Category Archives: Historians Unite

March 10, 2013, 7:09 pm

Prikipedia? Or, Looking for the Women on Wikipedia

50s-housewifeTo celebrate women’s history month, I have decided to tweet an historical fact about a woman, or women, every day in March. Silly? Perhaps. Fun? Why yes: I’m enjoying it enormously. Women’s history rocks.

So far, women as different as abolitionist Harriet Tubman, the Empress Josephine Bonaparte, and Svetlana Alliluyeva have appeared in the Twitter feed to the right of this post. I find these women by simply entering the date in Wikipedia’s search box: a list of events, births and deaths show up in an entry devoted to that day. Presto!

Well, not so fast.

You might be surprised to learn how very few items in these lists name women as historically significant figures.  Sometimes there are three or four women named; sometimes it is only one.  One day there were absolutely no women listed and I had to get creative: I picked a major civil rights event and did some newspaper research…

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January 4, 2012, 11:07 am

History and the Politics of Scholarly Collaboration, Part II: What Is To Be Done?

I won’t be at this year’s American Historical Association Meeting in Chicago, but I did promise you a follow up to this post in which I addressed the ongoing discussion about the crisis in academic hiring.  For those of you who don’t want to go back and read it, I made the following points:

  • That the market in tenure-track history jobs went into crisis in the mid-1970s and has never recovered.  And yet, as a profession we continue to organize doctoral training around a teacher-scholar model that represents an increasingly smaller fraction of what might count as professional historical labor.
  • That most of us have a significant number of contemporaries who pursued alternative careers based on their historical training. Yet we continue to write and speak about this problem as if the only solution to underemployment and the proletarianization of academic labor through adjunctification…

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December 19, 2011, 1:05 pm

History and the Politics of Scholarly Collaboration, Part I: Or, Why Anthony Grafton Is a Rock Star

Meet Anthony Grafton, the AHA's Jonathan Swift

Have you followed American Historical Association president Anthony Grafton’s serial meditation on how graduate schools might respond to a bad academic job market? A market that has, since the the 1970s, been either stagnant or getting worse? A market with whose effects the blogosphere is obsessed?

If you haven’t, you need to catch up.  For “No More Plan B” (October 2011) and “Plan C” (November 2011), both co-written with Jim Grossman for the AHA newsletter Perspectives, go here and here. For an article about “Plan B” by Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed (October 3 2011) go here; and for a response by graduate student Dan Alloso (UMass-Amherst) go here. (more…)

September 10, 2011, 10:46 am

After 9/11 — What? A Historian Contemplates the Future of Memory

Commemorations of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, and of those murdered on a third plane brought down in western Pennsylvania, began long ago and will culminate tomorrow. Here at Tenured Radical we have promised you no commemoration. Other media have a grander scope than we do, and ours will be trivial by comparison, even though memories of that day occasionally cause us to tear up unexpectedly. We also believe that life can sometimes become so saturated with commemoration that as citizens we become besieged by memory and unable to recall what it is, exactly, we experienced.

September 11 2001 is perhaps as fine an example of the role of simultaneity in generating nationalism as Benedict Anderson, or any American Studies scholar teaching Anderson, could invent.  As I drove up to Northampton yesterday, where la famille Radical is spending the weekend, I was listening to an…

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January 5, 2011, 10:34 pm

It’s Safe To Go Back To the Annual Meeting; A Radical Guide To Days 1 and 2 of The 2011 AHA

I just want to say:  gays were not involved in logo design or color choice.

Last year there was quite a hullabaloo about the American Historical Annual Meeting out in San Diego. Doug Manchester, who owns the hotel the AHA chose, had given gobs of money to Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative.  He also got a lot of that money by running a union-free work place.  It was what you would call a lose-lose choice for the AHA, and resulted in a lot of people flying out there to picket, and a lot of other people having to give their papers by sneaking in and out hidden in laundry trucks.  (No, not Really!  That was a joke!)  This year there are no worries: you can come into the hotel without worrying that you will have to cross a queer picket line, or worse, that the hotel bar is off limits to Good People.  We historians are meeting in the People’s Republic of Boston, a city that is unionized …

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August 2, 2008, 2:48 pm

Playing the Race Card

By sheer luck, two things coincided last week: I began reading Kevin Kruse’s wonderful book, White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (Princeton University Press, 2005) and I saw an unusually acerbic exchange between journalists David Brooks and Mark Shields about the McCain campaign’s charge that Barack Obama had “played the race card.” Obama, as we all know, said in a speech that John McCain and his people are trying to whip up fear about his candidacy because he doesn’t look like the presidents featured on our currency (although given the state of our economy, I think that Obama’s first presidential act should be to put a picture of George W. Bush on every denomination.)

Now, as someone who is far more progressive than Obama on many issues, including race I suspect, this nevertheless won him my sympathy, and I raced to my computer to make my first campaign…

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June 24, 2008, 5:56 pm

The Radical Goes to History Camp

Many years ago, when I first started rowing, I experienced this phenomenon where it gave me — and my fellow novices — the greatest pleasure to learn to row, and then to to talk about rowing all the time. We would go to talks at Zenith, and then later at the post-talk reception we would talk about rowing; we would go to dinner at each other’s houses, and other guests would silently push a pea around the plate while we talked about rowing; and it got so bad that when we walked into a room at Zenith, people would say things like, “Oh, here comes the rowing team.” We just thought they were silly. At the end of the summer, we all headed up to the Master’s Nationals in Syracuse, and agreed that it would be such a relief to talk about rowing all week without people interrupting us.

Well, I now get it that probably had something to do with endorphins, and talking about rowing kicked off…

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January 19, 2008, 1:30 pm

Another Reason for Historians to Become Activist Intellectuals: National Religious History Week

In this week’s edition of The Nation, Chris Hedges points us to House Resolution 888 intended, among other things, to establish National Religious History Week. Unfortunately, you can only access the full story if you are a subscriber to the Nation, but the bill, according to Hedges, “is an insidious attempt by the radical Christian right to rewrite American history, to turn the founding fathers from deists into Christian fundamentalists, to proclaim us officially to be a Christian nation.”  Skillfully deploying a tactic invented by historian Carter Woodson in 1926, when he created National Negro History Week (now Black History Month) as a way of addressing the absence of African-Americans from school curricula, HR. 888 also — by adopting a progressive intellectual tactic and turning it to its own purposes — implicitly represents evangelical Christians as an oppressed minority on the…

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