When I talked to Ruff at the beginning of June, the most important point I wanted to stress was the variety of campus history models emerging; not every project comes out of an R1 school with a commission, faculty support, or funding. That there are, in fact, a growing number of student-centered models for this work is one reason I’m disappointed that Ruff didn’t name the founders of our project at Bryn Mawr — Emma Kioko and Grace Pusey — whose dedication, research, and creativity fueled this project from start to finish, even after their graduation.
The article is only available to Chronicle subscribers, but I’ve made a PDF available here.
In January, my public history class welcomed to campus Janice Nimura, author of Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back (2015, now in paperback!) — the rare mass-market biography that takes seriously, and as its subject, the lived experience of young women.
I always like the moment in my talks when I show a photo of the Vassar class of 1882, a gaggle of young bluestockings with one Japanese face in the middle: Sutematsu Yamakawa, the eldest of my three subjects, elected class president in her sophomore year! There’s always a gratifying murmur from the audience as I drive the point home: that’s how talented she was, how intellectually dazzling, how extraordinary in transcending her otherness.
But one afternoon my audience was a room full of Bryn Mawr students, and one of them raised her hand. Wasn’t it possible, she asked, that Sutematsu’s classmates had elevated her because of her differences, rather than in spite of them? Didn’t they think of her as a sort of samurai princess, and wouldn’t they have found it gratifying to show her off?
#HIST303, always with the good questions. (I’m going to miss this class.)
This week I’m in Baltimore for the NCPH annual meeting, “Challenging the Exclusive Past,” co-organizing the working group Campus History as Public History with Caitlin Cohn (University of Minnesota), LaQuanda Cooper (UMBC), and Anne Mitchell Whisnant (UNC-Chapel Hill). Representing nearly 20 campus history projects from Massachusetts to Oklahoma, and many points in between (see our map), the working group is a first step in imagining how to offer resources for public historians working in a variety of institutional contexts–from K-12 schools to public and private colleges and universities.
For a second year, the Greenfield Digital Center will be supporting history programming for the 2016 Bryn Mawr College Community Day of Learning, In/Visible: Class on Campus, Class in Our Lives. Can new archives and historical research expand our notion of campus histories? Join us on Tuesday, February 23 during the first two sessions (room locations and session times will be updated online, here) Continue reading “Community Day of Learning 2016”→
“College Women: A Collaborative, Cross-Institutional Archives Portal,” the DLF Forum talk I gave with Rachel Appel (Bryn Mawr College) and Joanna DiPasquale (Vassar College), is now available online via The University of British Columbia Open Collections repository. Our presentation begins at 00:14:50.
A topic I’m eager to explore in more depth is the built environment of religion on women’s college campuses — connecting threads I’ve pursued since my second year of graduate school, when I wrote pages and pages on the intersection of labor, education, and gender at Mary Lyon’s Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for my religion and history classes while researching a seminar paper on Mundelein, Chicago’s “skyscraper college” for Catholic women.
As I work with the Bryn Mawr College Archives, and on the project team developing College Women: Documenting the History of Women in Higher Education (collegewomen.org) I often think of the questions that many of my students have raised about the role of religion in their college lives, and the ways in which religious and interfaith spaces on college campuses have developed.