Four students receive Ph.D. degree at winter commencement
[20 December 2010] Four students in our doctoral program received the Ph.D. degree at the winter commencement:
- Carol Parsons Ciscel, with a dissertation on “Inseparable Companion: The Consolation
of Heloise,” James Blythe, major professor
- Joe Jackson Frazer, with a dissertation on “The Fourth Parliament of Elizabeth I:
A Legislative Statistical History,” James Blythe, major professor
- Roy Winston Hopper, with a dissertation on “The Monuments of Amenmesse and Seti II:
A Historical Inquiry,” Peter Brand, major professor
- Jayme Millsap Stone, with a dissertation on “‘They Were Her Daughters’: Women and
Grassroots Organizing for Social Justice in the Arkansas Delta, 1870-1970,” Janann
Sherman, major professor
Endowment Committee awards funding for four graduate students
[17 December 2010] The Endowment Committee congratulates the following graduate students who have been
awarded funding for the Spring/Pre-Session 2011 period:
- Mark Janzen (conference and research in Chicago)
- Jared Krebsbach (research in Egypt)
- Virginia Reckard (research in Egypt)
- Elizabeth Warkentin (research in Egypt)
Mark Janzen receives award for best prospectus for Fall 2010
[17 December 2010] The Endowment Committee of the Department of History makes an award of $500 each
semester for the best dissertation prospectus. The award for Fall 2010 goes to Mark
Janzen for his presentation on 8 October on the dissertation topic “The Iconography
of Humiliation: The Depiction and Treatment of Foreign Captives in New Kingdom Egypt.”
Dr Beverly Bond appointed to Tennessee Historical Records Advisory Board
[16 December 2010] Governor Phil Bredesen today confirmed the appointment of Dr Beverly Bond, associate
professor, to the Tennessee Historical Records Advisory Board. The appointment is effective immediately and extends until 30 November 2013.
The Board is the central advisory board for historical records planning within the
state of Tennessee, acting as a coordinating body to promote cooperation and communication
between records repositories and information agencies. It also serves as a state-level
review body for projects that are funded by the National Historical Publications and
RecordsCommission (NHPRC) in Tennessee.
Two doctoral students present dissertation prospectuses
[3 December 2010] Graduate Coordinator James Blythe remarked at the beginning of today’s session of
dissertation prospectus presentations that at the beginning of the semester it appeared
that there might be an overabundance of doctoral students who wanted to make presentations
this semester, but by today the number had dwindled to two instead of the usual four.
Malcolm Frierson (shown at the left) led off with his presentation on “Coming to the
Stage: Dick Gregory, Bill Cosby, and the New Cultural Politics of African-American
Comedy, 1961-75.” He was followed by Chrystal Goudsouzian with her presentation on
“Becoming Isis: Myth, Medicine, Magic, and Reproduction in Ancient Egypt.”
Three more sessions will be scheduled for the Spring Semester 2011.
Michael Blum publishes a book review in Essays in History
[1 December 2010] Doctoral candidate Michael Blum has a book review in a recent issue of Essays in History, an online publication of the Corcoran Department of History at the University of
Virginia. He reviewed The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America by Margot Canaday, published in 2009 by Princeton University Press.
Commercial Appeal article highlights Vincent Clark as archivist
[25 November 2010] Vincent Clark is a part-time instructor in the Department of History. His “day job”
is as an archivist in the Shelby County Archives, which is a unit of the office of
the Shelby County Register of Deeds. It was in that capacity that the Commercial Appeal had an article last week (available online) about the items that he from time to time places on a Facebook page that he maintains. Among the voluminous official records he sometimes finds items
that are of special interest, such as the marriage license issued in 1910 to Mr Toombes
and Miss Graves, which he posted to Facebook for Halloween. As a hint of coming attractions,
he mentioned that at Christmas there will be an item about the “White Christmas wedding.”
Unfortunately, he noted, some of the items he finds are “too disturbing or raunchy
to put online.”
The idea, Mr Clark said, was borrowed from a Facebook page maintained by Elmwood Cemetery as a way of steering people to the Register’s Web site.
Darin Stephanov wins two prizes at national meeting for his paper on Mahmud II
[23 November 2010] At a joint meeting of the MIddle East Studies Association and the Turkish Studies
Association, which was held in San Diego 18-22 November, Darin Stephanov won two prizes
for his paper “The First Shift in (Modern) Ruler Visibility: The Reign of Mahmud II.”
His paper won the Sydney N. Fisher 2010 Graduate Student Paper Prize from the Turkish
Studies Association and was the co-winner of the 2010 Graduate Student Paper Prize
of the Middle East Studies Association.
Mr Stephanov is preparing a dissertation on “Minorities, Majorities, and the Monarch:
Nationalizing Effects of the Late Ottoman Royal Public Ceremonies, 1808-1908” under
the direction of Dr Kent Schull, assistant professor, as his major professor.
Rick Atkinson delivers Belle McWilliams Lecture in connection with remembrance of
the 20th anniversary of the death of Dr Marcus W. Orr
[18 November 2010] The Belle McWilliams Lecture for 2010-2011 this evening was part of a special program
sponsored by the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities in remembrance of the 20th
anniversary of the death of its namesake, Dr Marcus W. Orr, long-time medievalist
in the Department of History. The lecture by Rick Atkinson was preceded by an address
by Dr Leon Bass and remarks by Dr Orr’s daughter.
Leon Bass volunteered for military service in 1943. A black from Philadelphia, he
received most of his training in southern states where he constantly encountered segregation
laws and practices which told him he was “not good enough” to be treated like white
citizens. Assigned to an engineer battalion, he helped build the bridge that was crucial
in allowing Allied success in the Battle of the Bulge. He began to wonder what he
was fighting for — why was he risking his life to defend a country that denied him
rights? When the Allies moved into Germany, he was picked, along with two others,
to go on a mission that turned out to be a visit to the concentration camp at Buchenwald,
which was just beginning to be liberated from Nazi control. There he received the
shock of his life, encountering what he called “the walking dead,” persons who had
been regarded by the Nazis as “not good enough” to be allowed to live. In his talk,
he described in detail the horrendous treatment of those who were sent to Buchenwald.
Something happened to him, he explained. The Nazis had taken the concept of “not good
enough” and taken it to a higher level. He felt he must do something, but did not
at the time know what to do.
After leaving the Army at the end of the war, he went to college on the G.I. Bill
of Rights but still was found “not good enough” to attend the University of Pennsylvania
and finally enrolled at West Chester State Teachers College. But even there he ran
into segregation. He was teaching a 5th-grade class of 49 students in an all-black
school at the time he participated in the March on Washington in 1963 and heard Dr
Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech. After failing twice, he passed the
examination to become a principal on the third try and was assigned to some of what
he called “the toughest schools’ in Philadelphia. On one occasion he found a class
where a survivor of a concentration camp was attempting to speak to a rude, unruly
class and he forced them to listen to her story. After hearing her story, the students
left in complete silence. The survivor told him that he, like her, had a story to
tell and urged him to tell it.
Toward the conclusion of his story, he said, “The evil is still with us.” He urged,
“Date to be a Daniel,” combating that evil with the philosophy of Dr King, with love
instead of hatred.
Following Dr Bass, the audience viewed a film clip from the Facing History Archive
in which Dr Orr retold the story of finding the camp at Dachau. Dr Orr’s daughter
then briefly outlined the course of her father’s life. At 18 he entered the U.S. Army
and served with the 42nd (“Rainbow”) Division. In 1945 on a reconnaissance mission
he and two fellow soldiers happened upon the concentration camp at Dachau, which,
like Buchenwald, was just being liberated from the Nazis. Shrapnel from a strafing
raid by the Germans injured his spine and made him a paraplegic. After spending two
years in the veterans hospital in Memphis, he attempted schooling at Yale but found
the campus so inaccessible to him that he had to leave. After getting his B.A. at
Southwestern (now Rhodes), he went to graduate school at the University of Illinois,
said to be the most barrier-free university in all of America. His dream of becoming
a neuro-surgeon had vanished with his injury, and he became a student of the Renaissance
and himself a Renaissance man.
Technical issues prevented the viewing of another film clip which had been planned,
one from a documentary made by Dr Orr about 1974 entitled “Among Them but Not of Them,”
about the difficulties that persons with disabilities encountered.
Rick Atkinson began his lecture about American soldiers and the liberation of Europe
in World War II by giving some statistics about how rapidly veterans of the war are
dying, 27,600 per day or, more graphically, 1 every 3 seconds. Many stories such as
those told by Dr Bass and about Dr Orr are disappearing along with them. He then moved
quickly through ten points about the war that he felt should be stressed:
1. When the war started in 1939 the U.S. Army was “a puny weakling,” ranking 17th
in strength among nations of the world, just behind Rumania.
2. The war encumbered all of America. In spite of all efforts, there was not enough
manpower to come close to the number of army divisions that were hoped for. Divisions
had to fight all the time, with no time to rest; some of them suffered casualties
that, in effect, destroyed all their manpower twice over and yet they were reconstituted
to fight again. Numerous categories of those who would have been rejected for military
service in earlier times were drafted, including those with severe physical and mental
3. The U.S. Army did not win the war by itself. The war had been going on 27 months
before the U.S. even entered it. Some 60 nations fought against the Axis powers; of
them, Great Britain and Russia fought harder battles and suffered greater casualties
than the U.S.
4. The U.S. Army role did not start with the D-Day invasion of Normandy. The success
of that invasion was dependent upon earlier fighting in North Africa, Sicily, and
5. For some time after the entry into the war, the U.S. Army was not very good. Armaments,
especially tanks, were far inferior to those of other armies. Three of the five original
corps commanders were sacked for incompetence. But things got better. Ultimately,
Mr Atkinson said, it is systems that win wars. The German system could not muster
the resources to cross the English Channel, but the American system could.
6. The U.S. Army was more than riflemen. Much of the effort was done by its air force.
And behind it all was the industrial might of the U.S., which practically ceased producing
consumer items such as automobiles and turned out the needed airplanes, tanks, and
7. The war effort from start to finish was under civilian control. Many of the important
decisions, such as the invasion of North Africa, the call for unconditional surrender,
and the dropping of the atomic bombs, were made by the president in his role as commander-in-chief,
and often counter to the wishes of the military leaders.
8. The U.S. Army in World War II was one of the greatest agencies of social change.
In the 1920s an Army War College study had called blacks unfitted in all ways for
effective military service, but by 1944 approximately 750,000 blacks had served and
demonstrated that they were good soldiers. He cited in particular the Tuskegee Airmen.
Mr Atkinson thinks that these experiences later gave impetus to civil rights movements.
Women as a minority group were not so well served by the war, however. Many served,
but always in inferior positions. Of the 1,300 generals the Army had, none were female,
the first female general coming only in 1970.
9. The story of the U.S. Army is a “great story and ought to be told.” Mr Atkinson
quoted John Updike’s remark that it is a “central myth” for America. He said that
no one could tell that story as well as those who lived it, but as the veterans die
off, the survivors must tell the stories for them.
10. “They died for you.” Mr Akinson concluded by reading a long excerpt from a moving
report written by Ernie Pyle about the death of an Army captain in fighting in Italy
to reinforce his point.
Dr Leon Bass was among the first American troops to arrive at Buchenwald in mid-April 1945. After
the war he was an educator at several schools in Pennsylvania. In recent years he
has often spoken on racism and the Holocaust. He appeared in the 1992 documentary,
Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II.
Rick Atkinson has been awarded two Pulitzer Prizes for his own journalism. In 1982 he received
the prize for national reporting, including a series on the West Point class of 1966.
In 2003 he received the prize for history for An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, the first volume in what he calls the Liberation Trilogy. In addition, two newspapers
received prizes for reporting that he supervised — the Kansas City Times in 1982 and the Washington Post in 1999. He is best known for his reporting about American military efforts. His
books include The Long Gray Line, about the West Point class of 1966; Crusade, about the Persian Gulf War; In the Company of Soldiers, about the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq; and the two volumes in the trilogy which
have appeared so far: An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 and The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944. He is working on the final volume, The Normandy Invasion and the War in Western Europe, which will be published in 2011 or 2012.
Dr Andrei Znamenski lectures at Stanford University’s Center for Russian, Eastern
European, and Eurasian Studies
[16 November 2010] As a guest lecturer at the Center for Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies
at Stanford University on 5 November, Dr Andrei Znamenski, assistant professor, spoke
about the theme of his book, Red Shambala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia, which will be published by Quest Books in May 2011.
Shambhala is the legendary Tibetan Buddhist prophecy about the peaceable land of spiritual
bliss. At the same time, it was also a powerful call for spiritual resistance, a “Buddhist
jihad.” Using archival sources and memoirs, Dr Znamenski explores how spiritual adventurers,
revolutionaries, and nationalists both from the West and the East used this and related
legends to promote their spiritual, social, and geopolitical schemes in the first
three decades of the twentieth century. For a detailed description of the book, visit the Facebook page for Red Shambala (yes, the book has a Facebook presence).
Graduate Association for African-American History hosts 12th Annual Graduate Conference
[15 November 2010] Approximately 50 graduate students, from universities all across the country and
internationally, participated in this year’s Annual Graduate Conference African-American
History, hosted by the Graduate Association for African-American History on 11-12
November. Several of our own students presented papers as well. This year’s conference
was the first to held in the new University Center.
Some of the panels on Thursday included Looking to Freedom: African Americans and
the Creation of Communities and Identities, 1800-1860, Politics and the Modern Black
Atlantic, The Culture of Slavery, Politics of Performance, Geographical and Cultural
Borderlands, Race and Public Space, Freedom in the Age of Slavery, and Race and Rights
in Black and White. On Thursday evening, conference participants, students, faculty,
and the university community filled the University Center Ballroom to hear Pulitzer-Prize
winner Dr Leon Litwack, Professor Emeritus at the University of California-Berkeley,
deliver the keynote address entitled “Stormy Monday: African Americans and Race Reflections
from the Civil War to the Present.” In a raffle, four persons won a book written by
Dr Litwack in a raffle. There was a reception and a book signing following the address.
