Syrian Ladies’ Aid Society, one more time: From research to conference paper, Part I

While I was playing catch-up a few months back, I wrote a concluding post for a research paper I wrote in my first year. I said then that I might turn it into an article, or do something else with it, and that I’d let you, my lovely readers, know if that happened. Well, I have. My paper was accepted to a conference being convened by the Society for the History of Women in the Americas (SHAW) based at St. Mary’s University (London). It’s being held at the University of Oxford in July. I’m very excited (full disclosure: while I am of course honored and happy to be presenting my paper, everyone tells me Oxford is just like Hogwarts, so at least half of my excitement might come from that). The original research paper was 37 pages, including footnotes. The average conference presentation is 15-20 minutes. This is about 10 pages of double-spaced text. So, I obviously have quite a bit of pruning to do. I also want to work on presenting, lecture style, which I’m not very good at and makes me very nervous to do (in the humanities, it’s fairly typical for people to read straight from their papers. Sometimes this is good, as it can make for a fairly clear and well-organized presentation, and sometimes this is bad, lending itself towards robotic and monotonous speech and complex sentences that are difficult for the listener to understand–and often difficult for the presenter to read).

Since conference presentation is one of the skills we need to develop as graduate students, and will use throughout our careers, I thought I’d provide a little insight into what my process is like for doing this. Over the next eight weeks, I’ll be doing a three-part series, Part I being this post, which covers the general plan, how I actually went about turning my research paper into a conference presentation (Part II), and how the conference itself and my presentation at it all went (Part III).

To the task at hand then: Part I – The General Plan

Conference date: 6 July 2017
Time until conference: about 7 weeks
Goals: 1) turn 37 pages to 10 (if I truly was going to Hogwarts, I could obviously do this by magic; since I’m not, it’ll have to be the magic of elbow grease and time — much less exciting, and a heck of a lot more work) 2) make an engaging presentation that is designed to be presented as a lecture rather than read

Week 1: Re-read the paper in its entirety twice, first without any comments, and second with the aim of coming up with specific revision tasks (for those following my series on turning a research paper into a journal article following Laura Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks, this is how she suggests getting started in that process as well).

Weeks 2-5: Revise paper based on revision tasks set in Week 1. I’ll be devoting about three days of my 15-minute daily writing in each of these weeks to revision. [Side note — I’m really liking these today, apparently — I was going to link “15-minute daily writing” to one of my #12weekstojournalarticle posts, but realized I never explained this. In order to get into a good writing habit, Belcher suggests spending a minimum of 15 minutes, and a maximum of 1 hour, writing per day. Since I’m really quite busy with research, I budget 15 minutes per day on average, but sometimes do a bit longer, depending on tasks and motivation] I will also undertake a review of the recent literature produced since writing my paper all the way back in 2014.

Week 6: Create PowerPoint based on revised paper. Begin practicing presentation (my aim is to devote about an hour, two or three times during this week, to practicing the presentation)

Week 7: Make all final edits and adjustments to PowerPoint and presentation.

Thursday, 6 July: Be amazing and give stellar presentation. Also, secretly pretend I’m at Hogwarts.

*   *   *

When you have a conference to present at, what’s your process?

5 Things: Podcasts

I recently got an iPad (I know, welcome to the 21st century, right?) and have become an avid listener of a variety of podcasts. While I probably enjoy listening to at least 10 different podcasts, I’ve chosen five that I can’t get enough of right now:

Stuff Mom Never Told You. This has a distinctly feminist bent, but (so?) shouldn’t preclude anyone from listening. In addition to a variety of other topics looked at from a feminist and gender perspective, earlier this summer they did a series on romantic comedies. It was great and has added several films to my must-watch list.

Stuff You Missed in History Class. These are fun and cover a variety of historical topics that, as the name suggests, you probably didn’t learn in your general education history classes. (Several weeks ago, the hosts posted to the podcast’s blog about concerns that they include “too many women” on the program. If you want to read their excellent response to that claim, click here.)

