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News about the Department of History and its faculty, staff, students, and alumni

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History Happenings Archive for 2007


Dr Janann Sherman’s book on Senator Margaret Chase Smith being read in high offices

Pelosi with Dr Sherman’s book

[18 December 2007] Dr Janann Sherman’s biography of Senator Margaret Chase Smith is being read in high offices. Shown here is Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi holding a copy of the book. Beside her is Nancy Hardt, a member of Speaker Pelosi’s staff.

No Place for a Woman: A Life Of Senator Margaret Chase Smith was published by Rutgers University Press in 1999. Ms Smith served thirty-three years in the U.S. Congress (1940 to 1973). Her congressional tenure spanned the administrations of six presidents and three major wars, and marked significant changes in the roles of women in all aspects of American life. For most of her twenty-four years as a senator Smith served as the only woman. She was the first woman to seek the nomination of a major political party for the presidency of the United States. By the time she left office, Senator Smith was the most powerful woman in American politics. From her positions on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee, she exercised considerable influence over a broad range of military, foreign, and domestic policies.


Dr Walter R. Brown and Dr Dennis Laumann named as finalists for 2007-2008 Distinguished Teaching Awards

[12 December 2007] Provost Ralph Faudree announced today that eighteen faculty members at The University of Memphis have been chosen as finalists for the 2007-2008 Distinguished Teaching Awards, funded and sponsored by The University of Memphis Alumni Association each year to recognize excellence in teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Among them are two Associate Professors of History, Dr Walter R. Brown and Dr Dennis Laumann. In his announcement Dr Faudree said, “While only five faculty will receive the award, it is a great honor for the nominees listed below to have reached this stage in the process, and for this achievement they are to be congratulated.”


Chris Ivanes publishes The European Idea Live

Ivanes book cover

[12 December 2007] Chris Ivanes, doctoral candidate, has published (in Romanian) Ideea European Live, a series of transcripts of his radio show “The European Idea.” The show, which he broadcasts weekly on Radio Cluj in Romania, consists of interviews and discussions with various Europeans and Romanian political actors involved in Romania’s recent accession to the European Union.

Chris Ivanes

Earlier this year, Mr Ivanes received the “European Journalist” prize awarded by the European Commission’s Delegation to Romania in recognition of the quality of his radio program. (Read our article about the award.)

Mr Ivanes is writing his dissertation under the direction of Dr Daniel Unowsky. on Romanian national belonging and the Revolution of 1848 in Transylvania. Prior to The European Idea Live, he has published Romania: passato e presente (Milano: SPAI, 2000).


Dr Joseph Hawes honored at retirement reception

[6 December 2007] Dr Joseph Hawes, Professor, who has taught at The University of Memphis since 1984, is retiring at the end of the semester. The Department had a retirement reception for him this afternoon in the lobby of Mitchell Hall, when faculty, family, and friends honored him with tributes for his service. (Dr Hawes also had tribute paid to him recently in an article in the Winter 2007 departmental newsletter. Please read that article for a full account of his achievements and honors.)

After a semester of rest, Dr Hawes will return to the department to teach courses over the next several years under the post-retirement employment arrangement.

Below are some photographs of the reception made by Dr Doug Cupples.

First photo
Dr Hawes in a pensive moment

Second photo
Dr David Ciscel, Carol Ciscel, Dr Ed Skeen, Dr Gail Murray

Third photo
Dr Charles Crawford, Dr Thomas Collins, Dr Ed Skeen, Dr Abe Kriegel

Fourth photo
Dr Thomas Collins, Dr Hawes, Dr Walter R. Brown

Fifth photo
Dr Gail Murray, Dr James Blythe, Dr Major Wilson,
Dr Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas, Dr Suzanne Onstine

Sixth photo
Dr Hawes and Dr Major Wilson

Seventh photo
Dr Jonathan Judaken signing photo card

Eighth photo
Ms Karen Bradley presenting photo card to Dr Hawes


Dr Dennis Laumann speaks at meeting of Vegetarian Students of America

[15 November 2007] Dr Dennis Laumann, Associate Professor, spoke this evening at a meeting of the local chapter of Vegetarian Students of America on “Global Vegetarianism.” His speech was part of the day-long event “Beat Your Meat: A Day of Vegetarianism for Everyone.” Dr Laumann is the faculty advisor of the local chapter.


Dr Donald Kyle delivers Sesquicentennial Lecture on Roman blood sports

Dr Kyle lecturing

Dr Kyle lecturing

[14 November 2007] Dr Donald Kyle, Professor of History at the University of Texas-Arlington, delivered the 2007-2008 Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture this evening, using the theme “Roman Blood Sports: Gladiators, Beasts and Christians in the Arena.” Dr Kyle’s work as a classicist has focused on sports and spectacles in Greece and Rome, and it was from his research on ancient Roman spectacles of death that the lecture was drawn.

The lecture began with a caution about taking movie depictions of gladiators too seriously. The movie Gladiator provided many pop culture references, and Dr Kyle ably used its inaccuracies to clear up many misconceptions about gladiatorial combat and explain what actually went on in the coliseum. Games were held for several reasons. One of the most common was the Munera, or a spectacle held for the community as a remembrance of an important member of society. A family would sponsor a gladiatorial combat as part of the funerary rites. Dr Kyle alluded to the importance of the games in Roman politics stating that the provision of great spectacles symbolized power, leadership, and empire.

There were three main types of combatants in the arena; gladiators, beasts, and criminals. Gladiators were slaves, who were owned by a manager but often had somewhat elevated status based on their popularity. They were an expensive resource, so the sponsorship of gladiatorial games by prominent Romans was a prestigious act. The exotic animals used were also expensive and represented the extent of the empire in Europe, Asia, and Africa. In order to get double duty out of them (in addition to the entertainment factor), the meat of the arena animals was probably distributed to the poor citizens of Rome after the fights. (It was a question about the disposal of dead arena victims or animals that actually started Dr Kyle on his research specifically about death spectacles in ancient Rome.) The execution of criminals was the least prestigious of the spectacles. Christians convicted of heresy were not a good show in the area — they accepted their martyrdom placidly and in some cases Christians from the audience leapt into the arena to their death as well. The famous persecutions of Nero were a short-lived phenomenon with respect to arena combat.

Dr Kyle at reception

Dr Kyle at the reception in his honor

A lively question-and-answer period followed the lecture, giving Dr Kyle a chance to expand on the themes of Christian persecutions and gladiatorial sex scandals with elite women (another of Hollywood’s exaggerated themes).

Dr Kyle has written and lectured extensively about ancient sport and spectacle. His books include Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World (Blackwell, 2006), Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome (Routledge 1998), and Athletics in Ancient Athens (Brill, 1987; revised edition 1993).

The Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture Series is one of two lecture series sponsored by the Department of History. It began in the late 1980s with the bequest to the Department of some medallions made in honor of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Memphis. Because the Belle McWilliams Lecture Series, the other series sponsored by the Department, was dedicated to the subject of American history, the Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture Series has concentrated on other areas.

Webmaster’s note: Thanks for Dr Suzanne Onstine for reporting and photographing this event.


Dr Billy Mac Jones, former president of the University and member of the Department of History, dies

[29 October2007] Dr Billy Mac Jones died 27 October in a Texas nursing home at the age of 82. He served as president of what was then Memphis State University from 1973 to 1980 and the Billy Mac Jones Advancement Building at 633 Normal is named in his honor. The Office of Communications Services has released an obituary notice and the Commercial Appeal also published an obituary. The obituaries note that he was a historian but they do not mention that during his presidency he was also on the faculty of the Department of History, nor do they list his publications in the field of history. He was the author The Search for Health in the Development of the Southwest, 1817-1900 (1963), The Search for Maturity, 1875-1900 (1965) in the The Saga of Texas series, Miracle of the Wilderness: The Continuing American Revolution (1977), and Heroes of Tennessee (1979). After he joined the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wichita State University upon leaving Memphis State University, he wrote several books about businessmen, business corporations, and business activity.


