History Happenings for 2012

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Graduate students receive research and conference funding

[12 December 2012] The Endowment Committee of the Department of History is pleased to announce the recipients of graduate student research and conference funding for Spring/Pre-Session 2013:

  • Michael Blum - research in Knoxville in March
  • Amber Colvin - conference in Lisbon and research in London in February/March
  • Rosa Erika Feleg - research in Egypt in May/June
  • Malcolm Frierson - conference in Indianapolis in March
  • Molly Haight - research in Egypt in May/June
  • Mark Janzen - conference in Cincinnati in April
  • Michael Lejman - conference in Cape Town in April
  • Laura Monroe - research in Egypt in May/June

Michael Blum receives award for best prospectus

[12 December 2012] The Endowment Committee is pleased to announce that Michael Blum is the recipient of the Best Prospectus Award for the Fall 2012 semester and would like to support and encourage his research with an award of $500. The committee offers a Best Prospectus Award every Fall and Spring semester or academic year, depending on the number and quality of presentations.

Mr Blum presented his prize-winning dissertation prospectus in November on “‘An Island of Racial Peace amid a Sea of Strife:’ The Civil Rights Movement in Knoxville, Tennessee.”

Dr Robert Yelle appointed as editor of Oxford book series

[7 December 2012] Dr Robert Yelle has been appointed as the new editor of the American Academy of Religion book series in Religion, Culture, and History, published by Oxford University Press.

Dr Robert Yelle speaks at religion conference in India

[5 December 2012] Dr Robert Yelle has just returned from India, where he was a platform speaker at the Rethinking Religion in India IV conference in Mangalore, which was on the theme of Secularism, Religion and Law. The aim of the conference was “to explore the extent to which Christian notions about truth and falsehood, the goal of law and the nature of a person, have determined the Western judicial system;  the extent to which this is different from the Indian understanding of these aspects; and the result this has on the implementation of the western judicial system in India.”

Dr Dennis Laumann writes for blog on Africa

[5 December 2012] Dr Dennis Laumann has been recruited as a regular contributor to the popular and influential website http://africasacountry.com/. Founded by Sean Jacobs of The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs in New York, Africa is a Country is, as it describes itself, “the media blog that is not about famine, Bono, or Barack Obama.”

Dr Laumann’s first piece, entitled “Ghana's elections: Back to the Future,” was posted today (available online).

Edwin Brock presents Murnane Memorial Lecture in Egyptology

Dr Edwin Brock presenting Murnane Memorial Lecture

[3 December 2012] Speaking on the topic of the Merneptah Sarcophagi Restoration Project, Edwin Brock presented the 7th annual William J. Murnane Memorial Lecture on 17 November. The lecture series, begun in 2006, honors Dr William J. Murnane, a University of Memphis professor and internationally known Egyptologist who died 17 November 2000. After receiving degrees from the University of Chicago, Dr Murnane did field work for many years at the Karnak Temple near Luxor, Egypt. After joining the U of M’s Department of History in 1987, he taught courses in Egyptology and ancient history while continuing his field work on the Great Hypostyle Hall in the temple at Karnak.

This year’s lecturer, Edwin Brock, was Dr Murnane’s friend, and has worked nearly thirty years in Egypt on various kinds of archaeological projects. His most recent project has been conserving and reassembling the sarcophagi lids associated with the burial of the Egyptian pharoah Merneptah in tomb 8 in the Valley of the Kings (KV 8).

From March 2011 to May 2012 Mr Brock, now affiliated with the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, carried out documentation and reconstruction of the outer sarcophagus box of the 19th-dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah. Although only one-third of the original first sarcophagus box remained in fragments, it was still possible to reconstruct the appearance of the original monument. Outlines of the missing decoration were added to the infill of the gaps to form a visual bridge between the reassembled fragment groups. The cartouche-shaped second lid was repositioned to allow people to view it alongside the sarcophagus box. The lid for the first sarcophagus box was also raised onto metal supports and mirrors were placed beneath both lids so that visitors can see the decoration on the undersides.

The lecture illustrated the various phases of the project, including the moving of the second sarcophagus lid, hauling massive stone blocks up the hillside to the tomb entrance to be lowered into the burial chamber, and the installation of the massive groups of reassembled fragments of the outer box. The engineering aspects were particularly interesting as it demonstrated how very simple engineering ideas and a lot of man power could achieve the ends necessary. The skilled Egyptian workforce was also an essential part of the project.

The lecture was co-sponsored by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt, the Department of History, and the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology.

Thanks to Dr Suzanne Onstine for reporting the event and to Liz Warkentin for the photograph.

Dr Christine Eisel presents paper at Faculty Research Brown Bag

[30 November 2012] In the last session of the Faculty Research Brown Bag for the Fall Semester 2012 Dr Christine Eisel today presented a draft of a chapter entitled “Gossip and Church Politics in Early York County, Virginia” that she is writing for inclusion in the book When Private Talk Goes Public: Gossip in United States, edited by Jennifer Frost and Kathleen Feeley.

Doctoral students present prospectuses for dissertations at November session

[16 November 2012] Three doctoral students presented the prospectuses for this dissertations this afternoon:

  • Michael Blum, “‘An Island of Racial Peace amid a Sea of Strife:’ The Civil Rights Movement in Knoxville, Tennessee”
  • Tiffany Redman, “The Goddesses Represented at Thebes and their Connection to Mut”
  • Liz Warkentin, “Looking Beyond the Image: An Exploration of the Relationship between Political Power and the Goddess Hathor in New Kingdom Egypt”

Dr Andrei Znamenski honored at Art Museum reception for translations of Russian propaganda prints

[9 November 2012] Dr Andrei Znamenski provided translations for the exhibition on Russian propaganda prints that is currently mounted at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis (museum guide to exhibition here as Adobe PDF). There was a reception at the Museum this evening in honor of his contribution and that of other exhibitors.

Dr Dennis Laumann makes speech, presents film, and moderates panel discussion

[9 November 2012] Dr Dennis Laumann spoke on Thursday afternoon, along with  Rebecca Laumann, the Study Abroad Director, to the National Association of Black Journalists chapter at The University of Memphis about the ongoing fundraising program to assist education in the village of Airfield in Ghana.

Later that evening he conducted a screening of the BBC documentary on the “Lost Libraries of Timbuktu,” followed by a question-and-answer session.

This morning he was in Oxford, Mississippi, where he moderated a panel at the Symposium on Models of Sustainability and Mississippi at the University of Mississippi School of Law which featured experts discussing market challenges to sustainability globally and in the United States.

Dr Andrei Znamenski lectures on Russian painter and U.S. Vice President Henry Wallace

Andrei Znamenski at Russian Cultural Center[8 November 2012] Dr Andrei Znamenski gave a lecture and presentation on “Guru for Vice President: Life and Adventures of Painter Nicholas Roerich” at the Russian Cultural Center on 2 November, about the Russian painter and philosopher’s relations with Henry Wallace, who was Vice President of the United States from 1941 to 1945.

The Center, located at 209 South Main Street, opened in mid-January of 2012. Anna Terry, president of the Center, said that while the aim is to serve the local Russian and Russian-speaking population, her hope is to encourage everyone to visit the center: “We really want [the RCC] to be more of a place where Americans can interact with Russians and vice versa, not a Russian club.”

Graduate Association for African-American History hosts 14th annual conference

[3 November 2012] Here are some pictures from the 14th Annual Graduate Conference in African-American History held in the University Center on Thursday and Friday of this week, supplied by Wendy Clark.

Kaylin Ewing and Micki Kaleta, president of GAAAH and chair of the conference, greeted incoming participants at the welcome desk.

Andrew Shilling posed with an Egyptian headdress from the display shown in the last picture, along with Michael Blum; Rachel Mittelman made a presentation; Colby Barrom served as a session chair; Catherine Propst also served as a session chair; Dr Ernestine Jenkins was the commentator for the session on “Depicting African Americans”; Dr Shirletta Kinchen, an alumnus of the association and of the doctoral program, participated in the roundtable on strategies for success in graduate school, writing dissertations, going on the job market, and starting a new job.

