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Posts from the ‘Historians’ Category

What Claire Fraser Didn’t Know About J. Marion Sims

by Carolyn Herbst Lewis

I have a not-so-secret weakness for historical fiction series. I think, in some roundabout way, this is what started me on the path to studying history. I read the Little House on the Prairie books as a child, John Jakes' North and South series as a tween, and it's been my genre-of-choice ever since. But there is one series in particular that really is my favorite. Maybe even an obsession. I have no idea how many times I've read and reread the now eight volumes in the series. I've even considered going on one of those themed-vacations, where you visit sites featured in the books. It's that bad. My obsession, I mean. The books are simply that good.

When I say that I'm talking about the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, I imagine that most of you who have read the books will know what I am talking about. I say "most" because I have heard that there are people who have read the books and didn't like them. Seriously, what's not to like? There is adventure. There is drama. There is time travel. There is really great sex. Unlike so many other titles in this genre, the storyline and many of the characters are decidedly feminist. I could go on, but I think I've gushed enough to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Here I actually want to focus on a particular facet of the series: Gabaldon's careful attention to the history of medicine.

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Big Berkshire Conference 2014 Report

By Heather Munro Prescott

Last month, I attended the 16th Berkshire Conference on the History of Women (aka the Big Berks) at the University of Toronto. For those unfamiliar with this event, it is a triennial research conference held by the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians (aka the Little Berks). According to the Little Berks website, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians "formed in 1930 in response to women academics’ sense of professional isolation." Women historians were allowed to join the American Historical Association (the professional organization for historians in the U.S.), but "were never invited to the 'smokers,' the parties, the dinners and the informal gatherings where the leading men of the profession introduced their graduate students to their colleagues and generally shepherded them into history jobs in colleges and universities."

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Adventures in the Archives: Searching for the Past

by Sarah Handley-Cousins

For much of this past year, I’ve been entrenched in dissertation research. Despite the long hours hunched over dusty papers, trying to decipher century-old handwriting, generally while cold and hungry, I’m not complaining. I’m continually amazed that I’m getting the opportunity to do exactly what I’ve always wanted: the work of history. What I wasn’t prepared for, necessarily, was the emotional work that would come along with it.

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Adventures in the Archives…Of Our Lives

This semester, I taught an introductory-level course on historical methods. One of our tasks was to consider an array of historical materials. We read novels and memoirs; watched documentaries and Hollywood films; read speeches and government policies; looked at architectural plans and advertisements for suburban homes. We even watched an episode of Star Trek. Throughout this exploration, a theme we kept coming back to was how people of the past documented their daily lives. This prompted us to consider how historians of the future will examine our daily lives. What sources will they use? What sources are we leaving behind?

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Announcing the First Ever Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at the Berkshire Conference

By Heather Munro Prescott

Last year I reported on the gender gap in Wikipedia and efforts by women's historians and others to remedy it. To recap: Several years ago, the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that runs Wikipedia, collaborated on a study of Wikipedia’s contributor base and found that less than 15 percent of its hundreds of thousands of contributors are women. These sobering statistics gained widespread publicity in a January 2011 New York Times article by Noam Cohen and an ensuing flurry of media coverage in various venues, including Mother Jones, the Atlantic, and NPR. Blogger Tenured Radical (aka Claire Potter) reported on gender bias in Wikipedia in an article titled “Prikipedia? Or, Looking for the Women on Wikipedia.”

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Thoughts on the National Women’s History Museum, Women’s History Scholars, and Public History

By Heather Munro Prescott

Earlier this month on my blog, I commented on an article by historian Sonya Michel in the New Republic entitled “The National Women’s History Museum Apparently Doesn’t Much Care for Women’s Historians.” In the article, Michel writes that in the midst of Women's History Month, Joan Wages, the president and CEO of the National Women’s History Museum, told Michel and her fellow historians on the museum’s Scholarly Advisory Council"that our services were no longer needed. For three years, we had been trying to help Wages’ nonprofit organization develop an overall vision for the institution it hopes to build on the National Mall. Oddly, this move came just as the NWHM is about to win the preliminary congressional approval for the project it has been seeking for sixteen years.

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The Blame Game: Searching for Historical Complexity

By Carrie Adkins

I am almost finished with my Ph.D. This fall I’ll defend my dissertation on the history of gynecology and obstetrics in the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century United States, and then – barring some unforeseen disaster – I’ll finally be able to make everybody I know call me “doctor.” At this point, I should be a genuine expert on my topic, and in some ways, I guess I am. Want to hear about the dangers of childbirth in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era? Curious about the history of surgeries like clitoridectomy and hysterectomy? Want to talk about racism and eugenics as applied to female bodies? I’m your girl. Let’s have coffee. Just don’t blame me when you start having horrific nightmares about vesicovaginal fistula and pubic symphysiotomy.

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A Historian’s Guide to Summer: Independence Day Reading Edition

By Heather Munro Prescott
Via Book Riot, where Derek Attig reminds us that "In a very real way, the Fourth of July is a huge, national holiday celebrating a piece of paper and a scribble of ink. Yes, the celebration is for what that paper and that ink did—ideologically and politically, if not practically or militarily, separate the colonies from Britain—but it’s still, at heart, a celebration of paper and ink."

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A Historian’s Guide to Summer – The TV Edition

By Jacqueline D. Antonovich
Ah, summer. There is so much to love about this bewitching season. The long, warm evenings on the porch, the tinkling of ice in a cold beverage, vacations to exotic locations, and a slower pace of life that seems to magically rejuvenate the soul. I think F. Scott Fitzgerald stated it best when he wrote, “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” Who am I kidding? Summer is also about kids out of school and underfoot, the dreaded bathing suit shopping trip, vacations to not-so-exotic locations (Dollywood, anyone?), and temperatures so hot and muggy that certain portions of skin stick together abnormally. Let’s be honest, summertime is a mixed blessing.

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Doing History in Public

By Adam Turner
If you've been following Nursing Clio this past week you know by now that we're celebrating our one-year anniversary. As of this post, it's been just over a year since we went live and we're thrilled by the ways we've grown in that time. I'm honored to have been one of the co-founders and still just as excited as I was then to count myself among Nursing Clio's authors. In this final reflective post of our anniversary week I'll explain some of the reasons I'm still so jazzed about Nursing Clio and where I think we can keep growing. Some highlights include, public history, open access, collaboration, breaking down hierarchies, fostering debate, and a look to the near future: self-hosting.

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