Sessions continued on Friday with panels on Teaching African American History; Black
Politics in the Early Twentieth Century, Perspectives on Slavery and the Slave Trade,
Re-Conceptualizing the Civil Rights Movement, Transnational Black Identities, The
Media and Black Equality, The Black Power Movement in Memphis, Modern Black Politics,
Religion, Society, and Black Freedom, and Gender, Race, and Society,
At noon on Friday graduate students were treated to a pizza luncheon and a professional
development roundtable. Participants included Dr Charisse-Jones Branch, Arkansas State
University; Dr Charles McKinney, Rhodes College; Dr Deirdre Cooper-Owen, University
of Mississippi; Dr Peter James Hudson, Vanderbilt University; Dr Maurice Hobson, University
of Mississippi; and Dr Robert Luckett, Jackson State University.
Each year the conference awards the Memphis State Eight Best Paper Prizes. The winners
this year were Sarah Levin-Gronnigsater, University of Chicago (first place, shown
at right); Joanna Dee, Columbia University (second place, left); and Jeffery Gonda,
Yale University (third place, middle).
In addition to GAAAH, the conference received support from Student Event Allocation,
the Department of History, the Belle McWilliams Fund, the Marcus W. Orr Center for
the Humanities, African and African-American Studies, and the Benjamin L. Hooks Center
for Social Change.
Thanks to Shirletta Kinchen for reporting on the conference and to Sheena Harris for
the photographs. You may view several more of the photographs in an album on Facebook.
Drs Sherman, Bond, and O’Donovan visit South Africa for discussions about race and
[7 November 2010] Drs Janann Sherman, Beverly Bond, and Susan O’Donovan were invited to join a delegation
of 47 historians and museum professionals from 19 states, led by University of Minnesota
professor Elaine Tyler May and organized by the People to People Congress, to meet
with their counterparts in South Africa to discuss teaching and research organized
around issues of race and social justice. Dr Sherman contributed the following essay
on their visit, and Drs Bond and O’Donovan contributed the photographs.
This is a very exciting time to visit South Africa, sixteen years after the end of
apartheid and the adoption of its Freedom Charter that enshrines equal rights for
all regardless of “race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social
origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief,
culture, language and birth.” Everywhere we went, despite the overwhelming evidence
of social inequality, we found optimism and hope for the future.
We spent three days in Johannesburg, meeting with professors at the University of
Witswatersrand’s School of Social Sciences, touring Soweto, the Apartheid Museum,
and Constitution Hill (a former apartheid prison), where we talked with Dr. Ahmed
Kathrada, who was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela at Robben Island. During our four
days in Cape Town, we met with professors at the University of the Western Cape Centre
for Humanities Research, visited the Institute for Democracy in South Africa and the
District Six Museum, and toured Robben Island and the spectacularly beautiful Cape
Besides the educational and networking aspects of the trip, we particularly worked
to establish links with suitable institutions with whom we could build exchange programs
for our students and theirs. Now the hard work begins: to conceptualize such a program
and to find the funds to make it happen.
The Freedom Charter was issued at Kliptown in 1955.
Constitution Hill, showing isolation cells for political prisoners
Nelson Mandela’s cell at Robben Island
This and the following photograph are of a recent life-size installation by artist
Ed Young at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, showing Archbishop Tutu crashing
through the window and swinging from a chandelier, both as an expression of optimism
and as a celebration of Tutu’s life
The installation has a mural (not shown in the photographs) which reads BE PATIENT:
WE ONLY HAVE A FEW THINGS TO FIX.
The District Six Museum
The view from Cape Point at the Cape of Good Hope
Dr Jerome C. Rose lectures on “Akhenaton’s People Speak: Tell el-Amarna, Egypt”
[5 November 2010] Dr Jerome C. Rose, professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University
of Arkansas-Fayetteville, has worked with Dr Barry Kemp in the Amarna Project for
many years, working with the skeletal remains that have been found by the archeologists
conducting the excavations. Supplementing Dr Kemp’s lecture of last evening, this
afternoon he described how the work was done and drew conclusions as to what the skeletal
remains seemed to indicate about the lives of the people who worked at Akhenaton’s
new capital at Amarna. He noted that excavators and skeletal analysts usually don’t
work together — only at Amarna.
Amarna is well known for the 382 clay tablets discovered there which were a treasure
trove about high governmental affairs, especially diplomacy. At other places in Egypt,
we have evidence from the people themselves, but from Amarna there is nothing that
is not filtered through these high channels. How then can the people speak about their
condition? Dr Rose maintains that the skeletal remains tell us much. So far 210 individuals
have ben found, and he believes there may eventually be as many as 5000.
Akhenaton had told his people that the Aton would provide all that they needed, that
life would be good. Dr Rose believes the evidence points the other way. He and his
analysts have found that residents of Amarna were different from other populations
in many important ways. The city was built in a hurry and there were many accidents.
Life expectancy was unusually short, with large numbers of persons dying young when
they shouldn’t be dying at all. Children at Amarna grew at slower rates, some two
to three years behind comparable groups. They were much shorter in stature. Some 52%
of adults had evidence of several periods of stress during their childhood as indicated
by the way their teeth had grown. The conclusion: the promises were not kept. Food
was not abundant, life was not good, work was hard, and disease was common.
Dr Rose believes that there is increasing evidence that Amarna suffered from some
as yet unknown plague that added to the already-harsh conditions at Amarna. Traditionally,
Egypt never recognized failure of any sort, so the records are entirely silent. But
such things as religious practices, the socio-economic structure, burial customs,
and population structure seem to indicate an epidemic of some sort. Religious practices,
of course, underwent tremendous change during Akhenaton’s reign. Governments and wealthy
citizens often flee plagues, and Amarna was a brand new capital, a “clean” area, belonging
to no one at the time. Burials at Amarna were often hasty, using a great variety of
containers, many irregularities in their construction, and multiple burials were made
when there was no lack of space which would explain them. And Amarna had unusually
high rates of death about children and young people. All of these things, Dr Rose
believes, point to some kind of epidemic.
Dr James Blythe speaks on Savonarola at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch
[5 November 2010] “Savonarola: Medieval Prophet of Doom or Democratic Revolutionary? Florence and the
Chaos of Late-Fifteenth-Century Italy” was the topic for Dr James Blythe’s presentation
at today’s pizza lunch sponsored by the Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the
national honorary organization for history students. The theme for the year is “Chaos
and Controversy,” and there was plenty of both centering around Savonarola.
Savonarola was once pictured as the prophet of disaster, foreseeing Florence’s doom
if it did not repent of its materialistic excesses, burning jewelry, paintings, and
other objects in the “bonfire of the vanities,” trying to destroy the Renaissance.
His preaching is said to have terrified even Michelangelo. The Dominicans, to which
order he belonged, were noted for their preaching, and Savonarola studied the arts
of rhetoric and theatrics and applied them to his preaching. He began preaching on
government after Charles VIII invaded the Italian area but left Florence alone, and
Savonarola was credited with persuading him to do so.
But his apocalyptic vision was rather different from that of most modern-day millenialists
— like most medieval prophets he preached that the era of peace would come before
the return of Christ, and that the elect therefore had a role in making it come about.
Savonarola promised a paradise on earth, a Golden Age in which Florence would be a
new Jerusalem, the center of Christianity — provided that it repent. His preaching
against the vanities was based on the idea that wealth was being wasted on them rather
than providing for the needs of people. And he was opposed to the worldliness of the
Medici, who not only subverted the democratic institutions of Florence but also gained
control of the Papacy. So he became a favorite of the people but was rejected by the
Florentine government regularly alternated between regimes that supported Savonarola
and those that did not. In 1498 the Franciscans, traditional rivals of the Dominicans,
challenged him to prove himself in an ordeal by fire, which he was pressed into accepting.
But through manipulations of the Franciscans the ordeal never came off and eventually
even the people turned against him. Excommunicated by the Pope and faced with a hostile
government once more in power, Savonarola was charged with heresy, tortured, and executed
in May 1498.
Far from being simply a prophet of doom, a would-be theocrat, and fervent opponent
of the Renaissance, Savonarola was a complex figure who opposed arbitrary governmental
power and the aristocrats who used that power for their own benefit and not for the
Dr Blythe noted that although Savonarola was condemned as a heretic and excommunicated,
today there is a movement to make him a saint.
This was the last of the lectures for the Fall semester; the lectures will resume
in the Spring. As always with these lectures, complimentary pizza and sodas were provided
by Student Event Allocation.
Dr Barry Kemp delivers 5th annual William J. Murnane Lecture, speaking on Amarna
[4 November 2010] Speaking on “Towards a Better Understanding of Amarna: Recent Research in the City
and Its Main Cemetery,” Dr Barry Kemp this evening delivered the fifth in a series
of lectures named after Dr William J. Murnane, our former Egyptologist, who died in
Dr Kemp is professor emeritus of Egyptology in the Department of Oriental Studies
and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research of University of Cambridge.
He is also the director of the Amarna Project, and chairman of the Amarna Trust and
has directed the excavation and archaeological survey at Amarna for the Egypt Exploration
Society since 1977. Tell el-Amarna was the new capital city founded by Akhenaton,
often called the “heretic” pharoah for his short-lived attempt to eliminate the traditional
Egyptian gods and goddesses and implant the worship of the Aton, the sun-disk.
Dr Kemp noted that most of the stone work at Amarna was later removed and used for
construction of royal buildings elsewere and that Akhenation had used much mud brick,
so rather little remains. He described in some detail the small temple of worship
of Aton, a long, narrow temple with only open courts, no images, no statues. One of
the remarkable features was the large number of offering tables on which enormous
piles of food were placed, not only in the temple but also outside. Perhaps some 2,000
tables overall were set up, in physical arrangements that would have been extremely
awkward to work with, so there is some question as to how practical the arrangements
were, or how often the tables were supplied. (As an aside, Dr Kemp noted that the
Aton must have been a hungry god.)
Dr Kemp estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 people moved to the new capital,
located about halfway between the modern capital of Cairo and the ancient capital
of Thebes (modern Luxor), where they settled in a haphazard pattern. The most recognizable
pattern was that residences of chief officials were surrounded by more humble quarters
for the workers, so that it looked like a series of small villages strung end to end.
Much recent work at Amarna has been in investigating the cemeteries. While leading
officials had tombs carved in the rocks around the city, commoners were usually buried,
wrapped first in linen, then rolled up in a mat of sticks instead of a coffin. In
some parts of the cemetery the bodies were found oriented, as might be expected from
the Aton theology, with head toward the east, but in other parts the alignment of
the bodies seems to have been dictated by the topography rather than theology. Dr
Kemp noted that relatively few objects were found buried with the bodies, as would
have been done at earlier periods. Grave robbers no doubt have carried off many objects,
but Dr Kemp believes that the custom was beginning to move away from the earlier practices.
While some of the objects have representations of the traditional deities (which Dr
Kemp said were probably “beneath the radar of Akhenaton”), many of the figures of
gods were being replaced by human figures. Instead of expecting to be met by the gods
in the afterlife, Dr Kemp said, people were beginning to look for their ancestors,
and indeed some of the statuary is of heads of families rather than the traditional
The Murnane lectures are co-sponsored by the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archeology
at The University of Memphis and the Tennessee chapter of the American Research Center
in Egypt. Dr Suzanne Onstine, assistant professor, opened the lecture in her role
as president of the Tennessee chapter, and Dr Lorelei Corcoran, director of the Institute,
introduced Dr Kemp. She also presented a certificate of appreciation to Mr Billy Heuttel
for his long-standing support of the Institute.
For more information about the Amarna Project, visit the official Web site of the Amarna Project. For more information about Dr Murnane, visit Causing His Name to Live: Studies in Egyptian Epigraphy and History in Memory of William
Dr Sarah Potter and Dr Stephen Stein participate in College of Arts and Sciences “Great
[28 October 2010] Dr Sarah Potter, assistant professor, and Dr Stephen Stein, assistant professor,
participated this evening in the annual Great Conversations dinner. Dr Potter led
a conversation about “American Families: Past, Present and Future,” and Dr Stein talked
about “The U.S. Navy: Celebrating 100 Years of Aviation.”
The dinners were initiated in 2002 by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
and his Advisory Board in order to bring community guests together with award-winning
research and teaching faculty for an evening of dining and conversation.
Dr Sarah Potter presents paper at Faculty Research Brown Bag
[22 October 2010] Dr Sarah Potter presented “Do We Stay or Do We Go? Family Ideals and the Diverse
Meanings of Residential Space in Chicago during the Baby Boom” at today’s Faculty
Brown Bag. She is preparing the article for what may become a special issue of the
Journal of Urban History about suburbanization in the period after the Second World War.
Phi Alpha Theta chapter launches new Web site
[18 October 2010] After a period of dormancy, Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national honorary
society for history students, today resumed its presence on the Web with a new site.
If you have a bookmark to the old site you will need to modify it so that it points
Dr Susan O’Donovan speaks on slavery’s “information highway” at Phi Alpha Theta pizza
[15 October 2010] At today’s pizza lunch sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta, the national honorary society
for history students, Dr Susan O’Donovan presented some of the results of her research
for her next book. She presented evidence that American slaves moved around a lot
(one wagoneer logged about 4,000 miles per year, for example), a fact that has not
commonly been stressed in studies of slavery. This travel occurred because of sales,
inheritances, use as personal servants, quasi-independent craftsmen playing their
trades, and hiring out of workers to other southerners. Slaves often worked on river
vessels and were often preferred over white workers. Others traveled with their masters
and mistresses wherever they went. Although many journeys were short in both time
and distance, others were longer, such as journeys to California, to Yale University,
to Paris, even to the Nile in Egypt. Male slaves often worked as teamsters driving
slaveholders' wagons or in extractive industrial settings such as salt mines or iron
works. Female slaves often worked as nurses, cooks, and maids.