Kaylin Ewing and Ashley Dabbraccio posed with a repurposed display that was created by Dr Chrystal Goudsouzian and Amanda Lee Savage and used at the recent Discover Your Major event; Michael Blum stood at the side.

 Kaylin Ewing and Micki Kaleta

Andrew Shilling and Michael BlumRachel Mittelman

Colby Barrom

Catherine Propst

Ernestine Jenkins

Shirletta Kinchen

History display

Dr Peter Brand speaks at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch

[2 November 2012] At the last Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch of the semester this afternoon, Dr Peter Brand spoke on “All in the Family: The Royal Family Under Pharaoh Ramesses II.”

Ashley Dabbraccio has essay on museum advocacy in Archaeology, Museums & Outreach blog

[29 October 2012] Ashley Dabbraccio prepared a paper entitled “Davies Manor Plantation Advocacy Proposal” for a seminar conducted by Robert Connelly, who is the director of the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa. It is reproduced in full in the 29 October 2012 entry in Dr Connelly’s blog, Archaeology, Museums & Outreach.

 Dr Peter Brand presents book chapter at Faculty Research Brown Bag

[26 October 2012] At the first Faculty Research Brown Bag of the 2012-2013 academic year this afternoon, Dr Peter Brand presented a draft of a chapter entitled “The Path to Peace: International Diplomacy and the End of the Egyptian-Hittite Conflict” from his current book project, Ramesses II: Egypt's Ultimate Pharaoh.

Dr Chrystal Goudsouzian and Amanda Lee Savage represent the Department of History at Discover Your Major event

 Booth at Discovery Your Major event

[22 October 2012] Dr Chrystal Goudsouzian and Amanda Lee Savage, two of the advisors for undergraduate history majors, represented the department at the recent Discover Your Major event. They are shown above in the small image in the upper-right corner, along with several students in the other small images who came by the booth and posed with items from the display.

Their imaginative booth received an impromptu “honorable mention” —  all the official awards went to colleges or schools (University College, College of Fine Arts, and Kemmons Wilson School), not departments. They think that they might win the photo booth contest, but the results are not in yet.

In addition to the undergraduate students who visited the booth, a few graduate students and faculty members stopped by and participated in the fun as well.

Dr Courtney Luckhardt speaks at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch

[19 October 2012] Dr Courtney Luckhardt spoke this afternoon at the October pizza lunch of Phi Alpha Theta, the national honorary society for history. Her topic was “Converting the Vikings: From Pagan to Christian in Medieval Scandinavia.”

Dr Andrei Znamenski publishes book chapter, assists with U of M Museum of Art exhibit of Soviet propaganda posters

[19 October 2012] Dr Andrei Znamenski has a book chapter, “Neo-Shamanism in the United States,” in Pathways in Modern Western Magic, edited by Nevill Drury and published by Concrescent Press.

He also has helped put together an exhibit of Soviet propaganda posters in cooperation with the University of Memphis Museum of Art.

Dr Suzanne Onstine lectures at Tulane University on the tomb of Panehsy and Tarenut

[15 October 2012] Dr Suzanne Onstine lectured this evening at Tulane University on the tomb of Panehsy and Tarenut at Ancient Thebes, exploring all facets of the life of this ancient tomb, from its construction to how it has continued to play a variety of roles as a living monument over the millennia.

The lecture was sponsored by the American Research Center in Egypt, New Orleans Interest Group and the Department of Anthropology, Tulane University.

Dr Darin Stephanov reports on his postdoctoral work in Finland

[15 October 2012] Dr Darin Stephanov received his doctorate in May 2012, having studied under the direction of Dr Kent Schull. He received a post-doctoral fellowship and reported briefly from Finland just after his arrival there in late August.

In Finland he holds the position of post-doctoral researcher and fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in Helsinki.

Over the next two years, he will be working on a research project, entitled “Images of Rulership, Practices of Monarchic/Dynastic Celebration, and Their Nationalizing Effects in the Late Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1836-1905.” This comparative project will expand earlier research and dissertation work culminating in a book manuscript. It focuses on the fundamental, yet to date largely uncharted process of creation of modern public space and the concurrent formation, rise and hardening of new abstract forms of belonging. Although drawing on the experiences of two late empires only, it has significant implications for a broader study of the transition from imperial to national mind-frames, and ultimately, for analyzing the constituent elements of modernity itself.

He recently wrote an article on ruler visibility, modernity and ethnonationalism in the late Ottoman Empire, which will appear in a forthcoming volume on Ottoman identity throughout the centuries (edited by Kent Schull and Christine Isom-Verhaaren).

Dr Dennis Laumann delivers address at Northwestern University conference on Ghanaian democracy

[12 October 2012] Dr Dennis Laumann addressed a special one-day conference at Northwestern University today. The conference, “Stability Amidst Chaos: Reflections on Two Decades of Ghanaian Democracy,” was sponsored by Northwestern's Program of African Studies, the Department of Sociology, the Weinberg College for the Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School, the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, and the African Students Association.

The conference was organized in anticipation of the December 7th elections in Ghana, with the goal of reflecting on the successes, challenges and prospects for the future as the country continues on its democratic journey. Ghana has been hailed for sustaining its democratic credentials, and for being a model state for the West African sub-region. Since the transition to democratic elections in 1992, Ghana has had five successful elections. However, in light of recent events, particularly the somewhat mysterious illness and death of President Mills and the uncertainty about his successor and the National Democratic Congress party, there may be some interesting developments this year.

Brian McClure presents dissertation prospectus

[5 October 2012] In the first round of presentation of dissertation prospectuses for the academic year 2012-2013, Brian McClure today presented his prospectus on “Educating the Atlantic: The Black Diaspora and Global Exchange at Tuskegee Institute, 1898-1935.”

Dr Susan O’Donovan reads during Banned Books Week

[5 October 2012] As part of the University of Memphis Libraries’ observance of Banned Books Week, Dr Susan O’Donovan read today from Harper Lee’s banned book, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Dr Peter Brand lectures for Archaeological Institute of America

[2 October 2012] Dr Peter Brand lectured this evening at the University of Oklahoma on “Ramesses II: the Ultimate Pharaoh.” The lecture was under the auspices of the Archaeological Institute of America.

He is scheduled to deliver the same lecture under the Institute’s sponsorship in Atlanta on 5 February 2013, on an as yet untitled topic in New Brunswick on 16 November 2012, and on “All in the Family: The Ideological Role of Ramesses II’s Royal Family” at Williamsburg on 6 February 2013.

Endowment Committee announces awards to graduate students for conference and research funding

[28 September 2012] The Endowment Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of conference and research funding for the Fall 2012/Winter Break 2013 period:

  • Michael Blum, conference participation in Pittsburgh in September
  • Rachel Mittelman, research in Egypt in November/December
  • Tiffany Redman, research in Egypt from December to February
  • Amr Shahat, research in Egypt in November/December
  • Elizabeth Warkentin, research in Egypt from December to May

The deadline for Spring/Pre-Session 2013 conference and research funding is 30 November 2012; instructions will be emailed later this semester.

Dr Arwin Smallwood to lead Study Abroad program in Canada during Summer term

[20 September 2012] Dr Arwin Smallwood will lead a Study Abroad program in Canada on the Six Nations Iroquois or People of the Longhouse during the period 1-18 June 2013.

The application deadline is 1 March 2013. The study will be available to undergraduate students, graduate students, and non-degree-seeking audit students. 

The journey begins in Kahnawake, a Mohawk community, where students will attend Iroquoian linguistics and philology seminars, tour historic areas, learn about the spiritual ways of the Nation and the archaeology of the area, and visit with members of the Mohawk Nation. Not only will students learn from members of the Nation, their traditional ways, culture, and stories from members of the nation, they will also be able to discuss the history and culture of all of the Six Nations, especially the Mohawks. Students will also work with the Kahnawake Survival School to learn from teachers and students and help students and teachers expand upon available knowledge of Iroquois history.

To assist in this endeavor, students will also travel to museums such as the McCord Museum of Canadian History and Archives in Montreal, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization and Archives in Ottawa, archaeological sites such as the Droulers site, and colleges and universities such as McGill University's First Peoples’ House, University of Montreal, and Kiuna Institution, a Native junior/community college located in Odanak, Quebec. There will also be a visit to the Pointe-a-Calliere Montreal Museum of History and Archaeology.

From Kahnawake and the Montreal area, students will go to Tyendinaga in Ontario, where they will hear lectures from experts from many college campuses, including Loyalist College,Trent University and McMaster University. Students will also visit Ronathahonni Cultural Center and the Akwesasne Reserve.

A visit to Six Nations of the Grand River, near Toronto, will feature a language workshop, a historic tour, and a visit  to the Woodland Cultural Center. There will be supplementary lectures from professors from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto. Students will also get to meet members of the Oneida Nation  and the Munsee-Delaware Nation.

One of the highlights of this trip is visiting Niagara Falls, where students will get to meet members of the Tuscarora Nation.

At the end of the trip students will be expected to write a paper detailing their experiences and what was learned during the trip through Canada.

For complete information about the program, including the cost and a detailed daily itinerary, visit the description on the Study Abroad site.

For more information, contact Dr Smallwood at asmallwd@memphis.edu or 901.678.3869, or the Study Abroad Office at tigersabroad@memphis.edu or 901.678.2814.

Office hours of instructors of History classes now online

[20 September 2012] The Department of History has for several years posted a listing of current classes with links to the syllabi for those courses. Now an extra item is included in the listing — office hours of the instructors for the courses.

The office hours are listed according to information furnished by the individual instructors and are subject to change at any time.

Dr Dennis Laumann to lead Study Abroad program in Havana during Winter break

[19 September 2012] Dr Dennis Laumann will lead a Study Abroad program, “Afro-Cuban History and Culture in Cuba,” during the Winter break, 29 December 2012-5 January 2012.

The application deadline is 1 October 2012.

The program in Havana, Cuba, will explore the history and culture of Afro-Cubans —  particularly within the context of revolutionary Cuba. Participants will study African roots and slavery in Cuba; Afro-Cuban religion and culture; the achievements and challenges of the Cuban Revolution; and Cuba in Africa.

There will be two class meetings towards the end of the Fall semester to prepare for the trip with course assignments. Participants will then spend one week in Havana during the Winter break, including New Year's Eve. In Cuba, students will hear guest lectures from experts, meet with Afro-Cuban artists and musicians, and visit historic and cultural sites relevant to the course theme. When students return to Memphis, there will be two final class meetings at the start of the Spring semester for wrap-up discussions about the Study-Abroad experience.

Undergraduate students will enroll in an upper division History course entitled “Afro-Cuban History and Culture” in the Spring semester, and graduate students will enroll in a 6000-level section of the same class

For complete information about the program, including the cost and a detailed daily itinerary, visit the description on the Study Abroad site.

For more information, contact Dr Laumann at dlaumann@memphis.edu or 901.678.3392, or the Study Abroad Office at tigersabroad@memphis.edu or 901.678.2814, or download a poster for the program as a PDF document.

“Memphis State Eight” honored at unveiling of historical marker

Front of historical marker

Back of historical marker

[18 September 2012] Seven of the “Memphis State Eight” who were the first black students to be admitted to the university in 1959 were present for the proclamation of Memphis State Eight Day by city mayor A C Wharton and county mayor Mark Luttrell and the unveiling of a historical marker: Eleanor Gandy, Marvis LaVerne Kneeland Jones, Bertha Rogers Looney, Rose Blakney-Love, Luther McClellan, Ralph Prater, and John Simpson. Sammie Burnett-Johnson, who died in 2011, was represented by her sister.

The day began with a brunch in the River Room of the University Center, where the former students spoke with students about their experiences. The ceremonies and the unveiling took place shortly before noon at the southeast corner of the Administration Building, where the historical marker was to be unveiled. Following the unveiling, there was a reception in the River Room.

At upper left below is part of the seated audience. Hundreds more stood in the areas around the seated audience (see the photograph, below, furnished by the office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing). At upper right below are Student Government Association president Russell Born and Black Student Association president Brianna Wilkerson opening the ceremony, with the Memphis State Eight seated behind them.

President Shirley Raines spoke first, followed by city major A C Wharton. County mayor Mark Luttrell spoke next, followed by Tennessee 9th District congressman Steve Cohen. Jimmy Ogle, chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission, spoke immediately before the unveiling of the marker. Luther McClellan spoke for the entire Memphis State Eight group, recalling the experiences they had as students, and vice-president for student affairs Dr Rosie Bingham closed the ceremony.

AudienceSGA and BSA presidents






President RainesMayor Wharton






Mayor LuttrellRepresentative Cohen






Unveiling the markerJimmy Ogle 





Luther McClellanRosie Bingham






The event was sponsored by the Memphis State Eight Historical Marker Committee, the office of Mayor Wharton, the office of Mayor Luttrell, the Shelby County Historical Commission, Student Event Allocation Committee, the Department of History, and African and African American Studies.

The Graduate Association for African and African-American History for many years has honored the "Memphis State Eight" by naming the awards for the best papers presented at its annual conference after them.

ADDENDUM [19 September 2012] The office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing has made available a photograph of the event taken from a vantage point on the roof of the University Center:

Aerial view of the event

It has also prepared a video on YouTube which intermixes interviews with the members of the Memphis State Eight with scenes from the event. 

Dr Robert Yelle publishes book with Oxford University Press

Book cover

[18 September 2012] Oxford University Press has published Dr Robert Yelle’s latest book, The Language of Disenchantment: Protestant Literalism and Colonial Discourse in British India. The book book has an official release date of 19 September 2012 and is now available for purchase in hardcover and paperback.

According to the publisher’s description, this is the first in-depth treatment of the impact of Protestant ideas about language on the colonial encounter between British and Hindus. The Language of Disenchantment explores the ways in which Protestant ideas concerning language influenced British colonial attitudes toward and proposals to reform Hinduism. Protestant literalism, mediated by the textual economy of the printed book, inspired colonial critiques of Indian mythological, ritual, linguistic, and legal traditions. By uncovering the historical roots of the British re-ordering of South Asian discourses, the book challenges representations of colonialism—and the modernity that it ushered in—as simply rational or secular.

In reviewing the book, Dr Jeffrey J. Kripal, J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University, called Dr Yelle’s scholarship “impeccable and nearly exhaustive—patently first-rate” and the writing “precise, clear, and rich.” The book, he added, “is profound and makes a very real and very important contribution to the fields of intellectual history, history of religions, Indian history, the history of Christianity, the history of the study of religion, and, perhaps most interesting of all, the philosophy of language.”

Dr Yelle is an assistant professor in the Department of History and the Helen Hardin Honors Program at The University of Memphis. He received a Ph.D. in the history of religions from the University of Chicago. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he is the author of Explaining the Mantras and The Semiotics of Religion, and co-author of After Secular Law.

Dr Janann Sherman announces retirement; university opens internal search for new chair of the Department of History

[13 September 2012] At the August faculty meeting Dr Janann Sherman announced her plans to retire from teaching and serving as the chair of the Department of History at the end of the current academic year and to move to Maine.

The university has authorized an internal search for a new chairperson and invites applications and nominations for the position. Applicants must have a Ph.D. in history or a related field, tenure at The University of Memphis, an established research program, a record of teaching and service at The University of Memphis, a commitment to academic excellence, and strong interpersonal and administrative skills.

The official posting of the position is at https://workforum.memphis.edu/and full information about the position may be found at https://umdrive.memphis.edu/g-history/www/chair_search.doc. Screening of applicants will begin on 1 October 2012, so applications must be completed by 30 September 2012.

