Thursday, January 7, 2010

Social Mobility Studies

Good morning Mr. and Mrs. America from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. It's a beautiful day here in San Diego. Still quiet. Not that many historians are loitering in the lobby and the GLBTQ, etc. protesters haven't assembled their picket line in front of the Hyatt yet. So let's go to press.

Breaking news: CVW launches a new feature today: Social Mobility Studies. Social mobility studies--you don't read them any more. Who does?

I guarantee that you will now.

At the top of the list: Yale has sizzled for Chapel Hill's Crystal Feimster and Daniel Botsman. Crystal and Dani are garbo-ing it with Yale. The courtship paid off.

New Haven might be a terminally dreary place, but Yale's history department and American Studies program are not. Over the last few years, Yale has poached away some extraordinary young and mid-career scholars. It's tenured many of its own. The results are spectacular.

No place beats Yale for the history of the U.S. South. Sorry Chapel Hill, Duke, Harvard, Hopkins, Penn, and Wisconsin. No place is better staffed (pardon the pun, never mind, don't pardon it) in the history of gender and sexuality in America. Not even close.

Feimster, whose book on rape, lynching, and race was just published by Harvard, joins a stellar lineup, including George Chuancey, Glenda Gilmore, Joanne Meyerowitz, Laura Wexler, Hazel Carby, Jonathan Holloway, and David Blight.

Yale will probably never be UCLA or Chicago when it comes to Asian history, but its lineup is growing stronger. Botsman, author of an acclaimed book on punishment in modern Japan, brings some mid-career energy to New Haven, joining young superstar, Yale-educated Fabian Drixler.

Bulldog, bulldog, bow wow wow.

22 comments:

  1. Terminally dreary? You obviously never attended my mint julep parties.

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  2. Um, what kind of an asshole are you? Should we really cheer another victory for private education over public education? I congratulate Daniel Botsman and Crystal Feimster for being recognized through these hires, but to tout Yale as the best... I shake my head, it amazes me when it is assumed that such statements will be greeted with nods, that a victory for the Ivy League is a victory for everyone.

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  3. Yale has always been a strong alternative to Harvard in Asian studies: Conrad Totman and Jonathan Spence have been the headliners for a while, but not alone.

    Botsman, it should be noted, was at Harvard for a number of years before going to Chapel Hill, so it's a double-score for Yale in that regard.

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  4. I second the anonymous poster above. As someone who earned a Ph.D. from a wonderful east coast public institution, I always found it disgusting that our department's bright young things (and even not so young things) were consistently being snatched up by NYC schools, on the promise of higher salaries and faculty subsidized housing in Manhattan. The poaching capacity of those schools has nothing to do with the intellectual quality of their graduate students (nor will it determine it in the future) -- but the size of their endowments. Let's face it, who doesn't wanted to live in a subsidized apartment on Riverside Dr?

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  5. Yale is among the best, if not the best history department in the country, possibly the world, whatever the complaints of the first anonymous poster. Congratulations to Daniel Botsman and Crystal Feimster! And I wonder why the second anonymous poster thinks that the quality of the faculty at the NYC schools he or she derides does not have an influence on the quality of their graduate students? Few of the graduate students at "wonderful east coast public institution"s would have turned down the opportunity to study in the excellent departments at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale, whatever their seeming commitment to public education, I imagine.

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  6. In Southern U.S. history--and African American history--the University of South Carolina is right up there with the institutions you listed. Look at their roster: Thomas Brown, Bobby Donaldson, Don Doyle, Walter Edgar, Lacy Ford, Kent Germany, Dan Littlefield, Valinda Littlefield, Lauren Sklaroff, Mark Smith, Marjorie Spruill, and Patricia Sullivan.

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  7. "Yale-is-among-the-best" poster misses the point of the original, critical post. I thought we were in the profession of educating students, not adding accolades to our c.v.s or enlisting new bragging rights to our schools. Indeed, congratulations to Feimster and Botsman for their stimulating scholarship, but it's a damn shame that students will have to pony up tens of thousands of dollars to take courses with them. But who cares about public education in this country, eh? Ah, I love the smell of fatuous elitism in the morning!

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  8. The poster on "fatuous elitism in the morning" practices an even more kind of fatuous ignorance of financial aid policies at elite American universities. For students from low income families, going to Yale, Princeton, or Harvard is free or next to free. In many cases it costs less for the ablest and least well off students to go to Princeton than it would for them to go to a state school. This is certainly true for undergraduates. And graduate students in arts and sciences have not paid to go to HYP for years - indeed they are paid to go! Very few indeed, and then only the most well off will pay "tens of thousands of dollars" to take courses with Feimster and Botsman.

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  9. Oh I see, clearly this blog is about touting the virtues of the Ivies and hanging everyone else out to dry. Never mind.

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  10. I'll second the above comments. I think it's important to remember that the vast, VAST majority of students, both undergrad and graduate, do not go to elite institutions. Who pays attention to their concerns?

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  11. Botsman and Feimster took their sweet time deciding to head north to New Haven. I hope this means they made a significant dent in Yale's coffers, and that the money provides adequate compensation for working in that snake pit.

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  12. "Yale will probably never be UCLA or Chicago when it comes to Asian history, but its lineup is growing stronger."

    Hm, perhaps I am mistaken, but it was my impression that, in terms of East Asian history, Yale's main competitors are Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton. Yale may have a smaller faculty in this area than aforementioned institutions, UCLA, or Chicago, but with the recent arrivals of Perdue, Drixler, and now Botsman, the bang for buck is hard to beat. Granted it did languish for a while, but recent conversations with faculty at aforementioned institutions suggest that they now view Yale as a prominent competitor.

    Also, Drixler did his MA at Yale, but his PhD at Harvard.

    Otherwise, thank you for filling the void since the venerable AHB retired!

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  15. for asian studies yale is ahead of ucla and chicago, even if it's no pinceton or harvard.

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  19. Feimster, whose book on rape, lynching, and race was just published camisas de futebol by Harvard, joins a stellar lineup, including George Chuancey

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  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

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