Dr Beverly Bond, Dr Dennis Laumann, and Yuan Gao participate in Indie Memphis Soul of Southern Film Festival

[25 October 2007] Three persons from the Department of History at The University of Memphis participated in the Indie Memphis Soul of Southern Film Festival, which was held 19-25 October, showing and facilitating discussion on three films in the “Global Lens Films” segment of the festival: Dr Beverly Bond, Associate Professor (“Enough!”); Dr Dennis Laumann, Associate Professor (“Another Man’s Garden”); and Yuan Gao, doctoral candidate (“Dam Street”).

The Indie Memphis Soul of Southern Film Festival was founded in 1998 as a showcase for independent filmmakers, focusing on southern-made and southern-themed films as a unique art form and cultural experience. Each year, the program includes films that are made in the South or by southern filmmakers, as well as films that deal with the southern experience expressed through themes or subjects that are particularly relevant to the South and southerners.


Dr Jonathan Judaken’s book on Sartre and Anti-antisemitism receives favorable review in the Times Literary Supplement

[24 October 2007] Dr Ron Aronson, Professor of Humanities at Wayne State University, reviewed Dr Jonathan Judaken’s book Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question: Anti-antisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual in a recent issue of the Times Literary Supplement, saying that is is “presented in painstaking detail by someone who knows French history, and Sartre, very thoroughly. Judaken’s is a well developed and impressively knowledgeable study.” He commented further, “Judaken’s book helps us to understand the secret of Sartre’s stubborn refusal to fade into the past, by showing this ultimate insider choosing to identify with and powerfully analyse the plight of the marginalized and oppressed — Jews, blacks, homosexuals, workers, colonial peoples, and women — as did no other thinker of his century.” The book was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2006.


Dr Daniel Unowsky’s book on Hapsburgs receives favorable review in the American Historical Review

[23 October 2007] Dr Maria Bucur, John W. Hill Chair of European History and Associate Professor in the Department of History, Indiana University, reviewed Dr Daniel Unowsky’s book The Pomp and Politics of Patriotism: Imperial Celebrations in Habsburg Austria, 1848-1916 in the American Historical Review for October 2007, noting his “fine monograph,” “excellent archival research and a thorough examination of published resources,” and complimenting “the care” with which the author develops his thesis. She commented that “the monograph also builds on growing scholarship that for over two decades has questioned the [A. J. P.] Taylor view of the Hapsburgs, bringing new nuance and depth to it.” The book was published by Purdue University Press in 2005.

Dr Unowsky also reports that his edited volume The Limits of Loyalty: Imperial Symbolism, Popular Allegiances, and State Patriotism in the Late Habsburg Monarchy is due from the publishers shortly.


Dr Aram Goudsouzian leads discussion of Dr King’s book

[21 October 2007] Dr Aram Goudsouzian, Assistant Professor, led a discussion this afternoon at a meeting of the Critical Race Studies group of I have a Dream: Speeches and Writings that Changed the World by Dr Martin Luther King. In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Dr King’s death, the University of Memphis community is reading this work. The discussion was made possible by the Memphis Reads program.


Dr Dennis Laumann reads for Banned Books Week

[3 October 2007] Dr Dennis Laumann, Associate Professor, participated today in Banned Books Weed, reading from Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane. The American Library Association sponsors this annual event throughout the nation. Books that are recently on the banned or challenged list are available at the Association’s Web site at http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/index.cfm.


Peggy Turley honored as Outstanding Alumna by Arts and Sciences Alumni Chapter

Peggy Turley[27 September 2007] At its meeting on 20 September at the Racquet Club, the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Chapter honored Peggy Turley (B.A. in history, 1985) as an Outstanding Alumna. Ms Turley is an accomplished illustrator of children’s books. She illustrated The Pasteboard Bandit, written by Langston Hughes and Arno Bontemps in 1935 but not published until 1997. She also did illustrations for John Beifuss’ Armadillo Ray. Her work has been described as “oil pastel more dazzling than Mexican folk art that depicts a stylized southwestern landscape.”


Le’Trice Donaldson and Laura Perry interviewed in Daily Helmsman article about the Little Rock Nine

[25 September 2007] Le’Trice Donaldson and Laura Perry, both Teaching Assistants, were interviewed for an article in today’s Daily Helmsman by Jessica Robinson about the Little Rock Nine. The Little Rock Nine were African-American teenagers who were harassed and beaten for enrolling in a predominantly white public school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September 1957.


Dr Suzanne Onstine speaks on Egyptian fieldwork for Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch

[21 September 2007] Dr Suzanne Ostine, Assistant Professor, spoke today on “Epigraphic Work in the Theban Tomb of Panehsy and Tarnut in Luxor, Egypt” at the first of the 2007-08 pizza lunches sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta, the history honorary. Dr Onstine spent the summer months doing fieldwork on a fellowship from the American Research Center in Egypt. Her lecture included what it’s like to do fieldwork in the Middle East and how to overcome research obstacles. She also showed many pictures of this unpublished tomb.

This academic year’s series of pizza lunches, co-sponsored by the Student Activities Council, is on the theme “Great Defeats.”


Graduate Association for African-American History holds 9th annual graduate conference

[18 September 2007] The University of Memphis, the Department of History and the Graduate Association for African-American History held the Ninth Annual Graduate Conference in African-American History at the University of Memphis this past week, 12-14 September, in the Fogelman Conference Center. The conference theme was “New Day in Babylon: Blacks and the Struggle for Liberation in Post-World War II Society, 1945-1991.”

Dr Anderson with undergraduatesWednesday’s activities began with a reception for conference participants. Faculty, members of the Graduate Association for African-American History, and participants mingled with keynote speaker, Dr Carol Anderson, Associate Professor of History at the University of Missouri-Columbia (shown at right with undergraduate students). The reception was followed by Dr Anderson’s keynote speech, “’When the Levees Broke:’ Un-civil Rights in America.” Her speech was well received by both the graduate and undergraduate students in attendance. Dr Anderson’s speech stressed the need to continue — not abandon — the fight for human rights in the post-Katrina landscape.

On Thursday and Friday participants from universities all over the nation and one participant from France presented their research in various sessions. In addition to the panels, this year’s conference included a professional development and teaching workshop. Dr Arwin Smallwood conducted a workshop in “Teaching African American History with Maps,” while Dr Aram Goudsouzian and Dr David Jackson chaired the session on professional development. Students took away valuable information that strengthened both their teaching pedagogy and their development in the field.

Winners On the conference’s last day the winners for the “Memphis State Eight” Best Paper Prize were announced. First place was awarded to Shannen Dee Williams of Rutgers University, second place to Laura L. Hill of Binghamton University, and third place to Edward Hatfield of the University of Georgia. (Photo at left, from left to right: Reginald Ellis, Laura L. Hill, Darius Young, Shannen Dee Williams , Armanthia Duncan, Edward Hatfield , Thomas Young, Shirletta Kinchen, and James Conway)

In all twenty-five graduate students attended this year’s conference along with numerous people from our university community. The Graduate Association for African-American History would like to thank African and African American Studies, the Department of History, The University of Memphis Foundation, Student Event Allocation, Student Activity Council, and the College of Arts and Sciences, and all of the session chairs, conference participants, and volunteers.