Departmental and other historians supplement Lincoln and the Constitution exhibit with lectures and book discussions

[12 September 2012] The traveling exhibit on Lincoln and the Constitution, which began on 20 August and will continue through 28 September on the second floor of McWherter Library, is supplemented by lectures and book discussions by various scholars, including our own Dr Susan O’Donovan and Dr Scott Marler.

Dr Marler gave the first of four Wednesday-evening lectures in a series on 29 August, on the topic “Ties that Bind,” which he retitled “Thinkin’ with Lincoln.”

The following week, on 5 September, Dr O’Donovan lectured on “The Slaves’ War.” In addition, she did double duty in leading book discussions on Charles B. Dew’s Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War on 31 August and Ira Berlin’s Slaves No More: Three Essays on Emancipation and the Civil War on 7 September, and will lead discussions on Eric Foner’s The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery on 14 September and Tara McPherson’s Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender and Nostalgia in the Imagined South on 21 September.

Sponsorship of the exhibit is shared with Rhodes College and the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change. Dr Tim Huebner, chair of the Department of History at Rhodes, will lecture this evening on “Lincoln and the Constitution." Dr Charles McKinney, associate professor of history and director of the African American Studies Program at Rhodes College, and Ms Daphene McFerren, director of the Hooks Institute, will conclude the series of lectures on 19 September with a lecture on “Legacies.”

The coordinator for the exhibit is Ed Frank, who is the curator of Preservation and Special Collections in the University Libraries. In addition to his degree in librarianship, Mr Frank has a Master of Arts in History from The University of Memphis.

Dr Janann Sherman and Dr Beverly Bond discuss their books on the university's 100-year history on the anniversary date of its opening in 1912

[10 September 2012] Although it could be argued that the university was “born” as early as the 1909 General Education Bill or the May 1910 authorization of the school by the Tennessee Board of Education, what is now The University of Memphis officially began educating students on 10 September 1912 under the name of West Tennessee State Normal School.

Exactly a hundred years later Dr Janann Sherman and Dr Beverly Dr Andrei Znamenski publishes book chapter, assists with U of M Museum of Art exhibit of Soviet propaganda postersBond spoke this evening at a meeting of the West Tennessee Historical Society at Memphis University School on aspects of their recent centennial histories of the university: University of Memphis, a trade paperback published by Arcadia Publishing in its Campus History Series, and Dreamers. Thinkers. Doers. A Centennial HIstory of the University of Memphis, a “coffee table book” with a narrative text and numerous photographs, available through the University of Memphis Bookstore. Frances Breland was a research assistant for both volumes.

Daily Helmsman has article on 2009 Study Abroad group’s giving back to Ghana

[5 September 2012] Dr Dennis Laumann led a Study Abroad group to Ghana in 2009. The group decided to “give back” by donating money for supplies to a village school in the Volta Region of Ghana, near Ho, the region’s capital. In June 2012 Dr Laumann and his wife, Rebecca, who is the assistant director of International Programs and Study Abroad, took the money to Ghana and purchased the supplies, which were then delivered to the school in Atiyeenu, more popularly known by the English name Airfield, due to its proximity to a nearby landing strip.

The departmental newsletter, History Happenings, for August 2012 (available online) recently published an article by Dr Laumann about the visit. Today the Daily Helmsman published an article by Erica Horton that is based on interviews with Rebecca Laumann and Dr Miriam DeCosta-Willis, who was in the 2009 group. It nicely supplements the information in the History Happenings article and is recommended reading.

Departmental newsletter, History Happenings, for August 2012 published

[31 August 2012] The Department of History began the ninth year of publishing its newsletter, History Happenings, with the August 2012 edition today.

In addition to Dr Janann Sherman’s welcome letter which calls attention to recent and upcoming happenings in the department, this issue has the following articles:

  • Dr Peter Brand’s Karnak Great Hypostyle Hall Project and its new website
  • Dr Robert Griffin and Dr Carol Ciscel discussing their recent dissertations
  • Dr James Blythe’s explanation of how he became a medievalist
  • Dr Margaret Caffrey’s editing of the letters of Margaret Mead
  • Amber Colvin's report of her trip to Prague for a conference
  • Dr Dennis Laumann’s explanation of how a Study Abroad class is giving back to Ghana
  • an interview with Dr Robert Yelle about his book After Secular Law
  • Dr Scott Marler’s tour of Graceland with visiting scholar Dr Eric Foner

This newsletter is available online as a PDF document.

History faculty members honored at Arts and Sciences general meeting

[29 August 2012] At the general meeting of the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences last week, several awards went to members of the Department of History:

Dr Aram Goudsouzian won the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Award in the field of the humanities.

The Dean’s Office Award for Advising Excellence went to Dr Beverly Bond in her role as director of African and African American Studies.

Dr Sarah Potter and Dr Robert Yelle have received Professional Development Assignments; both are for the Fall Term 2012.

Dr Susan O’Donovan interviewed on WREG-TV about the exhibit on Lincoln and the Constitution

[27 August 2012] WREG-TV’s Marybeth Conley and Alex Coleman, co-hosts of “Live at 9,” interviewed Dr Susan O’Donovan today about the exhibit on Lincoln and the Constitution. The theme of the discussion was the parallels between “then and now.” The interview, entitled "Constitution & War," is available online.

Pink Palace Crafts Fair seeks volunteer workers

[27 August 2012] The Pink Palace Crafts Fair, which has been a Memphis tradition since 1973, needs 300 volunteers to help 12-14 October 2012 in hosting over 20,000 attendees at this annual community event. Volunteers will get a free t-shirt and admission to the Crafts Fair.  They can explore the fair either before or following their volunteer shift.

Volunteers are needed to help with kids’ crafts or face painting and to assist in the country kitchen, donuts, or parking areas.  Volunteers are requested to return the assignment form by 21 September. For additional information e-mail craftsfairvolunteer@gmail.com or call the Crafts Fair office at 901.636-2365.

Darin Stephanov on postdoctoral fellowship in Finland

[27 August 2012] Darin Stephanov reports from Finland that has just arrived, still getting over jet lag, assembling IKEA items, and finding his way around.

He is in Finland on a two-year postdoctoral researcher position at the Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki.  He will be working on the project “Images of Rulership, Practices of Monarchic/Dynastic Celebration, and Their Nationalizing Effects in the Late Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1836-1905.”

Department welcomes and orients new graduate students

[25 August 2012] Graduate Coordinator James Blythe presided over separate orientations for new teaching assistants and graduate assistants and for other new graduate students this afternoon at the Alumni Center on Normal Street. Following the orientations there was a reception for all the new students.

PIctured here are some of the assistants with Dr Blythe (first row, left), some of the new graduate students with Dr Blythe and Dr Janann Sherman, chair of the department (first row, right), Wendy Clark speaking to the new graduate students about the Graduate History Association (second row, left), and the food table (second row, right):

New TAs and GAsNew graduate students





Wendy Clark and new graduate students

The food table, 2012






Dr James Chumney awarded prize for best article in West Tennessee Historical Society Papers

[25 August 2012] The West Tennessee Historical Society, with several other area historical organizations, met jointly at the annual Shelby County History Awards Dinner at Davies Manor Plantation on 8 August.

At that meeting Vincent Clark, editor of the West Tennessee Historical Society Papers, presented Dr James Chumney with the Marshall Wingfield Award for the best article in the 2011 issue. Dr Chumney’s article was entitled “The Beginning of the University of Memphis.”

Dr Chumney's association with the university has spanned more than half of its century of existence. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from what was then named Memphis State College and returned after completing his doctorate at Rice University to join the Department of History, from which he retired last year. He continues to teach part-time under the post-retirement policy.

Dr Chumney contributed the entry on the University of Memphis to the online Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.

Exhibit on Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War and associated events to be held 20 August - 28 September

[20 August 2012] A traveling exhibit of the American Library Association in collaboration with the National Constitution Center and grant support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, will focus on Abraham Lincoln’s struggle to meet the political and constitutional challenges of the Civil War. Organized thematically, the exhibition explores how Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the war—the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties.