Pop Culture Happy Hour. This podcast makes me aware of how painfully unaware I am of pop culture. But they did do an episode on “Bob’s Burgers” last month that was something I know about before listening.

Ottoman History Podcast. This obviously aligns more to my particular professional and academic interests, but, like “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” the hosts and guests provide you with a look at the past that you probably never got. They also do a good job at showing how history isn’t just memorizing a bunch of names and dates.

Sit’N Listen. This comes from Harvard University’s graduate student organization, Science in the News (SITN), and has so far discussed a number of topics, ranging from GMOs to the construction of sex and gender in science (spoiler from the latter: science isn’t as objective as we like to think it is!).

Bonus for those who like politics: Off Message and The Axe Files are two I’ve been listening to lately.

Since I’m a podcast neophyte, I’d be happy to hear your recommendations in the comments!

Week 5 Roll Call

Hi all. Here are the readings from last week, week 5. All caught up!

Historical Scholarship of the Modern Middle East, Late Ottoman Empire
Topic: The Ottoman Empire and world capitalism

Emrence, Cem. “Three Waves of Late Ottoman Historiography, 1950-2007.” Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 41, no. 2 (Winter 2007): 137-151.

Summary: This study examines three waves in the historiography of the late Ottoman Empire. These waves are modernization approaches (1950s-1970s), macro models (1970s-1980s), and post-structural agendas (1990s-2007). The future of late Ottoman historiography lies is addressing two unanswered questions: that Ottoman studies has thus far been dominated by, first, mono-causal approaches (meaning that historians are still looking for a single cause for Ottoman social transformation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and, second, by “propensity accounts” (these emphasize the active and purposeful role of the Ottoman state and local elite in social formation).

Kasaba, Reşat. The Ottoman Empire and the World Economy: The Nineteenth Century. Albany: SUNY Press, 1988.

Summary: Kasaba challenges the traditional nineteenth century paradigm that looks at military decline and societal improvement during that period as disparate processes. The author brings these concurrent processes in relation to each other and demonstrates that they were intertwined, simultaneous aspects of broader process related to the integration of the Ottoman Empire into the capitalist world economy.

Pamuk, Şevket. “Institutional Change and the Longevity of the Ottoman Empire.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 35, no. 2 (2004): 225-247.

Summary: Pamuk suggests that though the central bureaucracy of the Ottoman Empire was inherently pragmatic and flexible, as shown by its successful expansion and ability to survive into the modern period when others like it were not, its innovation was limited to those institutions that maintained the traditional order and Ottoman power. The result was that changes enacted by the state didn’t allow for its entrance into capitalist economic development or other new forms of economic organization. The inability of the empire to do this led to its disintegration.

Historical Studies of Women and Gender
Topic: History of manhood and masculinity

Beattie, Peter. “Beyond Machismos: Recent Examinations of Masculinities in Latin America.” Men and Masculinities 4 (2002): 303-308.

Summary: In this article, Beattie examines anthropological and literary studies of Latin American conceptions of masculinity and machismo. In his analysis of these studies, the author concludes that these works reveal how masculinity and machismo are “complex and malleable concepts that invite contestation and reinterpretation by individuals, groups, and scholars,” (303) charting new grounds in discussions of gender identity.

Basso, Matthew. Meet Joe Copper: Masculinity and Race on Montana’s World War II Home Front. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Summary: This works examines the home front World War II experience of copper miners in three mining towns in Montana. Through the author’s analysis of their actions, he posits that these coppermen actively challenged the sacrificial masculinity propagated by the federal government and instead clung to their white working class masculinity evidenced by their refusal to work with females and men of color. This (white) working man’s masculinity played a role in the formation of conservative post-war masculinities.

Ditz, Toby. “The New Men’s History and the Peculiar Absence of Gendered Power: Some Remedies from Early American Gender History.” Gender & History 16, no. 1 (April 2004): 1-35.

