30 November 2005

My Cliopatria Awards Nominations

for Best Group Blog: I like Savage Minds (notes and queries in Anthropology). Although SM is an anthroblog, many of the posts and discussions are very relevant to historians and their work. I especially liked the discussion of Jared Diamond's book Guns, Germs, and Steel. In other group blogs, I like all the Frog in a Well blogs. Frog in a Well: Korea is the newest and has been pretty active.

for Best Individual Blog: I like Natalie Bennett's Philobiblon, Respectful Insolence, Blog Them Out of the Stone Age, and Giornale Nuovo. This is going to be a tough category; there are several other blogs that could contend for this as well.

for Best Newcomer: Patahistory and Air-Minded.

for Best Post: two by Caleb McDaniel at Mode for Caleb: Jefferson's Jesus Nation, and The First Twenty Minutes. At Rob MacDougall's Old is the New New: Cyclons are the New Tribbles. At Cliopatria, Robert KC Johnson's Gould and the Senate.

for Best Series of Posts: At Spinning Clio, an Introduction to Historical Method.

for Best Writing: Sharon Howard of Early Modern Notes on duels and duelling: here, here, here, and here. (I couldn't nominate Sharon in the Best Series of Posts category, but all these on duelling were well-written and engaging and deserve some recognition.) And, Timothy Burke at Easily Distracted.

There are still many hours left in which to nominate! If you've got favorites in any of these categories, please do consider nominating them!

28 November 2005

On Robert Sweat

Sluggo of Snail Races asks below in the comments what I might know about Robert Sweat. I really appreciate the question, and I'm flattered that Sluggo thinks I might be able to say something about him. So, direct from Chapter Four, everything I know about Robert Sweat:
In October 1640 Robert Sweat and an unnamed African woman were convicted of fornication. While Robert was sentenced to “do public penance for his offense at James City church in the time of devine service according to the laws of England,” the anonymous woman was publicly whipped. Which was the more humiliating punishment is an open and possibly unanswerable question. It is likely, though, that Sweat’s partner was not Christian and therefore not eligible to be punished by begging forgiveness before the congregation.
Part of my work for Chapter Four deals with the variety of punishments for interracial fornication prior to 1662, when a new law explicitly penalizing interracial sex went into effect. So, I was interested by Robert Sweat's punishment because he got to do penance in church and his black partner was whipped. I infer a religious demarcation there. Why, you ask? A fair question; keep reading.

Sluggo points me to a resource on African-American genealogy. I didn't know about this website before; it has some great information in it. This is what it has to say about Robert Sweat:
Robert Sweat, born say 1610, was made to do public penance during divine service at James City Church, James City Parish, Virginia, on 17 October 1640 because he "hath begotten with Child a negro woman servant belonging unto Lieutenant Sheppard" [McIlwaine, Minutes of the Council, 477]. He may have been identical to or the son of Robert Sweete, Gentleman, who was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses [McIlwaine, Journals of the House of Burgesses, I:ix, 51]. And the "negro woman servant" may not have been a slave. The courts also referred to indentured white servants as belonging to their masters. She may have been Margaret Cornish.
I agree--Sweat's partner might not have been considered a slave. The legal status of Africans and African-Americans in very early Virginia was in a state of flux. Black people were often treated like indentured servants and earned their freedom, like English servants, after a certain period of time. But, then again, she might have been a slave. Clues to this: she is unnamed, and she is unpunished. Both circumstances suggest a person under the complete control of her master--a slave, not a servant with other connections to the community who could be punished for a violation of the community moral standard. This is why I'm not sure we can put a name to her. I also looked up the Cornish family history on this website, and the links between Robert Sweat, our punished fornicator, and the Margaret Cornish of Surry County look pretty tenuous to me. I'd have to read again in the Surry Records to be sure, but something just doesn't seem right there. I've looked in the Surry records I transcribed, and I have nothing about a free black family associated with the name Cornish. Although I'll qualify that statement--that doesn't mean it isn't there. All it means is that I didn't see it when I worked in the Surry County Court Records. (The Surry records are notoriously damaged in the 1650s as well which makes it harder to rely on them for anything.)