The exhibit itself will be at the McWherter Library, 2nd floor west. It will be supplemented by public lectures by various scholars that will be held in the same location on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 pm and book discussions led by Dr Susan O'Donovan on relevant books to be held in 223 Mitchell Hall on Fridays from 6 to 8 pm. These individual events are listed on our calendar of events on the appropriate dates.

The opening event will be a reception on Wednesday, 22 August, from 4 to 6 pm in the 2nd floor area of McWherter Library. Dramatic readings of texts contemporaneous with the exhibit will be performed by students from the Theater Department of the University of Memphis under the supervision of Lawrence Blackburn.

The local sponsors of the exhibit are the University Libraries, the Department of History, the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, and Rhodes College.

You may download a brochure for the exhibit from https://umdrive.memphis.edu/g-history/www/lincoln_constitution_exhibit.pdf For more information, contact Ed Frank at efrank@memphis.edu or 901.678.8242.

West Tennessee History Day winners honored at Shelby County Historical Commission awards dinner

Dr Susan O'Donovan reading a citation[16 August 2012] At the awards ceremony at the conclusion of West Tennessee History Day on 24 March, Jimmy Ogle, chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission, announced that in addition to receiving their awards that day, the winners would be honored at a dinner in August. The Commission held its annual awards dinner on 8 August, with County Mayor Mark Luttrell on hand to assist in making the awards (which included a plaque and a cash prize).

Not all of the winners of West Tennessee History Day were able to attend the dinner. Here are some pictures of those who were present to receive their awards. At the right is Dr Susan O’Donovan, associate professor of history and coordinator of West Tennessee History Day, reading the citation for one of the awards.

Marisa Rozzi (at left) and Rishika Singh (at right), from Lausanne Collegiate School, were two of the members of the team that won first place in the Senior Group Exhibit category. (The third member, Rebecca Zielenski, was not able to attend.)

Rishika Singh and Mayor Mark LuttrellMayor Mark Luttrell and Marisa Rozzi








 Kira Tucker (at left), from Snowden School, won first place in the Junior Individual Paper category. Emily McClure (at right), from St. Benedict at Auburndale, won first place in the Senior Individual Exhibit category.

Emily McClure and Mayor Mark LuttrellMayor Mark Luttrell and Kira Tucker









Harvard’s Asia Center to publish book by Dr Catherine Phipps

[16 August 2012] Harvard University’s Asia Center will publish Dr Catherine Phipps’ manuscript—Empires on the Waterfront: Japan, Port Cities, and Maritime Imperialism, 1853-1899—next year as part of their Harvard East Asian Monographs series.

The Harvard East Asian Monographs series, initiated in 1956, now totals more than 300 published titles.

Revised Guide for Graduate Students now available

[9 August 2012] The Guide for Graduate Students, newly revised by the Graduate Coordinator, Dr James Blythe, to reflect recent changes in the graduate program in history, is now available.

As before, there is a version of the guide that is divided into sections for more convenient reference and another version that contains the entire document in a single file. The single-file version is available at https://umdrive.memphis.edu/g-history/www/gradguide/guide_complete.html.

Three faculty members promoted, three new faculty members appointed

[9 August 2012] Effective with the beginning of the Fall Semester 2012 three faculty members have been promoted and three new faculty members have appointed.

Dr Aram Goudsouzian was promoted to professor. Dr Suzanne Onstine and Dr Stephen Stein received tenure and were promoted to associate professor. Dr Andrew Daily served last year as a temporary instructor and was selected by the department to be appointed to a tenure-track position as assistant professor. Dr Christine Eisel has been appointed as an instructor. Dr Farid Al-Salim, who specializes in modern Middle East history and Islamic studies, will be a visiting assistant professor.

Karnak Great Hypostyle Hall Project announces new Web site

[6 August 2012] The Karnak Great Hypostyle Hall Project announced its new Web site today. The project, currently headed by Dr Peter Brand of the Department of History, has been engaged for several decades in documenting the epigraphy of the huge structure in the imperial capital of ancient Thebes (modern Luxor, Egypt).

Much of the following information about the Hypostyle Hall is paraphrased or quoted directly from the vast amount of information about the project available on the new Web site.

 Aerial view of the temple at Karnak

Karnak was the largest religious sanctuary in Thebes and was home to the god Amun-Re, king of the Egyptian pantheon. For over 2000 years, successive pharaohs rebuilt and expanded the temples of Karnak, making it the largest complex of religious monuments from the ancient world.

The Nineteenth Dynasty pharaoh Seti I, who reigned c. 1291-1279 BCE, erected his Great Hypostyle Hall, a colossal forest of 134 giant sandstone columns supporting a high clerestory roof and enclosed by massive walls that after 3300 years remain substantially intact today. The Great Hall is vast, covering an acre of land (big enough to contain the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris), and its great columns soar to heights of 20 meters.

Seti I’s craftsmen embellished the walls and columns in the north half of the building with exquisite bas-relief sculptures of the highest quality before the king’s death. Seti’s successor, the celebrated pharaoh Ramesses II, who reigned c. 1279-1213 BCE, commanded his artisans to carve the walls and columns in its southern wing mostly in sunk relief in various phases over the course of his long reign. Thereafter, the Great Hypostyle Hall remained in use for seventeen centuries, down to the end of paganism in Egypt during the fourth century of our era.

The great columnsIn the 1930s, Keith C. Seele’s groundbreaking study of the wall reliefs in this colossal edifice was the first major investigation of the Hall’s decorative reliefs and inscriptions and what these could tell Egyptologists about the history of the early Nineteenth Dynasty.

The “prehistory” of the University of Memphis’ Karnak Hypostyle Hall Project stems from another Chicago scholar, Harold H. Nelson, who during his tenure as Director of the Oriental Institute’s Epigraphic Survey at Luxor, better known as “Chicago House,” made (alone, and in his spare time) drawings of all the wall remeliefs inside the Hall. Some of these appeared in an important article on Theban temple reliefs, but the lion’s share of these drawings remained unpublished and unedited at his death in 1954.

It fell to Dr William J. Murnane, longtime epigraphist on staff at Chicago House, to edit Nelson’s drawings for their publication in 1981. Dr Murnane was the logical choice for this project because it was directly related to his own research interest in the Hypostyle Hall in connection with his doctoral work on Egyptian royal coregencies, particularly that of Seti I and Ramesses II. Dr Murnane was also Chicago House’s senior epigraphist when the Epigraphic Survey’s “official” work on the Hypostyle Hall began by recording of the war scenes of Seti I on the north exterior wall.

Dr Murnane founded the Karnak Hypostyle Hall Project of the University of Memphis in 1990 after he joined the Department of History. Peter Brand was one of his students and worked on the project while he was earning his M.A. in Egyptology here, and after Dr Murnane’s untimely death in 2000 was chosen as his successor in the department and in the project.

The Karnak Great Hypostyle Hall Project is a joint endeavor of The University of Memphis, in Memphis, Tennessee (U.S.A.), and the Université de Québec à Montréal (Canada). It works in cooperation with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Centre Franco-égyptien d'études des temples de Karnak (France) to record and study the Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak and its wealth of inscriptions. Dr Peter J. Brand of The University of Memphis (http://cassian.memphis.edu/history/pbrand/) is the director, and Dr Jean Revez of the Université de Québec à Montréal (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Revez) is the co-director.

The online project had been housed for many years on a server of the College of Arts and Sciences but in its greatly expanded form it was necessary to move it to the larger servers of the university. Users who have bookmarked the old URL will be automatically redirected to the new site but may wish to change their bookmarks to the new URL https://www.memphis.edu/hypostyle/.

The project also has a Facebook presence: https://www.facebook.com/Karnak.Great.Hypostyle.Hall.Project.

