Hadley Freeman,"Change Your Life with Jane Austen," Guardian, 9 December 2004; Lisa Jardine and Annie Watkins,"The Books That Move Men," Guardian, 6 April 2006; and Charlotte Higgins,"A Tale of Two Genders: Men Choose Novels of Alienation, While Women Go for Passion," Guardian, 6 April, all suggest that there really are such things as men's literature and women's literature. Men and women prefer different novels and, on the whole, they prefer novels written by people of their own gender, though the list of writers favored by women is less rigid in that regard. I have to admit that the researchers' findings ring true for me. [ed.: Luker ducks while the Invisible Adjunct, Miriam Burstein, Rebecca Goetz, and Sharon Howard fling their chalkdust-filled-erasers at him for not having read Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. But see: University Diaries, wherein Margaret Soltan declares herself a man.] Thanks to Alfredo Perez at Political Theory Daily Review for the tip.
Hiram Hover has been through the Guggenheim Foundation's recent announcement of its 2006 U.S. and Canadian fellows. He offers its list of winners in American history and draws some interesting conclusions about the direction of American historical study from his list. Below the fold, I've put a list of the Guggenheim-winning projects in all historical fields. You can draw your own conclusions:
Timothy Brook, Professor of Chinese History and Principal, St. John's College, University of British Columbia: Social suffering and social policy in the Chinese tradition.
Paul M. Cobb, Associate Professor of Islamic History, and Fellow of the Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame: Usama ibn Munqidh's memoirs and the Muslims in the age of the Crusades.
Patricia Cline Cohen, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara: Thomas and Mary Gove Nichols and marriage reform in antebellum America.
Nathaniel Deutsch, Associate Professor of Religion, Swarthmore College: Ansky and the invention of Jewish ethnography.
Julia V. Douthwaite, Professor of French and Assistant Provost for International Studies, University of Notre Dame: A literary history of the French Revolution.
Robert Edelman, Professor of History, University of California, San Diego: Moscow soccer audiences and popular attitudes toward communism.
Paula S. Fass, Margaret Byrne Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley: Parents and children in American history, 1800-2000.
Gillian Feeley-Harnik, Kathleen Gough Collegiate Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan: Kinship and ecology in 19th-century Great Britain and America. Steven Feierman, Professor of History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania: Social medicine in Africa.
Barbara Fuchs, Associate Professor of Romance Languages, University of Pennsylvania:"Moorish" culture and the conflictive construction of Spain.
Louis Galambos, Professor of History, The Johns Hopkins University; Editor, The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower; Maguire Chair, Kluge Center, Library of Congress: The Creative Society, and the price Americans paid for being creative.
Nina Rattner Gelbart, Professor of History and Anita Johnson Wand Professor of Women's Studies, Occidental College: Frenchwomen of science in the 18th century.
Arthur Goldhammer, Translator, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Senior Affiliate, Center for European Studies, Harvard University: Democracy in America since Tocqueville.
Dena Goodman, Professor of History and Women's Studies, University of Michigan: Women's letter-writing in the 18th century.
Karen V. Hansen, Professor of Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies, Brandeis University: The Dakota Sioux and Scandinavian homesteaders, 1900-1930.
Constance Valis Hill, Five College Associate Professor of Dance, Hampshire College: A cultural history of tap dancing in America since 1900.
Thomas Hurka, Chancellor Henry N. R. Jackman Distinguished Chair in Philosophical Studies, University of Toronto: British moral philosophy from Sidgwick to Ross.
Carla Kaplan, Professor of English and Gender Studies, University of Southern California: The white women of the Harlem Renaissance.
Diane P. Koenker, Professor of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: Proletarian tourism and vacations in the USSR.
Joseph Leo Koerner, Professor in the History of Art, Courtauld Institute of Art: Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, and the painting of everyday life.
Frank J. Korom, Associate Professor of Religion and Anthropology, Boston University: The impact of modernity on traditional Bengali scroll painters and singers.
John A. Lane, Independent Scholar, Leiden, The Netherlands: The life and work of the 17th-century typefounder and punchcutter Christoffel van Dijck.
Brooke Larson, Professor of History, Stony Brook University: Aymara Indians and struggles over power, knowledge, and identity in the Bolivian Andes.