Most white southerners approved of all this movement as being necessary for economic
purposes. But others worried about the implications for society of the constant coming
and going of slaves. Some even referred to “conventions” of slaves as if they were
political institutions, and with good reason, according to Dr O’Donovan. There often
were large concentrations of slaves living together in labor camps near swamps which
were being drained and especially in the upper South in the 1850s to construct railroads.
Dr O’Donovan noted that historians have usually stressed the movement of slaves out
of the upper South to newer lands in the Gulf Coast states but have not noticed that
railroad companies scoured the lower South states to find workers to build those upper-South
Wherever the slaves went they saw and heard things while they were working, and they
talked about them, but carefully and out of the hearing of slaveholders. Through all
this constant movement of slaves and their coming together again upon returning from
their journeys, the slaves constructed a real “information highway” that later stood
them in good stead. When the secession crisis and the war came along, they used this
network to affect their own destinies in ways that have generally not been recognized
by earlier historians. Dr O’Donovan is currently at work on that very question and
is sure that she can prove her case.
The last of the Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunches for the semester will be held on 5 November,
when Dr James Blythe will be the speaker.
As always with these lunches, free pizza and drinks are furnished by Student Event
Coach Pastner, Dr Goudsouzian, and Dr Wigginton speak about the role of basketball
in American society
[14 October 2010] “Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution” was the subject of discussion at this
evening’s presentation by the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities in the University
Center Theater. Coach Josh Pastner of the Memphis Tigers basketball team made introductory
remarks; Dr Aram Goudsouzian, associate professor of history, delivered the main lecture;
and Dr Russ Wigginton, historian and vice president for college relations at Rhodes
College, made concluding remarks.
Coach Pastner recalled the recent funeral ceremony for Lorenzen Wright at FedExForum.
He was struck by the fact that during three hours of tribute to Wright, no mention
was made of his feats on the basketball court or the earnings which had come to him.
Rather, everyone spoke of Wright’s influence on people in the community. He noted
that because of their status as players, his team members have a responsibility to
be good role models. As he put it, they are "on all the time.” He was firm in his
contention that sports can bring a city together regardless of any differences such
as race, gender, religion, political affiliation, or economic situation.
Dr Goudsouzian began his lecture by echoing Coach Pastner’s words about how spots
are good for the city, helping to bring people together, and then announcing that
Bill Russell didn’t believe that, saying in 1970, “I should have experienced the American dream.” The implication clearly was that he had not
in fact done so, and he added that a public hanging could have produced the same result.
Russell, according to Dr Goudsouzian, fundamentally changed the system of professional
basketball in America. His prowess on the court radically changed defensive strategies,
the ways that teams play to contain players like him. When he started, the league
had only eight members, many in relatively unimportant cities, with very little television
coverage. By 1969, the league had fourteen members and a lucrative television contract.
He established a “benchmark dynasty,” producing eleven championships in thirteen seasons
for the Boston Celtics — he was the centerpiece of the team most of that time. When
he began, he was one of fifteen black players in the league and the only one on his
team. Now the game is dominated by black players. In many ways, then, he was responsible
for a real “revolution.”
Russell was a late bloomer, not being especially interested in sports as a youth and
not being a star on his high school team. It was only after he entered the University
of San Francisco, where he was lucky to get a scholarship and was one of only two
blacks in his whole class. that he began to shine. Because he had carefully studied
how people move, he began playing in the all-out physical way that is routine in basketball
today, but which was at that time objected to by his coach, the fans, and the reporters.
But there was no denying the results — the team won fifty-five consecutive games.
By the 1960s Russell was reaching a personal crisis. Because black members of his
team were refused service at restaurants, he refused to play. He wouldn’t sign autographs
and, in general, seemed to creating a shell of aloofness. He failed to see the point
of being a good ambassador on the court. “I owe the public nothing,” he announced.
Black athletes had traditionally avoided politics. Russell questioned the effectiveness
of Dr King’s non-violent philosophy; he defended the Nation of Islam; he participated
in the March on Washington in 1963 and was in Mississippi in 1964 during “Freedom
Summer”; and he protested de facto school segregation in Boston.
Paradoxically, in the public view Russell often seemed to be the “good guy” and Wilt
Chamberlain the “bad guy,” although Chamberlain scrupulously stayed out of politics,
gladly signed autographs, and always sought to be in the news. Russell was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. Despite his personal flamboyance, Russell always emphasized
teamwork, while Chamberlain appeared to be intent on drawing attention to himself.
Russell said, “We see each other as men. We judge a guy by his character.”
In later life, Russell became a kind of public intellectual, writing a memoir, and
maintaining that sports should be added to the classic trio of politics, religion,
and art that were regarded as important in the life of people.
The last minutes of Dr Goudsouzian’s lecture were plagued by the failure of the microphone,
and the problem continued into the first part of Dr Wigginton’s remarks before being
solved. Dr Wigginton began by recalling his own humiliation over a remark made by
the coach of his 7th-grade basketball team, on which he was the only black player,
which led him to adopt the philosophy that people must not be judged by a single episode
but by their actions over a long period. He and the coach later came to respect each
other, and the coach even approved of his writing about that episode in his book about
athletics. As to whether sports can unite the divided elements of a city, he was not
as sure as Coach Pastner, saying it was naive to believe differences can be erased
merely by having a sports team in common. He posed questions of his own: What do you
have to do to be a good role model? Would we admire Bill Russell if he were active
today? Why are so few professional basketball players outraged in the way that Russell
Dr Goudsouzian is the author of King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution and Dr Wigginton is the author of The Strange Career of the Black Athlete: African Americans and Sport.
Dr Aram Goudsouzian’s book on Bill Russell quoted and discussed in blogs
[12 October 2010] The TrueHoop blog on ESPN.com on 8 October had an item entitled “Russell, Jordan and paradoxical legacies” in which a portion
of a longer item on celticstown.com, Book Excerpt — King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution, was quoted.
The book is King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution by Dr Aram Goudsouzian, associate professor. In the celticstown.com item Jay King
promises to excerpt (with Dr Goudsouzian’s permission) “a small portion of his introduction”
and then goes on to furnish 17 paragraphs. He ends with a strong recommendation that
readers buy the book.
Today Marshall Poe had an item in New Books in History in which he praised the book’s portrayal of Russell and its inclusion of many “white-hot
Dr Goudsouzian will be the keynote lecturer, speaking on Bill Russell, at an event
to be held on 14 October, at which Tigers basketball coach Josh Pastner and Professor
Russ Wiggington from Rhodes College will also speak (read the university’s press release about the event).
Three doctoral students make prospectus presentations
[8 October 2010] In the second round of prospectus presentations for the current semester, three doctoral
students outlined the plans for their dissertations.
Le’Trice Donaldson led off with “A Legacy All Their Own: African American Soldiers
Fight for Citizenship and Manhood, 1870-1920.”
She was followed by Jack Lorenzini with “‘Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand:’
Student Activism at Memphis State University in the Sixties.”
Mark Janzen (shown here) made the final presentation, “The Iconography of Humiliation:
The Depiction and Treatment of Foreign Captives in New Kingdom Egypt.”
The next presentations will be on 3 December.
Dr Janann Sherman discusses women in higher education at Women’s Research Forum
[5 October 2010] Dr Janann Sherman, chair of the department, participated yesterday afternoon in a
Women’s Research Forum panel on “Women in Higher Education: What Have We Learned?"
The panel, sponsored by the Center for Research on Women, also included Dr Jean O’Barr, founding director of Women’s Studies at Duke University,
and Dr Judy Touchton, founder of the website womenleadersmove.com and chief executive officer of Touchton Partners.
Dr Sherman presented information from a study made in 2004 about pay inequities and
discrimination at The University of Memphis and contrasted them with information gathered
in 2009. In 2004 women’s salaries were concentrated at the lowest levels, with 7-10
percent differences from those paid to men. Leadership opportunities for women were
usually in programs that women themselves had founded, and female faculty members
were concentrated disproportionately in two-year colleges and at the lower academic
ranks. By 2009, she said, the salary gap was closing, partly because of deliberate
steps toward hiring women and partly because of the phenomenon of salary compression.
Dr O’Barr saw little change over the years. The ideal worker remains the male who
is able to devote full time to his work, and women are still held back by more traditional
domestic roles. Moreover, the proliferation of research centers about women, such
as her own program at Duke and CROW at The University of Memphis has contributed,
ironically, to a separation of academic feminism from applied work. Dr O’Barr was
quoted as saying, “So I don't think we've solved in any way the attitudes that go
along with the institutional arrangements.”
Dr Touchton, who in addition to her work with the website has served as deputy director
for the American Council on Education’s office of women in higher education, said
her team saw considerable activism by women in executive, legislative and judicial
actions and was able to increase the number of women leaders in politics.
A fuller report on the panel may be found in an article in today’s issue of The Daily Helmsman written by Chris Daniels, from which much of our information was drawn.
Ginni Reckard and Liz Warkentin publish book reviews in Egyptology journal
[4 October 2010] Two History students in Egyptology have book reviews in the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 45 (2009). Virginia Reckard reviewed The Thrones, Chairs, Stools, and Footstools from the Tomb of Tutankamun by Marianne Eaton-Krauss, and Elizabeth Warkentin reviewed Enchanted Jewelry of Egypt: The Traditional Art and Craft by Azza Famy.
Dr Jeremy Adelman delivers Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture, followed by Latin America
jazz and salsa dancing
[29 September 2010] It was a Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture like no other — not the lecture itself, but the setting in which it was delivered.
The lecture was the first of a three-part event sponsored by the Marcus W. Orr Center
for the Humanities in connection with the bicentennial of Latin American independence
and Hispanic Awareness Month, held in the University Center Theater this evening.
Dr Jeremy Adelman, Walter Samuel Carpenter II Professor of Spanish Civilization and
Culture at Princeton University, began the evening with the lecture, “Violence and
Freedom in Latin America, 1789-1822.” Knowing that he would be followed by a program
of jazz and salsa dancing, he announced toward the beginning of his lecture that he
was glad he had been placed first, because the lecture would not be a lot of fun.
He was correct. It detailed little-known but horrendous episodes of civil violence
that occurred before independence was asserted and which were a leading contributor
to that independence.
Dr Adelman noted that while the centennial of Latin American independence in 1910
was widely celebrated, the bicentennial is very muted. In fact, he said, 1810 was
only the start of independence, not its attainment. Actual independence was preceded
by a long period of violence. It is wrong, Dr Adelman said, to compare Latin American
independence to the American Revolution — the proper analogy would be a combination
of the War for American Independence and the American Civil War.
The translation into Spanish of Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man and the example of the Haitian revolution led to much unease in Spanish America.
The occupation of the Iberian peninsula by Napoleon in 1810 aroused the question of
what to put in place of an empire without a monarch at its center. Who would rule?
How? Who were citizens? What rights did they have? Early calls for a junta to govern
were not a declaration of independence, but they were affronts to royal authorities,
who harshly repressed the movement. This only led, however, to new rounds of violence
by by rebels and governmental officials. Still there was no call for independence.
Feuding within revolutionary groups ultimately demonstrated that attempts at home
rule had failed badly, leading the authorities to launch a new round of violence,
in which mass killings, impaling, and raping of women were common. Public executions
and torture started out as shaming rituals but came to be mass killings in the end.
Upon being restored to his kingdom, Ferdinand launched a program of reconquista that Dr Adelman compared to the Crusades. All conventions of gentlemanly warfare
were now forgotten; those who did not cooperate would be killed in a “war to the death.”
All efforts at reestablishing Spanish control eventually ground down, and the Spanish
armies, fed up with failed efforts, turned on the government. Ferdinand sent a letter
to all Americans, urging that the past be forgotten. But it was too late. Shortly
afterward, the various colonies began asserting their independence. Simon Bolívar
called it “a tragic victory.”
Dr Adelman emphasized that Latin American independence did not start with a declaration
of independence, followed by violence. Violence used against violence led to it. The
violence was not confined to any one side in the conflict but was used by all groups.
Dr Adelman at the end of his lecture reminded the audience that he had said the lecture
would not be a lot of fun.
The fun followed the somber and sobering lecture. In the middle segment of the event,
Professor Jack Cooper led the Southern Comfort Jazz Orchestra in several compositions
that were either Latin American in origin or influenced by Latin American music. He
noted that W. C. Handy’s famous “Saint Louis Blues” (actually composed in Memphis)
had a paso doble bridge passage. The orchestra then performed a Duke Ellington arrangement of “Moon
Over Cuba,” which has recently been transcribed from a rare 1941 recording. Marcela
Pinilla then sang several songs, including a bolero (not the famous one by Ravel).
(In a personal aside, Professor Cooper noted that she had sung at his recent wedding.)
With the Southern Comfort Jazz Orchestra still on stage to provide the music, there
were two dance pieces by Memphis Salsa dancers. The first was a fairly lively number
by a couple whose names, unfortunately, were never audibly announced, if announced
at all. They were then joined by another couple (also unidentified) in an even livelier
If the somberness of the lecture had been dispelled by the orchestra, singer, and
dancers, some somberness was brought back during the question-and-answer period that
ended this extraordinary evening.
Endowment Committee awards funding for six graduate students
[24 September 2010] The Endowment Committee congratulates the following graduate students who have been
awarded funding to conduct research or attend conferences in the Fall 2010/Winter
Break 2011 period:
- Michael Blum (conference in Raleigh, NC)
- Le’Trice Donaldson (research in Washington DC/New York)
- Shawn Fisher (research in Washington DC)
- Shirletta Kinchen (conference in Raleigh, NC)
- Michael Lejman (research in Paris, France)
- Darin Stephanov (conferences in Athens, Greece; Sofia, Bulgaria; and Istanbul, Turkey)
The deadline for Spring/Pre-Session 2011 funding requests will be 1 December 2010.
Instructions will be e-mailed later in the Fall semester.
Dr Scott Marler presents article at first Faculty Research Brown Bag of the academic
[24 September 2010] At this first session of Faculty Research Brown Bag presentations for the academic
year, Dr Scott Marler presented an article which has already been accepted for publication
in Agricultural History but which is still under revision. Dr Marler sought criticism from departmental members
as to which revisions from the editorial staff he should accept.
New Web site of the Department of History becomes official
[22 September 2010] Apparently it takes longer to produce a new Web site than to produce a new human
being. Planning for a new Web site for the Department of History began toward the
end of October 2009. The site, http://www.memphis.edu/history/ became official late this afternoon. All bookmarks to the home page of the old site,
http://history.memphis.edu/ will be automatically redirected to the new site. Unfortunately, because of differing
file-naming conventions, bookmarks to any sub-pages on the old site will not go to
the corresponding pages on the new site. All of them will end up on the home page.
Once there, the best way to find the new pages is to use the A to Z list, which you will find in the left-side navigation menu.
Award created in memory of Dr Kell F. Mitchell
[21 September 2010] The Endowment Committee of the Department of History has decided to establish an
award in memory of Dr Kell F. Mitchell in the amount of $500 to be presented to a
junior history major selected by the committee in consultation with the undergraduate
advisor. Full details about the award will be announced at a later date.
Department holds memorial reception for Dr Kell F. Mitchell
[17 September 2010] Family and friends of Dr Kell F. Mitchell gathered this afternoon in the second-floor
lobby of Mitchell Hall for a memorial reception in his memory. Dr Mitchell died 25
July. He had taught in the department since 1963 and continued to teach in post-retirement
after officially retiring in December 2008. He had served with Dr Walter R. Brown
as an undergraduate advisor for many years and also continued in that role in post-retirement.
An album of eleven photographs of the reception has been posted on Facebook.
Dr Douglas Cupples speaks on regional art at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch
[17 September 2010] In the first pizza lunch for the 2010-2011 academic year, Dr Douglas Cupples spoke
today on “A Focus on Regional Identity Through the Arts.” Phi Alpha Theta, the national
honorary society for history students, sponsors pizza lunches and lectures monthly.
The pizza and drinks are provided by Student Event Allocation.
Dr Stephen Stein attends commissioning of ship named for the subject of his book
[11 September 2010] By invitation from Captain Mike Flanagan, Master, USNS Washington Chambers, Dr Stephen Stein, assistant professor, attended the commissioning of a ship named
for the subject of his book, From Torpedoes to Aviation: Washington Irving Chambers and Technological Innovation
in the New Navy, 1877-1913. Chambers was the U.S. Navy officer who oversaw the development of the Navy’s aviation
program. The commissioning took place today at NASSCO in San Diego. NASSCO, a General
Dynamics company, constructed the vessel. (Read our articles about the publication of the book and the H-Net review of the book.)
Pictures from the commissioning may be found in a photo album on the departmental page on Facebook.
Two students receive the M.A. degree at summer commencement
[13 September 2010] We’re tardy in reporting it, but at the summer commencement for The University of
Memphis, Jefferson R. Brant and Quinton L. Waller were awarded the M.A. degree in
Two doctoral candidates make prospectus presentations
[10 September 2010] The Department of History schedules three sessions each semester in which doctoral
candidates make presentations of the prospectus for their dissertation.
At today’s session, Cynthia Sadler (shown here) spoke about “The Bell Ringers: The
Use of African American Informants by the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission,”
and Maurice Brown spoke about “African American One-Room Schools in the Mid-South
and Mississippi Delta, 1930-1968.”
The next session is scheduled for 8 October.
Dr Dennis Laumann appears in university video of first day of classes
[31 August 2010] Andy Warhol is famous for his 1968 prediction, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous
for 15 minutes.” By that standard, Dr Dennis Laumann, associate professor, is due
abut 14 minutes and 55 seconds more fame. Yesterday, university photographers took
fleeting shots of numerous classes as they met for the first time in the Fall semester
and produced a video that is now posted on YouTube. The entire production is barely more than a minute in duration, and Dr Laumann can
be seen at approximately 42-47 seconds into the video, as he taught his World Civilization
I class in the auditorium of Mitchell Hall.
College of Arts and Sciences page features Laura Perry’s adventurous story of a conference
and its unexpected aftermath
[30 August 2010] Back in April 2010 Laura Perry went to Europe to present a paper at the European
Social Science History Conference and to listen to other papers and meet scholars
from many nations who were attending the conference. That part of it went well. Complications
developed when the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjalljokull erupted while she and her husband
were there and threw their planned return to the United States into confusion. Our
Facebook page had several communications from them at the time. Now, the College of
Arts and Sciences has put up a version of the story along with some pictures on its
Accolades site under the heading of “Exciting Travel Tales.” (Ms Perry received some
travel funding from the College of Arts and Sciences.) Even if you read the reports
in April you probably will enjoy reading about their adventures, and if you missed
the reports in April, you definitely will want to read the Accolades article.
Graduate program conducts orientations for new assistants and new graduate students
[28 August 2010] The Graduate History Association, the Graduate Association for African-American History,
and Phi Alpha Theta sponsored a series of events for new students this afternoon at
the Alumni Center on Normal Street. Dr James Blythe, Dr Janann Sherman, and Ms Karen
Bradley met first with new graduate assistants and then with all new students in the
graduate program. Following those meetings the officers of the three sponsoring organizations
explained the programs and activities of their respective groups and urged participation.
The afternoon ended with a reception.
Dr Peter Brand named as Dunavant Professor
[25 August 2010] At the College of Arts and Sciences faculty meeting this afternoon, Dr Peter Brand,
associate professor, was named as one of the two new Dunavant Professors. (These awards,
like several others in the college, are not announced in advance, and while his accolades
were being read from the stage, Dr Brand was in his office, working on one of the
projects that helped him secure the award.) Since joining our faculty Dr Brand has
been directing the Great Hypostyle Hall project at the Karnak Temple near Luxor, Egypt,
and in June he received a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities
to support his work, the third award in recent years. We reported on the grant in
June (see our article), and two days ago the university’s Web site had a feature article about the grant. According to Dean Henry Kurtz‘s count, he has appeared in a dozen television programs
about ancient Egypt.
The Dunavant Professorships are endowed by a generous gift from William Dunavant,
Memphis businessman. The College of Arts and Sciences awards one to four professorships
annually. Awardees receive $5,000 per year for three years to support their research
programs. Dr Jonathan Judaken, professor, received one of the professorships at last
year’s College of Arts and Sciences faculty meeting, and Dr Janann Sherman, professor
and chair of the department, held a Dunavant professorship a few years ago.
Department of History faculty members receive service award and Professional Development
[25 August 2010] Dr James Chumney, associate professor, received an award for 45 years of service
to the university at this afternoon’s College of Arts and Sciences faculty meeting.
He was the only faculty member in the university in that elevated category.
Dr Janann Sherman, professor and chair, introduced Dr Susan O’Donovan, assistant professor,
who is joining the department following her fellowship year at the Newberry Library
in Chicago last year.
Six of the department’s twenty-seven full-time faculty members will be on teaching
leave for either the fall or the spring semester on a Professional Development Assignment
for the college: Dr Charles Crawford, professor; Dr Daniel Unowsky, professor; Dr
Jonathan Judaken, professor; Dr Dennis Laumann, associate professor; Dr Catherine
Phipps, assistant professor; and Dr Susan Onstine, assistant professor.
Numerous Department of History faculty, graduate students, and alumni to participate
in Tennessee Conference of Historians 2010
[24 August 2010] The Department of History will be well represented at the Tennessee Conference of
Historians 2010, which will be held at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee,
on 10-11 September. Several faculty members, current graduate students, and graduate
alumni are scheduled to participate in several capacities. Those who will present
papers are Dr Douglas Cupples, “Florence McIntyre: The First Lady of Memphis Art”;
Dr Michael Bertrand, “A Tradition-Conscious Cotton City”; Dr Kent Moran, “From Red
Foot to Reelfoot: Historic Mapping in the Reelfoot Lake Area”; Dr Peter Cash, “The
1863 Steele’s Bayou Expedition of 1863”; Dr Judy LaForge, “Black Preaching, Protest
and the Civil Rights Movement, 1840-1896: Bishop Henry Lee Turner”; Jenny Demilio,
“‘I Made it Against My Judgment’: Theophilus Holmes and the Failed Attack on Helena”;
Sharon Fairbanks, “Quilted Histories: Beyond the Obvious Use as a Bedcover”; Shawn
Fisher, “White Southern Manhood and the Civil Rights Movement”; Robert Masters, “The
1856 Slave Insurrection”; and Laura Perry, “The Tension Between Historians & Technology.”
Dr Charles W. Crawford and Dr Douglas Cupples are co-chairs of the program committee.
The keynote speaker will be Dr Caroline Janney, assistant professor of history at
Purdue University. An OAH Distinguished Lecturer, Dr Janney is the author of Burying the Dead but Not the Past: Ladies’ Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause, as well as numerous articles on the Civil War, the Lost Cause, memory, and gender.
For additional information, visit the Web site for the conference or send e-mail to Dr Mark Cheathem, the conference chair, at email@example.com.
Steven Buckingham to present paper at Mid-America Conference in History on 23 September
[23 August 2010] Graduate student Steven Buckingham will present “‘Doubtless it was Some Pestilential
Disease’: The Native American Plague of 1616-19 and the Colonization of New England,”
at the 32nd Mid-America Conference in History on 23 September. This will be part of
a session on the theme Disease, War, and Native Americans. This year’s conference
is hosted by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and will be held in the DoubleTree
Hotel in Little Rock.
For more information, visit the Web site for the conference and download the conference program.
Dr D’Ann Penner publishes article on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
[15 August 2010] Dr D’Ann Penner, former Russian specialist on our faculty, has published an article
on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: “Assault Rifles, Separated Families, and Murder
in Their Eyes: Unasked Questions after Hurricane Katrina,” Journal of American Studies 44, no. 3 (2010): 573-599. She was director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for
Social Change at The University of Memphis when the hurricane struck the New Orleans
area. The article is based on research that she did between the years 2005 and 2007.
Dr Penner is now studying law and is a Scholar in Residence at the Southern Institute
for Education and Research at Tulane University.
Dr Stephen Stein to attend commissioning of ship named for the subject of his book
[10 August 2010] By invitation from Captain Mike Flanagan, Master, USNS Washington Chambers, Dr Stephen Stein, assistant professor, will attend the commissioning of a ship named
for the subject of his book, From Torpedoes to Aviation: Washington Irving Chambers and Technological Innovation
in the New Navy, 1877-1913. Chambers was the U.S. Navy officer who oversaw the development of the Navy’s aviation
program. The commissioning will be on 11 September at NASSCO in San Diego. NASSCO,
a General Dynamics company, constructed the vessel.
NASSCO has issued a brief announcement about the ceremony, with a promise of more detailed information to follow later. (Read our articles
about the publication of the book and the H-Net review of the book.)
Cathy Ginn becomes executive director of the Alex Haley House and Interpretive Center
[6 August 2010] Cathy Ginn, who received her M.A. in history in 2009, has become the executive director
of the Alex Haley House and Interpretive Center in Henning, Tennessee. The house at
200 South Church Street, built by Mr Haley’s maternal grandfather Will E. Palmer,
was Haley’s home during his early childhood years and he is buried on the grounds.
It was there that he heard his grandmother tell the stories that led him later to
write Roots, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1976. The house was listed in the National Register
of Historic Places in 1978.
For more information visit the Web site and read about the Interpretive Center (pdf).
Dr Elton Weaver contributes to anthology of African-American sermons
[3 August 2010] Dr Elton Weaver, part-time instructor, served as one of the contributing editors
for Preaching with Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Sermons, 1750 to the
Present, for which Frank Thomas and Martha Simmons were the general editors. He contributed
the sections on Pentecostals and the Church of God in Christ, including sermons by
Charles Harrison Mason and William J. Seymour. The book was published by W.W. Norton
Dr Weaver received his Ph.D. in history in 2007. His dissertation was “‘Mark the Perfect
Man, and Behold the Upright’: Bishop C.H. Mason and the Emergence of the Church of
God in Christ in Memphis, Tennessee,” for which Dr Beverly G. Bond served as major
Long-time departmental faculty member Dr Kell Mitchell dies
[29 July 2010] After a long struggle with cancer, Dr Kell Mitchell, associate professor emeritus,
died on Sunday, 25 July 2010.
Dr Mitchell had retired in December 2008 after teaching in the department since 1963
but continued to teach under the post-retirement arrangement. His specialty was American
diplomatic history, and he pioneered a course on the Vietnamese War in global perspective.
But he also worked for broadening the curriculum to include social and gender history
and helped to initiate the university’s Women’s and Gender Studies program. When there
was a need for more faculty to teach world civilization course, he volunteered to
teach them for many years. Along with Dr Walter R. Brown he served for many years
as an advisor to undergraduate history majors. Although post-retirement faculty are
not required to serve on committees or have any administrative responsibilities, he
volunteered to continue in that capacity.
Outside the department, Dr Mitchell was active in promoting faculty participation
in university governance and helped to establish a local chapter of the American Association
of University Professors. In the community he had an unwavering commitment to fairness
and justice, participating in communal causes advancing civil rights and a just international
A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be sent to
Wolf River Conservancy (901.452.6500) or the University Libraries.
An obituary appeared in today’s Commercial Appeal and it is available online.
