Department of History College of Arts and Sciences
University of Memphis Photo
Event Calendar



April 2015 | May 2015 | June 2015 | July 2015 | August 2015 | September 2015 | October 2015

Some of the events listed here are not sponsored directly by the Department of History, but they are of interest to historians.


Continuing Events


Through 10 May 2015
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, 1934 Poplar Avenue
“This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement”

This exhibition offers a remarkable opportunity to experience the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of nine photographers who were actively involved, not as professional photojournalists but working primarily with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. It comprises 157 black-and-white images by Bob Adelman, George Ballis, Bob Fitch, Bob Fletcher, Matt Herron, David Prince, Herbert Randall, Maria Varela, and Tamio Wakayama and offers a remarkable, moving view of this crucial period in American history. An accompanying audio guide brings these photographs to life through eye- witness accounts and personal observations. 

The exhibition is organized by the Center for Documentary Expression and Art in Salt Lake City, Utah, and curated by Matt Herron, one of the contributing photographers.

For more information, visit the event’s website.

Information about the Museum’s hours and admission fees.


Through 10 May 2015
National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry Street
“Pictures Tell the Story”

From the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art’s permanent collection, including photographs by Ernest Withers, organized to run concurrently with “This Light of Ours.”

For more information, visit the event’s website.

Information about the Museum’s hours and admission fees.


April 2015


1 April 2015
4:30 pm — reception
5 pm — program
Ballroom C of the University Center
“The Final Word: The Supreme Court:  Marriage, Same-Sex Couples, and the Constitution”

On 28 April 2015, in DeBoer v. Snyder, which is linked with Tanco v. Haslam, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Bourke v. Beshear, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments on two constitutional questions:

  • Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
  • Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

Ijpe DeKoe and Thomas Kostura, from Tennessee, are two of the plaintiffs in the DeBoer case. They and their attorney, Maureen T. Holland from Memphis, will discuss the constitutional issues involved in this case.

This event is co-sponsored by Director of Diversity Initiatives/Office of the Provost; The Critical Conversations Committee at the University of Memphis; the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change; the Helen Hardin Honors Program; Outlaw; American Constitution Society; Stonewall Tigers; and the Honors Student Council.


1 April 2015
7-9 pm
Morton Museum of Collierville History, 196 North Main Street, Collierville
“General Ulysses S. Grant comes to Memphis . . . well, almost”

Dr Curt Fields at leftWhen Dr Curt Fields assisted in handing out medals at our recent West Tennessee History Day, Shelby County Historian Jimmy Ogle remarked on his physical resemblance to General Ulysses S. Grant. Here is an opportunity to see him present General Grant in first person, including readings from Grant’s memoirs, letters, interviews, and first-hand accounts.

Dr Curt Fields as General Grant

The presentation should last about 45-60 minutes, and Dr Fields will break character afterwards to answer questions and talk about being a Living Historian and a reenactor.

Dr Fields has been selected to portray the general at numerous events, including the 150th observance of Fort Donelson and this year’s 150th anniversary of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. He also portrayed Grant in a Discovery Channel three-part documentary series titled “How Booze Built America.”

His performance is an activity of the History Club of St. George's Independent School in Collierville. Dr Marianne Leung, an alumna of our doctoral program who teaches U.S. history and Advanced Placement U.S. history and is the National History Day organizer for the school, is the sponsor of the History Club. This event posting is adapted from an article by Miriam Brown in the Gryphon Gazette, The Student Voice of St. George’s Independent School.


6 April 2015
7 pm
Wunderlich Auditorium, Memphis University School
Meeting of the West Tennessee Historical Society

The Sultana docked the day before the sinking

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the sinking of the Sultana, the greatest maritime disaster in U.S. history. The meeting will feature a presentation by Jerry O. Potter, Memphis attorney and author of The Sultana Tragedy (Pelican Publishing, 1992). In addition, Ms Roslyn O’Neal of the Sultana Historic Preservation Society will outline the activities happening 23-25 April to commemorate the event.

The Sultana was a Mississippi River steamboat paddle wheeler destroyed in an explosion on 27 April 1865. It was carrying approximately 2100 released Union prisoners of war, a few hundred civilian passengers, and livestock (its legal capacity was 376). An estimated 1800 of the more than 2400 passengers were killed when three of the boat’s four boilers exploded and the Sultana sank about seven miles north of Memphis. It is pictured above, docked at Helena, Arkansas, the day before the explosion.The disaster received little public attention, occurring soon after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln (John Wilkes Booth was killed the day before the sinking) and about three weeks after Lee’s surrender. Despite investigations, no one was ever held accountable.


