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Re: Robin Netherton visits the Philadelphia area!

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  • aheilvei
    Also remember that her theories are just that, theories. No matter how prettily she packages them, or how many paintings she puts together, they are theories
    Message 1 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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      Also remember that her theories are just that, theories. No matter
      how prettily she packages them, or how many paintings she puts
      together, they are theories until someone rips into a grave from the
      period and place and finds an intact gown.

      Just a bit of advice.

      Despina
    • ACatelli@manafortbrothers.com
      ... 1. Theory is Not equivalent to wild-ass guess . Perhaps you could get confirmation from anyone you might possibly know in the sciences. (such as,
      Message 2 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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        > Also remember that her theories are just that, theories. No matter
        > how prettily she packages them, or how many paintings she puts
        > together, they are theories until someone rips into a grave from the
        > period and place and finds an intact gown.

        1. 'Theory' is Not equivalent to 'wild-ass guess'.
        Perhaps you could get confirmation from anyone you might possibly know in
        the sciences.
        (such as, perhaps, your sweetie)

        2. Robin has great hopes of the Hull finds, as so many of us do. The
        preliminary findings already published are so tantalizing.

        3. Yes, I'm biased--I've heard most of her lectures twice & quite lust
        after her slides. Her theories are based on the closest extant garments
        with minimal assumptions which she explains and labels as assumptions, with
        all the confirmation she can get from pictorial and sculptural arts,
        inventories, and other texts contemporary to the fashion.


        4. There is no one true answer to the construction of the gothic fitted
        gown, the versatile layer gown, the 'cotehardie'.
        Even I admit that, and I have found Robin's evidence and logic very
        compelling.


        Ann in CT
      • sismith42
        ... know in the sciences. (such as, perhaps, your sweetie) I think Despinia was just pointing that out to make sure no-one takes her as gospel or anything.
        Message 3 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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          > > Also remember that her theories are just that, theories. No

          > 1. 'Theory' is Not equivalent to 'wild-ass guess'.
          > Perhaps you could get confirmation from anyone you might possibly
          know in the sciences. (such as, perhaps, your sweetie)

          I think Despinia was just pointing that out to make sure no-one
          takes her as gospel or anything. Besides, a lot of what people
          believe in (and risk their lives on-- ie space-travel) are "just
          theories"... a "fact" is preitty hard to prove... ie,
          Newton's "laws" don't always work.

          > 2. Robin has great hopes of the Hull finds, as so many of us do.
          The preliminary findings already published are so tantalizing.

          yeah... anyone fancy a roadtrip? ;)

          > 3. Yes, I'm biased--I've heard most of her lectures twice & quite
          lust> after her slides. Her theories are based on the closest
          extant

          ...but her work on this not being published is a bit of a bad sign:
          it means either 1)publishers don't considder it "good enough" yet or
          2) she's not satsified with it/ready to send it off for peer-
          review. Plus, without it being published, people like me get (let's
          see: she's doing primary/sencondary research, you hearing it's
          tertiary, so my reading your notes would be... quartirary?... rather
          low on the food-chain, at any rate!) info!

          Steph
        • Colleen McDonald
          ... Robin is going to be publishing articles as soon as the new journal that she and Gale Owen-Crocker are editing is up and running. Something to keep in mind
          Message 4 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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            > ...but her work on this not being published is a bit of a bad sign:
            > it means either 1)publishers don't considder it "good enough" yet or
            > 2) she's not satsified with it/ready to send it off for peer-
            > review. Plus, without it being published, people like me get (let's
            > see: she's doing primary/sencondary research, you hearing it's
            > tertiary, so my reading your notes would be... quartirary?... rather
            > low on the food-chain, at any rate!) info! >>

            Robin is going to be publishing articles as soon as the new journal that she
            and Gale Owen-Crocker are editing is up and running.

            Something to keep in mind is that Robin uses *lots* of slides to guide the
            attendees through the evolution of the theory. Publishing in the format
            that she lectures in would mean getting permission to include each and every
            one of those images - time consuming and quite expensive! (She and I
            discussed this during her recent visit to Seattle to lecture.)

            In service, I remain

            Cainder
          • demontsegur
            Hi folks, I don t think any of us have to feel defensive or even disagree on any of this, as Robin herself will be the first to admit that she s offering us
            Message 5 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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              Hi folks,

              I don't think any of us have to feel defensive or even disagree on
              any of this, as Robin herself will be the first to admit that she's
              offering us the results of 20 years of study in the areas of art
              history, textual sources, and archaeological research -- as _her_
              view. She doesn't claim to have the gospel truth, only educated
              theories resulting in plausible methods we modern-day folks can use
              to reconstruct clothing as we think it was made in the time she
              covers. Who can do better, given the scant extant evidence?

