October 24, 2006

The Delights of Academic History

As the entire civilized world assuredly recognizes, this January Atlanta will be the home of the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA). This charming get-together will serve as a meeting of the minds for sundry academic historians and will offer aspiring professors the chance to interview for a diminishing number of posts.

Let us not forget, of course, that the upcoming AHA powwow will also be home to numerous scintillating academic papers—15-minute presentations that feel as if they were at least 45 minutes. (If you’re doctor informs you that you only have 15 minutes left to live, we suggest you head directly to the AHA conference: Sitting through a paper will make it seem as if you had at least a half-hour.)

In addition to traipsing around the city of Atlanta, then, our history professors will also have the distinct pleasure of taking in such wondrous panels as “Historicizing Lesbian Identities: Postwar U.S. Perspectives.” Boy, that ought to be awfully illuminating. But is anyone else itching for the crucial “prewar perspective”? Maybe it’s just us.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” mention the upcoming AHA meet-n-greet because a longtime correspondent of this “weblog” recently sent us an official program of events. Accordingly, we figured that we’d focus today’s “post” on the get-together. More specifically, we figured that we’d suggest a few of the panels to attend, in order to make sure that our devoted readership won’t miss a minute of the juiciest sessions. Yeah, we figured you’d thank us for it.

As far as we can intuit, the most essential presentations are both part of the official “poster session.” Our handy program informs us: “Offered for the second time at the 2007 Annual Meeting, this poster session provides a venue for the newest developing historical research.”

We know what you’re thinking, dear reader: Sounds pretty good. So what, you may be wondering, amounts to “the newest developing historical research”?

Well, how about this delight from Jeremy Boggs of George Mason University: “Material Cultures of Filth and Cleanliness: The American Bathroom at the Turn of the Last Century.” Wow: We can’t imagine skipping out on this learned scholar’s deeply important contribution to Western culture. We wonder where he came up with such an enlightened idea.

But maybe this is outdone by Alexia P. Long of Georgia State University. Her contribution to this distinguished poster session? “In Search of the American Pimp.” Presumably, a few of the historians at the conference will be conducting a similar quest during the meeting’s off-hours.

Posted at October 24, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack