House server and…

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June 13, 2007, 1:24 pm

Am I That Name? Why the AHA’s Gender Policies Make Sense to Some of Us

I’ve been participating in a fascinating discussion about graduate advisors over at Ferule and Fescue; instead of recapitulating it, I’ll just send you there.

I also want to thank those people who commented on my last post: you were, in turns, funny, sweet and — most importantly — you took the post in the spirit it was intended. Mary Dudziak took the trouble to do a retrospective post on my book, which was also really nice.

So in the spirit of following up on other people’s posts, I want to point to a fair amount of chatter in the history blogosphere on the question of the American Historical Association’s requirement that panels at the Annual Meeting be gender diverse: you can get to much of the discussion, and some interesting commentary, by going to this post by Rebecca Goetz, the Historianess. Rebecca has included a number of good links to other posts on the topic, and also…

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May 23, 2007, 2:04 pm

A Few Little Things, All Important, But None Important Enough for A Post of Their Own

What I had really decided to do today was work on a little talk I am supposed to give on Saturday about teaching Queer Studies for Zenith alums and parents of graduating seniors. In order that this not go into the category labeled No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, I determined a while back to use this presentation as an opportunity to write a short, pleasant article about building queer studies as a concentration in American Studies at a liberal arts institution that is unlikely to dedicate more than a line or so to any interdisciplinary field. Such fields rely on people trained in something else entirely switching over and becoming, shall we say, Transscholarly.

I don’t emphasize Zenith’s limited resources to be churlish: it is simply a Fact, and a Fact to be Dealt With as creatively and cheerfully as possible lest there be research I am unaware of concluding that griping is a major cause…

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March 16, 2007, 1:00 am

Leaving Atlanta

The last time I was in Atlanta, except perhaps to change planes, was a little more than ten years ago. It was an American Historical Association Annual Meeting and Saturday night, as everyone was making the rounds of the various smokers and publisher’s parties (“I’m not going anywhere that the drinks aren’t free!” my friend Ethel, who now works at Harvard, said to me that night) a rumor arose that there would be three or four inches of snow the next day. Eh, what-evah, we from New England shrugged, as we shoved our way through the Oxford Press reception (chardonnay.)

By the time I was throwing elbows at the Penn smoker (foreign beer and two colors of wine), I was hearing rumours that there would not only be snow in Atanta, there would be snow up North too. A lot. And that anyone who had her wits about her would consider booking an earlier flight. Maybe that night. However, this was …

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