Summary: In this article, Ditz points out some of the problems male and masculinity studies have confronted since its inception in the 1990s – namely, that many studies of masculinity do not address the nature of gendered power that inherently creates male-ness in contrast to and in dominance over female-ness. She proposes five potentially problematic aspects of masculinity studies and then provides a historiographical overview of early American history showing the ways in which these problems can be avoided.

Sinha, Mrinalini. “Giving Masculinity a History: Some Contributions from the Historiography of Colonial India.” Gender & History 11, no. 3 (1999): 445-460.

Summary: Through a historiographical examination of colonial Indian historiography on gender, Sinha posits that this historiography offers a useful and necessary contribution to the study of masculinity. This is the case because historical studies of gender and masculinity during the colonial period put power at the center of its analyses, thus necessitating a reconsideration of bodily difference, making visible the relational construction of masculinity and the anxieties inherent to that construction, as well as its construction in relation to its ideological and material context.

Week 4 Roll Call

Week 4 here. Week 5 upcoming. Next week is week 6…where has the time gone?!?!

Historical Scholarship of the Modern Middle East, Late Ottoman Empire
Topic: Nineteenth century reform

Fahmy, Khalid. “The Era of Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha, 1805-1848.” In M. W. Daly, ed., The Cambridge History of Egypt: Modern Egypt, from 1517 to the End of the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998: 139-179.
Summary: This article examines the ascent, rule, and legacy of the reign of Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha in Ottoman Egypt. Based on his legacy, the author concludes by suggesting that Muhammad ‘Ali can be considered the father of modern Egypt.

Ma’oz, Moshe. Ottoman Reform in Syria and Palestine. Oxford: Clarendon, 1968.
Summary: This work focuses on the application and effect of the Tanzimat reforms between 1840 and 1861 in the Ottoman Arab provinces of Aleppo, Damascus, Sidon, Syria, and Palestine.

Historical Studies of Women and Gender
Topic: Foucault and the history of sexuality

Bem, Sandra Lipsitz. “Dismantling Gender Polarization and Compulsory Heterosexuality: Should We Turn the Volume Down or Up?” The Journal of Sex Research 32, no. 4 (1995): 329-334.
Summary: In this article, Bem reverses her previous thinking on reversing the dichotomization of gender and the primacy of heterosexuality by suggesting that what is instead needed is an explosion and proliferation of categories of sex/gender/desire so that the binaries that currently dominate Western culture can be dismantled and replaced with a spectrum of sex/gender/desire possibilities.

Coffin, Judith G. “Beauvoir, Kinsey, and Mid-Century Sex.” French Politics, Culture & Society 28, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 18-37.
Summary: The author argues that a re-contextualization of the pairing of the works of Simone deBeauvoir and Alfred Kinsey by their scholarly contemporaries in the late 1940s and early 1950s reveals the tensions inherent to questions of sexuality and sexual politics during that period.

Foucault, Michel. History of Sexuality: An Introduction, vol. 1. New York: Vintage Press, 1990: 1-50.
Summary: In this section of his groundbreaking work, Foucault tackles the “repression hypothesis,” the acceptance of sexual repression in the modern era in the Western world as a fact that stems from this hypothesis, and the notion that such repression stems from the development of a capitalist world economy in which sex outside of its reproductive capacity serves no purpose and is thus repressed. In this section, he suggests, instead, that discourse(s) on sexuality(ies) proliferated and became normalized throughout the nineteenth century, allowing for the possibility of a multiplicity of (“acceptable” and “perverse”) sexualities.