So that leaves me back with my original information about Robert Sweat and his unnamed partner. I suspect her name wasn't Margaret Cornish also because she was not allowed to stand penance like Sweat. In my experience with early court records, African women were named when they were to be punished, because they were servants, and because they were Christian. So, in a similar case in 1649 (and again, coming to you straight from Chapter Four)
Another Anglo-African fornication case occurred in 1649 and was punished quite differently. One Will Watts, presumably an Englishman, and Mary, “Mr Cornelius Lloyd’s negar woman,” were required to acknowledge their fornication by standing before the congregation of Elizabeth River Parish swathed in white sheets and carrying a white rod on the Sabbath. In this case, a white man and a black woman were punished together and equally, in the church, for their offense. The case implies that Mary was in some way a member of the congregation, as does the fact that she had a Christian name.
The name "Margaret Cornish" suggests to me a person who is both Christian and connected with an English family name, and therefore probably free. Had she been Robert Sweat's partner, I think it likely that she would have been punished along with him. Sweat's paramour, at least in this case, is probably someone else.

And, as always with early Virginia records, a caveat: my conjecture is based on lots of time with these records, but as always, is just an interpretation, open to argument and, in the presence of more documents, correction!

sources: Robert Sweat, McIlwaine, Conway Robinson's Notes, Minutes of the Council, 477. Will Watts and Mary, Lower Norfolk Wills and Deeds, (1646-1651), fol. 106.

20 November 2005

Sunday afternoon reads

Since I'm up to my eyeballs in Chapter Four (new title: "Such Shamefull Matches:" The Religious Impplications of Interracial Intimacy) and cannot write anything substantial today, here are some fun links to keep you busy:
* The New York Times proclaims that the Pen is Mightier than...other Pens.
* Verlyn Klinkenborg on the new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. I'm told that no corporate sponsors could be found to bankroll the exhibit, and that the museum could certainly use donations to cover part of the cost.
* Novelist William T. Vollman on the implications of the Lewis and Clarke expedition.
* And from Crooked Timber, advice on finishing your dissertation (like I need more of that). I would add to this advice: write longhand with a fountain pen. Your dissertation will seem infinitely more elegant if you do.

And, this week's acquisitions:
1. Amy R.W. Meyers & Margaret Beck Pritchard, eds, Empire's Nature: Mark Catesby's New World Vision (UNC 1998). Acquired at Harvard Book Store's fabulous remainder table.
2. Max Savelle, rev. Robert Middlekauff, A History of Colonial America (Holt, Rinehart,& Winston, 1964). Acquired at Henry Adams Club Book Sale for two bucks. Great example of an old-fashioned textbook (all words, no pictures).
3. George C. Rable, Civil Wars: Women and the Crisis of Southern Nationalism (Illinois, 1989). Acquired for one buck at the aforementioned sale.
4. John B. Boles, The South Through Time: a History of an American Region (Prentice Hall, 2004). Also acquired for just one dollar.
5. James Reynolds, A World of Horses (1947) FREE. I have lots of horse books but I didn't have this one. I rather enjoyed reading it last night!

19 November 2005

On Attempting to Work

I have a lovely new carrel in the CGIS South building. It contains a spacious L-shaped desk, bulletin boards for my calendar and dissertation materials, and, best of all, a confy chair with an adjustable lumbar support. I like working here, but I usually don't come in on the weekends. I'll work in the library or at home. But today I needed some material I store here and I thought, well, I'll spend the afternoon writing here. I got to the front door, though, to discover my swipe card didn't work. Here's how I got into the building:

Rebecca (to security guard in neighboring building): Hi, I need access to my office but my swipe card won't work.
Guard: OK, but I can't let you in.
Rebecca: Can someone else let me in?
Guard: Let me call my supervisor.
(much talking and muttering)
Guard: I can't let you in.
Rebecca: Let me talk to your supervisor.
Supervisor: I can't let you in unless you obtain authorization from Harvard University Police.
(Rebecca calls HUPD)
Rebecca to HUPD: Hi, this is Rebecca Goetz in the History Department. I need you to please authorize me for access to my office.
HUPD: I don't know who you are.
Rebecca: I know we've never met but I have a university ID you can look at.
HUPD: Yes, but I don't know who you are.
Rebecca: Right, yes, I know that, but I need access to my office. Can you send someone down to let me into the building?
HUPD: Let me talk to the security guard.
(more muttering)
Security Guard: HUPD authorized you. I'll get my supervisor down to let you in.
Rebecca (relieved): Thanks!
(Security Guard muttering to supervisor)
Guard to Rebecca: Well, I need to call HUPD back to they can talk to my supervisor and tell them you're authorized to enter the building.
(more muttering into the telephone, Rebecca is starting to feel really uncomfortable)
Guard to Rebecca: HUPD doesn't seem to understand the situation. I'm not sure what they want me to do.
(enter the Supervisor, from stage left)
Rebecca: Hi, I'm Rebecca Goetz, history department. I need to get into my office, but my swipe card doesn't work.
(Supervisor carefully examines my ID card)
Supervisor: Did HUPD authorize this?
Guard: Well, sort of.
Supervisor: Because I can't take responsibility for this.
Rebecca: I really need to get into my office. I promise I won't vandalize anything or set the building on fire.
Supervisor: Well, OK, but just this once. You'll have to get this fixed on Monday.
(Rebecca, to herself: What? I have to get this fixed? I forebear to ask about how I get in on Sunday)
(Supervisor escorts me to the building, lets me in, and escorts me to my office.)

Supervisor: Well, your key works, that's a good sign.
(Supervisor inspects my carrel, and, finding a nice letter of acknowledgment from one of the universities I have applied to tacked to my bulletin board, decides that this really is my carrel, and leaves.)

This all took about forty minutes.

18 November 2005

When Grand Juries Attack...

...and fail miserably in their mission of rooting out vice and raising revenue for the parish:
Thomas Chisman Sr being presented by the g. jury for not goeing to Church the Court being well satisfted that he is incapacitated by deafness is excused...Thomas Tyler having been presented by the g. jury for not comeing to church the Court being informed that he is antient & unable to travel is therefore excused. Thomas Overstreet this day appeared to answer the presentmt of the g. jury agst him for not comeing to church & alledged that he for a long time since hath been so deaf he could not understand what the parson said is therefore excused. Wm Rylands appearing to answer the presentmt of the g. jury agst him for not comeing to church according to law & acquainted the Court that he had been at Kicquotan Church within the time by law appointed & they finding what he alledged to be true is discharged.

After 1705, Virginia's General Court insisted that county courts enforce laws mandating church attendance at least once every quarter. It seems, though, that either this particular grand jury was a bit overzealous in seeking out those who did not attend church, or the accused were becoming more creative in their attempts to evade the fine. One question: if one is too deaf to hear the parson, is one also too deaf to understand the court proceedings?

Source: York County Court Records, XIII, fol. 153-154 (26 July 1708)

17 November 2005

Archaeology in Harvard Yard

Students in an anthropology class are excavating near Massachusetts Hall and Matthews Hall in hopes of finding evidence of Harvard's seventeenth-century Indian College.

I've had an interest in archaeology ever since I was a little girl. PBS showed Michael Wood's series In Search of the Trojan War when I was in second or third grade and I was completely caught up in the romance of excavating Troy. I think I really wanted to be Heinrich Schliemann (not having absorbed, of course, that Schliemann was a crackpot who probably destroyed what was left of the Troy of Priam and Paris). I never actually did any archaeology until the last six weeks of my senior year in college, when I enrolled in an historical archaeology course digging at Maine's Fort Shirley.

What remains of Fort Shirley--an mid-eighteenth-century house that once served as a tavern and courthouse--stands high on a bluff overlooking the Kennebec River. Until the late eighteenth century, a palisade of logs with two blockhouses surrounded the courthouse. One blockhouse served as a jail. Our task was to try to find the footprints of the blockhouses, which would confirm the dimensions and layout of the fort.