              It is not Robin's fault if others repeat her work like it can only
              be the Gospel Truth; I like to work in the same areas she does, and
              I've had the same problem. I present things with as many caveats as
              I can remember to muster, like "As far as I know..." or "That I've
              seen so far..." etc., and well-meaning folks will still pass on some
              nugget of information to someone else and say, "Because Marcele de
              Montsegur said so, that's why." :^P

              If you have an appreciation for period art, and enjoy delving into
              historical mysteries on the topic of 14th and 15th century feminine
              clothing, then these lectures are for you. You can bring your free
              will and inquiring intellect and make your own decision as to
              whether or not she's got it right or not. You won't be bored, though.

              I too wish that Robin would publish more in this area, but she has
              her reasons, I'm sure. I think she's also quite busy at present
              getting a scholarly journal on medieval dress together, from the
              editorial side.

              All best,
              Marcele
            • aheilvei
              I never said that she stinks and her theories are a hock of hooey, I said that they are theories, just like any other theory, and people should remember that
              Message 6 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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                I never said that she stinks and her theories are a hock of hooey, I
                said that they are theories, just like any other theory, and people
                should remember that when sitting in the lecture.

                For someone who doesn't do the SCA anymore unless she's a paid
                lecturer she gets a lot of SCA press.

                She also hasn't ever published anything as far as I know *and* she's
                tremendously clutchy with her work. Since you've been to her
                lectures so often, you will have heard the repeated admonitions to
                not record her lectures, not give anyone notes from her lectures
                without the caveat that they are your interpretation of her words,
                not her words, and not to give her handouts to anyone who hasn't
                actually taken her classes.

                Her website contains a link to her posts on costume lists and the
                PDF for one of her workshops which doesn't say much really about how
                to make one of these dresses according to her theories, just that it
                works. That's it.. oh, and a link to a picture of her in one of
                these dresses. No publications. Yes, she's presented at the
                Kalamazoo conference, but so have a fair number of SCA people who
                *do* publish and put themselves out in the public eye for this -
                Drea Leed comes immediately to mind. Drea's website contains a lot
                of her research and articles, as well as those from other people on
                similar subjects. Drea has also published a book. Drea has taught
                at events without needing to have her expenses paid or be paid to be
                there. Sure, she's still in the SCA but she's also an enthusiastic
                independant scholar who wants others to see her research and use it -
                unlike Robin who doesn't seem to want it out there.

                Yes, many of Robin's theories make sense; however, I don't take
                anyone's word as the final say on something that has absolutely no
                extant garment evidence to back it up. I have yet to find the
                person I believe actually walks on water when it comes to theorizing
                how something was done with no physical evidence. As we've pointed
                out here, even Janet Arnold made mistakes and she did have the
                garments in many cases.

                Despina
              • Marc Carlson
                ... It s still a theory even then :) Moving past that into something being the carven in stone fact merely takes media exposure, or prefereably a
                Message 7 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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                  --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, ACatelli@m... wrote:
                  >> ??? said:
                  >> Also remember that her theories are just that, theories. No matter
                  >> how prettily she packages them, or how many paintings she puts
                  >> together, they are theories until someone rips into a grave from
                  >> the period and place and finds an intact gown.

                  It's still a theory even then :)

                  Moving past that into something being the carven in stone "fact"
                  merely takes media exposure, or prefereably a preponderance of
                  evidence. A garment is not a preponderance.of anything.

                  Honestly, I like Robin - she and I don't always agree on every little
                  detail, but we tend to approach these things from radically different
                  directions. Even so, I have to say she knows her stuff. Of course,
                  what do I know - I don't have anything in the professional literature
                  either :)

                  Marc/Diarmaid
                • demontsegur
                  ... professional literature ... Good point, Marc! Having been published somewhere out there or not is not, in and of itself, a marker of worthiness or
                  Message 8 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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                    --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Marc Carlson"
                    <marccarlson20@h...> wrote:
                    > Of course, what do I know - I don't have anything in the
                    professional literature
                    > either :)
                    > Marc/Diarmaid

                    Good point, Marc! Having been published somewhere 'out there' or not
                    is not, in and of itself, a marker of worthiness or integrity (but
                    it doesn't hurt, either). As Cainder also pointed out, Robin is up
                    against a formidable barrier, copyright-wise, in order to fully
                    express her theories on paper.

