Category Archives: Archives

October 9, 2014, 9:23 am

History Listmania, Thursday Edition

tee-rhrOnce You Get A History BA, Don’t Forget To Go to Wall Street: That font of scholarly wisdom, USA Today, weighs in with the top ten colleges where you should go to major in history. You will be shocked – shocked! – to learn that six of them are Ivy League Universities, all but two are private schools, and only one (William and Mary) is a liberal arts college. Why? To summarize, you should study history at these schools because they “are highly competitive and attract both excellent students and well-respected faculty. Many of the schools are Ivy League institutions that have a reputation for providing the finest education available, leading students towards prosperous careers.”

Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but those highly prosperous careers are probably not in history. As Karen Ho points out in Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (Duke, 2009), Wall Street recruits…

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September 21, 2014, 10:43 am

Becuz the Marketplace? Obama Administration Persists In Higher Ed Fumble

reality is overratedIn today’s New York Times, Susan Dynarski politely explains why the latest Obama administration plan to address the high cost of college without any public finding is a neoliberal farce. Because affording higher ed is all about having the information to make responsible choices! Once you know that, is there anything else the federal government could do?

Well, one strategy would be to not misrepresent the origins of the tuition problem: shrinking public dollars for higher education. Dynarski frames this about as clearly as an education writer could without saying outright that  covering up cost-shifting to students and their parents is a scandal of epic proportions, and the Obama administration is now complicit in that scandal by offering up a version of Consumer Reports and hoping that no one notices for at least two years that it is not a plan. It is not a policy either, except …

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September 2, 2014, 1:51 pm

Academic Freedom Update

Those of us who read our Twitter feed before bed (bad habit, don’t start) were cheered to see late last night that the pressure on the University of Illinois to reverse itself in the Steven Salaita case is altering the state of play. In a reversal of her August decision, Chancellor Phyllis Wise has decided to send the Salaita appointment to the Board if Trustees for a September 11 vote. Whether the pushback from thousands of scholars vowing not to engage and canceling, from the AAUP, and from numerous public letters of protest written by distinguished scholars ultimately persuades them that this was a colossal error is yet to be seen.  Go to Corey Robin for the full story, and for Robin’s views about what this latest development might mean.

Representatives of a major professional association have also weighed in on the case. Go to the American Historical Association blog to see a…

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August 8, 2014, 11:13 am

Why You Might Not Want to “Reply To All” (and Other Email Reforms)

e6c8_reply_allThere are lots of ways for university profs to waste their own, and everyone else’s, time, but email is a huge one. It has all the disadvantages of old-timey paper memos, as well as the capacity of social media to distract. Every once in a while on Facebook or on a blog, someone I e-know confesses to having upwards of four to five thousand emails in his or her inbox, awaiting an answer of some kind. Probably about 3/5 of these are utterly useless, past due documents. However, people are so afraid to look at what they haven’t done, as well as what they should do, that the emails just sit there and loom. At least a third of these messages will be the same email, in which everyone on the recipient list has hit “reply to all” multiple times.

To purge or not to purge: that is question. And if you purge without reading, much less responding, when you are drowning in email, is that a…

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August 2, 2014, 7:09 pm

Do Attendance Policies Discriminate Against Disability?

Our Gang-School's OutLast week’s post on sending your kids off to college as independent souls hit a nerve. Read the comments for a lot of great conversation.

However, the blogger sillylegal, a recent graduate of a liberal arts college, thought the post was sorely lacking in its attention to the needs and rights of disabled students.  Perhaps it was, as I mentioned disability not at all, nor did I pay attention to the other ways that students are different from each other. I think sillylegal misread parts of the post, or perhaps just mischaracterized as we bloggers sometimes do when we write in haste, and I want to underline some choices I made when writing it. For example I deliberately did not use the phrase “helicopter parents” in the post, since the vast majority of parents mean well and it’s easier to reach people if you don’t mock them. For a similar reason, I did not characterize students who do…

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May 25, 2014, 1:04 am

Berks Day 3: Is The Book Dead? (Uh, No)

books1When I wasn’t selling memberships to the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians (you can buy one here, or outside the book exhibit tomorrow), or announcing the new Berks website launching in beta this summer, I was on a panel about the future of publishing. It was packed. Thanks to Paul Eprile (also in charge of the book exhibit) for organizing it; and Jean Quataert, Melissa Pitts and Lois Banner for a great conversation.

My opening remarks had the intentionally provocative title: “Should Historians Write Books? How the Digital World is Changing Your Career.” And without further ado:

Two years ago, I was on a plenary session at the American Historical Association, during which environmental historian Bill Cronon, the President of the AHA announced that he no longer owned any books. Downsizing from a house to an apartment, he had sold everything and replaced all his books with…

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April 18, 2014, 10:41 am

Chicano/a History Is Also Feminist History

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The grape boycott became an important model for later radical feminist boycotts of media companies like Warner Brothers.

Yale #Twitterstorian Stephen Pitti has tweeted the news that the University of California-San Diego has unveiled a new collection in a digital archive that documents the United Farm Workers Movement. Part of the Farmworker Documentation Project, the collection was curated by citizen archivist LeRoy Chatfield, who began putting his collection online in 2004 with the help of Jennifer Szabo.

And here’s a little hint for the historians of United States second wave feminism out there: we need to focus in on the links between the farm worker’s movement and West Coast radical/lesbian feminism. Interracialism and cross-class organizing in second wave feminism is as under explored on the West Coast …

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April 15, 2014, 9:23 am

Kiss A Librarian This Week — It’s a Radical Act

2dced43c88608180873454e6de2da7a9Remember when everything on the interwebz was supposed to be free? Just like a public library? Well, that ended fast, and even getting into a public library can be a challenge in this era of budget cuts. However this week, some things are still free. In celebration of National Library week in the United States, Oxford University Press is offering up its dazzling collection of online resources — for free! Go here for details. And have fun.

Now that we are talking about librarians and how much we love them: take a moment this week to think about all the things in your professional life that are facilitated by the library and the wonderful, knowledgeable people who work there. Librarians are the heartbeat of our universities. When we give students an assignment, it’s the librarians who often help them focus their topics, get them to the sources they need, and show them how to use the on…

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February 18, 2014, 11:19 am

Dear Mr. Kristof: A Letter from a Public Intellectual

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The word you were looking for was WTF

Over the weekend, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof got an earful when he bewailed the absence of academics writing for a broad audience (“Professors, We Need You!”, February 15, 2014.) Much gnashing of teeth ensued. I left an extended comment over at Corey Robin’s blog; Corey’s post is full of great links to other public intellectuals.  And can we give three cheers to our colleagues at UIC, intellectuals out in public who are walking the picket line today and tomorrow?

I was also lucky enough to receive a guest post over the transom from an old friend, Carol Emberton, a professor of American history at SUNY-Buffalo. Emberton is the author of Beyond Redemption: Race, Violence, and the American South after the Civil War (University of Chicago Press, 2013.) In a…

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February 16, 2014, 10:00 am

Tenured Radical, Live from the Cornell Sex Archive

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If that headline doesn’t grab your attention, what will?

The Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell University is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, reminding some of us that the history of sex has emerged as a field within our own lifetimes. The curator of the HSC, Head of Research Services Brenda Marston, has been leading out a celebration that includes Speaking of Sex, an exhibit at Cornell’s Carl A. Kroch Library, that opened last Friday February 14 and will be up until October 11, 2014. There is also a speaker’s series that kicks off with a reading by Jewelle Gomez at 4:30 on March 12 in Lewis Auditorium (Goldman Smith Hall). (more…)