What I discovered is that archaeology is dirty and itchy. In May clouds of black flies inundate Maine and our little bluff above the Kennebec was particularly attractive to them. The flies seemed to like the corners of my eyes and mouth and I frequently wiped my filthy hands across my face to get rid of the flies. Back in my dorm room in the evenings, my face was unrecognizable under a layer of dirt and fly and mosquito bites. Mostly my days were spent sprawled on my belly beside my pit, my arms quivering with the tension of slowly scraping my trowel across the dirt, every now and then kicking up some piece of debris: a shard of porcelain, enough redware fragments to make an entire dinner service, and, inexplicably, a seventeenth-century pipestem. (Where on earth did that come from??) On damp days the pits, even though covered, somehow absorbed water and instead of moving dirt we moved small clumps of smelly mud, mud that adhered to our bodies and clothes and made us even more filthy than usual.

Needless to say, I wondered why I had chose this activity to keep me busy during my senior Short Term. I resented the class more the deeper my pit got, until one fine morning towards the end of the five weeks, I was on my belly peering down into my six-foot-deep pit, when I noticed some shadows across the bottom. I scraped some more, and then called over the professor. Sure enough, I was looking at a thick cluster of post molds. A few more inches and the trace of a pallisade wall, ending in a thick cluster that was probably the corner of the blockhouse, were completely visible. That elusive structure for which successive generations of Bates students had been searching, was right in the bottom of my pit.

I was pleased as punch.

I'm glad I did the course now, because I can read reports of archaeological digs from Virginia and Maryland and have some sense of what the material means and what the limits of the evidence are. But I don't envy those Harvard students now digging up the Yard. I prefer my status as an armchair archaeologist.

New Carnvial of the Feminists

The Feminist Carnival
is new to the carnivalsphere but I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I especially liked this entry from Redneck Mother (subtitle: "Raising Children, Lettuce, and Hell in Texas"--good for her! Texas needs a lot of feminist hell raised) about a proposed Virginia law mandating a police report for all miscarriages that happen outside medical facilities.

Yeah, if you're reading now and saying, "Huh?" Redneck Mother is right there with you. I won't sport with everyone's patience by expressing my opinion on this piece of legislative stupidity...wait a moment, I will, for two sentences. 1. Generous assessment: Delegate John A. Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake) clearly has no idea what emotional and physical pain miscarriages cause women and their partners and so has no understanding of how involving law enforcement would compound the unpleasantness of the experience. 2. Realistic assessment: Delegate John A. Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake) believes that women who miscarry must be criminals since their bodies have failed to do what he thinks they're supposed to do.

Yep, I'm going with the realistic assessment too. Redneck Mom is right: our bodies are not machines.

15 November 2005

History Carnival XX is here!

Tigerlily has done a fabulous job with the twentieth edition of the History Carnival. Go check it out!

*update* Teaching Carnival III has arrived at Scrivener's. Amazing collection of higher education-related links.

14 November 2005

Welcome, Chronicle Readers!

Thanks for stopping by! If you're interested in reading a History Carnival, here's the most recent. Joanna at TigerLily is hosting Carnival XX tomorrow; I'll include the links when it's up. You should also visit the most recent Early Modern Carnivalesque--a feast of early mod historical delights.

I'd also like to recommend some excellent meditations on academic blogging to those who are interested in reading more about it. Manan at Chapati Mystery wrote this last week in anticipation of his attendance at the Future of the Book conference, and Rob MacDougall wrote this response to Ivan Tribble.

If you'd like to see an example of how bloggers blog about teaching, check out New Kid's How do we get students to do the work?

And, if you're one of my loyal non-academic readers, this post is intended to welcome and guide readers of my column on academic blogging, out in today's Chronicle of Higher Education!

10 November 2005

It's a great time to be an academic blogger

In the land of history blogging, there's a new blog to report. Joining Frog in a Well Japan and Frog in a Well China is Frog in a Well Korea, creating a fine triumvirate of Asian history blogging. Involved in all three projects are my fellow Cliopat Jonathan Dresner and my fellow Harvard history grad student Konrad Lawson. Check all three out!

Cliopatria is launching an effort to recognize the best in history blogging. The Cliopatria Awards will go to Best Group Blog, Best Individual Blog, Best Newcomer, Best Post, Best Series of Posts, and Best Writing. The Patahistorian has generously nominated me for some of those awards; thanks, Dave, but I think I'm ineligible, since I'm also a Cliopat. But, right back atcha, Patahistorian. I'm nominating you for Best Newcomer. I've been poking around the blogosphere myself looking for likely nominations in all categories, and right now I agree with Brandon at Siris--there are just too many great history blogs out there!