                    I, personally, will jump at my chance to spend a day looking at art
                    slides, but I'm a geek that way, and it is a totally separate love
                    from my historical clothing research. I feel like I'll be getting
                    double the bang for my buck. :^D

                    -Marcele
                  • sismith42
                    ... she s She published something on 12th century clothing in the Winter 2002 edition of TI... but I kinda agree that lecturing & not publishing (how hard is
                    Message 9 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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                      > She also hasn't ever published anything as far as I know *and*
                      she's

                      She published something on 12th century clothing in the Winter 2002
                      edition of TI... but I kinda agree that lecturing & not publishing
                      (how hard is it to point to other places images can be found if you
                      are unable to present them in your work?) is a bit... off-putting.
                      Esp when not everyone can attend her lectures.

                      Steph
                    • Colleen McDonald
                      ... Just to ensure clarity, Robin lectures to SCA groups because the groups invite her and she s still fond of the Society, even though she herself has moved
                      Message 10 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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                        > For someone who doesn't do the SCA anymore unless she's a paid
                        > lecturer she gets a lot of SCA press. >>

                        Just to ensure clarity, Robin lectures to SCA groups because the groups
                        invite her and she's still fond of the Society, even though she herself has
                        moved on. She isn't actively lobbying to lecture for the SCA - folks
                        approach her. I think she gets a lot of SCA press because people find her
                        work to be helpful and her theories make sense.

                        > Since you've been to her
                        > lectures so often, you will have heard the repeated admonitions to
                        > not record her lectures, not give anyone notes from her lectures
                        > without the caveat that they are your interpretation of her words,
                        > not her words, and not to give her handouts to anyone who hasn't
                        > actually taken her classes.>>

                        This is to ensure that she can actually publish her work/theories in an
                        academic setting. If she allows recordings or publishes her work in a
                        handout for the SCA audience, it will have a damaging effect on her ability
                        to publish it and have it be a serious academic work.

                        <<Drea has taught at events without needing to have her expenses paid or be
                        paid to be
                        > there. >>

                        Drea is still an active participating member of the SCA (as far as I am
                        aware). Robin is not and lectures at events as a courtesy to the group. It
                        is not her primary interest (although she's delighted to discuss with us),
                        so I don't see it as unreasonable to ask for her travel to be included. If
                        she were not lecturing, she wouldn't be in the area.

                        I know that I really appreciate all of the time and energy Robin does spend
                        working with SCA folks and helping to get SCA folks on the presentation
                        schedule at Kalmazoo. Despina, I'm not sure if you realize that Robin is
                        one of the session organizers for K'zoo and she actively encourages and
                        works with SCA folks to get their information out there to the academic
                        community at the Congress? Without Robin's work in this area, I'm not sure
                        how many of them would have been accorded the same opportunity by the
                        academic community.

                        Cainder
                        (who organized Robin's lectures in Seattle last August)
                      • Marc Carlson
                        ... You will pardon me for this, but it s not like THAT s all that hard. As an observation, people who actually do research and make it available tend to get a
                        Message 11 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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                          --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "aheilvei" <aheilvei@u...> wrote:
                          > ...For someone who doesn't do the SCA anymore unless she's a paid
                          > lecturer she gets a lot of SCA press.

                          You will pardon me for this, but it's not like THAT's all that hard.
                          As an observation, people who actually do research and make it
                          available tend to get a lot of SCA attention. That's not a criticism
                          of anyone or anything - it's a system that's been quite useful for me
                          (not to mention good to me, and I appreicate that).

                          Now, I realize you are talking about theories being just that, and you
                          are prefectly correct. Some theories are well founded, some less so,
                          and it's good to be skeptical. And yes, I think she'd agree if she
                          were here.

                          Personally, while I think Robin's observations on Gothic posture as
                          they relate to how beauty is seen, and the use of garments to attain
                          this are valid (which for the folks who migh not know, doesn't mean
                          that I think they are true or not true - they are internally logically
                          supportable). I think the whole four cornered dress design is
                          intriguing speculation and does not contradict the evidence (note:
                          "speculation" in this context is not a criticism, it's simply a
                          statement that she's moved outside the established evidence and is
                          projecting an extrapilation based on that evidence. In this case that
                          extrapolation is I think reasonable give the current paucity of evidence).

