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Re: Robin Netherton visits the Philadelphia area!

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 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.

                          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 12 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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