Dr Janann Sherman’s Spring Break visit to Oxford featured on U of M site
[27 July 2010] We reported on the visit to Oxford for a conference that Dr Janann Sherman, professor and chair of the department, made during the 2010
Spring Break. The pictures that she posted to her personal Facebook account have now been made a part of the university’s site “Wish You Were Here.” If you didn’t see them when they were posted originally, you will want to view them
now at that site.
[27 July 2010] Dr Jonathan Judaken, associate professor and director of the Marcus Orr Center for
the Humanities, has been promoted to the rank of professor, effective with the beginning
of the academic year 2010-2011.
Dr Peter Brand receives $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities
[15 June 2010] The National Endowment for the Humanities has made a grant of $200,000 to Dr Peter
Brand, associate professor, to support his continuing work on the Great Hypostyle
Hall at Luxor, Egypt, it was announced yesterday by the office of Representative Steve
Although the short article in today’s Commercial Appeal reported that he did not immediately respond to an e-mail message, Dr Brand later
today sent Dr Janann Sherman, professor and chair, a lengthy message from the Cairo
airport where he was awaiting the departure of a flight to New York. He reported that
his research trip in Luxor for the past two weeks had been enormously successful and
that he had the grist for at three new articles in addition to the material for the
Hypostyle Hall publications that are to be funded by the grant. In the message he
expressed high praise for his new student Erika Feleg for her intelligence, enthusiasm,
and dogged determination in her work at the Hypostyle Hall. They expect to arrive
in New York early tomorrow morning for a day-long layover during which they will visit
the vast Egyptian collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.
Dr Lorelei Corcoran, director of the Institute for Egyptian Art and Archaeology, was
quoted in the newspaper article as being delighted with Dr Brand’s award, noting that
this is not the first time he has received such funding for the project. The project
of documenting the hieroglyphics and other images on the temple began in 1990 under
the leadership of Dr William J. Murnane, one of Dr Brand’s mentors. After Dr Murnane’s
untimely death in 2000 Dr Brand was selected for the position in the Department of
History at The University of Memphis.
Chris Ivanes receives Ph.D. degree, six students receive M.A. degrees in history
[10 May 2010] At the spring commencement held Saturday, 8 May, Chris Ivanes received his Ph.D.
degree. Dr Ivanes made the trip from Romania to receive the degree in person. He is
shown here with Dr Daniel Unowsky, professor, who directed his dissertation on “National
Ideology and The Making of a Nation: Simion Bărnuţiu and the Romanian Revolution of
1848-1849 in Transylvania.”
At the same commencement Raven Alexandra Bailey, Genevieve Annmarie Donovan, Laura
Glymph, Jeffery Arnold Harris, Becky Lynn Hodges, and Mary K. Stringer were awarded
the M.A. degree in history.
Dr Dennis Laumann presents paper at conference in Oran
[10 May 2010] Dr Dennis Laumann, associate professor, presented a paper entitled “Identity, Memory,
and Oral History: German Colonialism and Ewe Ethnicity in Ghana” at the University
of Oran in Algeria on 26 April. His presentation was part of the “History, memory
and identity in Africa” conference which featured scholars from across Africa, Europe,
and North America.
After the two-day conference, he and his colleague, Dr Benjamin Talton of Temple University,
met with university officials to discuss institutional linkages. In the photograph,
to the right of Dr Laumann are Dr Talton and Dr Belkacem Belmekki of the University
of Oran. They also visited Oran’s many historic sites, including the 16th-century
Spanish fort of Santa Cruz overlooking the city (the photograph shows the view from
Santa Cruz). Oran is Algeria’s second largest city and the home of Raï music, popularized around the world by Khaled.
Six doctoral candidates receive dissertation fellowships
[7 May 2010] The Endowment Committee of the Department of History has announced the recipients
of dissertation fellowships for the next academic year. Darin Stephanov and Shirletta
Kinchen have received full-year fellowships. Rachel Mittleman, Amy Piccarreto, Jared
Krebsbach, and Sheena Harris have received one-semester fellowships.
Dr Aram Goudsouzian’s book on Bill Russell published by University of California Press
[4 May 2010] The University of California Press has just published King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution, by Dr Aram Goudsouzian, associate professor, as a George Gund Foundation Book in African American Studies. As an enticement to potential buyers the press has made chapter 1 of the book available for download (pdf).
Dr Goudsouzian has earlier published two articles about Russell: “Bill Russell and
the Basketball Revolution,” American Studies, Fall 2006/Winter 2007; and “‘The House That Russell Built’: Bill Russell, the University
of San Francisco, and the Winning Streak That Changed College Basketball,” California History, Summer 2007. He has written several other articles and book chapters about black
athletes (see his biographical page on this Web site).
Shawn Fisher receives full-time appointment at Harding University
[4 May 2010] Doctoral candidate Shawn Fisher has been appointed to a full-time position at Harding
University in Searcy, Arkansas. He recently received one of the awards for making
the best presentation of a prospectus for a dissertation. His dissertation will be
on southern soldiers during the Central HIgh School crisis in Arkansas (read our article about the award).
Dr Jonathan Judaken speaks at Tauber Institute program
[27 April 2010] Dr Jonathan Judaken, Dunavant Professor of History and director of the Marcus W.
Orr Center for the Humanities, spoke on 21 April at a workshop at Brandeis University
that was cosponsored by the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, and
the organization Facing History and Ourselves. The program explored the origins of
secularism in Europe and its social and political legacy, focusing on France, examining
questions of antisemitism, orientalism, and xenophobia to guide a discussion of how
to approach issues of belonging, exclusion and identity among various religious and
ethnic groups in Europe.
Dr Judaken’s discussion was about French intellectuals, Muslims and Jews.
While in the Boston area, Dr Judaken also did archival research on Talcott Parsons
at Harvard, focusing on the period from 1938-1945 when he emerged as the most important
sociologist in America, examining the archives for his work having to do with his
response to fascism, National Socialism, and anti-Semitism. He also read a great deal
about the Harvard Defense Committee and the early efforts to speak against American
isolationism and Talcott’s ongoing analyses of Germany and National Socialism for
the OSS, and his later work as consultant on American postwar policy in Germany.
Counterpoint interview about Tennessee Women and Women’s History Month now available online
[27 April 2010] The Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities has added another interview to its archive
of programs named Counterpoint that are broadcast on WUMR at 11:30 on alternate Fridays. It is entitled Tennessee Women and Women’s History Month. Director Jonathan Judaken, who is also Dunavant Professor of History, speaks with
Dr Lynda Sagrastano, director of the Center for Research on Women, and with Dr Beverly
Bond, associate professor, and Dr Sarah Wilkerson Freeman, associate professor of
history at Arkansas State University, who jointly edited Tennessee Women: Their Lives and Times.
There is a complete list of the available online interviews on the Center’s Web site.
Department announces important changes in graduate programs beginning Fall 2010
[26 April 2010] There are changes to the requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. programs that the department
has agreed to and the university has approved. They will come into come into effect
in Fall 2010.
For those students who are currently in the M.A. or Ph.D. program, these changes do
not mandate anything different. However, students may want to take advantage of some
All those entering either program during Fall 2010 or later will be bound by these
The graduate coordinator, Dr James Blythe, will change the Guide for Graduate Students to reflect these changes sometime during the summer. For now, please download the
changes in the format that you prefer:
Dr John Harkins wins Cynthia Pitcock Women’s History Award
[25 April 2010] Dr John Harkins recently won the Cynthia Pitcock Women’s History Award, which is
given annually by the history department at St. Mary’s Episcopal School. The award
is named for Dr Cynthia Pitcock, who formerly taught in that department.
There is a brief article award the award in the print version of today’s Commercial Appeal and there is a color photograph and caption online. The photograph includes Dr Pitcock, Dr Harkins, and two previous winners of the
prize, Dr Peggy Bodine and Jeanne Crawford. Dr Pitcock received her Ph.D. from our
department in 1985. She wrote her dissertation under the direction of Dr Major Wilson
on “The Career of William Beaumont, 1785-1853: Science and the Self-made Man in America.”
Dr Harkins received his Ph.D. from our department in 1976 under the direction of Dr
William Gillaspie on “The Neglected Phase of Louisiana’s Colonial History: The New
Orleans Cabildo, 1769-1803.” Dr Bodine received her Ph.D. from our department in 1992
under the direction of Dr David Tucker on “The History of Housing and Community Development
in Memphis and Its Impact on Selected Neighborhoods.”
Dr Charles W. Crawford receives Alumni Association Distinguished Research Award in
[23 April 2010] At the first faculty convocation ever held off-campus, Dr Charles W. Crawford, professor
and director of the Oral History Research Office, received this afternoon the Alumni
Association Distinguished Research Award in the Humanities. The convocation was held
in the auditorium of the new Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law building following the
official dedication of the building.
Shawn Fisher and Darin Stephanov win awards for best prospectus
[23 April 2010] The Endowment Committee is pleased to announce that Shawn Fisher and Darin Stephanov
are the recipients of our first-ever Best Prospectus Awards. The members of the committee
were impressed by their prospectus presentations and we would like to support and
encourage their research with a $500 award to each. The Endowment Committee intends
to offer Best Prospectus Awards on an annual basis.
Mr Fisher’s prospectus was for his proposed dissertation “An Epitaph for Dixie: Southern
Soldiers, Southern Manhood, and the Little Rock Central High Crisis.” Mr Stephanov’s
was for “Minorities, Majorities, and the Monarch: Nationalizing Effects of the Late
Ottoman Royal Public Ceremonies, 1808-1908.”
Departmental newsletter History Happenings for April 2010 has been published
[22 April 2010] The last issue for the academic year of the departmental newsletter History Happenings has been published in PDF and HTML versions.
This issue has an article about Dr James Blythe’s research on Tolomeo Fiadoni; reflections
of Dr John Bass and Dr Kim Nichols on the writing of dissertations; an interview with
Dr Basil Georgiadis, an alumnus of the department; a report on Phi Alpha Theta’s activities;
an article about four students (Katarzyna Scherr, Malcolm Frierson, Amy Piccarreto,
and Sheena Harris) who are pursuing research with support from the Endowment Committee;
and an article about Dr Beverly Bond’s book Tennessee Women: Their Lives and Times.
Dr Charles W. Crawford speaks to group during Faculty Scholarship Week
[22 April 2010] Dr Charles W. Crawford, professor and director of the Oral History Research Office,
spoke this afternoon in McWherter Library on “In Pursuit of our History.” This lecture
was part of a series of events in connection with Faculty Scholarship Week 2010.
Dr Susan O’Donovan makes presentation in Newberry Library Seminar in Early American
History and Culture
[21 April 2010] Dr Susan O’Donovan, assistant professor, presented “The Politics of Slaves: Mobility,
Messages, and Power in the Antebellum South” this evening at the Newberry Library
in Chicago in its Seminar in Early American History and Culture.
The seminar is co-sponsored by the History Departments of DePaul University, Loyola
University Chicago, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, the University
of Illinois at Chicago, and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture
at the University of Chicago.
Dr O’Donovan is our “scholar-not-in-residence” for this academic year, doing research
at the Newberry Library on a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.
Dr Arwin Smallwood elected to represent the department in the Faculty Senate
[20 April 2010] Dr Arwin Smallwood, associate professor, has been elected to represent the Department
of History in the Faculty Senate. He has been elected for a two-year term to succeed
Dr Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas, associate professor, the retiring senator.
The saga continues — still stranded, the Perrys enjoy Belgian hospitality
[18 April 2010] Today’s episode of Laura Perry and her husband being stranded in Belgium because of
the volcanic ash in the air is so unusual that it deserves a separate headline.
The Perrys are still there and won’t be able to fly home from Belgium before Tuesday
at the earliest. In the meantime they have been extended truly heart-warming hospitality
by the International Red Cross and some Belgian pilots. Read about it on the departmental blog.
Laura Perry reports on conference, sightseeing, and being stranded in Belgium
[17 April 2010] Laura Perry, graduate assistant, was in Belgium, primarily to learn about Geographic
Information Systems. But she did some touristy things as well while she was in Ghent.
Along the way, she presented a paper at a conference. Threats that the volcanic ash
in the air might strand her and her husband became reality. As of today (her fifth
report), they are guests of the International Red Cross at the Brussels airport while
awaiting a flight back home.
Our Facebook page won’t accept lengthy items, apparently, so her reports can be found
on the departmental blog in the following installments (installments will be added
as she sends them — keep checking here):
Her paper, titled “GIS and History — Manufacturing, Memphis, and the Great Yellow
Fever Epidemic of 1878,” was presented on Thursday, 15 April, at the 8th European
Social Science History Conference ( see the program of the network on Historical Computing and GIS).
Dr Scott Marler delivers keynote address at concluding luncheon of the Arkansas Historical
[17 April 2010] Dr Scott Marler, assistant professor, spoke today at the concluding luncheon of the
Arkansas Historical Association, which held its 69th annual conference in Jonesboro,
Arkansas, 15-17 April, on the campus of Arkansas State University. The theme of this
year’s conference was “Before the War: Antebellum Arkansas.” Dr Marler’s address was
entitled “‘Good Habits — Save for His Propensity to Cheat’: Merchants of the Lower
Mississippi Valley Before the Civil War.”
Three doctoral candidates present dissertation prospectuses in final session of the
[16 April 2010] At the final session of dissertation prospectuses for the academic year held this
afternoon, three more doctoral candidates made their presentations, making the number
of presentations for this semester a total of 11.
Sheena Harris (pictured here) made the first presentation, “A Female Reformer in the
Age of Booker T. Washington: The Life and Times of Margaret Murray Washington.”
Amy Piccarreto followed with “Supporting Jacobitism: The Intersecting Roles of Gender
Robert Masters concluded with “Ironmasters, Entrepreneurs, and Slaves: The Middle
Tennessee Iron Industry, 1790s to 1860s.”