                          I couldn't agree with you more that (and I hope I'm not putting worse
                          into your mouth here - I'm commenting on the general direction what
                          you have said appears to be going, not anything you've said directly)
                          people should keep in mind that what they are being given by any
                          scholar should be examined critically. Personally, I wish people
                          would do that with everything (television, books, academic articles,
                          and so forth), and not just Robin or myself, but if that's where we
                          have to start... Definately point out that the author has no obvious
                          publication (OK, I think she did publish an article in the TI a few
                          years ago) OTOH, the whole DISTAFF thing is pretty impressive,..
                          Kalamazoo doesn't give sessions to just anyone. :)

                          Marc/Diarmaid
                        • aheilvei
                          ... in an ... in a ... her ability ... Drea doesn t seem to have had that problem, or she wouldn t have been invited back to Kalamazoo, nor would she have been
                          Message 12 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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                            > This is to ensure that she can actually publish her work/theories
                            in an
                            > academic setting. If she allows recordings or publishes her work
                            in a
                            > handout for the SCA audience, it will have a damaging effect on
                            her ability
                            > to publish it and have it be a serious academic work.


                            Drea doesn't seem to have had that problem, or she wouldn't have
                            been invited back to Kalamazoo, nor would she have been able to
                            publish her book. So I really don't see where giving your
                            information to the SCA or people in the SCA would damage your
                            credibility with the academic community that much. No, people who
                            go to Kalamazoo and are SCA don't shout it from the rooftops, but if
                            asked, they usually fess up and are generally admired as someone who
                            did all the research without academic backing and resourses.


                            Despina, I'm not sure if you realize that Robin is
                            > one of the session organizers for K'zoo and she actively
                            encourages and
                            > works with SCA folks to get their information out there to the
                            academic
                            > community at the Congress? Without Robin's work in this area, I'm
                            not sure
                            > how many of them would have been accorded the same opportunity by
                            the
                            > academic community.


                            Yes, I do know what Robin does at Kalamzaoo (and yes, I do think
                            that having one's own session there is impressive) and I do think
                            that others would have been (and were) afforded the same opportunity
                            as Robin. She wasn't the first SCA person to attend Kalamazoo, I'd
                            bet. And I know that she isn't the only person at Kalamazoo pushing
                            for the inclusion of independant scholars, re-creationists, and re-
                            enactors work to be represented and considered there.

                            Like I said people, I don't have anything against her or her
                            research, just take it with the same pinch of salt you take
                            everything else.

                            Marc, you didn't put anything in my mouth with your last post, I
                            agree with what you said.

                            Despina
                          • sismith42
                            ... work/theories in an academic setting. If she allows recordings or publishes her work in a handout for the SCA audience, it will have a damaging effect
                            Message 13 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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                              > > This is to ensure that she can actually publish her
                              work/theories in an academic setting. If she allows recordings or
                              publishes her work in a handout for the SCA audience, it will have
                              a damaging effect on her ability to publish it and have it be a
                              serious academic work.
                              >
                              > Drea doesn't seem to have had that problem, or she wouldn't have
                              > been invited back to Kalamazoo, nor would she have been able to
                              > publish her book. So I really don't see where giving your

                              has Drea published in any academic journals? I believe they can be
                              fussy at times about whether something's been published before, and
                              I think *that* is what Caindeer was refereing to, rather than
                              the "ewww, you do SCA" thing.

                              Steph
                            • Marc Carlson
                              ... Okie dokie :) Which means that probably everyone should take a deep breath and avoid posting for an hour or so after reading all the other mail in this
                              Message 14 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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                                --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "aheilvei" <aheilvei@u...> wrote:
                                > ...Like I said people, I don't have anything against her or her
                                > research, just take it with the same pinch of salt you take
                                > everything else.
                                > Marc, you didn't put anything in my mouth with your last post, I
                                > agree with what you said.

                                Okie dokie :)

                                Which means that probably everyone should take a deep breath and avoid
                                posting for an hour or so after reading all the other mail in this
                                thread, because no one's being overly critical here by suggesting a
                                little critical thinking.

                                I will say if you are curious about why Robin doesn't publish - ask
                                her. My observation is that she's trying really hard to get
                                published, but because of the limited available spaces in academic
                                journals that have any interest in her topic, she's having to wait her
                                turn and do the slogging through. [in my case, otoh, I've been sucked
                                in by the demons of the Internet since it's so much easier to just put
                                up another wrb site, and revise the old ones, then it is to go through
                                that whole publication dance (in a much more limited field) every time
                                something new comes up. But that's MY problem. OTOH, that does
                                remind me I have an article on lasts to write FOR publication... ]

                                Just remember, if Publication was -easy- it wouldn't be a requirement
                                for tenure....