Henry, Todd A. “Between Surveillance and Liberation: The Lives of Cross-Dressed Male Sex Workers in Early Postwar Japan.” In Susan Stryker and Aren Aizura, eds., The Transgender Studies Reader, vol. 2. London: Routledge, 2013: 399-413.
Summary: In this article, Henry examines popular and personal perceptions of crossed-dressed male sex workers in post-World War II U.S.-occupied Japan. He suggests that such an analysis reveals the ways in which identities were created in their local context and in response to local pressures and exigencies. It also provides a helpful case study for an examination of developments since the 1990s in an increasingly globalized transgender studies.

Morantz-Sanchez, Regina. “Feminist Theory and Historical Practice: Rereading Elizabeth Blackwell.” History and Theory 31, no. 4 (Dec 1992): 51-69.
Summary: In this article, Morantz-Sancez re-examines the works of Elizabeth Blackwell, an American mid-nineteenth-century female physician, through the lens of social constructivist theories of science. Through such an analysis, it becomes evident that not only did Blackwell criticize the increasingly masculine domain of objective science, but that her works foreshadow the discourse of twentieth-century female philosophers and thinkers on science.

Morantz, Regina Markell. “The Scientist as Sex Crusader: Alfred C. Kinsey and American Culture.” American Quarterly 29, no. 5 (Winter 1977): 563-589.
Summary: In this article, the author examines the significance of the study of human sexuality undertaken by Alfred Kinsey in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Morantz suggests that, even though Kinsey himself was not a revolutionary, his work was and continues to be innovative for its treatment of human sexuality and the larger cultural meaning and implications it engenders.

How’s the mid-quarter/early semester/early February going for everyone else?

Week 3 Roll Call

Historical Scholarship of the Modern Middle East, Late Ottoman Empire
Topic: Early modern history and historiography

Kafadar, Cemal. “Ottomans and Europe.” In Thomas A. Brady, Jr., Heiko A. Oberman, James D. Tracy, eds., Handbook in European History, 1400-1600: Late Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation. Grand Rapids, MI: W. B. Eerdmans, 1996: 589-628.
Summary: Kafadar provides an overview of Ottoman history from 1400 to 1600 and suggests that the oft-cited European-Ottoman, East-West dichotomy is not accurate for this time period, as they shared many institutions and social and cultural patterns as early modern societies.

Tezcan, Baki. The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Summary: Tezcan argues that the characterization of the 16th century Ottoman empire as an empire in decline is inaccurate; rather, it was a prime example of an early modern polity, one characterized by shifting socioeconomic conditions defined by the monetization of the economy.

Historical Studies of Women and Gender
Topic: State-building, religion and gender: early modern Germany

Pateman, Carole. “The Fraternal Social Contract.” In The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism, and Political Theory. Stanford:  Stanford University Press, 1990: 33-57.
Summary: Pateman challenges the notion that liberalism is inherently inclusive of all individuals within a society by examining the works of contract theorists, their critics, and others who discussed contract theory through a feminist lens. In order to counter the patriarchy inherent to the fraternal social contract, the understanding of the body politic must be dismantled so that definitions of citizenship are not based on the patriarchal separation of private and public, but rather on individuality and sexual identities as feminine and masculine beings.

Pateman, Carole. “Feminist Critiques of the Public/Private Dichotomy.” In The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism, and Political Theory. Stanford:  Stanford University Press, 1990: 118-40.
Summary: In this chapter, Pateman argues that in order to rid ourselves of the patriarchy inherent to the public/private dichotomy of liberalism, a social theory must be developed that acknowledges the mutually constitutive relationship of the public and the private.

Strasser,Ulrike. State of Virginity: Gender, Religion, and Politics in an Early Modern Catholic State. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004.
Summary: In this work, Ulrike examines the early modern Bavarian capital of Munich to reveal the importance of gendered narratives of religion and politics in state power and the creation of a centralized political state through the policing of women’s sexualized and classed bodies.

Strasser, Ulrike, and Heidi Tinsman. “Engendering World History.” Radical History Review 91 (Winter 2005): 151-164.
Summary: An interesting pedagogical piece about a world history survey course the author co-taught in which they used gender as their centralizing theme.