Next year’s conference theme is “Celebrating the Dream: From Africa, to Dr King, and Beyond.” GAAAH hopes to see you there next year.


Dr Alyson Gill awarded Getty Trust research grant

[14 September 2007] Dr Alyson Gill, Assistant Professor of Art History, Arkansas State University, was awarded a research fellowship through the J. Paul Getty Trust. She recently traveled to the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center in Los Angeles to use its Photo Study Collection of two million photos, as well as excavation reports housed in the Getty Villa. She sought unpublished photographs of excavation sites to incorporate into her study of ancient baths. Once completed, her book, Balaneia, will serve as a sourcebook on ancient baths and bathing establishments from the Greek Archaic period through the Hellenistic period.

Dr Gill received her Ph.D. in history from The University of Memphis in 2004. Her dissertation (Dr Peter Brand, major professor) was the basis for her forthcoming book.


Dr Stephen Stein wins award for best article in naval history in 2006

[12 September 2007] Dr Stephen Stein, Instructor, been awarded the Eller Prize for the best article on naval history published in 2006. Here is the text of the announcement by the Naval History and Heritage Command:

The Director of Naval History has awarded Stephen K.Stein, of the University of Memphis, the Rear Admiral Ernest M. Eller Prize in Naval History for a superlative article published in a professional journal during 2006. “The Greely Relief Expedition and the New Navy” appeared in the December 2006 issue of The International Journal of Naval History. Stein argues persuasively that the U.S. Navy’s successful effort to rescue surviving members of a stranded Arctic expedition in the 1880s significantly improved Congress’s evaluation of the Navy’s professional competence. That perception was instrumental in the 1890s development of the modern steel navy.


Ed Frank speaks to Libraries group on aerial views of Memphis

[12 September 2007] Ed Frank, Curator of Special Collections, University Libraries, spoke today in McWherter Library on the topic “Looking Down on Memphis: Aerial and Bird’s-eye Views from the 19th and 20th Century,” an illustrated talk using visuals to trace the development of the Memphis cityscape from a different perspective than usual.

Mr Frank received his M.A. in history from The University of Memphis in 1999.


Darius Young wins award in the Doctoral Scholars Program of the Southern Regional Education Board

[7 September 2007] Darius Young, Teaching Assistant, has received an award in the Doctoral Scholars Program of the Southern Regional Education Board. The award is a five-year package that includes tuition, fees, and a very substantial annual stipend.

Since its founding in 1993, the Doctoral Scholars Program has supported more than 715 scholars, who attended 83 institutions in 29 states. SREB states share resources, work to expand their minority applicant pool, support qualified candidates with financial assistance for up to five years of graduate study, and assist graduates and higher education institutions in identifying employment opportunities. The program has maintained a retention rate of almost 90 percent, more than 70 percent of its graduates have begun academic careers in higher education, and more than 70 percent are employed in SREB states (which stretch from Delaware and Maryland to Texas and Oklahoma).

Dr Elton Weaver, who is now an Instructor in the Department of History, The University of Memphis, received a Dissertation Year Award from the Board in 2005 (read our article about his award).


Ed Hamelrath speaks at Gedenkstätte Bautzen (Bautzen, Germany) on 18 July 2007

[31 August 2007] Ed Hamelrath, doctoral candidate, is writing his dissertation on the transition of the East German (GDR) Police from Dictatorship to Democracy (1989-1994), which explores how the police force of a former dictatorship made the radical transition to serving in a democratic society in the time of the collapse of communism in Europe (1989-1990). On 18 July of this year he spoke to an audience at Gedenkstätte Bautzen in Bautzan, Germany, on the subject. For a full report by Mr Hamelrath on the talk, go to the article on the departmental blog.


Dr Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas and Dr Peter Brand receive promotion and tenure

[22 August 2007] Dr Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas and Dr Peter Brand, both currently Assistant Professors, have received tenure and have been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor, effective with the beginning of the Fall Semester 2007.


Dr Jonathan Judaken appointed as Director of the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities

[22 August 2007] Dr Jonathan Judaken, Associate Professor, has been appointed as the new Director of the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.

The Center is named in honor of Dr Marcus W. Orr, who was a long-time member of the Department of History, and legendary for his knowledge of medieval history and art.


Richard L. Saunders’ edition of Dale L. Morgan essays published by Utah State University Press

[17 August 2007] The Utah State University Press has published Shoshonean Peoples and the Overland Trail Frontiers of the Utah Superintendency of Indian Affairs, 1849 - 1869, a collection of essays by Dale L. Morgan. Doctoral candidate Richard L. Saunders, who has written a biography of Morgan, introduced, edited, and annotated the collection.

(Read the Utah State University Press description of the book.)


Joe Newman’s book Race and the Assemblies of God Churches published by Cambria Press

[16 August 2007] Cambria Press has published a book by Dr Joe Newman: Race and the Assemblies of God Church: The Journey from Azusa Street to the “Miracle of Memphis.” The book is based on Dr Newman’s Ph.D. dissertation, which he completed at The University of Memphis in 2005 under the direction of Dr Charles W. Crawford.

(Read the Cambria Press description of the book.)


Veterans Oral History Project featured in article in The University of Memphis Magazine

[13 August 2007] The University of Memphis Magazine for Summer 2007 has an article on pages 9-11 entitled “War stories” about the Veterans Oral History Project which is being conducted by the Oral History Research Office. The article includes brief accounts of Army veteran Leonard Savitskie and Navy veteran Thomas Daniels.


James Goodman to study and research in Syria on Fulbright award

[10 August 2007] We reported in May (read the article) that James Goodman, a history major and a member of the University Honors Program, had been awarded a Fulbright Research Grant. A recent news release from the University’s Office of Communication Services gives details. Mr Goodman will study Arabic and conduct research in Syria for academic year 2007-08. His research will focus on the social, economic, and cultural consequences of Lutfi al-Haffar’s Ayn al-Fija project, the first modern municipal water and sewage system established in Damascus (read the entire news release).


Ann Mulhearn accepts teaching position at the University of Tennessee-Martin

[8 August 2007] Ann Mulhearn, Teaching Assistant, has received an appointment as lecturer at the University of Tennnessee, Martin campus.


Dr Scott Marler wins one dissertation prize, is finalist for another

[2 August 2007] Dr Scott Marler, who will be joining our faculty at the beginning of the fall semester as an Assistant Professor and a specialist in the Atlantic World, has won the M.E. Bradford Dissertation Prize from the St. George Tucker Society. He is also a finalist for the Allan Nevins Dissertation Prize from the Economic History Association, the winner of which is to be announced at the Association’s meeting in Austin, Texas, on 8 September.

Dr Marler wrote his dissertation “Merchants and the Political Economy of 19th-Century Louisiana: New Orleans and Its Hinterlands” under the direction of Dr John B. Boles at Rice University.

The St. George Tucker Society is an interdisciplinary southern studies group aimed at promoting discussion across disciplinary, ideological, and topical lines among Southernists. The M. E. Bradford Dissertation Prize is awarded annually by the society for the best dissertation in Southern studies.


Florida Historical Quarterly publishes article and review by Darius Young

[24 July 2007] Darius Young, Teaching Assistant, has had an article and a review published in the Florida Historical Quarterly. His article, “Henry S. Harmon: Pioneer African American Attorney In Reconstruction-era Florida,” based on research for his M.A. thesis, appeared in Florida Historical Quarterly 85, no. 2 (Fall 2006): 177-196. His review of Carnival of Blood: Dueling, Lynching, and Murder in South Carolina, 1880-1920, by John Hammond Moore, appeared in Florida Historical Quarterly 85, no. 4 (Spring 2007): 470-472.