**UPDATE!! Ralph and Sharon have pointed out in the comments that Cliopats are eligible for individual awards, but Cliopatria itself is not elegible for Best Group Blog. Judges, of course, cannot win categories for which they are judges.**

Now, the metablogging portion of our discussion. My buddy Sepoy over at Chapati Mystery (which is being redesigned, by the way, be patient!) has an excellent post on what constitutes academic blogging, and academic blogging's future. Money quote:
All blogs are not created equal. Similarly, all bloggers are not the same kind of bloggers. Blogging - a time-stamped tool for disseminating information and receiving feedback - is as vast and diverse a phenomenon as those with access to a computer terminal.

I couldn't agree more. So I've been feeling rather warm and fuzzy about the academic blogosphere lately, especially as I write up the results of my survey of two months ago (yes, it's coming, I promise! I've just been dissertating and job marketing and blogging takes a back seat most days to the tasks of finishing and getting a job).

And then I read something like this. I've been watching Paul Deignan slowly self-destruct from the sidelines, and it has prompted me to wonder if this will add fuel to Ivan Tribble's fire. (And this right after a column I've written for CHE goes to press defending academic bloggers generally and blogging grad students specifically--stay tuned for that next week.) Although I've tried to make sense of the sequence of events, and I've tried to see this from Paul's perspective, I can only come to three conclusions: 1. Outing Bitch PhD is completely unnecessary and offensive. 2. The UNI prof who contacted Paul's advisors acted unwisely, but not illegally. The appropriate response from both Paul and his advisors would have been to ignore him. 3. Paul's threatened libel lawsuits against both Bitch PhD and the UNI professor are preposterous.

I have believed since I began blogging that this medium has great potential to bring the academy to the public and the public to the academy, revitalizing both at a time when those inside and outside the ivory tower seem to be separated by an ever-widening gulf. Paul's threatened lawsuits threaten that potential by publicizing a brief and silly squabble that would have faded on its own. Nevertheless, I think this situation is an exception to the rule in the academic blogosphere. 99% of academic bloggers are committed to "[m]aking a critical engagement with the social and political world that she inhabits," as Sepoy says in his post. Amen to that.

09 November 2005

The Case of the dashing Captain Mitchell...

...who was perhaps just a little too dashing.

The court records of seventeenth-century Maryland and Virginia are full of cases like this one, but few record the level of detail that this one did. One thing that I enjoy about blogging is that it allows me to write about these little incidents, and preview just a little bit how they relate to my work. So, straight from Chapter Four:

Captain William Mitchell had a difficult time governing his tongue and his body. After his arrival in Maryland sometime in the early 1650s, he managed to offend so many of his fellow members of the Maryland Assembly as well as the Lord Proprietor that in June 1652 he was arrested and placed in prison, charged with “Crimes...being Soe many and Soe haynous” that the prosecutor Mr. Hatton seemed uncomfortable describing them for the record. Hatton evaded a detailed description of Captain Mitchell’s trangressions, saying merely that “...by Common experience it is apparent, that the chiefest use he hath made thereof hath been to colour over his Villanous Courses, and to mock and deride all Religion and Civill Government....” Mitchell, though, went beyond merely mocking religion. When the charges were read, Mitchell stood formally accused of four distinct crimes, and his alleged crime against religion led him to all the others: “he hath not only professed himself to be an Atheist, but hath also endeavoured to draw others to believe there is noe God, makeing a Common practice by blasphemous expressions and otherwise to mock and deride God's Ordinances, and all Religion, thereby to open a way to all wicked lustfull licentious and prophane Courses.” Thereafter he was accused of Adultery with Susan Warren, with the attempted murder of the child with which she was pregnant, and of living in fornication with “his now pretended wife Joane.” The indictment also noted that Mitchell was “...much Suspected (if not known) to have brought his late wife to an untimely end in her late Voyage hitherward by Sea.”