9 April 2015
12:30-2 pm
338 University Center
“Stories that Stick to the Skin: Visualizing Transatlantic Slavery in African Diasporic Art”

Dr Celeste-Marie BernierLecture by Dr Celeste-Marie Bernier, Department of Art, in the Humanities Brown Bag Series for faculty sponsored by the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.

Drawing on unpublished archival materials and artist interviews, this talk will trace issues related to representation, memory, and the body in the last fifty years of African-American and Black British Art. Examining paintings, drawings, installations, sculture, and mixed-media artworks by African Diasporic artists—and including some never-before-seen works—this talk will come to grips with the powerful ways in which the task of imaging slavery and imagining freedom remains an ever ongoing, unfinished, and lifelong project and one which results in “stories that stick to the skin.”


10 April 2015
1-2:30 pm
University Center Ballroom
Phi Alpha Theta induction and Department of History honors banquet

Phi Alpha Theta logoNew members of Phi Alpha Theta will be inducted into the society, and Department of History awards will be made to undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.

Dr Laurie GreenThe speaker will Dr Laurie Green, associate professor of American history at the University of Texas, Austin. Dr Green focuses her research on civil rights and black power in Memphis. Her book Battling the Plantation Mentality: Memphis and the Black Freedom Struggle won the 2008 Philip Taft Labor History Book Award and was a finalist for the Organization of American Historians’ Liberty Legacy Foundation Award the same year.

Dr Green spent a year at The University of Memphis on a Rockefeller grant doing research for her book. She delivered the Belle McWilliams Lecture in U.S. History in March 2008, shortly after the book was published.


13 April 2015
12:30-2 pm
223 Mitchell Hall
Archive and Research Basics

ToolboxPart of a series of professionalization workshops for MA and PhD students.

It will be a roundtable discussion with Drs Peter Brand, Andrew Daily, Susan O’Donovan, and Sarah Potter




16 April 2015
12:30-2 pm
342 University Center
“Reading Like a Realist”

Dr Donal HarrisLecture by Dr Donal Harris, Department of English, in the Humanities Brown Bag Series for faculty sponsored by the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.

For the last ten years or so, novelists and literary critics have devoted an inordinate amount of mental energy to the possibility that literature, and particularly the novel, might not matter anymore. The causes of this cultural demotion are legion, but an eclectic array of authors and scholars has clustered around an unlikely solution to the novel's felt irrelevancy: a return to literary realism. This talk takes inspiration from recent work on the sociology of reading to lay out how realism becomes both an asthetic strategy and, more surprisingly, an ideal reading practice for those attempting to reinstate the novel as an important cultural form.


23 April 2015
6 pm
Blount Auditorium, Buckman Hall, Rhodes College
“Monuments and Documents: On the Object of Study in the Humanities”

Dr John GuilloryLecture by Dr John Guillory, Silver Professor of English at New York University.

Dr Guillory will reflect upon Erwin Panofsky’s use of the terms “monument” and “document” to describe the works of art studied by the art historian or critic, and on the utility of these terms in describing the object of study across humanities disciplines generally. He is best known for his book Cultural Capital (1993), which applied Bourdieu’s sociology of aesthetics to clarify debates about canon formation in literary studies.

The lecture is in the Communities in Conversation series of Rhodes College.




24 April 2015
Noon-1:30 pm
570 Normal Street
Distinguished Alumni Awards luncheon of the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Chapter

Taylor and Mary Beth RichardsonTaylor Richardson, a history major who graduated in 1962, will receive one of the Outstanding Alumni Awards from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Mr Richardson worked for a variety of Fortune 500 companies. He has been president of the University of Memphis Foundation and the Highland Hundred and has served on the university’s Board of Visitors. He received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997. He and his wife Mary Beth, who has an MA in anthropology from the university, have been generous supporters of the university, with an annual scholarship for students from their native Lake County, Tennessee. Recently they made a gift for the History Educational Resource Center, which opened in August 2014 in Mitchell Hall.

The cost is $45 per person. RSVP to or 901.678.2461.


May 2015


1 May 2015
12:30 pm
223 Mitchell Hall
“The Job Market”

ToolboxPart of a series of professionalization workshops for MA and PhD students. This session is for PhD students. It will be led by Dr Andrew Daily.

This is the last workshop in the series for the current academic year.