David Turpie has article accepted for publication in the Journal of Sport History

[29 June 2007] David Turpie, who received his M.A. in history at The University of Memphis in 2004, has had an article accepted for publication in the Journal of Sport History. Entitled “From Broadway to Hollywood: The Image of the 1939 University of Tennessee Football Team and the Americanization of the South,” the article is based on research he did for his M.A. thesis on college football’s “mythical” national championship in 1938 and 1939. Mr Turpie is now a doctoral candidate at the University of Maine and plans to write his dissertation on southern college women in the early twentieth century and their opinions of U.S. foreign policy/relations, which may include any involvement that they had personally with going overseas for such activities as teaching or missionary work.


Dr David Jackson and Dr Chester Morgan speak at conference on the Delta

[28 June 2007] Two alumni of the Department of History’s doctoral program spoke today at the 2nd Delta - Everything Southern! Conference held at the Fogelman Executive Center. Dr David Jackson (Ph.D. in history, The University of Memphis, 1997), Chair of the Department of History at Florida A&M University, made a presentation on Mound Bayou, Missisissippi. Dr Chester “Bo” Morgan (Ph.D. in history, The University of Memphis, 1982), Chair of the Department of History at Delta State University, discussed how post-Civil War economic development of the Delta created sectional tension in Mississippi.


Rhonda Charnes receives teaching position with Saint George’s Upper School

[15 June 2007] Rhonda Charnes, Teaching Assistant, has been appointed to a full-time teaching position with Saint George’s Independent School. She will teach in the Upper School at Collerville and serve as a senior advisor, working with the 12th grade. Her classes will include two classes of advanced-placement European history and two classes of United States Government.


Meredith Baker has paper accepted for publication in Border States journal

[25 May 2007] Earlier this year Meredith Baker, graduate student, gave a paper entitled “The Plight of the South Union Shakers during the Civil War” at a meeting of the Kentucky-Tennessee American Studies Association which was held at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Kentucky. The paper has been accepted by the Association’s journal Border States for publication in its next issue. Both Federal and Confederate troops often camped in the vicinity of the Shaker colony at South Union, Kentucky, and prevailed upon the members of the settlement for hospitality.

Border States is a biennial journal, currently edited by Dr Mary Hoffschwelle, Professor of History, and Dr Ellen Donovan, Professor of English, both at Middle Tennessee State University. It is published in odd-numbered years, and issue 17 will appear in 2009. Issues 1 and 7-12 are available online. This Web site is scheduled for a new launch in Fall 2007.


Dr Walter R. Brown speaks on “English Grandeur in the Age of Paul de Lamerie” at Brooks Museum

[19 May 2007] Dr Walter R. Brown, Associate Professor, spoke this morning in the Hohenberg Auditorium at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art on “English Grandeur in the Age of Paul de Lamerie” in connection with the exhibition on the Cahn Collection of silver made by Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751), one of the most celebrated of England’s silversmiths.

England during the early 18th century was undergoing unprecedented prosperity, which led to great expectations of grandeur, luxury, beauty, and comfort in the lives of the gentry and merchants who were its primary beneficiaries. This prompted architects, designers, and craftsmen who sought to satisfy those expectations. Dr Brown spoke about the architecture, interior design, and decorative arts during the period in which de Lamerie worked.

Dr Brown is an Adjunct Curator of the Decorative Arts at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and has been responsible for several exhibitions in the past, including Memphis Collects: The Glory of Georgian England in 2004.


Whitney Huey, Carol Ciscel, Dr Julie Elb, and Dr James M. Blythe present papers at 42nd International Congress on Medieval Studies

Participants in conference[13 May 2007] Whitney Huey, doctoral candidate, organized a panel on “Broadening the Cloister: Reconstructing Monastic Dialogue about the Feminine” for the 42nd International Congress on Medieval Studies, which met at Western Michigan University from Thursday through Sunday. Dr James M. Blythe, Professor, chaired the panel. The papers were by Julie Elb, Ph.D. in history, The University of Memphis, 2003 (first from left), on “Are You There God? It’s Me, Teresa”; Whitney Huey, doctoral candidate (second from left), on “A Cloister of the Mind: Catherine of Siena’s Inner Cloister”; April Najjaj, Ph.D. Boston University, Assistant Professor, Greensboro College (third from left), on “A Portable Cloister: Muslim Women and the ‘Hijab’”; and Carol Ciscel, doctoral candidate (fourth from left), on “The World in the Cloister: Heloise Talks Sense as Usual.” The panel was well received by a large audience, and the participants even got a number of laughs and days later someone came up to them on the street to say how much they loved it.

In a separate session, Dr Blythe (standing in rear) read a paper on “Equal or Inferior to Men? Ptolemy of Lucca’s Ambivalence about Women.”

The Congress is the largest international medieval conference. According to a Wikipedia article, it typically has more than 2,000 registered participants and holds approximately 600 sessions.


Richard L. Saunders publishes article in The Southern Historian

[13 May 2007] Graduate student Richard L. Saunders published “’Of Some Importance, but Uneven and Limited’: External Support for Local Civil Rights Action in Tennessee’s Haywood and Fayette Counties, 1959-1963,” in the Spring 2007 issue of The Southern Historian. Mr Saunders examines how the local grass-roots freedom struggle used the national media, federal court system, and financial support from external activists to help overturn Jim Crow in these West Tennessee counties.


James Nicholas Goodman wins Fulbright award

[13 May 2007] James Nicholas Goodman, history honors student at The University of Memphis, has been awarded a Fulbright Research Grant for Syria by the Institute of International Education.


Dr Daniel Unowsky presents paper for conference at Harvard on “Internationalizing the History of Central Europe”

[12 May 2007] Dr Daniel Unowsky, Associate Professor, presented a paper on “Rural Violence and Polish Nationalism: The 1898 anti-Jewish Riots in Western Galicia” for a panel on “Occupation, War, Violence, Peace,” as part of a three-day conference of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. The theme of the conference was “Internationalizing the History of Central Europe.”


Dr Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas becomes an American citizen

Guiomar as a citizen[1 May 2007] Dr Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas, Assistant Professor, beame an American citizen early this afternoon.


Dr Catherine Phipps meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Abe and Phipps[30 April 2007] During the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Washington, D. C., last week, Dr Catherine Phipps, Assistant Professor, who is a specialist in East Asian history, had the opportunity to meet him on Friday.


Dr Beverly Bond elected to board position with Humanities Tennessee

[28 April 2007] At the April board meeting, Dr Beverly Bond, Associate Professor, was elected Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Humanities Tennessee. Humanities Tennessee oversees National Endowment for the Humanities grant funding for individual, group and community projects in Tennessee. One of their projects is the fall Southern Festival of Books, which alternates between Nashville and Memphis.


Dr Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas and Dr Arwin Smallwood receive Faculty Research Grants

[28 April 2007] Dr Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas, Assistant Professor, and Dr Arwin Smallwood, Associate Professor, have received two of the seventeen Faculty Research Grants for 2007 awarded through the office of the Vice Provost for Research.

Dr Dueñas-Vargas will do research on the topic “Public and Private Lives of Elite Families in 19th-Century Colombia,” and Dr Smallwood will do research on the topic “Indian Woods: At the Crossroads of Three Cultures.”


Dr Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas, Dr Arwin Smallwood, and Larry Powers receive Donovan awards

[28 April 2007] Dr Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas, Assistant Professor; Dr Arwin Smallwood, Associate Professor, and Larry Powers, part-time instructor, have received Donovan Travel Enrichment Awards to support their research.

