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Contributors to this collection, edited by Claire Potter and Renee Romano, consider the wide range of challenges the practice of contemporary history poses. These essays address sources like television and video games, the ethics of writing about living subjects, questions of privacy and copyright law, and the possibilities that new technologies offer for writing history. Doing Recent History offers guidance and insight to any researcher considering tackling the not-so-distant past. Buy the Book
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Claire Potter's is the first book to look at the structural, legal, and cultural aspects of J. Edgar Hoover's war on crime in the 1930s, a New Deal campaign which forged new links between citizenship, federal policing, and the ideal of centralized government.
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Category Archives: rape
October 17, 2014, 10:57 am
A friend of mine observed recently that the heightened attention to campus rape has a familiar pattern: when it’s time to take action, suddenly women drop out of the conversation. How do men feel? How will men be newly victimized by women? Will California’s new “Yes Means Yes” policy for its public higher ed system make men frightened to initiate sexual relations for fear they will be driven from campus by feminazis on the march?
I read these things and think: imagine what heterosexual life — or any other aspect of higher education — might be like if feminists really were in charge! Wouldn’t it be cool to find out, even for a day?
But no. Conservative pundits predict that putting women in charge of anything, except for child-rearing, only brings out the worst in the menz. As conservative journalist Ross Douthat puts it in a blog post about “Yes Means Yes,” or what are now…
July 13, 2014, 3:49 pm
It seems that we are once again talking about rape in the United States. For the first time since the 1970s, when radical feminist Susan Brownmiller published her blockbuster Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape (1975), public discussions about rape are moving to calls for action. I doubt that we will see the comprehensive attention to all forms of sexual violence, everywhere, that we saw forty years ago. We are, for example, seeing precious little analysis that links actually occurring sexual violence (as opposed to conservative pundit Christina Hoff Summers’ assertion that sexual assault is a problem manufactured by feminists) to larger forms of institutional violence, discrimination and exploitation.
Nevertheless, where there is talk, there is hope. In 2013, private colleges and universities were put on notice that tolerating dangerous student behavior has consequences when…
February 21, 2014, 11:15 am
Even if you are a Caitlin Flanagan h8ter, read her cover story in this month’s Atlantic about how dangerous college fraternities are, to your daughters, your sons, and to you.
There’s always a downside to a Flanagan article: the excessive gesture to whatever theory keeps her recognizable as a conservative. For example, it seems almost mandatory for right wing writers to assert that college is all play and no work, and that student leisure is an expensive, wasteful university marketing ploy. This works to obscure the fact that that wealthy donors would rather have their names on buildings than lower tuition anonymously. It neglects the fact government at all levels has Hoovered public dollars out of public and private…
August 13, 2013, 4:24 pm
I was reading Frank Bruni’s New York Times column, “Tackling the Roots of Rape” this morning and had two thoughts. One is that it is progress for a man to be interviewing a man about how to prevent sexual assault. Too much anti-rape activism is focused on lecturing women on how to protect themselves and too little on the largest potential pool of rapists and their destructive ideas about sex. Furthermore, men talking to men about rape, cutting through the myths about sexuality and masculinity that enable sexual violence, is an effective strategy.
My second thought was how glad I am that I no longer teach at a residential campus. (more…)
August 30, 2012, 5:02 pm
Still interested in strange Republican views of the female body? Here’s a terrific piece in the New York Times by my former Zenith history colleague Jennifer Tucker (August 23 2012) defending Todd Akin’s science as correct — for medieval Europe, that is. Who says feminists don’t have a sense of humor???
And here’s a great WaPo op-ed by Stanford historian Estelle B. Freedman, “Women’s Long Battle to Define Rape” (August 24 2012) that places the emergence of rape as a prosecutable crime in the context of United States racial history. It comes complete with 300 wackadoodle mansplainin’ comments, lecturing this eminent scholar of gender and sexuality on aspects of American history and society that, as a feminist scholar, she could not possibly have been aware of (for example, that if you get rid of illegal immigrants there will be no more rape.)
Finally, here’s something I…
November 10, 2011, 3:34 pm
The Penn State Scandal: Connect the Dots Between Child Abuse and The Sexual Assault of Women on Campus
As you absorb the news about the key people at Penn State who ought to have reported what they knew of coach Jerry Sandusky’s alleged assaults on little boys, please keep one thing in mind. Penn State’s cover-up is embedded in the interest it, and all universities, have in keeping many forms of sexual violence and sexual harassment a private, internal matter. The mistake Penn State made was, in many ways, a simple category error: they mistook these pubescent boys for women. They forgot that children occupy a very different status in the law than do the female students, faculty and staff who are most frequently the object of unwanted sexual attention and/or violence. If a college woman doesn’t file a rape charge, usually very quickly, the crime doesn’t exist. Delay the report by as little as 24 hours and the chances of even an internal judicial proceeding (much less an arrest and…
April 5, 2011, 11:02 am
|How about we go to court on our first date?|
Tenured Radical is out of town and a little slow on the flip-flop lately, but here’s news: following an incident in which fraternity pledges chanted sexist slurs on the Old Campus last fall, sixteen Yale students have filed charges with the federal government that Yale University has a sexually hostile environment. As CBS News reported in its online edition,
“What we’re saying is that Yale, in its failure to respond to both public and private instances of sexual harassment and sexual assault, has said to the campus ‘this is OK’,” said plaintiff Alexandra Brodsky.
That belief pushed Brodsky, Hannah Zeavin, and 14 other men and women at Yale to file a complaint, charging the university has repeatedly failed to take action on harassment and sex crimes, including rape.
The students, who include men and women, are alleging a Title IX…
November 10, 2010, 3:23 pm
Over the past six months, we at Zenith University have been talking about rape and sexual assault. We talk in the dormitories and program houses; we talk in faculty offices; we talk in special hearings run by the deans; we talk in a committee convened to examine sexual assault on campus; we talk on the Anonymous Confession Board; we talk in the pages of the Zenith newspaper.
So enough talk, Zenith students. It is time to act. Direct some of the compassion that you so frequently exhibit towards people off our campus towards each other. It is time for you to stop rape at Zenith right now.
I have never used this blog to talk directly to Zenith students. But because I know you read it, and because there has recently been a public announcement about sexual assault on campus, I want to speak to you directly about how you can stop rape and sexual assault on campus without any…
April 26, 2010, 1:27 pm
Is The Oklahoma Legislature Really Determined To Legalize Rape And Medical Malpractice In Order To Stop Legal Abortions?
As the New York Times reported over the weekend, Oklahoma governor Brad Henry, a Democrat, vetoed two abortion bills last week. “One measure would have required women to undergo an intrusive ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before having an abortion. Mr. Henry, a Democrat, said Friday that the legislation was flawed because it did not exempt rape and incest victims,” the Associated Press report noted (I say the Associated Press because the Times does not think women’s right to choose is actually important enough to report on, especially when the story is about women in a flyover state, so they simply reprinted a wire story.)
Mr. Henry said that “it would be unconscionable to subject rape and incest victims to such treatment” because it would victimize them again.
“State policymakers should never mandate that a citizen be forced to undergo any medical…