Friday, March 4, 2011

I want to be middle class when I grow up

Blog Pictures 113
The fellowship dress in action
Or, in which my supa-sekrit identity is revealed.  It was tights weather here for few days, so I made the mistake* of wearing my new dress to school.

(*I once TAd for Dr. Smackdown, a very senior and well-regarded female historian of women, and one of the first tenured women faculty, who told me and the other TA to never wear skirts when teaching lest we lose the students' respect.)

Anyway, I've spent the last few weeks conquering my bibliography and sputtering in incoherent rage over what's happening in Wisconsin and in the GOP's war on women and born children.  I just taught Grapes of Wrath today, and it felt much more like teaching a realistically near-future dystopia than period fiction.

My students were unimpressed when I tried to bring up the possibility of parallels between the anti-unionism in the novel and current anti-unionism.  They think the Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, etc, anti-collective bargaining bills can't possibly succeed, and even if they do, there will still be unions, won't there?  And it's not like people would be reduced to getting five cents a hundredweight of peaches without unions, because we've come so far since then, people wouldn't stand for it.  

They're very optimistic.


  1. "sputtering" and "rage" are about right. thinking back to what my students thought about feminism, i can only imagine the unwillingness to make the connections about unions. i've been thinking a lot about this since i'm working through a chunk of progressive era books right now. Love the dress. the kind of thing you'll get lots of use out of -- you know, for afternoons spent lounging in coffee shops and frolicking about town. (Because teachers only work part time. And they get summers off! And they finish the day at 3 PM. bankers, on the other hand...)

  2. so pretty!
    I love, love the dress.

    And yeah, that sounds like my students. We were working on O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" and Auden's "The Unknown Citizen". Although they're willing to see and discuss surveillance, war and humanity, it is always with this optimistic detachment from the present.

  3. Thanks for the dress compliments! I can't wait to use my publicly-funded illicit summers lazing and frolicking in this dress and others.

    I just don't get students' unwillingness to connect what they read to what they see in the news. But then, a lot of my students don't seem to read/listen to/see the news.