Article by Dr Doug Cupples receives “best paper” award
[16 April 2010] Marshall Wingfield was one of the original incorporators of the West Tennessee Historical
Society and served as the president of the society from 1938 to 1961. The society’s
annual award for the best article appearing in its Papers is named after Dr Wingfield. This year the honor goes to “MFA to Atelier (Then on
to the Atelier): A Short History of Art Education in Memphis, Tennessee,” written
by Dr Doug Cupples, instructor. It appeared in The West Tennessee Historical Society Papers, volume 63 (2009).
Dr Benjamin L. Hooks passes away after long service to the nation, state, city, and
[15 April 2010] The newspapers and online news services are already filled with stories about Dr
Benjamin L. Hooks, who died this morning, so there will be no attempt to recount here
his numerous achievements (for the tribute to him by the university, read the press release issued today). Suffice it to say that he made an indelible impact wherever he worked. Dr Hooks
had been designated as an adjunct professor in our department in the 1990s and several
of our faculty members and graduate students have been associated with the Benjamin
L. Hooks Institute for Social Change over the years. His legacy will be carried on.
Three members of the Department of History receive Faculty Research Grants
[15 April 2010] Three members of the department have recently received Faculty Research Grants to
support their research during the summer of 2010 or spring of 2011.
Dr Jonathan Judaken, associate professor, will work during the summer on two book
projects: Critical Theories of Anti-Semitism and a source reader related to the book called Theorizing Anti-Semitism. The monograph is a comparative history of major theories and theorists of anti-Semitism,
including leading French, German, American, and British intellectuals, complemented
by an effort to reconstitute the interpretative framework of two major historians
of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, Léon Poliakov and George Mosse. The reader will
include the work of the major theorists included in the monograph, along with other
major voices on the topic arranged methodologically: historical, psychoanalytic, Jewish
philosophers, Christian thinkers, and writers and social critics.
Dr Kent Schull, assistant professor, will use his grant to spend a month in Turkey
at the Ottoman Imperial Archives collecting the necessary material on penal institutions
and reform in order to complete his book manuscript about how prisons acted as “laboratories
of modernity” during the late Ottoman Empire: documents about corruption, prison conditions,
prisoner abuse, riots, and women in prisons. He will devote the rest of the summer
to processing his research materials and finishing the final three chapters of the
manuscript. His thesis is that within the walls of these prisons many of the pressing
questions of Ottoman modernity were worked out, such as the women question, the rehabilitation
of criminals, the rationalization of Islamic criminal law, administrative centralization,
social engineering, and economic development. In fact, he holds, the prison was a
microcosm of imperial transformation and it both reflected and affected the efforts
of broader imperial reform.
Dr Suzanne Onstine, assistant professor, will use the grant for her research in Theban
Tomb 16 in Egypt during a field season of six to eight weeks in the spring of 2011.
The work will focus on finishing the epigraphic work and beginning to excavate the
corridor that leads to the burial chamber. Students from The University of Memphis
and an osteologist will accompany her to assist with the collation of drawings and
the analysis of any artifacts found.
Two doctoral students receive research funding for Summer 2010
[15 April 2010] The Endowment Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of graduate student
conference and research funding awards for the Summer 2010 period:
- Malcolm Frierson — carrying out research in New York and Washington DC in July 2010
- Amy Piccarreto — carrying out research in Scotland and England in June-August 2010
Funding from the Endowment Committee is awarded on a competitive basis and recipients
are required to submit follow-up reports. The deadline for Fall/Winter Break 2010
period conference and research funding is 1 September 2010.
Egyptologists hold 3rd Annual Graduate Student Egyptology Symposium
[10 April 2010] The Egyptology graduate students of The University of Memphis’ programs in History
and Art History held an all-day symposium on ancient Egypt, with Genevieve Donovan
of the Department of History presiding. Graduate students presented their current
research in 20-minute illustrated lectures followed by 5 minutes for questions from
the audience. These included Department of History students Roy Hopper, “The Strange,
Strange Story of the Mysterious Messuy: The Historical Identities of Amenmesse and
King’s Son of Kush Messuy” and Laura Glymph: “Nephthys: The Hidden One.” Dr Suzanne
Onstine, assistant professor, made some of the opening remarks and delivered the keynote
address, “Research in the Theban tomb of Panehsy and Tarenu (TT16), Luxor, Egypt.”
Dr Peter Brand, associate professor, delivered a special lecture at the beginning
of the symposium.
Dr Scott Marler wins award for best article on Louisiana history
[7 April 2010] Dr Scott Marler, assistant professor, has won the newly-established Glenn R. Conrad Award from the Louisiana Historical Association for the best published article on Louisiana
history from any source for the previous two years. His article, “‘An Abiding Faith
in Cotton’: The Merchant Capitalist Community of New Orleans, 1860-1862” was published
in volume 54 of the journal Civil War History in 2008.
The article is available online through Project Muse in both HTML and PDF formats.
Dr Jonathan Judaken’s interviews in Counterpoint series go online
[6 April 2010] For some time now, WUMR (91.7 FM) has been broadcasting a series named Counterpoint which feature Dr Jonathan Judaken, Dunavant Professor of History and director of
the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities, interviewing persons who are speaking
or performing in Memphis. The programs air on alternate Fridays from 11:30 am until
noon and may be heard not only on FM radio but also as streaming audio at http://22.214.171.124:88/broadwave.asx?src=1&kbps=56. Three of the interviews have now been archived on the Center’s Web site at http://www.memphis.edu/moch/counterpoint.htm, and more will be forthcoming.
The interviews are generally conducted in advance of the lecture or performance that
is being featured. When the archival copies are played, of course, the events will
already have occurred. The three interviews include “Darwin on Trial,” an interview
with Dr Edward Larson, who delivered the Belle McWilliams Lecture ; “Green Shakespeare,”
an interview with Dr Scott Newstok in connection with the “Green Shakespeare” symposium
at Rhodes College; and “Katrina,” an interview with Dr D’Ann Penner in connection
with her book Overcoming Katrina and her addresses on the subject both on our campus and in Washington, D.C.
The interviews are in mp3 audio format and should play on any mp3 device and in all
Web browsers that have mp3 plug-ins. Would-be listeners are cautioned that there may
be a period of time in which nothing seems to be happening, as the audio stream is
being downloaded, and those who access the interviews using a Web browser will probably
never see anything except a blank screen. Patience is in order.
Dr Janann Sherman reports on her Spring Break in England
[5 April 2010] Departmental chair Dr Janann Sherman recently spent her Spring Break in England.
Rather than convert her report to third-person narrative, the Webmaster thinks it
best to let her speak using first-person language:
How I Spent my Spring Break
I spent my spring break at a very unspring-like place — Oxford, England. The weather
was raw and cold, but in England one just bundles up and carries on. I stayed in a
very nice hotel, the Randolph, and spent every day exploring this wonderful ancient
city. In addition to visiting a number of the colleges — by the way, there is no Oxford
University but instead it is an alliance of 39 independent colleges — I took in Blenheim
Palace, where Winston Churchill was born, and several of the more interesting museums
in the city. I also spent one whole day on a motor tour of the Cotswolds, an area
in southern England known for its rolling green hills and ancient villages built of
a particular kind of Cotswold limestone, which is pale gold rather than the traditional
gray. The villages were mostly constructed in the 13th and 14th century (as was much
of Oxford) and remain largely unchanged, at least on the outside. One presumes they’ve
added such amenities as plumbing and electricity.
The following week I moved to Lincoln College for a week-long Oxford Round Table.
I moved into a third-floor garret up under the eaves at the top of a winding stone
staircase. The room was so small that I could only open the door part-way to come
inside. It did have a tiny bathroom in the converted closet, though, for which I was
very grateful. The room also had a killer view of the side of the amazing Bodleian
Library. Lincoln College, according to the guide, has changed little since its founding
in 1427; the grounds are lovely. Famous graduates of Lincoln College include John
Wesley who, while a don at Lincoln, developed the religion of Methodism, and Theodor
Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.
The conference hosted 35 women academic leaders from around the states and several
foreign countries to discuss “Women in Academe, Their Status and Prospects.” Each
of us presented a report about our respective institutions and compared notes. In
brief, we learned that regardless of country, institution, discipline, or rank, women
consistently earned from 8 to 20% less than men, and in every institution, approximately
18 to 20% of full professors are women; very few women serve in leadership positions
like deans, provosts, and other upper administrators. We got the status part of the
theme, but had less success in formulating strategies for changing the situation.
There was a great deal of discussion regarding working for policy changes to provide
child care and parental leave, lengthening the tenure clock for primary caregivers,
and mentoring. It was wonderful meeting so many accomplished women and establishing
friendships that we’ll continue long-distance.
Some of the photographs I took on this trip have been posted on my personal page on Facebook and are linked from the History Department’s Facebook page.
Jared Krebsbach speaks on Persians and Atum worship at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch
[2 April 2010] It has become traditional for the last Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch of the academic
year to feature the work of a doctoral student. Today Jared Krebsbach, doctoral student
in Egytology, spoke on “The Persians and Atum Worship in Egypt’s Twenty-Seventh Dynasty.”
Mr Krebsbach is working on a dissertation entitled “Turmoil and Faith: A Study of
Dynastic Transition and Its Influence on Religion in Late Period Egypt.”
This was the last session for the current year. The series will resume in the Fall.
Tennessee Women discussed by panel of some of its authors
[31 March 2010] Several of the authors of chapters of the book Tennessee Women made presentations on their subjects today at the McWherter Library.
There were the following presentations:
- Dr Beverly Bond (co-editor of the volume) — Milly Swan Price
- Dr Janann Sherman — Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie
- Dr Aram Goudsouzian — Wilma Rudolph
- Dr Gail Murray — Jocelyn Dan Wurzburg
- Dr Sarah Wilkerson Freeman (co-editor of the volume)— Charl Ormond Williams
Dr Josh Gorman to publish book on the Chickasaw Nation with the University of Alabama
[31 March 2010] Dr Joshua Gorman (Ph.D. in history, 2009) is working on revisions to a manuscript
to be published by the University of Alabama Press in late 2010 or early 2011 under
the title Building a Nation: The Chickasaw Nation and the Construction of History, Heritage
and Sovereignty. The book, which is an outgrowth of the dissertation he wrote under the direction
of Dr James E. Fickle, will appear in the Contemporary American Indian Series of the press.
Phi Alpha Theta initiates new members, department awards honors
[27 March 2010] After light refreshments, Phi Alpha Theta initiated its new members and the Department
of History awarded honors this afternoon at the Alumni Center.
Phi Alpha Theta’s portion of the program began with a welcome from Dr Suzanne Onstine,
associate professor and faculty advisor to the Epsilon Nu chapter. The chapter’s vice
president, Jack Lorenzini, introduced the guest speaker, Dr Bill Mulligan, professor
of history at Murray State University.
Dr Mulligan spoke on the subject “Reshaping the Past: Generations of Historians Encounter
the Past.” He began with the conundrum of whether God’s power extends to changing
the past, which various writers have answered by saying that historians exist for
that purpose (we have several such quotations, along with others, on our Web page
entitled History is _______________ (fill in the blank)). It is not that historians can change the events themselves, but they can change,
and have changed, our understanding of those events.
Dr Mulligan noted that even historians are sometimes uneasy about changing interpretations,
quoting extensively from Dr Carl Bridenbaugh’s presidential address at the convention
of the American Historical Association in 1962, in which Bridenbaugh lamented that
history was beginning to be written by persons who could not truly understand early
America because they were urban types and represented groups that had not been important
(or even present) in those earlier times. Dr Mulligan reminisced about how the textbooks
used in his own parochial schooling by nuns emphasized that American democracy was
based upon that nation’s being Protestant in religion. Most of his own research has
been in bringing to light groups that had never figured prominently (if at all) in
earlier historical accounts, such as shoemakers in Massachusetts and Irish workers
in the Michigan copper country.
Amy Piccarreto, chapter president, conducted the initiation of new members into the
local chapter. The new members are Michael Blum, Steven Buckingham, Emily Callahan,
Casey Caputa, Amber Colvin, Genevieve Donovan, Kaylin Ewing, Matthew Garth, Brian
King, Daniel Lee, Cory Morton, Samantha Myles, Alexis Partee (shown receiving her
membership pin and certificate from Jack Lorenzini; Laura Perry, secretary, and Meredith
Baker, treasurer, standing by), Rebekah C. Propst, and Robert Emmett Turner IV.
Dr Janann Sherman, professor and chair of the department, then presided over the awarding
of various honors. These included the Tennessee Historical Commission Prize for the
undergraduate history major with the highest grade-point average, which was given
to Paige Barr (shown receiving the award from Dr Sherman), who has a GPA of 3.9; the
Major L. Wilson Undergraduate Paper Prize, awarded to Patrick Halloran; and the Major
L. Wilson Graduate Paper Prize, won by Mark Janzen. Katarzyna Scherr (shown receiving
the award from Dr Sherman) won the Outstanding Graduate Assistant Teaching Award,
and Dr Peter Cash (shown with the award) won the Outstanding Adjunct Teaching Award.
Laura Perry contributed the photographs of Dr Mulligan and Ms Barr.
Six Department of History faculty members receive Professional Development Assignments
[26 March 2010] Six members of the Department of History are among those who will be on Profesional
Development Assignment from the College of Arts and Sciences during the academic year
2010-2011. Those receiving PDAs for the Fall 2010 semester are Dr Charles W. Crawford,
Dr Jonathan Judaken, Dr Catherine Phipps, and Dr Daniel Unowksy. The awards for Spring
2011 are to Dr Dennis Laumann and Dr Suzanne Onstine.