4 May 2015
7 pm
Wunderlich Auditorium, Memphis University School
Meeting of the West Tennessee Historical Society

Book cover

Patricia LaPointe McFarland will make a presentation on the history of Memphis medicine, including the first hospital in the state in 1830; the first medical schools in 1846; the military hospital centers during the Civil War; the tragic yellow fever epidemic of 1878; the origins and development of the medical center around Forrest Park at Union and Dunlap (once the city's outskirts, eventually becoming the UTCHS complex); and Memphis’ medical contributions in the First World War.

Ms McFarland holds a master's degree in history from the University of Memphis. She retired in 2006 as curator of collections in the Memphis and Shelby County Room of the public library. She is currently working on the archives of St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, whose rich history includes the church’s role in the yellow fever epidemic. 

Ms McFarland and Dr Mary Ellen Pitts are the authors of Memphis Medicine, The History of Science and Service, with photographs curated by Dick Raichelson. The book encompasses the nearly 200-year journey of the people, institutions, and innovations that have transformed Memphis into the Mid-South's epicenter of medical knowledge, education, and expertise.


 June 2015


At this time there are no events scheduled for June 2015.


 July 2015


At this time there are no events scheduled for July 2015.


 August 2015


At this time there are no events scheduled for August 2015.


 September 2015


10-12 September 2015
McKendree University, Lebanon, Illinois
37th Annual Mid-America Conference on History

For information, contact Dr Shelly Lemons, Department of History, McKendree University, 701 College Road, Lebanon, IL 62254 or email


18-20 September 2015
University of Colorado-Boulder
Rocky Mountain Interdisciplinary History Conference

Sponsored by graduate students of the Department of History at the University of Colorado-Boulder, the conference provides a congenial atmosphere for students to present papers, network with fellow graduate students, gain experience in public speaking, and attend a professional development panel.  First-time presenters are especially encouraged to participate.

Submissions in any discipline and national context are welcome. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Regional, National, Transnational, or International History
  • Diplomatic History
  • History of the West
  • Visual Culture and Art History
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Cultural Identity
  • Jewish Studies
  • Gender or History of Sexuality
  • History of Ideas
  • Environmental History
  • Asian History

Presentations will be strictly limited to 15 minutes, so papers should be no more than 8 pages in length, not including endnotes and bibliography. Every paper will receive commentary by another graduate student, and a faculty member will moderate each panel session. Presentations will be followed by a question-and-answer session. There will be a small monetary award for the best conference paper. 

The deadline for submission of papers is 7 June 2015. Apply online at Submit the abstract submission form, a one-page abstract of the paper, and a current CV (all files should be uploaded in .pdf). The abstract should clearly express an original argument rooted in extensive primary-source research.

Several small travel grants available. If you are interested in being considered for a travel grant include a short paragraph explaining why you need the grant. You will find a place to upload the paragraph on the abstract submission form.

Professor Paul E. J. Hammer, associate professor of history at the University of Colorado-Boulder, will be the keynote speaker for the conference. 


23-25 September 2015
Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi
The Fifteenth Amendment: From U.S. Grant to Lyndon B. Johnson’s Voting Rights Act

Logo of the eventInaugural symposium hosted by the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and Mississippi State University.

Papers and panel submissions are due 1 April 2015. For more information, visit the website for the event.


  October 2015


1-3 October 2015
Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky
31st Ohio Valley Historical Conference

The conference, sponsored by the History Department of Eastern Kentucky University, has as its theme “The Sixties: A Fifty-Year Retrospective.” Papers addressing this theme will be given preference, although a broad range of subjects, including regional, American, and non-American topics, and interdisciplinary panels and round tables are also welcome.

Image for the conferenceSubmission of complete panels is encouraged, but individual papers are accepted. Abstracts for papers should be approximately 200 words, typed, and single-spaced. Both paper presenters and commentators should upload a CV to the OVHC webpage. The abstract and CV should be received no later than 1 May 2015, to guarantee consideration. The Program Committee will announce selections and send out additional information as soon as possible. 

The OVHC webpage has complete information, including a flyer for the call for papers, textual information about the call for papers, information about the host city, and a map of the Eastern Kentucky University campus. A secure link for registration for the conference will be added later.

The coordinator for the conference is Dr Thomas A. Appleton, who graduated with honors in history and foreign languages from then-Memphis State University in 1971. Dr Appleton received his PhD from the University of Kentucky, edited publications for the Kentucky Historical Society for many years, and since 2000 has been professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University. You may communicate with him by email at or



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