Dr Dennis Laumann's book on colonial Africa published by Oxford University Press

Book cover[3 August 2012] Oxford University Press has just published Dr Dennis Laumann’s book, Colonial Africa, 1884-1994, in the African World Histories series which is edited by Dr Trevor Getz. It continues the story of African development begun by Dr Getz’s own book in the series, Cosmopolitan Africa, 1700-1875, which covers the period before formal colonization of Africa by Europeans.

Maxim Matusevich in reviewing the book said, “This is a perfect text to introduce undergraduate students to the history of European colonialism in Africa. It combines topical breadth with lucid analysis, well informed by recent scholarship.” Another reviewer, Esperanza Brizuela-Garcia, said, “Its main strength is that it presents the topic of colonialism both as a historical event to be examined, and as a historiographical debate that has occupied historians for quite some time.”

Dr Susan O’Donovan named to editorial position

[26 June 2012] The board of the Tennessee Historical Society has named Dr Susan O’Donovan to the Board of Editorial Advisors for the Tennessee Historical Quarterly.

Three historians honored at recent “100 Years, 100 Women” celebration

Jan Sherman receiving her commemorative gift[15 June 2012] Actually it wasn't really very recent but we learned only now that photographs are available online from the “100 Years, 100 Women” celebration, which was held on 17 April 2012 at the Holiday Inn at The University of Memphis.

The celebration, sponsored by the Center for Research on Women, African and African-American Studies, and the Department of History, honored women who have contributed to the development of the university over its first hundred years. Over 700 persons attended the celebration.

The photographs are available from the University of Memphis’ photostream on flickr either as an album from which you can choose individual photographs or as a slideshow which shows all the photographs automatically.

Logo of the celebrationThree of the hundred honorees are associated with the Department of History: Dr Janann Sherman, professor and chair of the department; Dr Beverly Bond, associate professor; and Dr Peggy Jemison Bodine, who received her Ph.D. in 1992.

The photographer does not appear to have taken photographs of Dr Bond or Dr Bodine, but Dr Sherman appears in several. Here she is shown receiving a commemorative porcelain plate which bears the logo of the celebration.

Dr F. Jack Hurley lectures at Dixon Gallery on “The American Scene in Art and Photography”

[10 June 2012] Dr F. Jack Hurley, professor emeritus and former chair of the department, lectured this afternoon at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens on “The American Scene in Art and Photography” in connection with the Dixon’s current exhibition Modern Dialect: American Paintings from the John and Susan Horseman Collection.

Dr Hurley traced the development of the American Scene Movement in American art in the 1910s and 1920s and its relationship to the social documentary photography of the 1930s. The photographers who took the famous “dust bowl” photos of the “Okies” and “Arkies” were working in an already well established tradition within American art. In many cases the photographers and the artists knew each other.

During his long career as a historian Dr Hurley wrote books about three of the Farm Security Administration photographers: Portrait of a Decade; Roy Stryker and the Development of Documentary Photography in the Thirties; Marion Post Wolcott: A Photographic Journey; and Russell Lee, Photographer. He also appeared in the 2008 PBS film Documenting the Face of America: Roy Stryker and the FSA/OWI Photographers. In addition he edited Industry and the Photographic Image: 153 Great Prints from 1850 to the Present and he was a co-author of Pictures Tell the Story: Ernest C. Withers Reflections in History.

Dr James Blythe resumes duties as Graduate Coordinator

[8 June 2012] During the Spring Semester 2012 Dr James M. Blythe was on leave and Dr Daniel Unowsky served as the interim Graduate Coordinator for the Department of History. Dr Blythe has now resumed his duties as Graduate Coordinator.

Dr Arwin Smallwood makes presentation and publishes article about race in early America

[31 May 2012] Dr Arwin Smallwood recently began his tenure as a fellow under The National Endowment for the Humanities African-American Challenge Grant Fellowship from the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (read our article about his award). This afternoon he made a presentation in the Fellow’s Forum series on “Common Threads: Cultural Interactions Among Africans, Europeans and Native Americans in Colonial America.”

Dr Smallwood also had an article entitled “A History Long Forgotten: Intersections of Race in Early America” in Oklahoma Humanities magazine for Summer 2012 (available online), a special edition on the theme of reconciliation.

Dr Smallwood’s principal area of research is on the Tuscarora of the Six Indian Nations Iroquois and their impact on blacks and whites in Virginia and North Carolina during the colonial period and the inter-mingling of Native American, African and European cultures in colonial Virginhttps://umdrive.memphis.edu/g-history/www/lincoln_constitution_exhibit.pdfia and North Carolina.

University Press of Florida to publish book by the After Slavery Project

[29 May 2012] The University Press of Florida will publish After Slavery: New Approaches to the Reconstruction South. This volume represents the culmination of a multinational research initiative led by Belfast-based Brian Kelly, London-based Bruce Baker, and Memphis-based Susan O'Donovan, members of the After Slavery Project.

Book signing held for pictorial history of The University of Memphis

[19 May 2012] The Booksellers at Laurelwood held a book signing today for University of Memphis, the pictorial history of The University of Memphis by Dr Janann Sherman, Dr Beverly Bond, and Frances Breland, published by Arcadia.

Department opens search for visiting assistant professor in modern Middle East history

[9 May 2012] The Department of History at The University of Memphis invites applications for a one-year position as visiting assistant professor in the history of the modern Middle East. Candidates must be qualified to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the classroom and on-line.

Minimum Qualifications: Candidates must be in the final stages of a History Ph.D. program (ABD) with preference for a Ph.D. degree in hand. Some higher education teaching experience is required.

Hiring Range: Faculty and Executive/Special Class Commensurate with education and experience.

Special Instructions to Applicants: All applicants will be expected to have at hand, ready for immediate upload: letter of application, curriculum vitae, a short excerpt from the applicant’s dissertation or book or article (upload as “Other”), a reference list with contact information (including email addresses) for two professional references.

Dr Dennis Laumann speaks at University of Missouri on Angolan Civil War

[4 May 2012] Dr Dennis Laumann spoke this evening at the University of Missouri on the topic “Marxism vs White Supremacy: Cuba's Role in the Angolan Civil War.” 

The theme of his lecture was Cuba's supportive role in defeating white supremacists in the Angolan Civil War and in helping to end apartheid in southern Africa.

The lecture was sponsored by the Organization Resource Group at the University of Missouri.

Ryan Phillips awarded Belle McWilliams Scholarship in United States History

[3 May 2012] The Endowment Committee of the Department of History is pleased to announce that Ryan Phillips has been awarded the Belle McWilliams Scholarship in United States History. Mr Phillips is a senior, with a major in history and a minor in political science. The scholarship will provide $2500 for his studies during the Fall semester 2012.

The scholarship is one of the projects made possible by a bequest in 1980 from Major Benjamin Schultze and his sister Mrs. Louise Fellows. They named the fund in honor of Miss Belle McWilliams, their aunt and guardian, “who for 40 years taught American History in the Memphis Public School system.” Another major project funded by the bequest is the Belle McWilliams Lecture Series, which annually brings to the campus outstanding scholars of American history.

Recipients of the scholarship are selected according to the following criteria:

  • Undergraduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences (only Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors are eligible)
  • Resident of the United States
  • Cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher
  • Demonstrated special interest in United States history
  • Diverse extracurricular activities

Graduate History Association and Transcending Boundaries sponsor summer writing co-op

[29 April 2012] The Graduate History Association and the reading group Transcending Boundaries will hold a pizza dinner at 6 pm on 3 May in 223 Mitchell for the purpose of organizing a summer writing co-op. Plans are to have one meeting each week to concentrate on expression, clarity, grammar, style, and the functions of writing, as well as navigating the intricacies of Turabian or Chicago styles of documentation.

Participants are welcome from any level of enrollment from those just entering graduate school to those who are working on their dissertations, whether full-time or part-time, and from any field or school of history. You are invited to bring anything t alt=hat you have already written that you wish to improve on, or entirely new writing.

For more information, e-mail Michael Blum (mblum@memphis.edu) or Wendy Clark (wjclark@memphis.edu).