Malcolm Frierson participates in conference, community service in New Orleans
[24 March 2010] At the 34th annual conference of the National Council for Black Studies on 17-20 March, doctoral candidate Malcolm Frierson joined Dr Audrey Thomas McCluskey
(Indiana University) and Dr Tammy Brown (Miami University of Ohio) on a panel on “The
Cult of Personality: Personage and Power in the Gaining of Civil Rights in America.”
Mr Frierson’s presentation, enhanced by short audio clips, chronicled comedian and
activist Dick Gregory’s early contributions to the struggle for African American freedom.
The theme of the conference, held in New Orleans, was “Promoting Academic Excellence
and Social Responsibility.” Volunteer initiatives to assist the ongoing rebuilding
process in the lower ninth ward in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina included a book
drive and community clean-up. Mr Frierson donated several children’s and young adult
books to the library at Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School.
Graham Perry curates exhibit on civil rights sit-ins at Tennessee State Museum
[19 March 2010] Doctoral candidate Graham Perry has recently organized an exhibit for the Tennessee
State Museum in Nashville, where he is Curator of Social History, on the 50th anniversary
of Tennessee’s Civil Rights Sit-Ins under the title “We Shall Not Be Moved.” The exhibit,
which runs through 16 May 2010, includes a department store counter similar to those
in downtown shopping districts of Tennessee in the 1960s, original stools from the
sit-ins in a W. T. Grant store in Nashville, and separate water fountains labeled
“WHITES” and “COLORED.” There is also a 10-minute introductory film which includes
original news footage from the 1960s, and a play entitled “Sittin’ in for Civil Rights”
which is available on weekdays by reservation only for groups of ten or more.
In connection with the exhibit Mr Perry has also participated in radio interviews
and he read a paper on the Nashville sit-ins at a conference on African-American History
and Culture at Tennessee State University in February.
Four doctoral candidates present dissertation prospectuses
[19 March 2010] In the second prospectus session of the Spring 2010 semester held this afternoon,
four doctoral candidates presented their plans for the development of their dissertations.
Once more, as in the first session held on 19 February, the number of persons attending necessitated holding the sessions in a large classroom
instead of in the departmental conference room.
Dianna Fraley began with her prospectus on “Adolphine Fletcher Terry.” She was followed
by Darin Stephanov (shown in the photograph) with “Minorities, Majorities, and the
Monarch: Nationalizing Effects of the Late Ottoman Royal Public Ceremonies, 1808 -
1908.” Richard Nollen made the third presentation with “Heart’s Blood: The Career
of Lemuel Whitley Diggs,” and Graham Perry concluded with “Deceptive Currents: An
Examination of Trends in Black Resistance in Memphis, Tennessee, 1865-2000.”
The final session of the semester is scheduled for 16 April.
Library hosts interpretive performances of Dr Beverly Bond’s book on Tennessee women
[17 March 2010] Today in the rotunda of McWherter Library a group from the College of Communication
and Fine Arts and singer Joyce Cobb performed readings and music in connection with
Tennessee Women: Their Lives and Times, a volume edited by Dr Beverly Bond and Dr Sarah Wilkerson.
Later this month, on 31 March, the Library will host a panel discussion by several of the authors of chapters in the book. Both of these events are in celebration
of Women’s History Month.
Dr Edward Larson delivers Belle McWilliams Lecture on the issue of teaching evolution
in public schools
[16 March 2010] Dr Edward Larson spoke this evening on “Dayton to Dover: Darwinism on Trial, Then
and Now” as a lecturer in the Belle McWilliams Lecture Series of the Department of
History and in the series “Re-thinking Education, Re-figuring Being Human” sponsored
by the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.
He began by saying that today evolution is not questioned at the university level
of public-supported education, only at the lower level, and especially in the public
high-school curricula. He maintained that the dispute over the teaching of Darwinian
evolution at that level has gone through three phases: first, the attempt to remove
that teaching from the classroom altogether; then the attempt to require balancing
of that teaching with the alternative explanation of creationism; and finally, the
attempt to have Darwinism labeled as only a theory or to “teach the controversy” and
let students decide for themselves what is true.
The first phase centered around the famous “monkey trial” in Dayton, Tennessee, in
1925. As Dr Larson explained it, a controversy had been raging within many churches
in America long before 1925. Many theologians and church leaders had made some kind
of accommodation with evolutionist ideas or higher criticism ideas about the Bible,
but in the 1920s Fundamentalism (under that name) arose to challenge Modernism. Dr
Larson compared the controversy then to present-day controversies over the ordination
of women or gays. In the 1920s the battle was extended to the classroom, when William
Jennings Bryan launched a crusade to end the teaching of evolution in the public schools
of America. Bryan believed that acceptance of evolution was responsible for moral
decline, including war (he was always a pacifist), and with his Progressive predilections
he sought to deal with the problem through legislation. Tennessee was the first to
pass a law forbidding such teaching, but it was only a part of the national struggle.
Because of that, a local trial (Dayton) suddenly became national news.
The trial of John T. Scopes for violating the Tennessee law was a media event from
its inception. The American Civil Liberties Union advertised to find someone willing
to challenge the law and found Scopes, who volunteered to stand trial, although it
was never clear that he had in fact broken the law, in the hope of getting the Supreme
Court to rule the law unconstitutional. Dr Larson several times in the course of his
lecture warned his audience against taking the play and movie Inherit the Wind as historical fact, noting at this point that Scopes was actually well liked in Dayton,never
jailed, never ostracized, and that he got a good job in geology after the trial. For
their part, community leaders in Dayton wanted to attract attention to their town
and knew the media would be interested.
What was already a media event was made even greater by the media themselves, who
billed the upcoming trial as “the trial of the century.” It pitted two of the most
outstanding orators of that generation — William Jennings Bryan assisting the prosecution
and Clarence Darrow as the defending lawyer — against each other, with no ground for
compromise between them, although earlier they had actually worked together on some
things. Hundreds of reporters came to Dayton, news from the trial was front-page headline
material in national newspapers, and the trial was broadcast on clear-channel WGN
Scopes, having admitted guilt, was convicted but the case never reached the Supreme
Court because on a technicality the Supreme Court of Tennessee overthrew the conviction.
Both sides in the case maintained that they had won a moral victory and for some time
thereafter new restrictions on teaching evolution were passed throughout the United
Dr Larson stressed that before the 1960s, as long as God was recognized as the creator
and sustainer of the world, even religious conservatives had no particular problem
with the contention of Darwinists that the earth was old. Bryan himself at Dayton
had said that a “day” of creation could be a long period. In 1961, however, there
appeared a book written largely by Henry Morris — Genesis Flood — that insisted that the Biblical account must be interpreted literally, that the
world was really created in six 24-hour days not much more than 10,000 years ago and
that all land animals and humans co-existed because they were all created on the same
day. Although the book got off to a slow start, its contentions spread rapidly through
a foundation that Morris led. Several states, including Tennessee, passed laws to
require equal treatment for Creationism along with Darwinism. Although it is now widely
believed that religious conservatives had always insisted on these ideas, Dr Larson
is positive that Morris was responsible for popularizing them only about 50 years
ago. Creationists received a setback from the Supreme Court in 1987 when the Supreme
Court ruled that “creation science” was religious dogma and as such was banned from
being taught in public schoools by the doctrine of separation of church and state.
The third phase began when Michael Behe, a Lehigh University biochemist, and others
began trying to poke holes in Darwinian evolution, maintaining that it was only a
theory, not fact, and that it failed to explain how such complicated phenomena as
the human eye could arise through natural selection. Because of these deficiencies,
they argued, students in school must be presented with alternative scientific theories
such as Intelligent Design. Schools should at least “teach the controversy,” alerting
students to the weaknesses of Darwinism and requiring them to consider other possibilities.
Opponents immediately denounced this tactic, saying that in scientific circles there
was no controversy and to admit Intelligent Design as science was to change the definition
of science altogether.
Dr Larson explained the implications of a case in Cobb County, Georgia, in which the
school board had required that a sticker be placed on biology textbooks, telling students
that evolution was only a theory. The judge in that case ruled that calling attention
to evolution alone, while other scientific theories were ignored, was clearly imposing
a religious point of view that was prohibited by the Constitution.
The Georgia case did not concern Intelligent Design (often abbreviated as ID in the
literature). That was left to the case of Dover, Pennsylvania, in which a conservative
judge who had been appointed by George W. Bush ruled that Intelligent Design was only
a variant of the Creationism which had already been ruled unconstitutional. Without
ruling on the possible truth of ID, the court ruled that it was not science, that
it invoked supernatural causes that were not within the realm of science, that it
was not subjected to peer review by scientists, and that there was no way to test
its assertions. Behe conceded all these problems and eventually had to agree that
if ID constituted a science, so did astrology and the Ptolemaic theory of the universe.
The Dover case was polarizing. All eight members of the school board were turned out
in the next election. Time magazine named Judge Jones as one of the hundred most influential persons in the
Toward the conclusion of his lecture, Dr Larson noted that the controversy still resonates
with the American people because most Americans identify with religion, as they always
have, 9 of 10 believing in God and 4 of 5 saying religion is very important in their
lives. Faintly echoing the scripture that gave Inherit the Wind its title (Proverbs 11:29, KJV: “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the
wind”), Dr Larson ended with the remark, “Dark clouds remain on the horizon.”
The question-and-answer period that followed the formal lecture consisted of Dr Larson
responding to a group of four questions asked by members of the audience. By consent
of the audience, after the allotted time had expired, another round of four questions
was allowed. In response to some of these questions, Dr Larson noted that the United
States is currently somewhere in the middle among the nations of the world. Many nations
(essentially all of Africa, all Islamic nations, for example) prohibit any teaching
of evolution, but in secularized nations of Europe. he suggested, an advocate of Creationism
or Intelligent Design might be committed to an insane asylum for holding such ideas.
As to the claim that evolutionists are atheists, he noted that numerous biologists
profess a belief in God, that the new school board in Dover consists entirely of church-going
Christians, that all the scientific witnesses at Dayton were professing Christians,
and that many lawsuits against Creationism and Intelligent Design have been filed
by bishops of churches. Asked why there was so much concern over the teaching of evolution
in public schools by parents whose children attend private schools, he remarked that
parents today share the same concerns that Bryan expressed in the 1920s over violence
and immorality which they attribute to evolutionist ideas. As to how the controversy
will play out, he noted that new justices on the Supreme Court could change the situation.
He predicted that the controversy will not go away, because the American people still
care about the issues. He ended by stressing what he started with — that the controversy
is still largely a battle within the churches, not simply religion against science.
Dr Jonathan Judaken, director of the Orr Center, who presided over the lecture, urged
those who wanted to continue the question-and-answer session to attend the biology
class on Wednesday, 17 March, from 12:40 to 2:05 which would be dedicated to that
purpose. Everyone, not just members of the class, are invited.
Dr Larson is University Professor and Hugh and Hazel Darling Chair in Law at the Pepperdine
University School of Law. He writes mostly about issues of science, medicine, and
law from an historical perspective. In addition to Summer for the Gods, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1998, he has written six books and over
sixty published articles. His books are A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 (2007), The Creation-Evolution Debate: Historical Perspectives (2007), Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory (2004), Evolution’s Workshop: God and Science in the Galapagos Islands (2001), Sex, Race, and Science Eugenics in the Deep South (1995), and Trial and Error: The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution (1985, 1989, 2003 rev. ed.).
A footnote: Months beforehand, the lecture had been scheduled for the new University Center Theatre.
When it appeared that the theatre would not be ready in time, the lecture was moved
to the Entertainment Lobby of the Rose Theatre. About an hour before the reception
(held at 6 pm) it became clear that the attendance at the lecture would overwhelm
the rather small lobby and the lecture was moved back to the UC Theatre. Although
construction is not yet complete, the theatre did have sufficient lighting and amplification
to allow for a successful lecture.
Alumni Association award for Distinguished Research in the Humanities goes to Dr Charles
[15 March 2010] The Provost’s office announced today the awards made for distinguished teaching and
research for the current academic year. Dr Charles W. Crawford, professor and director
of the Oral History Research Office, received the Alumni Association’s Distinguished
Research in the Humanities Award. The official conferral of this award will be made
at the Spring Convocation in April.
This is the second time in three years that the award has gone to a faculty member
in the Department of History. Dr James E. Fickle, professor, received the award in
April 2008 (read our article about Dr Fickle).
Departmental video featured at American Historical Association convention now online
[10 March 2010] The video about the Department of History which was featured at the convention of
the American Historical Association in San Diego in January 2010 (read our article about it) is now available on a local server here at The University of Memphis.
Dr Aram Goudsouzian speaks on Bill Russell, basketball, and media at Phi Alpha Theta
[5 March 2010] At this afternoon’s pizza lunch sponsored by the Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Alpha
Theta, the national honorary for history students, Dr Aram Goudsouzian spoke on “‘I
Owe the Public Nothing’: Bill Russell, the Media, and the Basketball Revolution.”
Dr Goudsouzian has written a book on Bill Russell which is due for publication in
Dr Susan O’Donovan leads teacher’s workshop, will participate in two conferences on
slavery and emancipation
[1 March 2010] Dr Susan O’Donovan, assistant professor, led a teacher’s workshop in Hamden, Connecticut,
on 25 February, using archival materials to explore “Emancipation and Freedom’s Contested
Meanings.” The workshop was part of a Teaching American History program being offered
jointly by the Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES) of Hamden and Yale’s Gilder
Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.
Later this week she will be participating in the Conference on Charting New Courses in the History of Slavery and Emancipation on the Gulf Coast, chairing and commenting in a session on “Shadows: The Underside
of Slavery and Freedom.” The following weekend she will be at the College of Charleston
for a Conference on Race, Labor and Citizenship in the Post-Emancipation South, at which she will comment on presentations made in a session on “Creating a Free
Labor Regime: Violence and the State in the Post-Emancipation South.” She is a member
of the After Slavery Project, which is sponsoring the conference, and is one of the
organizers of the conference.