Anthony J. La Vopa, Professor of History, North Carolina State University: The labor of the mind and the specter of effeminacy in Enlightenment cultures.
Carol Lawton, Professor of Art History, and Chair, Department of Art and Art History, Lawrence University: Popular Greek religion and the votive reliefs from the Athenian Agora. Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, University of Michigan: A short history of the Buddha.
Deidre Shauna Lynch, Associate Professor of English, Indiana University, Bloomington: A cultural history of the love of literature.
Neil McWilliam, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Art and Art History, Duke University: Tradition, identity, and the visual arts in France, 1900-1914.
Patricia Cox Miller, W. Earl Ledden Professor of Religion, Syracuse University: The corporeal imagination in late antiquity.
Mark Mitchell, Writer, Gainesville, Florida; Managing Editor, Subtropics Magazine, University of Florida: A biography of Frederic Prokosch.
Susan Brind Morrow, Writer, Chatham, New York: The Pyramid Texts and the development of religious imagery.
Harriet Murav, Professor and Department Head of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Professor of World and Comparative Literature, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: Soviet Yiddish and Russian-Jewish literature of the 20th century.
Ashley Null, Visiting Research Fellow, Faculties of Divinity, Cambridge University; Visiting Research Fellow in Theology, Humboldt University, Berlin: A critical edition of Thomas Cranmer's Great Commonplaces.
Anthony Pagden, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles: A history of European cosmopolitanism.
Nancy Lee Peluso, Professor of Society and Environment, and Program Director, Berkeley Workshop in Environmental Politics, University of California, Berkeley: Territoriality, violence, and the production of landscape history in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Theda Perdue, Atlanta Distinguished Term Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: American Indians in the segregated South, 1870-1970.
John Pollini, Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology, University of Southern California: Christian destruction and desecration of images of classical antiquity.
Ronald Schuchard, Goodrich C. White Professor of English, Emory University: A complete edition of T. S. Eliot's prose.
James Shapiro, Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University: The Shakespeare authorship controversy.
Stephen J. Shoemaker, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of Oregon: The end of Muhammad's life in Christian and early Islamic sources.
Daniel Lord Smail, Professor of History, Harvard University: Fama and the culture of publicity in medieval Mediterranean Europe.
James A. Stimson, Raymond Dawson Bicentennial Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: The liberalism of professed conservatives in America.
William Taubman, Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science, Amherst College: A biography of Mikhail Gorbachev.
Allen Wells, Roger Howell, Jr., Professor of History, Bowdoin College: General Trujillo, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the Jews of Sosua (Dominican Republic).
Leon Wieseltier, Literary Editor, The New Republic: Translation of unpublished writings by Yehuda Amichai.
Robert A. Yelle, Postdoctoral Fellow, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities; Visiting Assistant Professor, Program for the Study of Religion, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: The influence of Protestant literalism on modern law and religion.
Julian Zelizer, Professor of History, Boston University: National security politics from the Cold War to the war on terrorism.
Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006
In all honesty, the Jardine-Watkins research strikes me as a bit of mullarkey. OK, so they interviewed 500 men and found what they found about them. Are 500 men a good proxy for "men"? Or are they just 500 men of a certain kind?
Maybe I'm very atypical, but the Bronte novels are among my favorites, and Camus bores me to tears.
Of course, V.S. Naipaul confirms their stereotype; check out his comments on Jane Austen.
But then, check out his comments on Henry James....
Does anyone do research on character-types that cut across race, class and gender boundaries? That might explain more than sex or gender as such.
Nathanael D. Robinson - 4/9/2006
"The men's list was all angst and Orwell. Sort of puberty reading."--that's a pretty cutting.
Rebecca Anne Goetz - 4/9/2006
Consider the eraser chucked, Ralph! You haven't read Austen or Bronte? I'm shocked, SHOCKED! :)
I would settle for you at least watching the A&E Pride and Prejudice miniseries. I bet you would move right on to the book after that!
Miriam Elizabeth Burstein - 4/9/2006
I've noticed that my male students approach the Brontes with a set of very gendered stereotypes ("it's chick-lit!") and are then shocked once they've actually read the books ("wow, these are great!").
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