Mr Philip Donovan, a vice president with FTN Financial Capital Markets who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from The University of Memphis, initiated the fund in 2004 to help support faculty and students who are traveling to research centers, to conferences, or to study abroad. The fund is administered through the College of Arts and Sciences and awards are made each semester.


Evaluation team for departmental self-study completes its visit

[20 April 2007] In connection with the self-study being conducted by the Department of History, Dr Judith Zinsser and Dr Clarence Walker conducted a three-day visit (from Wednesday through today) as outside evaluators. They held numerous meetings with various constituencies, including the Provost’s office, the Graduate School, the College of Arts and Sciences, departmental advisors, the Undergraduate Studies Committee, the Graduate Studies Committee, individual faculty members, undergraduate students, graduate students, the University Libraries, the Chair of the Department, and the self-study committee. The team will issue its written report later.

Dr Zinsser is a Professor of History at Miami University (Ohio) and Dr Walker is a Professor of History at the University of California, Davis.


Four History faculty members participate in College of Arts and Sciences “Great Conversations”

[19 April 2007] Four History faculty members participated in the College of Arts and Sciences’ annual event, “Great Conversations,” this evening at the Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis. Alumni and community members gathered at tables of eight to ten to discuss “hot topics” of College research. The four members who led conversations at their tables were:


Dr Dennis Laumann receives Briggs Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award

Laumann receiving award[19 April 2007] At the 2007 Faculty Convocation, held this afternoon in the Michael D. Rose Theatre, Dr Dennis Laumann, Associate Professor, received one of the two awards made by the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation for excellence in teaching. The Foundation makes two awards of $5000 each year to recognize outstanding undergraduate teaching and an overall commitment to undergraduate education.

The citation which was made at the ceremony read, in part: “Laumann teaches world civilizations, African history, and Honors Programs seminars on Marxism and Che Guevara. He is recognized as a committed adviser who helps oversee the African Students Association, and he takes a group of students to Ghana each summer for the University’s study abroad program. He is known as a ’talented and committed teacher, a mentor and friend to undergraduates, and a positive force in the campus culture.’”

Dr Laumann had been nominated for the Briggs award in two previous years, so the third time was the charm. He won the College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award last year.

This is the second consecutive year in which a member of the History faculty has won the Briggs award. Dr Robert Frankle received it last year (read our article about Dr Frankle).


Dr Stephen Stein publishes book about naval pioneer

Stein book cover[19 April 2007]  From Torpedoes to Aviation: Washington Irving Chambers and Technological Innovation in the New Navy, 1876-1913, by Dr Stephen Stein, Instructor, has just been published by the University of Alabama Press.

Washington Irving Chambers founded the U.S. Navy’s aviation program and was responsible for a number of “firsts” in aviation history, including the first take-off and landing of an airplane on a ship. In his book, Dr Stein uses Chambers’s career to look at the process of technological innovation in the Navy, and how changing technology affected the officer corps, strategic thought, and the fleet in these years which saw the U.S. Navy transform itself from a small force of obsolete warships to a large, modern force second only to that of Great Britain.


Awards made at History Honors Gala

[14 April 2007] The Department of History held its second annual History Honors Gala this afternoon at the Alumni Center, with Dr Dennis Laumann, Associate Professor and faculty advisor to Phi Alpha Theta, presiding. After a welcome by Chair Janann Sherman, Dr David Ambaras, Associate Professor of History at North Carolina State University, a specialist in Japanese history, spoke on “Living With the Japanese Empire.”

Dr Sherman presented the following awards:

Phi Alpha Theta initiates Undergraduates: Jordan Arnett, Jennifer Cates, Parker Culver, Cameron Harvey, Jeremy Smith
Graduates: Le’Trice Donaldson, Michael Keller, Catherine Norvell, Laura Perry
Major L. Wilson paper prize Undergraduate: Barbara R. Thomas, “Historical Approaches to the Internment of Japanese Aliens and Japanese Americans During World War II”
Graduate: Keith D. Hall, “The Great Indian Mutiny of 1857 and Change”
Tennessee Historical Commission Prize to History major graduating with the highest GPA Melissa M. Joy
Ruth and Harry Woodbury Graduate Fellowship in Southern History Carl E. Brown

As a conclusion to the Gala, Katarzyna Scherr, president of the Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, initiated the new members of Phi Alpha Theta, the history honorary society.


Initiates
Katarzyna Scherr (in white), Jennifer Cates, Cameron Harvey, Le’Trice Donaldson, and Michael Keller

Baroff and daughter
Teaching Assistant Ken Baroff and daughter

Ambaras speaking
Dr Ambaras speaking

Dr Sherman and Carl Brown
Dr Sherman and Carl Brown


Dr Suzanne Onstine to spend four months in Egypt on fellowship from American Research Center in Egypt

[13 April 1007] Dr Suzanne Onstine, Assistant Professor, was awarded a fellowship from the American Research Center in Egypt in March 2006, to be undertaken in the summer of 2007. The American Research Center in Egypt is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to fostering an understanding of the history and culture of Egypt. It serves as the primary American research institute for scholars working in Egypt. The fellowship is underwritten by the National Endowment for the Humanities and covers living expenses while in Egypt as well as airfare to Egypt.

Dr Onstine’s tenure as an ARCE fellow will be four months, from 5 May through 29 August 2007, during which time she will conduct research on a private tomb of the ancient Egyptian New Kingdom. The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities has given tentative approval for epigraphic documentation in Theban Tomb 57 belonging to an 18th-dynasty official named Khaemhat. Particular attention will be paid to the activities of women depicted in the tomb, as well as to the many references to the grain industry, in which the deceased was involved.


Dr Dennis Laumann addresses group for Multicultural Recruitment Day

[13 April 1007] Dr Dennis Laumann, Associate Professor, spoke this morning at the opening ceremony of Multicultural Recruitment Day in the Michael D. Rose Theatre.


Thomas C. Young elected to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges

[6 April 2007] Thomas C. Young, Teaching Assistant, is one of 15 students at The University of Memphis chosen recently for inclusion in the 2007 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

The Who’s Who program is a nationally recognized institution of the American academic community. Over the past 70 years more than 2,000 institutions have adopted this program as part of their annual campus honors. The program was designed to recognize outstanding academic achievement and student leadership.


Department of History hosts Tennessee History Day state competitions

[31 March 2007] Winners of the four regional competitions participated today in exhibits, essays, documentaries, and performances for the right to advance to National History Day competition, to be held at the University of Maryland, College Park, in June. The theme for 2007 was “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” Because of the number of participants, the events were spread among the FedEx Institute of Technology, the Fogelman Executive Center, and the Michael D. Rose Theatre.


Dr Dennis Laumann participates in book panel on Chinese-Cuban military figures

Laumann at Birmingham[31 March 2007] Dr Dennis Laumann, Associate Professor, participated today in a book panel on Our History Is Still Being Written: The Story of Three Chinese-Cuban Generals in the Cuban Revolution, by Armando Choy, Gustavo Chui, Moisés Sío Wong, and Mary-Alice Waters. The meeting was held at Smolian International House at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. It was sponsored by two organizations at UAB — the Chinese Student and Scholar Association (CSSA) and the Student African-American Studies Association (SAASA) — and Pathfinder Books, the publisher of the book.

ADDENDUM: A detailed report on the event may be found online in an article dated 16 April 2007 in The Militant.


Ed Hamelrath speaks to student research forum

[30 March 2007] Ed Hamelrath, Teaching Assistant and former Fulbright Scholar, spoke today at the annual Phi Alpha Theta Graduate Student Research Forum. He discussed his dissertation on the de-communization of the East German Volkspolizei in Saxony during the period 1988-1991.


