Category Archives: Washington D.C.

June 8, 2012, 2:53 pm

The Answer to Folks Dissing the Field of African American History….

Mary Church Terrell, @ 1940. Photo Credit: Tennessee State Library and Archives

….Is more African American history, of course. In the wake of Naomi Schaefer Riley’s ignorant and widely criticized blog post mocking young female scholars just beginning their work in this rich field, so many responses come to mind.

Riley, who seemed to have been genuinely surprised at how poorly the idea of closing African American Studies department was received, responds to her critics here and here.  In both pieces she seems to be arguing that having a political viewpoint about a field entitles you to criticize anything and everything about it, as if you had actually read the scholarship. She also suggests that, as a journalist who is not an academic, she should not be held to standards of accuracy when she…

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September 13, 2009, 1:11 am

Professor Radical Goes To Washington To Preview The Apocalypse

Today the Radical got up at dawn, took a cab to Teenie Airport and came to our nation’s capital on behalf of an American Historical Association book prize committee. But I was also in for a nice surprise. Because I do not travel in the Right circles, until I checked my Twitter account I had not had it on my radar that the Teabag people were marching on Washington today.

Hence, I got to see history in the making. The hotel where the committee was meeting is right near the Mall, so that when I checked in with half an hour to spare, I rushed back onto the street to begin documenting the event. That’s when I ran into the gentlemen in the photo on the left. I saw their flag swirling about and asked them if they would pose. They were happy to do so, but asked me to wait until they could stretch it out completely. “We don’t want you to just take a picture that makes everyone think it’s a…

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September 20, 2008, 9:23 pm

The Radical of America Goes To Washington City: Part 2

OK, so in my title I am once again ripping off Lauren Berlant, who was ripping off Harriet Jacobs to evoke the historic trope of the pilgrimage to our Nation’s Capital. But one of the ways you can tell I am a real political historian is that I just love Washington. I love Washington like my nephews love a Six Flags theme park. I am a sucker for that transformative moment of recognition that occurs when confronted with the instruments of my own citizenship: the White House, the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court. The Lincoln Memorial makes me weep. Sometimes I think this is because I am the child and grandchild of immigrants: my maternal grandparents came to this country in 1936, as middle-class bankrupts, with two children, and my grandfather thought he was going to die of tuberculosis. Instead, they got back on their feet with a little help from Dr. New Deal and became regular …

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December 31, 2007, 2:00 pm

The AHA for Dummies; or, A Guide to History’s Oldest Annual Meeting Designed for the Novice Conference Goer

Is she in Heaven? Is she in Hell? That damned, elusive Radical!” (A cry often heard at conferences, originated by the Baroness Emmuska Orczy.)

This is just to say: if you are pseudonymous, anonymous or a lurker, I insist that you come up to say hello to me at the AHA. I would love to meet you. I can’t tell you precisely where I will be at any given time, and the blogger meet-up is, I think, scheduled for a lunch I am supposed to eat elsewhere. But I can certainly be found at my own panel, Sunday at 11 (pray god it doesn’t start to snow at 9 as it did in Atlanta a decade ago); and I can also be found at the interviewing workshop Tony Grafton has organized for Friday during the 9:30 a.m. session where, as I understand it, there will be role playing of various kinds. I am looking forward to learning a few things too, so come one, come all. In between, I can only specifically promise …

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November 30, 2007, 12:17 pm

The Radical of America Goes to Washington City (with Apologies to Lauren Berlant and Harriet Jacobs)

I am here in Washington D.C., getting ready to get on a shuttle and go to another city, after interviewing job candidates at the anthropology meetings — otherwise known as the AAA. The anthropology meetings are actually a lot like the American Historical Association (AHA) meetings — which will be at the exact same pair of hotels, the Omni and the Marriott, in January. In fact, the last time I came to the AHA, it was at this same set of hotels too. It is also a particularly difficult set of hotels: the Marriott is actually two different buildings, pinned together, which means that the floor numbers do not match up. I remember this vividly because — yes, you guessed it — this is where I also interviewed for jobs, ‘lo these many years ago, and where I met with the Zenith hiring committee. When I found them. Since I was on the right floor on the wrong side of the hotel.

So today,…

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