Blogs > Cliopatria > Catching Up ...

Jul 3, 2005 10:14 am


Catching Up ...



The list of Cliopatria's friends just keeps growing. The most recent additions include three medievalist blogs, two of them in French, Le manuscrit medieval and Menestral, and one in English, Unlocked Wordhoard. There are two additional blogs by literary historians, Scott Eric Kaufman's Acephalous and Caleb Crain's Steamboats are ruining everything. Cliopatria's friends are more diverse with the addition of another Australian blog, The Currency Lad, and more topical interests. Eat Your History offers historical context for every recipe and The Uneasy Chair reflects the interests of Jon Christensen, a graduate student in environmental history at Stanford. As you might expect, most of the additional history blogs are by graduate students: Essential Liberties is by Chris, who is teaching a lot of on-line history courses and preparing to enter a doctoral program, Kevin Shupe's Polyphonous Pasts is one of Clioweb's network of blogs at George Mason University, and Etcetera Whatever is by Richard Bailey, a doctoral candidate in American religious history at the University of Kentucky.

The long 4th of July holiday seems as good a time as any to catch up with some of the Cliopatricians and their other friends. At Chapati Mystery, Sepoy remembers the book bazaars in Lahore, Hyderabad, and Peshawar. Rob MacDougall has moved to the University of Western Ontario, though his stuff hasn't yet reached there. In Cairo, Brian Ulrich writes of pyramids and archives. At Rhine River and Reise Krise, Nathanael Robinson continues to drink his way through the archives of Alsace. Service contract or no, Dell France has been worse than useless to him and he's had to give up on his laptop. Stewgad at Pretty Hard, Dammit is slogging her way through a dissertation, but she took time out to see a play about Charlotta, an East German transvestite, who preserved relics of the Weimar Republic in a private museum throughout the Nazi and Communist regimes."It was fascinating," says Stewgad,

mainly because while the playwright was researching and interviewing Charlotta, it came out that she had collaborated with the Communists as an informant. The playwright didn't know what to do with this – and so finally decided to write the play about his experience of encountering her rather than write a story of her heroism in the face of oppression. It was interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying. I wanted documentation, I wanted more research, I wanted texture and nuance, and far, far more depth. I think that if this had been my research, I wouldn't have been willing to submit to the severe limitations placed on the storyteller by the genre – the story doesn't want to be a play, it wants to be a book.
Like Eat Your History, Rebecca Goetz's (a)musings of a graduate student suffers from a blogspot bug, but if you scroll down, you'll see that she's made the transition from doing research in the Chesapeake Bay and relocated to Cambridge, MA. Along the way, she gave a paper at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians and got some good feedback from Mary Beth Norton. Another Damned Medievalist at Blogenspiel has also been doing transitions. In the midst of them, she had to deal with a beloved dog who was so terrorized by a storm that she tore a screen door and three door frames off the house in a desperate effort to get inside. To be clear about things, it was the dog, not ADM, who did the damage. I've been that desperate, at times, but I haven't had nearly so much to show for it.
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