Chris Ivanes wins prize for radio journalism in Romania

Ivanes speaking [27 March 2007] In a ceremony held today at the Hotel Athenée Palace-Hilton in Bucharest and broadcast on television, Chris Ivanes, doctoral candidate who is researching his dissertation in Romania, received the “European Journalist” prize awarded by the European Commission’s Delegation to Romania. The prize was a general acknowledgement of the quality of the radio program “The European Idea” which he has been hosting every Monday on Radio Cluj in Romania. Special notice was given to a broadcast of September 2006 from the European Parliament in Strasourg about the monitoring report of the European Commission on Romania, which was preparatory to Romania’s joining the European Union on 1 January 2007.

Ivanes receiving awardAn article of 26 March 2007 in a Cluj newspaper (pdf) announced the award. The report is in Romanian, but if you do not read Romanian you can still see the accompanying photograph which shows Mr Ivanes in another setting.

In addition to the “European Journalist” award, Mr Ivanes last year received the Deutsche Welle prize for radio journalism, reported in an article of 24 July 2006 in a Cluj newspaper (pdf). This report is also in Romanian, but there is another photograph of him.


Dr Claudia Koonz delivers the Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture for 2006-2007

Title slide[26 March 2007]  Dr Claudia Koonz, Professor of History at Duke University and a leading scholar of German history, lectured this evening on “Making Racism Respectable: Mainstreaming Anti-Semitism in Nazi Culture” in the Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture series. Using documentary film, popular racial science, textbooks, cartoon humor, advertisements, art work, magazine covers, postcards, and posters from the 1930s, she explained how even before the outbreak of war, the German people were trained to think some people were better than others and that those others did not deserve to live.

Most theories of conscience, Dr Koonz said, are variations on Kant’s “categorical imperative” which insists that we must treat others as we would wish to be treated by them and that persons must never be treated as things. Hitler’s regime created a different conscience. It treated certain “others” as things, following the dictum “Not everything with a human face is human.”

Dr Koonz explained that Hitler was never elected. Hindenburg appointed him as chancellor to keep from having to appoint a Communist (Marxist parties had outpolled the Nazis in the 1933 elections). Hitler used the Reichstag fire to advance himself, calling it a Communist plot. The German Parliament granted Hitler four years of absolute power, which he never relinquished.

According to Dr Koonz, Hitler depended upon fear on the part of the German people and used certain principles to guarantee that his tactics would be acceptable:

  • Make persecution of the few appear to be protection of the many
  • Justify preemptive strikes as being self-defense
  • Limit the target so as not to threaten the many
  • Ridicule the victim

Claudia Koonz lecturingJews in Germany were a very limited target — they constituted less than 1% of the population. The Nazis also struck against other minorities such as Gypsies and those who were physically and mentally “unfit,” picturing them as repulsive, unworthy non-contributors who were burdens to society or parasites on it. When Jews fled Germany to escape the persecution, they were said to have betrayed the nation. “Decadent” art was condemned and destroyed, so that the Nazis were pictured as virtuous moral purifiers, protecting the nation from the enemies who were corrupting it. Many of the visual objects that Dr Koonz used in her lecture were drawn from the Nazi propaganda stressing such points.

At the same time, Hitler’s regime carefully cultivated a consumerist German public, lulling it into a feeling that things were going well for them. The tactics were numerous: marriage loans to encourage a high birth rate among Aryans (25% of the loan was forgiven for each child produced); paid vacations for workers (Germany was the first to provide them); subsidized purchases for radios that tuned only to the frequencies of German stations; vinyl recordings of Hitler’s speeches; slide shows; literature for children; and spectacular events such as the 1934 Nazi gathering (which Leni Riefelstahl filmed as Triumph of the Will) and the 1936 Olympics (which Riefelstahl filmed as Olympia). (Dr Koonz explained that the “people’s car,” the Volkswagen, was never actually available to the German public, though orders were taken.) There was much merchandising of Hitler as a brand — photographs and books about him abounded.

Dr Koonz said that much of the Nazi conscience actually reflected similar ideas elsewhere. Ideas of racial superiority and inferiority were common in other nations. Germany even maintained that the Nazi system was much better than the Jim Crow system in the United States. Anti-semitism was not restricted to Germany — many others believed that Jews were intent on world domination, and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were believed by many to be authentic. (Dr Koonz noted in passing that the Protocols are today very popular in the Middle East.)

Dr Koonz concluded that conscience is not innate but rather socially acquired. Nazi Germany was no freak state, she said. It had been created by a very sophisticated campaign which drilled certain ideas into the minds of the German people. Already before the outbreak of war, they had been trained to think that they were better than others and justified in putting down those others. The outbreak of war only made things worse. The “moral exceptionalism” that war generates made atrocities seem quite justifiable, so that the tightly-drilled German soldiers could descend to looting the Babi Yar Massacre victims of their jewelry and other valuables after their slaughter.

Dr Koonz’s book Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family, and Nazi Politics received several awards. She has also edited, with others, Becoming Visible: Women in European History, and her most recent book is The Nazi Conscience. Her recent research has been on the controversy in European countries over the wearing of the headscarf by Muslim women, and she spoke earlier in the day on that subject to another audience.


History students and faculty win Phi Kappa Phi honors

[25 March 2007] It was a very good night at the Memphis Racquet Club for the Department of History at the 25 March meeting of local chapter 121 of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society. Laura Perry won the chapter’s scholarship for the academic year 2007-2008 with her essay on how her concepts of civic service and civic duty are changing based on her experiences at The University of Memphis. Dr Beverly Bond, Associate Professor, was elected President of the organization for the upcoming year. Webb Matthews and Mary McIntosh were honored as student initiates and Dr Janann Sherman, Olin Atkins Professor and Chair, was honored as a faculty initiate.


Several Memphis historians participate in Phi Alpha Theta regional conference

Phi Alpha Theta regional participants[24 March 2007] Several persons associated with the Department of History at The University of Memphis participated today in the Phi Alpha Theta regional conference held on the downtown campus of Tennessee State University in Nashville.

The conference was organized by Dr Michael Bertrand, Assistant Professor of History at Tennessee State University (Ph.D. in history, 1995). Dr Gary Edwards, Assistant Professor of History at Arkansas State University (Ph.D. in history, 2004) and Dr Steven Patterson, Assistant Professor of History at Lambuth University (Ph.D. in history, 2003) moderated panels.

Three current graduate students in history at The University of Memphis presented papers: Michael Lejman (3rd from left) on “The Knights of the Teutonic Order”; Philip Raymond (1st from left) on “Exploring History’s Latent Content: Understanding the Role of Cultural History Through Freud’s Method of Dream Interpretation”; and Ed Hamelrath (2nd from left) on “From Dictatorship to Democracy: A ‘Decommunization’ of the German Volkspolizei in Saxony After the Fall of the GDR (1989-1992).”

Dr Dennis Laumann, Associate Professor (4th from left), accompanied the students in his capacity as Faculty Advisor to the Epsilon Nu chapter.


Dr Char Miller delivers the Belle McWilliams Lecture for 2006-2007

Title slide[23 March 2007] Dr Char Miller, Professor and Director of Urban Studies at Trinity University, delivered the Belle McWilliams Lecture for 2006-2007 this evening, speaking on the topic “The Greatest Good: 100 Years of Conservation in America” without notes and often engaging the audience in dialog.

Dr Miller said that until late in the 19th century, the U.S. had no concept of preservation of timber resources but rather a concept of land dispersal, which gradually destroyed the virgin forests. Trees were valued for their economic contribution as lumber for construction and fuel for fireplaces and steam engines. Railroads alone used enormous quantities of wood for railroad ties.