In the end, the grand jury (“[Mitchell] being demanded whether he could take any personal excepcon against any of them, expressed that he could not but was well Satisfied therein”) indicted Mitchell on the two counts of fornication and one count of attempted infanticide, but not on atheism charge. The following day the court ruled that Susan Warren, who had “dishonoured God and given great Offence and Scandal to the Government,” was sentenced to thirty-nine lashes—a sentence later mitigated somewhat (although just how much is unclear) when the Governor and some members of the Council interceded on her behalf. Captain Mitchell himself was fined five thousand pounds of tobacco plus court and prison charges “...for his Several Offences of Adultery ffornication and Murtherous intention, and in respect of his lewd and Scandalous Course of life Sufficiently appearing upon the proofs....” He was also ordered to stay away from Joane until they could be appropriately married.

The legal actions against William Mitchell and Susan Warren expose three interesting currents in the prosecution of fornication cases in the early Chesapeake. The first is the connection between Mitchell’s alleged atheism and his violation of community standards of sexual behavior. The prosecutor made it clear that he considered Mitchell’s anti-religious rhetoric “...open[ed] a way to all wicked lustfull licentious and prophane Courses.” Without religion, men would be unable to resist the temptation of sin. Warren’s conviction spoke in similar terms, noting that she had both “dishonoured God” and “given great Offense to the Government.” Her sexual misbehavior was simultaneously a sin against God and a crime against the community. Second, although accused of atheism and the murder of his first wife, the court concluded Mitchell was not quite that bad and merely fined him. Warren, on the other hand, found herself whipped and disgraced, even though it appears she did not receive all thirty-nine of the sentenced lashes. The different responses to both defendants indicates the degree to which punishment varied by both gender and status, since uniform punishments were not yet mandated by law in either Maryland or Virginia. (I'm assuming, of course, that Susan Warren was an indentured servant. That might not be the case, which could change the analysis again.) Third, the court fully expected Mitchell to marry Joane, underscoring the importance of marriage in a nascent society with a severe demographic imbalance between English men and women.

But I wonder why not make Mitchell marry Susan Warren, the woman with whom he had had a child, rather than Joane? I'm sure the answer lies in some bit of information the clerk of the court neglected to write down. This case includes only the charges made against Mitchell and Susan Warren, as well as Susan Warren's paraphrased confession, but no depositions from witnesses, which would make it much richer. Nevertheless, what it does leave historians with is pretty meaty...and quite interesting.

Source: William Hand Browne, ed. Archives of Maryland, Vol. X: Judicial and Testamentary Business of the Provincial Court, 1649/50-1657 (Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society, 1891), 182-185.

08 November 2005

A Creative Solution to a Persistent Problem...

...seventeenth-century style.

Found over the weekend in "Profiting from Misfortune: corrutpion and the Admiralty under the Early Stuarts," by David D. Hebb in Thomas Cogswell, Richard Cust, and Peter Lake, eds., Politics, Religion, and Popularity: Early Stuart Essays in Honour of Conrad Russell:

Presented to Charles I as a New Year's Gift, the proposal recommended "that the whores, harlots, & idle lascivious portion of the female sect [sic]" should be exchanged for English male captives (taken by Turkish pirates) so that "one harlot may redeem half a dozen captives."
And some people have a hard time believing me when I tell them that the penalty for fornication could be very harsh in early modern English society...

(source: PRO SP 16/311/9)

07 November 2005

The Comedy Canon?

John Scalzi
has started another movie meme, this time not sci-fi but rather, comedy. According to the Rough Guide to Comedy Movies by Bob McCabe, here are the best comedy movies of all time. Rules for the meme: bold the ones you've seen and asterik the ones you own. (I don't actually own any so that was easy.)

All About Eve
Annie Hall
The Apartment
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Blazing Saddles
Bringing Up Baby

Broadcast News
Le diner de con
Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Duck Soup
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Four Weddings and a Funeral

The General
The Gold Rush
Good Morning Vietnam
The Graduate
Groundhog Day

A Hard Day's Night
His Girl Friday
Kind Hearts and Coronets
The Lady Killers
Local Hero
Monty Python's Life of Brian
National Lampoon's Animal House

The Odd Couple
The Producers
Raising Arizona

Shaun of the Dead
A Shot in the Dark
Some Like it Hot
Strictly Ballroom
Sullivan's Travels
There's Something About Mary
This is Spinal Tap

To Be or Not to Be
Toy Story

Les vacances de M. Hulot
When Harry Met Sally...
Withnail and I

Now, the remainder of the meme.
Films whose presence in the canon I'm particularly gratified to see (pick up to five): Bringing up Baby, Some Like it Hot
Films that should not be in the canon (pick up to five): Groundhog Day and Tootsie. They aren't so much funny as completely nervewracking.
Films I'd pick to replace them (up to five): Adam's Rib, Spaceballs

06 November 2005

New Carnivalesque!