Dr Peggy Jemison Bodine, Dr Janann Sherman, and Dr Beverly Bond honored among 100 women who made a difference to the university

[27 April 2012] In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Center for Research on Women and 100 years of women at the University of Memphis, CROW, together with African and African-American Studies and the Department of History, hosted a banquet this evening at the Holiday Inn at The University of Memphis honoring 100 women who made a difference to The University of Memphis.

Included in the 100 women who have made a difference to the university were Dr Peggy Jemison Bodine, who received her Ph.D. in history in 1992; Dr Janann Sherman, professor and chair of the Department of History; and Dr Beverly Bond, associate professor of history.

Dr Colin Chapell presents paper at Faculty Research Brown Bag

[27 April 2012] At the last Faculty Research Brown Bag session of the academic year, Dr Colin Chapell presented a chapter from his dissertation that he is revising into a journal article.

Softball game between Clio's Furies and The Critics ends in 8-8 tie

Softball game[26 April 2012] The long-anticipated softball game between the Department of History (Clio’s Furies) and the Department of English (The Critics), played this afternoon at Field 4 in Tobey Park, was a close game from start to finish. Clio’s Furies surged ahead in the top of the 9th inning, only to have The Critics fight back to score a run and tie the score at 8-8 in the bottom of the inning. So the rivalry ended as in Alice in Wonderland: “Everyone has won and everyone must have prizes.”

For an album of more photographs from the game, go to the Facebook page of the Department of History.

[Addendum: 11 May 2012] In its Local News section for 11 May the Commercial Appeal had a photograph of the two teams (available online). The photograph was taken after the game and some of the players are not included.

Dr Arwin Smallwood receives African-American Challenge Grant Fellowship

Early map of North CarolinaAnother early map of North Carolina





  [26 April 2012] Dr Arwin Smallwood has been awarded The National Endowment for the Humanities African-American Challenge Grant Fellowship from the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Map of Indian treatiesWhile at Williamsburg this summer, beginning in May 2012, he will continue his work on the Tuscarora of the Six Indian Nations Iroquois and their impact on blacks and whites in Virginia and North Carolina during the colonial period and the inter-mingling of Native American, African and European cultures in colonial Virginia and North Carolina.

Dr Smallwood's research examines the fact that early North Carolina was originally part of colonial Virginia and later, after its separation from Virginia, included Tennessee until  North Carolina allowed Tennessee to form its own government after the American Revolution.

He is particularly intereDr Dennis Laumann spoke this evening at the University of Missouri on the topic “Marxism vs White Supremacy: Cuba's Role in the Angolan Civil War.”sted in the fact that many families who settled early Tennessee originated in North Carolina. He notes that eastern Tennessee was settled by families from western North Carolina, a number of whom were of Native-White and Native-African-White mix, and that west Tennessee, including Memphis and several communities around it such as Millington, Brownsville, and Holly Springs, were settled by families from eastern North Carolina, thus the similarities in names such as Mitchell, Hyde, Smith, Bond, Williams, Pugh, and Freeman, among others.

Karen Jackett wins award as Outstanding Full-Time Clerical Employee in the College of Arts and Sciences

Dean's award to Karen Jackett

Karen Jackett with award[25 April 2012] Karen Jackett, Graduate Secretary for the Department of History, received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Full-Time Clerical Employee in the College of Arts and Sciences in a ceremony held today in the Bluff Room of the University Center.

Since the award was instituted in 1993, four of our office staff have won it. Ann Rand, who was then the Office Manager, won it in 1997; Karen Bradley, who is now our Administrative Associate, won it in 2004; and Amanda Sanders, who has since left the university, won it in 2005.

The criteria for the award are that the employee:

  • Must have been a full-time clerical employee in the College of Arts and Sciences for at least two years.
  • Must possess skills and characteristics of an outstanding full-time clerical employee such as:
    • a pleasant, caring, and helpful attitude
    • dependability
    • willing to “go the extra mile”
    • knowledge and skills to do the job well
    • communicates and interacts well with fellow employees, faculty, students, and external public
    • presents a professional image
    • good sense of humor
    • copes with diversity well
    • good self-esteem and confidence
  • Must not have received this award within the past 5 years

Replica of Ramesses II statue officially installed

[24 April 2012] A huge limestone statue of Ramesses II, 19th-dynasty pharaoh who reigned circa 1279-1212 BCE, was the centerpiece of the Wonders exhibition entitled “Ramesses the Great” in 1987. More than 674,000 persons viewed the exhibition, netting the city a considerable sum in admission fees. After the exhibition, former Memphis mayor Dick Hackett gained permission from the Egyptian government to replicate the statue for the Pyramid in downtown Memphis, where it has stood since 1991 — until yesterday, when it was moved to the campus of The University of Memphis and placed between the Music Building and the Theatre and Communications Building. The City of Memphis has leased the replica to The University of Memphis for 99 years for $1 per year, contributed by a private donor. Other private donors paid for the transportation of the replica from the Pyramid to the campus.
Replica of Ramesses II statue

There are links from the city and the university to Ramesses II. The original statue stood at the ancient capital of Memphis, for which the city of Memphis was named in the 1820s. Ramesses II helped to decorate a major part of the Great Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of Karnak (begun by his father, Seti I) where students and faculty conduct fieldwork and research. The fieldwork project, begun by the late Dr William J. Murnane and continued by Dr Peter Brand (visit the Web site for the project), has received three grant awards from the National Endowment for the Arts.The statue will also be an apt symbol of the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology and the Art Museum, which has a special section on Egyptology.

Mayor A C WhartonPresident Shirley Raines








 The official installation of the replica was held this afternoon. President Shirley Raines welcomed the guests and introduced City Mayor A C Wharton, who spoke further about the significance of the statue for the city and the university (noting that the city was having a "money crunch," he jokingly requested that the $99 for the lease be paid in advance).

Dean Richard RantaHoney Schedit








 Ms Honey Scheidt, who had been instrumental in bringing the Ramesses exhibition to Memphis in 1987, spoke briefly about the exhibition.

Dean Richard Ranta of the College of Communications and Fine Arts then spoke about the Egyptology programs at The University of Memphis, introducing the Egyptologists who staff those programs.

The University of Memphis has two separate departments that offer graduate degrees with a concentration in Ancient Egypt. The Department of Art in the College of Communication and Fine Arts offers the Master of Arts program in Art History (read about it). The Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences offers both the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy with a concentration in Egyptology (read about it). Students enrolled in either program are free to take classes in both departments. However, the programs are entirely separate. Each program has specific requirements and the student’s advisor has the final authority to approve extra-departmental classes.


Dean Ranta noted that no university in the nation has more Egyptologists than does The University of Memphis. Dr Lorelei Corcoran (middle above) is the director of the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology; Dr Patricia Podzorski (front) is its curator of Egyptian art; Dr Nigel Strudwick (partially obscured behind Dr Corcoran) is a visiting assistant professor of Egyptology with the Institute during the period that Dr Mariam Ayad is on leave (Dr Ayad is an affiliate of the Institute and director of Opening of the Mouth Epigraphic Project at the Tomb of Harwa); Dr Peter Brand (above right) from the Department of History is a research associate of the Institute and director of the Great Hypostyle Hall Project; and Dr Suzanne Onstine (above left) from the Department of History is an affiliate of the Institute and director of the Theban Tomb 16 Project (Tomb of Pahnesy).

Egyptology studentsSeveral Egyptology students from both departments were also present and were introduced as a group. Three of them were from the Department of History: Liz Warkentin (front row, middle); Erika Feleg (rear row, partially obscured by Liz Warkentin); and Andrew Shilling (at left, wearing dark shirt and shorts), who is just entering the Egyptology program.

(The photographs of both the Egyptologists and the Egyptology students were taken after the installation ceremony instead of at the time Dean Ranta was making the introductions.)

