From the 127th Annual Meeting column in the November 2012 issue of Perspectives on History
Atina Grossman to Speak at the CWH Breakfast in New Orleans
AHA Staff, November 2012
The annual networking breakfast organized by the AHA's Committee on Women Historians provides an exciting and unique opportunity to meet scholars across generations working in all fields. The committee warmly invites women historians and anyone with an interest in gender history to this year's breakfast.
The breakfast will be held during the Association's 127th annual meeting, 7:30–9:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 5, 2013, in La Galerie 3 of the New Orleans Marriott. CWH chair Leora Auslander (Univ. of Chicago) will preside over the meeting. The breakfast is cosponsored by the Coordinating Council for Women in History.
The address the invited speaker, Atina Grossmann (Cooper Union) will deliver to the gathering is entitled: "Too Emotional? Or Queering the Genres? Mixing Family and Straight History."
Explaining the focus of her talk, Grossmann writes:
My recent article, drawn from a talk at a workshop on "The Emotions of Restitution" which explored the uses of the emerging "history of emotions" for illuminating aspects of postwar German Jewish history was rejected by the journal that had solicited it as too emotional—"moving" but "not scholarly." The journal that did publish the piece felt compelled to add a preface informing readers that given the "personal quality" of the presentation, "the text is only slightly edited to produce more distanced language." Interesting, I thought, given the theme and the current spate of conferences and panels trying to theorize "emotions." What line had I crossed; how and why? In fact, I am trying to develop my current research on "Transnational Jewish Refugee Stories: Soviet Central Asia, Iran, and India as Sites of Relief and Refuge for European Jews during World War II" into a "hybrid" text that melds family history with academic research. What happens, I want to ask, when a historian uses a personal archive of letters and other memorabilia such as material objects and photographs, not, as has become more and more common and popular, in a personal or family memoir, but as one kind of source, among an array of others, for scholarly production? Why is this border-crossing so suspect? A straightforward memoir is acceptable, but mixing—queering perhaps—genres in history is not scholarly, is too "emotional." How gendered are these categories? Still? How do these questions return us to basic feminist issues of "women's history" methodology and epistemology, about the historical versus the personal, and our interrogation of what we used to call the "hierarchy of significance" regulating scholarly research and publication?
The continental breakfast is open to all, but tickets must be purchased when registering for the meeting, or by calling 508-743-0510 to add tickets to an existing registration. Prepaid tickets will be distributed with the meeting badge at the registration counters. A limited number of tickets may be available at the meeting. Cost: $35 members, $45 nonmembers, $15 student members, and $30 student nonmembers.
The Committee on Women Historians cordially invites all interested AHA members to a brainstorming session immediately following the breakfast to help think through the question of the mission of the CWH as we go forward. In a conversation started after last year's breakfast, colleagues raised a number of issues of concern. Although many gender inequities in our profession appear to have been remedied and the history of women, gender, and sexuality is studied in most departments, it is clear that balancing "work" and "life" remains difficult, and harassment continues to be a problem. The paucity of jobs and transformations in higher education pose further challenges. In the face of both improvements and continued and new difficulties, what are the urgent tasks for the CWH? These are some of the issues that can be discussed at the brainstorming session.