                                M/D
                              • demontsegur
                                ... Just one small point here -- Robin does not require being paid. In negotiating with me for the Philadelphia appearance, she said she only requires her
                                Message 15 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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                                  --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "aheilvei" <aheilvei@u...>
                                  wrote:
                                  > For someone who doesn't do the SCA anymore unless she's a paid
                                  > lecturer she gets a lot of SCA press.

                                  Just one small point here -- Robin does not require being paid. In
                                  negotiating with me for the Philadelphia appearance, she said she
                                  only requires her travel, room, and board expenses be covered so
                                  that she is not paying her own way out-of-pocket. Rather reasonable -
                                  - considering there's a demand for her appearances and by taking
                                  time away from her family, she's flying to far-off places to satisfy
                                  that demand. She likes to receive an honorarium if and only IF the
                                  monies collected can take that hit, as it helps her keep her
                                  prodigious slide collection maintained, covers paper costs, etc. She
                                  doesn't set the number, either, but leaves it up to the host. I get
                                  the distinct impression she is far from getting rich on these
                                  appearances. (As a side note, I won't be making one penny of profit
                                  because any leftover money after expenses will go entirely to her,
                                  with gratitude, because I think she will have more than earned it.)

                                  If her lectures with slides are what she's willing to offer us, I
                                  guess I'm willing to take that, no further questions asked. No-one
                                  owes anyone else anything when they do their own research, right?
                                  They can offer or not offer as much or as little of it as they want
                                  for public consumption, and that's their perogative. Some people
                                  research for their own pleasure. I know I do. I also like to publish
                                  what I've found on my website because it's fun to share it, and I
                                  will chat incessantly on certain topics in forums like this (hee
                                  hee) but that's just me. :^D Everyone else's mileage may vary, and
                                  AFAIK, it definitely does vary. To each their own, when it comes to
                                  sharing research.

                                  In contemplitude, :^)
                                  Marcele
                                • Ariane H
                                  ... But on the other hand (forgive me if someone else has already said this), just because something has been published does not mean it should be taken as the
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Dec 1, 2003
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                                    marccarlson20@... wrote:

                                    >Just remember, if Publication was -easy- it wouldn't be a requirement
                                    >for tenure....
                                    >
                                    >M/D
                                    >

                                    But on the other hand (forgive me if someone else has already said
                                    this), just because something has been published does not mean it should
                                    be taken as the ultimate authority, either. My English seminar this
                                    semester, while ostensibly about Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, also
                                    requires us to read dozens of scholarly publications and figure out how
                                    useful they are for helping us to analyze the play texts, understand
                                    their historical background, etc. (Most of it is in literary theory,
                                    but there's a lot of "new historicist" work that involves in-depth
                                    research into things like period trade and commerce, medicine and
                                    humoral theory, clothing, gender roles, etc.) Just as with any field of
                                    research, some of this stuff is great, and some of it is seriously
                                    flawed. In fact, the prof said of one unhelpful article we discussed
                                    today, "This ought to show you how easy it can be to get published!" It
                                    wasn't a totally derogatory statement - it would be virtually impossible
                                    to avoid publication of all imperfect or incomplete work - but a
                                    cautionary one. And even flawed or lacking work usually provokes
                                    discussion and debate and further research, which is always a good thing.

                                    In this same class today I had an amusing "You know you've been in the
                                    SCA too long when..." moment (well, moments). We were reading John
                                    Webster's "The White Devil" (1612) and the heroine/villainess of the
                                    play is "Vittoria Corombona the famous Venetian Curtizan." I never knew
                                    of the existence of this other Vittoria (based on the notorious Umbrian
                                    noblewoman Vittoria Accorambini of Gubbio, d. 1585) until last week, but
                                    that aside, it was very weird to be sitting in this discussion for two
                                    hours, hearing the name "Vittoria" every other minute, and making myself
                                    *not* respond to it. ;)


                                    Ariane
                                    (V. knows no literary theory after Aristotle)
                                    ----------------
                                    "...Vittoria's performances deconstruct traditional gendered antitheses
                                    and expose them as contingent on subjective construction.....Similarly,
                                    Vittoria's accomplished performance of masculinity exposes those
                                    cultural paradigms that underlie the rhetorical posturing of the men in
                                    this play."
                                    --C. Luckyj, "Gender, Rhetoric, and Performance in 'The White Devil'"
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