Category Archives: History Camp

January 7, 2013, 11:48 am

#AHA2013 Wrap-Up: Things You Won’t Read Anywhere Else

Oysters, please. And then deep fried oysters for the main course.

I can think of a number of good reasons to have a conference in New Orleans. At the top of the list is the excellent, moderately priced food, served at relatively uncrowded restaurants a stone’s throw from the hotel. For the three full days I was at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting I did not have one bad meal (although I was with someone who did.) Furthermore, there are a couple of landmark places that seem to draw the tourist trade (such as the famous Acme Oyster House), leaving equally great places like Desire and Felix’s open to the rest of us. At Felix’s (where I had gone for a little alone time Saturday night because I felt conferenced out) they open the oysters and smack ‘em right down on the bar in front of you. And they…

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June 6, 2010, 2:08 pm

Sunday Radical Roundup: Policy History Conference Summary

Because I can only be one place at a time, and because I left Columbus at noon yesterday, my view of the Policy History Conference has necessarily been partial. But one of the thing I learned Friday night at the reception sponsored by the Miller Center at UVA is that the sponsoring organization, The Institute for Political History, is relatively young. Founded in 2000, it “supports the training and research projects of graduate students interested in American political history.” As Matt Lassiter explained to me, the organization was responding to a sense that the field was losing ground, but an ironic outcome has been that many of those drawn to the organization are intellectually committed to bringing other fields associated with cultural and social history to bear on politics. As Lassiter put it, it’s “all good.” That would be my take too.

Closer investigation reveals a somewhat

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August 8, 2009, 5:23 pm

Research Trip Skills; or, “Be Prepared!”

I remember heading out on my first research trip. It was when I was just beginning my dissertation, and I thought I would start with a week at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park.

The first thing that happened was that my car broke down. I had to rent another one along the way. Oh, and did I tell you that this was prior to the invention of the easily portable laptop computer? I had not yet purchased the then-revolutionary Kaypro (the computer that looked like a terrorist’s suitcase, weighed enough to actually have fissionable material in it, and required two 6×6 discs just to boot up?) So we took notes by hand. That’s right: on index cards, just like our high school history teachers taught us.

Although I had some money for a motel, I did not have enough for a motel and a kennel, so I took my long-suffering Labrador Daisy with me. She spent the day in the …

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August 6, 2009, 3:42 am

When The Radical Hits The Road: Dispatches From The People’s Republic Of Berkeley

Every time I fly to the left coast and feel this disoriented I try to remember that getting from Shoreline to San Francisco back in 1848 took between six and eight months, depending on whether one went overland or took the water route. Of course I feel disoriented: I deserve to feel disoriented, since it is actually absurd to travel that far as fast as I did.

Where am I? Why am I here? Oh.

Well, I’m in Berkeley, where I have never been before, although I have visited San Francisco about four times, and every time I do I phone Mrs. Radical and say, “We’ve got to move here.” Actually, she made the same phone call to me a few months back. And while the part of Berkeley I am in (at least so far) doesn’t seem as spiffy as the parts of San Francisco I have been in, the short walk from the hostel where I am staying to Telegraph Avenue was a reminder that there are some places in the world…

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June 26, 2008, 2:58 am

The Tenured Radical is Offered An Oral History Methodology Tutorial

Today at history camp I had a wonderful conversation with a person famous in some radical activist circles starting in about 1965, a woman who is now almost seventy, very pretty, with graying hair, a keen mind and a gentle expression. Part way through the conversation I asked whether I could talk with her at some point about the many interviews I want to do for a book that engages radical feminism in the 1970′s and ’80′s. Since my first book was about Violent Criminals, some of whom were alive but refused to be interviewed (one said she was afraid she might be arrested again, and this was about sixty years later) I know that there are both ethical standards outlined by the Oral History Association that one must adhere to, and there are circumstances in which one needs to be doubly thoughtful about being responsible to participants in an oral history project.

“I realize,” I said, “that…

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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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