Carnivalesque #10 is up at Early Modern Notes
! There's plenty of good stuff for all historical tastes, with a particular emphasis on plots, Gunpowder and otherwise, and early modern court records (a particular favorite with me). Check it out!

Blogger was down for most of yesterday afternoon, and although (a)musings was viewable by early evening, I still couldn't post until much later in the evening, at which point I was at a Guy Fawkes Day Effigy-Burning party and in no condition to actually post the following:

Pope's Day in Boston

Remember, remember, the fifth of November took on a new ritual life in Boston. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the traditional English effigy-burning had evolved into a city-wide festival marked by battles between the North End's and the South End's apprentices and artisans. The "lower orders" in each part of the city made effigies of the Pope, Devil, and Pretender and then tried to capture and burn each other's effigies. The riots were certainly anti-Catholic but also served another purpose. Resistance to the Stamp Tax in 1765-66 was built on networks of communication and leadership already in place to coordinate "organized" Pope's Day rioting. Ironically, what was a celebration of English, Protestant identity, and by extension, a celebration of Parliamentary and monarchical authority, helped foment revolution against those very institutions.

Pope's Day effigy-burning died out during the Revolution in favor of commemorations of Redcoat evils. Bostonians now remembered the Boston Massacre and the Destruction of the Tea (the Boston Tea Party)rather than old English festivals.

In this broadside I found on the Library of Congress's web site, you can see the Pope, Devil, and Pretender effigies and evidence of North End and South End pride. (I had to crop the image quite a bit for Blogger to be able to support it, but the image is flanked with text declaiming "North End Forever!" and "South End Forever!") What I like most, though, is the conflation of various Catholic evils in the text that accompanies the image:

Extraordinary Verses on Pope's Night, Or, A Commemoration of the Fifth of November, Giving a History of the Attempt, made by the Papistes, to blow up King and Parliament, A.D. 1588, Together with some Account of the Pope himself, and his Wife Joan...

The plot to blow up King and Parliament took place, according to this broadside, in 1588. Pope's Day, then, encompassed the Armada, Guy Fawkes, Spain, France (I think the reference to the Pope's wife Joan is probably Joan of Arc), and the Pretender in the New England imagination.

05 November 2005

This Week's Acquisitions

In honor of the Little Professor's weekly feature "This Week's Acqusitions" I present you with Becky's Bumper Book crop. I haven't acquired this many books at once in years.

It all started last Sunday when Harvard Book Store had its semi-annual Frequent Buyer Card sale. The store opened an hour early and by 8:30 a.m. the place was packed with book-buyers, who roamed the store in ones and twos with shopping baskets filled with books. I think bookstore attendance was better than church attendance in Cambridge this past Sunday!

I acquired, for 20% off:

  1. Robert Appelbaum & John Wood Sweet, eds. Envisioning an English Empire: Jamestown and the Making of the North Atlantic World. (This one is dissertation-related and therefore indispensible.)

  2. Edward L. Ayers, What Caused the Civil War? Reflections on the South and Southern History. (I thought this book might help me talk more about why I can be considered an historian of the U.S. South. So, job-related, and therefore indispensible.)

  3. Bernard Bailyn, To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders. (I own everything else ever written by Bernard Bailyn, why not this one too?)

  4. Gordon S. Wood, The American Revolution: A History. (I'm writing a syllabus on the American Revolution and I wanted to see if this book would make an appropriate textbook for the class.)

  5. Janwillem van der Wettering, Murder in Amsterdam. (Even dissertators need to have some fun!

Then, later in the week, I got a book I ordered off ABEbooks.com. I've recently developed a penchant for good memoirs, and I bought a hardcover first edition of Inga Clendinnen, Tiger's Eye, for $1.50. How could I resist?