Through the industrialization of wood the U.S. by 1920 had become the world’s greatest power but at the expense of its virgin forests, which by then had largely disappeared. The turnaround in thinking began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the efforts of people like George Perkins Marsh, who wrote Man and Nature in 1864. George Bird Grinnell, editor of Forest and Stream magazine, began enlisting hunters and fishers in the drive to conserve and restore natural resources, and political leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot soon followed with strong executive-branch leadership. Western states resisted the efforts, claiming that the federal government was usurping the lands that properly belonged to them, but the courts upheld the federal government.

Char Miller lecturingDr Miller noted that Marsh in the 1860s had ended his book on an apocalyptic note, urging that action be taken immediately to ward off the disaster that he saw in the making if the U.S. did not act quickly to conserve its remaining resources. Toward the end of his lecture, Dr Miller himself set an apocalyptic tone. By the 1940s and 1950s the federal government was undermining efforts to preserve wilderness areas by permitting lumbering activity to build housing for a rapidly urbanizing population. The Wilderness Act of 1964 and later acts had to warn the Forest Service to stop destroying the forests. Currently the U.S. imports most of its wood from Canada and the rest of the world, which Dr Miller called “outsourcing” its requirements for wood. Dr Miller noted that the American public is well aware of the country’s constantly increasing use of a greater percentage of the world’s oil supplies but oblivious to the same trend in the use of the world’s wood supplies. America’s population in recent decades has shifted heavily toward western and southern states which have most of the nation’s natural areas, endangering those areas by increasing public demand for use of them for recreation. Climate change threatens to change or destroy the natural habitat for all living things. In light of all these problems, can private spaces be saved? Dr Miller said that we are faced with a stronger challenge than Marsh and Grinnell faced and he insisted that we must tackle these problems.

A specialist in American environmental and urban history, Dr Miller is a Senior Fellow of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, a contributing writer to the Texas Observer, Associate Editor of Environmental History and the Journal of Forestry. He is on the editorial board of the Pacific Historical Review and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Forest History Society. He has served on the editorial board of the Trinity University Press and on the City of San Antonio’s Open Space Advisory Board and its Tree Preservation Ordinance Panel. He wrote Gifford Pinchot and The Making of Modern Environmentalism (2001) and is co-author of The Greatest Good: 100 Years of Forestry in America (1999). He edited Fluid Arguments: Five Centuries of Western Water Conflict and On the Border: An Environmental History of San Antonio.


Dr Janann Sherman and Dr Margaret Caffrey speak in Women’s History Month Symposium

[23 March 2007] Dr Janann Sherman, Olin Atkins Professor and Chair, and Dr Margaret Caffrey, Associate Professor, spoke today in the Women’s History Month Symposium held in the Panhellenic Building. In a session entitled “Women in the Professions: Then and Now” both were paired with a speaker from another discipline, Dr Sherman speaking on the pioneer aviator Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie along with FedEx pilot June Vivano, and Dr Caffrey speaking on Margaret Mead along with University of Memphis anthropologist Jane Henrici.


Jack Lorenzini presents paper for Vietnam Center at Texas Tech

[23 March 2007]  Jack Lorenzini, Teaching Assistant, presented a paper today at the spring conference “The Impact of Culture, Ethnicity, Race, and Religion in the Vietnam War,” held by the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. In a session on “The Impact of Antiwar Activities on American Culture,” his paper was on the topic “Lest we Forget: Reactions to the Jackson State College Shootings of 1970.”


Dr James Fickle speaks to two groups on forestry, will speak to two more in April

[21 March 2007] Dr James Fickle, Professor, spoke in Birmingham on 15 February to the North American Wholesale Lumber Association on the topic “The History of the Southern Lumber Industry.” He also presented the lead paper in a session at the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV) Science Synthesis Conference in Vicksburg on 13 March. The theme of the conference was “Forest Restoration in the LMAV: Science at the Crossroads of Economics and Ecology.” Dr Fickle’s paper was entitled “Context and History of the LMAV.” The paper will be published as part of a monograph coming out of the conference.

On 16-18 April he will be attending a planning conference for the Board of Directors of the U.S. Forest Sevice Historical Museum in Missoula, Montana. On 17 April he will make a presentation on the history of Forest Service research in the South to that group.

On 21 April Dr Fickle will be the keynote speaker at a conference in Diboll, Texas, commemorating the career of Arthur Temple and the establishment of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry at Stephen F. Austin State University. He will speak on the topic “Arthur Temple’s Contributions to Texas and the Forest Products Communities.”


Dr Dennis Laumann wins Thomas W. Briggs Foundation’s Excellence in Teaching award

[16 March 2007]  Dr Dennis Laumann, Associate Professor of History, has received one of two Thomas W. Briggs Foundation Excellence in Teaching awards for 2006-07. Along with Ms Margaret “Peggy” Quinn, Assistant Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences, he will be recognized at the Faculty Convocation on 19 April.


Amanda Sanders honored at farewell party

[16 March 2007] Ms Amanda Sanders is leaving the position of Office Assistant in the Department of History which she has held for the past four years. She has accepted employment off campus. For her faithful service, the Department of History held a farewell party for her early this afternoon in the second floor lobby of Mitchell Hall. The pictures show Ms Sanders talking with the many well-wishers who attended and cutting the cake.

Well wishers at the party Amanda cutting the cake

For her work with the Department, the College, and the University, Ms Sanders received the award for Outstanding Full-Time Clerical Employee in the College of Arts and Sciences in April 2005 (read our article about that award).


Dr Janann Sherman receives Professional Development Assignment from the College of Arts and Sciences

[5 March 2007] Dr Janann Sherman, Olin Atkins Professor and Chair of the Department of History, has been awarded a Professional Development Assignment by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Fall Semester. PDAs allow faculty members to continue their professional growth as scholars and teachers through a variety of activities. Faculty members who receive them are relieved of other responsibilities for one semester at full pay or for one academic year at half pay.

Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie in 1929Dr Sherman plans to use her award to finish the research and write a draft for a book on Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie, who is described by the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture as “the ’godmother’ of early Tennessee aviation.” (Ms Omlie is also the subject of articles on several Web sites, including Woman Pilot and Aviation Pioneers: An Anthology.) The photograph at the right shows Ms Omlie in 1929.

Dr Daniel Unowsky, Associate Professor, will be Acting Chair of the Department of History during Dr Sherman’s assignment.

Since 2000, when the College of Arts and Sciences began publishing lists of recipients on its Web site, seven other members of the Department of History (Dr Peter Brand, Dr James Blythe, Dr Margaret Caffrey, Dr Jonathan Judaken, Dr Lung-kee Sun [now retired from the department], Dr Daniel Unowsky, and Dr Beverly Bond) have received PDAs.


Dr Dennis Laumann nominated for Thomas W. Briggs Foundation’s Excellence in Teaching Award

[2 March 2007] Dr Dennis Laumann, Associate Professor, has been nominated for this academic year’s Thomas W. Briggs Foundation’s Excellence in Teaching Award. The Foundation makes two awards of $5000 each year to recognize outstanding undergraduate teaching and an overall commitment to undergraduate education. Recipients of the awards will be announced at Convocation in April.

Another member of the History faculty, Dr Robert Frankle, now Associate Professor Emeritus, won one of the Briggs awards last year (read our article about the award).


