As for me, I am off to coach a bunch of fired-up 3rd grade girls in their first basketball game of the season! –JF
Enjoy part one of today’s report:
Today venerable historians gathered for their second day of the AHA to wow one another with their respective credentials, findings, and marketable skills. The mass of ego that accompanies this event leaves one sure that across America communities are wondering where their historians went. If we are all this important, surely someone (other than our spouses) must know we are missing, right?
As an east coast resident by birth and choice, I must admit that I have quickly become enamored with San Diego. I say this in the sense that any person glad to be in a new place means such things, that is, I have no idea what living here would mean. However I have traveled to many cities whose downtown district was not nearly as pleasant and diverse as this place. I enjoy looking out my hotel window at the bay, the ships, and the Gaslight District (gentrified shopping and eating). If a college in San Diego posted a job, I would definitely apply. Then again, so would the other 200 hungry, ravenous newly minted Ph.D.s, doctoral candidates, and independent scholars who huddle around the job center like paparazzi outside of the Spears’ home. Check that, perhaps I will just bring my spouse back for a good vacation, especially since the proclivities of C. Vann Winchell’s neighbors are not on my radar screen.
I find this intriguing. Many historians, myself included, spend much of their time evaluating moments of human struggle against oppression, tyranny, and civil injustice. We glorify the risk takers and reward them with the fame the Roman’s considered to be true immortality- to be remembered. It calls to mind the centennial celebration of the battle of Ft. Sumter (I think- someone check my facts) where a member of the committee of historians charged by the federal government with Civil War commemoration was denied a room at the conference hotel in Charleston. The hullabaloo that ensued moved the conference to a different hotel and opened a dialogue about race, America, and the war’s legacy. The AHA has accomplished at least the second half of this, with conference panels in each time slot devoted to the history of the family in specifically gay and lesbian contexts. Overall, the leadership seems to have made the most they could out of such a tricky issue. Take a stand, but don’t go bankrupt in the process. Perhaps that is too glib. A better point may be to use the weapons you have- and in this case, raising awareness of misconceptions is what historians do best- to do that. Still, all issues are more tricky to live than to research.