And, after my hair cut yesterday, I discovered the Square has acquired a new used bookstore, Raven Books. (Raven does not have a website and unfortunately for those of you not within driving distance of the Square, does no web-based business.) Raven has a fabulous Early American History section with many publishers' remainders of rare scholarly finds. So:

  1. Allan Gallay, The Indian Slave Trade.

  2. Andrew Levy, The First Emancipator: The Forgotten Story of Robert Carter, the Founding Father who Freed his Slaves.

  3. John K. Nelson, A Blessed Company: Parishes, Parsons, and Parishioners in Anglican Virginia, 1690-1740.

All of those are dissertation-related, but there were many others I had to resist in the name of my budget. I'll go back next week!

01 November 2005

Welcome to History Carnival the Nineteenth

What better way to celebrate the Day of the Dead than to read about the past? We begin today with some scary posts to fit the mood of the season: Little Professor lists some Victorian Halloween reads; Earmarks writes of werewolves in early modern theatre; Rob MacDougall offers up Clio's Nightmares, a scary collection of alternative pasts.

We go now from the frightening to the entertaining. Natalie Bennett brings us good old fashioned gossip from ladies of quality.

What were women’s experiences with books in medieval Europe? At Pecia, a detailed post on the manuscripts of Christine de Pisan (the post is in French but the beautiful illuminations speak all languages) and at Philobiblon, a review of new work on women and literacy in late medieval England. On modern womens’ reading habits, Blue Earth Notes asks what her grandmothers read.

At Frog in a Well, Alan Baumler gives another view of women’s experience while considering the cultural conventions of modern Chinese women in love. Love was not so scripted for this pair of lovers: Laura James recounts what bad things happen when a 50-year-old man marries a 20-year-old woman.

From crime in early twentieth-century France to crime in seventeenth-century England:
Sharon at Early Modern Notes considers material evidence in early modern English courts, and Jonathan follows up at Head Heeb. If we go deep into (a)musings’ archives, we find murder committed by Servant Ayres, with a lathing hammer, in the bedroom. Detrimental Postulation joins this criminal conversation with some great information on being your own judge and jury in the British Empire. The Patahistorian offers links on the punishment side of things, with this post on the history of the electric chair.

If Early Modern England is your thing, then some musings on Locke’s First Treatise are just the ticket. If you prefer Foucault to Locke, Acephalous provides some interesting analysis on the King of Postmodern. To complement Acephalous’s comments on Foucault, we also have Andrew at Air Pollution on Bourdieu and the history of sexuality.

Cliopatria hosts a symposium on Sean Wilentz’s New York Times article entitled “Bush’s Ancestors.” Spinning Clio responds.

John Hawks asks if Genghis Khan's Y chromosome caused the Mongol conquest. At Blog Them Out of the Stone Age, Mark Grimsley ponders the relationship between war and society (as opposed to war and genetics) while commenting on the teaching opportunities afforded by Civilization IV.

A World of Trash and Treasure reminds us that Consumption is More than Eating. In order to consume properly, of course one needs advertising. Jeremy at Clioweb tells us about Native Americans in early twentieth-century advertising.

At the Rhine River, a meditation on Konrad Adenauer and the legacy of the Holocaust in Germany. At Respectful Insolence, the offensiveness of using blogs for Holocaust denial.

J. Otto Pohl ruminates on the Balkars under Soviet Rule.

At Regions of Mind, a post about urbanization and suburbanization in the US.

History blogs (including my own) were oddly silent on the passing of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, but LaShawn Barber has a nice collection of links about Mrs. Parks and the onset of the Civil Rights Movement.

And now, for some metablogging from your host: For those of you who responded to my request for information from grad student and junior faculty bloggers, I have not forgotten you or your responses. If I can get the job market to go away this weekend, I will try to get my synthesis of this material up!

To show just how seriously the history blogosphere takes good academic blogging, Cliopatria announces the Cliopatria Awards. Check it out!

The Twentieth Edition of the History Carnival will be hosted by Joanna at Tigerlily Lounge on 15 November.
Email her your entries at mythicalbrit[at]gmail.com