Ok so my side project last year was a book about online communities of mothers. Thinking with that knowledge of gendered online comm theory a few things stick out
1. you have to “join” the FB page, which is limiting
2. some people are “added” by others, which creates a sense of “insiderness”
3. from the quick skim it seems that discussion is tilted towards bigger thinkers, political discourse oriented intellectual history, which is fine, but as has been noted, if one is not an “expert” on those people one might not be inclined to pipe up
4. on the other hand the tone is highly civil, which I would think would encourage participation by new people
A Big Tent
I very much appreciate the discussion that has taken place over the last week or so about women in US Intellectual History. I am grateful to know that everyone agrees that S-USIH should be a place of welcome and openness to everyone who does intellectual history.
Three members of the membership committee had a meeting just yesterday to discuss how to encourage more members to join our society, conference, and blog. We thought of specific, concrete strategies to grow our audience and especially active members. We will present this at the executive meeting on November 17, but I would be glad to hear further suggestions. I was encouraged to see Mary Ellen Lennon’s post, in part, because hers is a new voice adding to the dynamism of our conversation.
I wanted to clarify something and ask a further question. Yes, my original post was about my feelings and my experiences, but it was meant as a starting point for a broader conversation, and in that way it was a success. I haven’t studied the place of gender in US Intellectual History. That was why I was so careful to explain that I was only speaking from the point of view of one woman. I’d also like to point out that many identity based analysis is grounded in individuals’ feelings. I attempted to explain what I had experienced, what I felt about it and why, and give possible interpretations that were and were not based in identity.
I value this community and its pursuit of a newly invigorated field of US Intellectual History. I am often inspired by how much this group has accomplished in a half decade.
Finally, I would like to try to redirect the conversation toward some of Michelle Moravec’s concrete insights and ask if others have insights or answers they would like to share. Moravec wrote
The numbers of the responses to my original post and to Mary Ellen Lennon’s response indicates that this is a topic of great importance to our community. I’d like to use David’s concept of the Big Tent to ask, in a concrete and productive way, how we plan to create that structure and encourage the diversity within it.