January 08, 2017

Wools in every home.

Hi all,

The pre-baby holding pattern continues. I wrap up big projects, then odds, then ends, and wait. 
i. Things I wrote that were published this week. Part 2 of my 10-deep list of interesting digital history sites from 2016. (Image from the Knitting Reference Library, in the Internet Archive—one of this week's five.) 

ii. Things I've been reading. Sarah Zhang's piece for TheAtlantic.com about historian Alexandra Minna Stern's recent work with a database of people sterilized under California eugenics laws in the last century. It looks like the New York Times' Opinion section might be running a new Disunion blog, this time for the year 1967 in Vietnam; I'll be following along. And Joshua Rothman's profile of science-fiction writer Ted Chiang, in The New Yorker. (I read Chiang's excellent book of short stories recently, and it turns out the one I loved the most, "Liking What You See: A Documentary," was also the one Chiang thought was so unfinished that he declined its nomination for an award. So much for my taste, I guess.)

iii. Image. Charles Jameson Grant, "The Penny Trumpeter!", 1832. From a Princeton Graphic Arts Collection blog post, about the early-19th-c use of the word "Trumpery" to indicate "complex histories or scientific theories...reduced to overly simplistic articles of little value except entertainment." 

iv. RIP. Ben Davis on John Berger's liminal place between the worlds of art history and critique, in ArtNet: "Berger was...thought by one camp to be mutilating tradition, and to be too reverent towards it by the other." And here's Sewell Chan's Joyce Appleby obit in the Times.

Appleby was 84 when her final book was published. This admirable fact makes me wonder what effect of the demolishment of the tenure track will have on the current generation of academics, when they (we?) get to be septua- and octogenarians. This is always an aspect of the academy that appealed to me greatly: the fact that you could keep on producing and producing, if you were to feel like it, way after most professions would kick you out. But who among my cohort will be financially and professionally secure enough to publish a final volume at 84?

I feel solemn at our prospects,

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