Dr Jonathan Judaken presents chapter on existentialism at Faculty Research Brown Bag
[26 February 2010] At the Faculty Research Brown Bag held this afternoon, Dr Jonathan Judaken, associate
professor, discussed a chapter he is working on for an edited book called Situating Existentialism, which is a general overview on French existentialism.
Dr Frederick C. Knight publishes book on the impact of African labor on the Anglo-American
[23 February 2010] Dr Frederick C. Knight, who taught African American history at The University of
Memphis earlier this decade, is now an associate professor of history at Colorado
State University. New York University Press has published his Working the Diaspora: The Impact of African Labor on the Anglo-American World, 1650-1850, which has already received good reviews from such scholars as John K. Thorton and
Jennifer L. Morgan.
The publisher’s description of the book reads:
Knight demonstrates that the knowledge that Africans carried across the Atlantic shaped
Anglo-American agricultural development and made particularly important contributions
to cotton, indigo, tobacco, and staple food cultivation. The book also compellingly
argues that the work experience of slaves shaped their views of the natural world.
Broad in scope, clearly written, and at the center of current scholarly debates, Working the Diaspora challenges readers to alter their conceptual frameworks about Africans by looking
at them as workers who, through the course of the Atlantic slave trade and plantation
labor, shaped the development of the Americas in significant ways.
The press has made Dr Knight’s introduction available as a PDF document.
Department hosts Tennessee History Day for West Tennessee district
[20 February 2010] The Department of History hosted the competition in West Tennessee for National History
Day today at AutoZone Park in downtown Memphis. Winners from this event will advance
to state-level competition in Nashville in April. Winners’ names will be posted on
the district Web site when available. This year’s theme is “Innovation in History: Change and Impact.”
Dr Margaret Caffrey, associate professor, is the coordinator for the local competition,
aided by graduate assistants Angela Martin and Emily Schwimmer.
Department begins new format for presentation of dissertation prospectuses
[19 February 2010] Previous to today, doctoral students presented their prospectuses for their dissertations
in individual sessions. With the increasing number of students who need to make presentations,
the department has set aside three Friday afternoons during the semester. During each
session several students will make their presentations.
The first of these sessions was held this afternoon. Originally scheduled for the
conference room in 223 Mitchell, the session had to be moved to a large classroom
to accommodate approximately 40 persons, including the four presenters.
Laura Perry, who is shown in the photograph, led off with a prospectus on “‘Phoenix
from the Ashes of the Old’: Social and Economic Change After the Yellow Fever Epidemic
of 1878.” She was followed by Lyndell Fisher on “The Theological Antecedents of the
Assemblies of God: Baptist and Presbyterian Roots”; Shawn Fisher on “An Epitaph for
Dixie: Southern Soldiers, Southern Manhood, and the Little Rock Central High Crisis”;
and Meredith Baker on “Faith and Practice: Mother Ann in Shaker Theology and Community
The next session is scheduled for 19 March in 223 Mitchell, although the location
is subject to change, depending on the number of persons who attend.
Dr Jack DeBerry passes away from complications with Alzheimer’s
[13 February 2010] Jack DeBerry (officially John H. DeBerry) was one of the most colorful characters
ever to pass through the ranks of history teachers at what was then Memphis State
University. Funny things always seemed to happen to him or around him, and he could
convulse his audience by telling tales about them. Those who knew him were saddened
to hear that he died on Thursday, 11 February, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, 14 February, at the First Presbyterian
Church, 200 North Vine Street, Somerset, KY. The family requests that in lieu of flowers,
gifts be made to the building fund of the church or to the Alzheimer’s Disease Respite
Center of Pulaski County.
Dr DeBerry received his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. After leaving Memphis
he taught for many years at Somerset Community College before Alzheimer’s forced him
Read the obituary notice in the online version of the Commonwealth Journal of Somerset, KY.
Fulbright Fellow Dr Gary Edwards speaks to several groups in Germany
[8 February 2010] Dr Gary Edwards (Ph.D. in history, 2004) received a Fulbright Senior Fellowship in
American Studies to teach at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies
located at the Free University of Berlin during the 2009-2010 academic year (read our article about the award). He has just finished his first term of teaching there, having taught Civil War/Reconstruction
at the undergraduate level and the Early American Republic at the graduate level.
He has also spoken to several groups: the Kennedy American Studies Research Colloquium,
“Space and Place in Antebellum Tennessee: The Influence of Slaveownership on Matrimony
in the Old South”; the University of Freiburg, “Five Common Misconceptions About Slavery
Among Contemporary Americans”; the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt and the Rhineland-Palatinate
Center for Political Education, “‘I have a dream...’ Slavery and the Civil Rights
Movement — The History of ‘Black’ America” Seminar at Ingelheim on the Rhine; Checkpoint
Charlie Foundation, “‘Roots Revisited’: Michelle Obama and Her Slave Ancestry,”; and
the Wannsee Forum.
The photographs are of Dr Edwards and his wife Michelle at the 20th anniversary celebration
of the fall of the Berlin Wall, speaking in Freiburg, and on the train through Germany’s
Dr Jonathan Judaken speaks at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch
[5 February 2010] At today’s Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch, Dr Jonathan Judaken, associate professor,
spoke on “Jews and the Media: Anti-Jewish Myth-making in the History of the West.”
This was the opening event in the Spring schedule of pizza lunches sponsored by the
history honors society Phi Alpha Theta and Student Event Allocation.
[4 February 2010] With 107 fans already on Facebook since the launch less than two weeks ago, the Department
of History this afternoon put up a page on Twitter (no YouTube yet, because we don’t
have any videos, but that could change). The announcement was posted on Facebook and
very shortly afterward there were already two “followers.” To become a follower, go
to http://twitter.com/uomhistorians/. (If you aren’t already on Twitter, you will have to join in order to become a follower.)
Dr Kent Moran speaks on history and seismology at American Geophysical Union meeting
[28 January 2010] There aren’t many historians who work in seismology. Dr Kent Moran is one of them. After taking three degrees in history (B.A. at the University of
Tennessee-Martin, M.A. and Ph.D. at The University of Memphis) he began working in
1999 as a Research Associate at the Center for Earthquake Research and Information.
His address at the meeting, entitled “Earthquake! The use of historic felt reports
in seismology and their application in the analysis of the New Madrid earthquakes,”
was part of a session dealing with new views of old historic earthquakes.
His address stressed the importance of historical information in understanding earthquakes
that occurred prior to the 20th century and modern scientific instrumentation. Seismology
was originally an observational science that recorded accounts of earthquakes and
analyzed the effects that they detailed. Felt reports are reports of an earthquake
being “felt” which give the date, time, and effect of the earthquake at a certain
location. From such reports about the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812, seismologists
have already been able to deduce a great deal of information about them. Dr Moran’s
work consists largely of searching to find additional information about them in archives,
contemporary newspapers, and other documents that were generated by persons who experienced
Department of History launches page on Facebook
[23 January 2010] Several years ago the department created a blog under the name of Memphis Historians on the Go in the hope that it would attract a lot of postings from faculty, staff, students,
and alumni of the department. It has attracted some interesting reports but they have
been relatively few and far between.
It seems the action these days is in social networks such as Facebook, so this evening
we launched a page on Facebook. Within ten minutes there were already two “fans” who
signed up for it, so the page offers some promise that we will attract a lot more
attention there than on the blog.
The Facebook page is at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Memphis-TN/Memphis-Historians/263735552636. We still have the blog at http://memphishistoryweb.blogspot.com/ and will keep it running for the time being. Feel free to contribute postings to
either of them.
Ed Frank speaks on “Documenting ’68: The Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike Collection”
[20 January 2010] Ed Frank, associate professor in the University Libraries and head of Special Collections,
spoke at noon today about the definitive source of research material on the strike
in 1968 which drew Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., to the city on behalf of the workers
and to his death. The Strike Collection features such items as “I Am a Man” signs,
hate mail, interviews with participants, photographs of street violence, “Welcome
to Memphis” booklets featuring racist caricatures, and police reports. It has been
used by scholarly and popular writers, historians and sociologists, artists, and feature
and documentary filmmakers from around the world. Mr Frank’s presentation focused
on the volunteers who recognized the importance of the strike well before King’s assassination,
and the materials they collected and organized to provide a snapshot of a city in
Mr Frank, a native of Memphis, is president of the West Tennessee Historical Society
and holds two degrees in history from The University of Memphis, including an M.A.
Dr Trygve Has-Ellison reports fruitful term in Freiburg, becomes Foreign Service officer
for U.S. Department of State
[18 January 2010] Dr Trygve Has-Ellison (Ph.D. in history, 2004) reports having completed an extremely
fruitful term as an academic fellow with the Graduate group, Friends, Patrons, Loyalty
at Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany, which is designated one of the
five elite universities in the German system. He guided Ph.D. students in their doctoral
theses on traditional elites, friendship, and patronage, being supervised by Dr Ronald
Asch, leader of the group and also fellow at FRIAS, the University of Freiburg Institute
of Advanced Study.
While in Freiburg, Has-Ellison was able to make a significant addition to his research
on Aristocratic Modernism both through the acquisition of interesting photos for a
forthcoming book and through access to the private archives of the Counts Dürckheim-Montmartin,
Baron Rummel, and Baron Berlichingen, and many other social encounters with members
of the former nobility who have become increasingly intrigued by his spin on what
their ancestors were doing.
His book is currently in the editing stage and will soon go to outside readers.
On another front, this winter Dr Has-Ellison accepted an offer from the U.S. Department
of State to become a Foreign Service officer after going through the very long process
of vetting. He characterized the position as “an exciting new opportunity” for himself
and his wife Lisa, and “one that is quite different from the rather passive role of
the scholar in academia.” He has gathered enough research for at least one more book
after the current one, and is in the discussion stage of co-editing another volume,
so he plans to keep up publishing — “just on a sane schedule.”
On a concluding note he says, “I have no idea where I might be a year from now, but
wherever we end up, we will always be glad to see our friends and colleagues from
Department of History programs featured in video at American Historical Association
[9 January 2010] The Department of History at The University of Memphis was one of the departments
selected to have video presentations during the convention of the American Historical
Association in San Diego, 7-10 January (read our initial article about it).
In the video, produced by Historians TV (U.K.), Dr Janann Sherman, professor and departmental
chair, spoke generally about the department and its programs and focus areas. Dr Aram
Goudsouzian, associate professor, and Sheena Harris discussed the focus area in African-American
history; Dr Peter Brand, associate professor, and Mark Janzen discussed the focus
area in Egyptology; and Dr Stephen Stein, assistant professor, and Micki Kaleta discussed
the online program. Officer Manager Karen Bradley and several students appeared in
You may view the video on the historianstv.org site.
Dr Aram Goudsouzian and Katherine Fox make presentations at American Historical Association
[9 January 2010] At the 2010 convention of the American Historical Association held in San Diego 7-10
January, Dr Aram Goudsouzian, associate professor, and Katherine Fox, doctoral candidate,
made presentations. Dr Goudsouzian participated in a panel discussion on Rethinking
the Meanings of Race and Biography, contributing “‘My Mississippi is everywhere’:
James Meredith and his March.” Ms Fox presented her paper, “Microcosm of America:
The Historical and Cultural Context of Hawaii’s English Standard Schools, 1924-60,”
in a session on Educating the Citizen: American Colonial Education among Latinos,
Hawaiians, and Filipinos.
A Memphis photographer was the subject of “‘I Don’t Deal in Relaxation Music. I Deal
in News’: Civil Rights and the Blues Photography of Ernest C. Withers,” but not by
anyone from Memphis. W. Brian Piper of the College of William and Mary read his paper
in a session on Visualizing the Struggle: The Central Role of Images in the Long Civil
Department announces internships available for Spring 2010
[7 January 2010] History majors, graduate or undergraduate, who are interested in internships are
requested to make an appointment with Dr James E. Fickle (telephone 901.678.3382,
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). Students can earn one semester hour of credit for each internship, and can have
a maximum of three internships during their academic careers.
Kay Cunningham, former clerk-receptionist in the Department of History, becomes Director
of the Plough Library at Christian Brothers University
[4 January 2010] Kay Cunningham’s first “real” job was as a clerk-receptionist in the Department of
History. Tomorrow she assumes her duties as the new Director of the Plough Library
at Christian Brothers University.
Ms Cunningham graduated in 1978 with a B.A. in English at what was then named Memphis
State University and became a clerk-receptionist in the Department of History in 1979.
During the eight years that she worked in the department, she completed her M.A. in
English. She left the university to go to library school at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville
and received her Master of Library Science degree in 1988 after completing coursework
in reference for all disciplines: social sciences, sciences, government publications,
Returning to Memphis, she soon began working in the Science/Business/Social Science
department of the Memphis/Shelby County Public Library and Information system. After
six years in that position, she worked in special libraries for the next ten years,
first at the Leslie M. Stratton Nursing Library of Methodist HealthSystems of Memphis
and then as Biomedical Librarian at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She came
back to our campus in 2004 where until today she worked as Electronic Resources Librarian.
At the Plough Library she will supervise a staff of eight. She happily reports that
one of her special interests — information fluency — appears to be a campus wide-interest
Ms Cunningham is an active member of the American Library Association, the Mid-South
chapter of the Special Libraries Association, and the Tennessee Library Association.
As director of the Plough Library, she will be more involved with the Memphis Area
Library Council than she has already been.
Along with all her professional duties, she pursues personal interests in comic books,
live theatre, classical music, and opera.
If you wish to congratulate her on her new position, you may e-mail her at CBU: email@example.com.
Her colleagues at the McWherter Library staged a farewell party for her this afternoon.
Here are some informal snapshots. In the first one, she is pointing to a figure on
the cake — it’s Batman, one of her comic-book heroes.