Research Update 1: Topics and Travel Plans

In my resolution post, I said that I would provide more research updates, including a post (or two or three) on my recent research trip. Well, here’s the first installment!

One requirement of the UCSD history department is two series of a research seminar. The first series I’m taking is the United States research seminar, a two-quarter course that meets in the fall and spring quarters, with a writing “break” in the winter. As an extension of sorts to my thesis, I’m focusing on the early Arab American experience in the first part of the 20th century. At the end of last quarter, I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d be doing, but I’ve gotten myself focused a bit more and I’ll be looking at an Arab American women’s organization, the Syrian Ladies’ Aid Society of Boston, in the first two decades after its formation in 1917.

In my examination, I want to discuss women’s participation in the public sphere through their involvement in the Syrian-American (“Syrian-American” here is used to refer to most of the Arabic-speaking people who came to the United States prior to World War II; most were Christians—Maronites–and came from the Ottoman administrative province known as Balad al-Sham, Greater Syria, and distinguished themselves from Muslim Ottoman subjects by emphasizing their Syrian-ness rather than Turk-ness), greater Boston area, national, and international communities.

Most of the materials for my project are not available through interlibrary loan (for those who don’t know about this, it’s an amazing service offered by most universities that allows you to access books, articles, sources, and the like from other libraries), so I knew at the end of last quarter that I might need to do some traveling. There were three places in particular that I was able to find through WorldCat that had some of the things I was looking for: the Arab American National Museum (AANM) in Dearborn (near Detroit), Michigan, the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) at the University of Minnesota, and the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University. I ultimately decided that going to the AANM would be the most fruitful. So, I bought my plane ticket, got myself a winter coat, and packed my bags, set to leave on January 1 for 5½ days of research.

Check out the blog next week to see Research Update 2: In the Archive.

Week 1 and 2 Roll Call

I apologize for being a little behind on my weekly list. Lucky for you though, I’ve got a two-for-one kind of deal going on this week – two roll calls in one! So, without further ado…

Historical Scholarship of the Modern Middle East, Late Ottoman Empire

Week 1

Berkes, Niyazi. The Development of Secularism in Turkey. Montreal: McGill University Press, 1964. [reprinted in 1998 by Routledge; this is the version I used]

Week 2

Lerner, Daniel. The Passing of Traditional Society. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1958. (selected chapters)

Lewis, Bernard. The Emergence of Modern Turkey. London: Oxford University Press, 1961.

Masters, Bruce. The Arabs of the Ottoman Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Historical Studies of Women and Gender

Week 1
Topic: The history of women and gender: experience and discourse

Hershatter, Gail. “The Gender of Memory: Rural Chinese Women and the 1950s.” Signs 28, no. 1 (2002): 43-70.

Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks. “African-American Women’s History and the Metalanguage of Race.” Signs 17 (Winter 1992): 251-274.

Offen, Karen. “History of Women.” In Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, 463-71.

Passerini, Luisa. “Women’s Personal Narratives: Myths, Experiences, and Emotions.” In Joy Webster, et al, eds., Interpreting Women’s Lives: Feminist Theory and Personal Narrative. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1989: 189-197.

Scott, Joan. “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis.” American Historical Review 91, no. 5 (1986): 1053-1075.

Scott, Joan. “Revisiting ‘Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis.’” American Historical Review 113, no. 5 (December 2008): 1334-1430.

Scott, Joan. “The Evidence of Experience.” Critical Inquiry 17, no. 4 (1991): 773-797.

Week 2
Topic: Feminist anthropology and the body: women in medieval Europe

Bynum, Caroline Walker. Holy Feast, Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. (selections)

Caciola, Nancy. “Mystics, Demoniacs, and the Psychology of Spirit Possession in Medieval Europe.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 42, no. 2 (April 2000): 268-306.

Ortner, Sherry B. “Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture?” In Michelle Z. Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere, eds., Women, Culture, and Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974: 68-87.

Class Schedule – Winter 2014

Week 1 has passed and we’re into the quarter full-swing. This quarter I’m taking Arabic, the first section of Middle East historiography that focuses on the Ottoman Empire from the 18th to the 20th centuries (Historical Scholarship of the Modern Middle East, Late Ottoman Empire), and Historical Studies of Women and Gender. Both the Middle East course and the women and gender course have great syllabi that I’m looking forward to sharing with you.

I’ve also been assigned an undergraduate class for which I’m going to be grading the midterm and final; as of last count, the class had about 75 students, but will probably whittle down to around 50. The class is outside my major field, and covers Mexico in the 19th century from decolonization to revolution (1810-1910). For it being an immediate neighbor to the south, I unfortunately know very little about Mexican history and am looking forward to learning more.

I hope you enjoy following along for the next two and a half months!