Dr Peter Brand appears in two programs on the History Channel

[28 February 2007] Dr Peter Brand, Assistant Professor, appeared in two programs on the History Channel recently. On 26 February he was in the series “Digging for History,” hosted by Josh Bernstein. The program, entitled “Ramesses: Visions of Greatness,” was an examination of the question “Was Ramesses II Egypt’s Greatest Pharaoah?” On 27 February he was in the series “Ancient Discoveries,” in a program that examined ancient Egyptian weaponry. Both programs were broadcast twice.


Western regional competitions for Tennessee History Day held at AutoZone Park

[25 February 2007] Competitions for the western region of Tennessee History Day on this year’s theme of “Triumph and Tragedy in History” were held Saturday at AutoZone Park in downtown Memphis. Winners in each category are listed on the West Tennessee District page of theTennessee History Day site.

Winners in this competition will advance to the state level of competition, to be held here on the campus of The University of Memphis in the FedEx Institute of Technology on 31 March 2007. Dr Robert Gudmestad, Assistant Professor, is interim director of Tennessee History Day, serving while Dr Jonathan Judaken is on leave.


Reginald Ellis speaks to student group at Humes Middle School

Ellis speaking Seymour

[21 February 2007] Reginald Ellis, Teaching Assistant, (left) spoke today to over 200 eighth-grade students at Humes Middle School on the invitation of science teacher James Seymour (right). Mr Ellis’ presentation focused on the African American struggle for freedom and equality, from the shores of West Africa to the halls of Memphis State University, ending with a video interview that he conducted with Mr Luther McClellan, the first African American to graduate from Memphis State University in 1962.

Humes students

Mr Ellis left the students and faculty with words of inspiration, beginning with those of Dr Bobby Wright’s most famous phrase, “If you know better, then you must do better.” Mr Ellis delivered two charges: “As teachers, we must take pride in educating this generation because they will one day be our leaders.” Not leaving students out of his message, he said that “students should seize the opportunity in the classroom to strive for greatness, so that historians fifty to one hundred years from now will say that you blazed that path that we are currently on.”


Dr Suzanne Onstine speaks to Women’s Research Forum

[21 February 2007] Dr Suzanne Onstine, Assistant Professor, spoke this afternoon to the University of Memphis Women’s Research Forum, an activity of the Center for Research on Women, on the topic “Women in Ancient Egyptian Religious Hierarchy.”


Dr Beverly Bond reads in Black History Month program

[13 February 2007] Dr Beverly Bond, Associate Professor, participated today at 11:30 am in the McWherter Library’s series “Readings in the Rotunda” as part of Black History Month.


Dr Arwin Smallwood reads in Black History Month program

[13 February 2007] Dr Arwin Smallwood, Associate Professor, participated today at noon in the McWherter Library’s series “Readings in the Rotunda” as part of Black History Month.


Dr Robert Yelle speaks at Phi Alpha Theta meeting on “Iconoclasm and Modernity: Western Tradition against Itself”

[9 February 2007] Dr Robert Yelle, Research Assistant Professor, spoke today in the fourth program of a series of presentations on the theme “Counter-Culture in History” sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta, the history honorary. His topic was “Iconoclasm and Modernity: Western Tradition against Itself.”


Dr Kenneth Jackson co-edits volume on Robert Moses for exhibition in New York City

[6 February 2007] Dr Kenneth Jackson is the co-editor, with Hilary Ballon, of Robert Moses and the Modern City: The Transformation of New York, a volume to be published by Norton in connection with the exhibition in New York on Robert Moses. Dr Jackson is the Jacques Barzun Professor in History and the Social Sciences at Columbia University. He received his B.A. in history in 1961 at what was then Memphis State University. The author of several books on urban subjects, he is best known for Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States and The Encyclopedia of New York City. He was the subject of an interview in the 2004 issue of our departmental newsletter.


PBS to air Dr F. Jack Hurley’s film on documentary photography in the 1930s

[6 February 2007] Dr F. Jack Hurley, Emeritus Professor, reports that PBS has accepted his film on documentary photography in the 1930s for airing on a date as yet undetermined. (The date and time will be announced on this Web site as soon as they are available.)

Now retired and living in Davidson, North Carolina, Dr Hurley was a long-time member of the Department of History and served two terms as Chair of the Department. He was the author of Portrait of a Decade; Roy Stryker and the Development of Documentary Photography in the Thirties; Marion Post Wolcott: A Photographic Journey; Russell Lee, Photographer; and Industry and the Photographic Image; and a co-author of Pictures Tell the Story: Ernest C. Withers Reflections in History.


Assisi Foundation grants $30,000 to continue the Veterans Oral History Project

[26 January 2007] The Assisi Foundation of Memphis in 2006 allocated $90,000 of an anticipated overall grant of $120,000 to the Veterans Oral History Project. On the basis of the progress report, the Foundation has now allocated the remaining $30,000 to the project.


Dr James Fickle to be lead author of paper at Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Science Synthesis Conference

[19 January 2007] Dr James Fickle, Professor, will be the lead author of one of the white papers to be presented at the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Science Synthesis Conference to be held 13-15 March 2007 at the Vicksburg Convention Center, sponsored by the USDA Forest Service and Mississippi State University.

The conference will feature papers and discussion on four major themes: context of the LMAV; state of the science of bottomland hardwood restoration; state of the science of agroforestry riparian forest buffers; and state of the science for implementing bottomland hardwood and agroforestry riparian buffer restoration. Dr Fickle’s group will concentrate on the context of the LMAV, to include past and present demographics; key resource issues; key social and economic issues of the past present, and future; and land use history and patterns.

For full information about the conference, visit the Web page for the event.


Dr Randolph Meade Walker speaks on “The International Application of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nonviolent Philosophy” for Friends of the University Libraries

[17 January 2007] Dr Randolph Meade Walker spoke at a meeting today of the Friends of the University Libraries on “The International Application of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nonviolent Philosophy.”

Dr Walker’s thesis was that Dr King’s ideas were larger than his experience as a civil rights leader. The philosophy of non-violent civil disobedience was used in the 1950s and 1960s, primarily in the southern United States, to eradicate racial inustice. But Dr King believed that the philosophy could be used on the international level — and indeed must be used there if the world is to continue to exist — as an instrument for settling global conflicts.

Dr Walker received his Ph.D. in history from The University of Memphis in 1990. His dissertation, “The Metamorphosis of Sutton E. Griggs: A Southern Black Baptist Minister’s Transformation in Theological and Sociological Thought during the Early 20th Century,” was directed by Dr Charles W. Crawford. Pastor of Castalia Baptist Church, he is currently an adjunct instructor for the Department of History, teaching a course in African American history.


Mitchell Hall canopy removed to make way for newer, safer canopy

Canopy being removed

[4 January 2007] The canopy which has graced (or disgraced) the eastern entrance to Mitchell Hall since the building’s construction in the 1950s is being removed to make way eventually for a newer, safer canopy. The steel-rod-reinforced concrete canopy had developed large rusty cracks which were dangerous, not to mention unsightly, and recent Chairs of the Department of History had for several years urged its removal in the interests of safety. This fall, a letter from Chair Janann Sherman to Vice President for Finance Charles Lee prompted a quick decision by the administration to take action during the holiday break. Immediately after New Year’s Day a crew moved in to begin the removal, beginning with the boarding up of the east-side doors. The work continued, even in the rain on Thursday (see photo), as a concrete saw removed small sections at a time. The removed sections were then broken up into smaller pieces and hauled away.

As a result of the “nose job,” Mitchell Hall will be without a canopy during the Spring Semester. Plans are to build a new canopy during the summer months. Whether with the new canopy or none at all, the new appearance will be disconcertingly different for those who remember the “old” Mitchell Hall facade.

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