As Dean Ranta noted in his remarks, moving the replica from the Pyramid to the campus was a form of recycling. Ramesses II, he said, was the original recycler. The limestone statue in Egypt was actually about 700 years older than the reign of Ramesses II,  representing a 12th-dynasty king named Sesostris. Ramesses II usurped it, retouching the facial features and chest area and adding his personal cartouche to make it his own. According to Dr Corcoran, such usurping was a common practice by Egyptian rulers: “We might see it as stealing, but they [the Egyptians of the time] looked at it in a very positive way, in the sense that it underscores the idea of the continuity of leadership and divine kingship in ancient Egypt.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” is thought to have been inspired by a similar colossal statue of Ramesses II that was acquired by the British Museum. (Ozymandias is a Greek transliteration of a part of Ramesses’ throne name, User-maat-re Setep-en-re). The poem in its manuscript version reads:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Ramesses II statue in Memphis, EgyptThe limestone statue had a similar fate. It was discovered in 1961, lying in a ditch in Egypt, broken into more than 40 pieces and partially submerged in water. When the “Ramesses the Great” exhibition was touring the United States, the statue was restored at a cost of almost $100,000, with the Coca-Cola Company being a major contributor. It then joined the exhibition tour at Memphis and later went to other cities. After the tour it was returned to Egypt, where it was installed in a outdoor museum setting in the ruins of ancient Memphis, Egypt. It is shown here in a photograph by Chmouel Boudjnah from the Wikimedia Commons.

The limestone statue that was brought to Memphis in 1987 weighed 50 tons. The replica, made of fiberglass, weighs much less — only about 5,000 pounds — but a special base had to be prepared for it to rest on in its new location, lest it crack the sidewalk. The statue also has bracing designed to withstand 90-miles-per-hour winds.

The replica of Ramesses is the second iconic symbol to be installed on the campus within a week. The bronze tiger representing the athletics mascot was placed in front of the University Center on Friday. The Commercial Appeal commented on both in an editorial this morning entitled “U of M symbols matter” (available online):

“They are valuable because they represent much of what truly matters to a university over the long-term — loyalty to the institution, a connection to the people who have attended and the city, an enduring reminder of the university as a memorable, interesting place.”

Speaking specifically about the replica, the editorial said: “The Egyptian statue speaks to the origins of Memphis in history — and to the outstanding Egyptology program at the university. Plus, it's just a very cool icon that will be an instant hit on campus.”

[ADDENDUM: 2 May 2014] The university has uploaded a video to YouTube which shows the transfer of the Ramesses statue from the Pyramid to The University of Memphis.

Endowment Committee announces Dissertation Writing Fellowships

[24 April 2012] The Endowment Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of Dissertation Writing Fellowships for the 2012-2013 academic year:

One-semester awards:

  • James D. Conway, “Moderated Militants in the Age of Black Power: The Memphis NAACP”
  • Michael Lejman, “Being Different: The Life and Work of Albert Memmi”
  • Katarzyna Scherr, “Agriculture as Ideology: Elite Identity and Agricultural Representation in Ancient Egypt”

Full-year awards:

  • Mark D. Janzen, “The Iconography of Humiliation: The Depiction and Treatment of Bound Foreigners in New Kingdom Egypt”
  • Jack Lorenzini, “‘Harsh as truth and as uncompromising as justice’: The Free Speech Movement and Its Impact in Memphis State University 1965-1966”

Jared Krebsbach and Rachel Mittleman present preview of Egyptology papers

[23 April 2012] Many in Memphis will not be making the trip to the April conference of the American Research Center in Egypt, to be held in Providence, Rhode Island, and would not otherwise be able to hear the papers to be presented by Jared Krebsbach and Rachel Mittleman, two doctoral students in Egyptology. As a preview, the two presented their papers at a special session this afternoon.

Jared Krebsbach presented “Fact and Fiction: Achaemenid Persian Perceptions of Egypt and Nubia during the 27th Dynasty” and Rachel Mittleman presented “Ceramics as an Ethnic Identifier: Libyans in the Eastern Nile Delta during the Third Intermediate Period.”

Katarzyna Scherr receives award for best prospectus

[20 April 2012] The Endowment Committee of the Department of History is pleased to announce that Katarzyna Scherr is the recipient of the Best Prospectus Award for the 2011-2012 academic year and would like to support and encourage her research with an award of $500. The committee offers a Best Prospectus Award every Fall and Spring semester or academic year, depending on the number and quality of presentations.

Ms Scherr is a doctoral candidate in Egyptology. She presented her prize-winning dissertation prospectus on 20 January 2012 on “Agriculture as Ideology: Elite Identity and Agricultural Representation in Ancient Egypt.”

Dr Janann Sherman to leave entire estate to fund scholarship in History

[19 April 2012] Dr Janann Sherman, professor and chair of the department, plans to leave her entire estate to fund a scholarship for a graduate student in the Department of History, according to an article by Christopher Whitten that appeared in today's issue of The Daily Helmsman.

The article quotes Dr Sherman as saying, “I’m leaving it all — whatever is left that I haven't managed to spend before I die. My home, money and life insurance policy will all go to The University.”

“I have no obvious heirs, I have no kids, and my husband is deceased. What better way to leave behind a legacy than with a perpetuity?” she said.

“I want to give back,” she said. “I found a lot of inspiration when I came here. Students struggle against pretty large odds—two jobs or a family. I find that inspiring. I've seen what a little money can do. Or even without money, just the award can inspire students to overcome and do better. I don't think you can set a price on that.”

Dr Sherman will speak tomorrow at the third annual Columns Society luncheon, scheduled  to take place from 11:30 am to 1 pm, in the University Center River Room to honor charitable givers to the university. Membership in the society is open to anyone who has made provisions for The U of M Foundation through a variety of estate planning options. There are more than 150 individuals and couples currently in the Columns Society but the group honors their deceased members as well.

Dr Aram Goudsouzian chairs session at civil and human rights conference

[19 April 2012] Dr Aram Goudsouzian chaired the session “Government Debates and Their Impact on Civil and Human Rights” this afternoon as part of the Human Rights and Civil Rights Conference of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change.

The theme of this year's conference is “Toward a More Perfect Union: Civil Rights, Human Rights, and Creating a New Age of Social Responsibility.” The conference will continue through tomorrow. The keynote address will be given at 6 pm this evening by Julian Bond, civil rights activist and former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Dr Dennis Laumann receives teaching award from the Honors Program

Dennis Laumann and Melinda Jones[18 April 2012] Students in the Hardin Honors Program selected Dr Dennis Laumann as the recipient of the 2011-12 Excellence in Honors Teaching Award. Dr Melinda Jones, director of the Honors Program, presented the award to him at a dinner this evening.

The dinner also recognized graduating honors students and several honors students who received national and campus awards. Among the guests were President Shirley Raines and Vice President Rosie Bingham (Dr Bingham contributed the photograph of the presentation of the teaching award).

Dr Laumann won the teaching award from the Honors Program for the second time, having done so in 2003-2004 also, so he is ineligible to receive it again. He has won other teaching awards — the 2006-07 Thomas W. Briggs Foundation's Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2006 Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Centennial project of Oral History Research Office featured in Memphis Magazine

 [14 April 2012] The Spring 2012 issue of The University of Memphis Magazine has an article by Laura Fenton entitled “Blasts from the Past” about the interviews about the first hundred years of the university's history that are being conducted by the Oral History Research Office under the direction of Dr Charles W.em Crawford. The goal is to interview a hundred persons before the end of the centennial year; more than fifty have already been conducted.

One of the interviews was conducted long before the current project was conceived. Dr Crawford interviewed Ernest C. Ball in 1987. He described Ball as “sitting on the steps of the Administration Building in 1912, waiting for the doors to open,” and he knew that Ball's stories about the early years of the university would be valuable archival material. Ball later served as superintendent of Memphis City Schools and E. C. Ball Hall on the campus is named for him.

Other interviewees mentioned in the article, along with interesting anecdotes from their reminiscences, are Dr Victor Feisal, former vice president for Academic Affairs; Ralph Prater and Eleanor Gandy, two of the “Memphis State Eight” who were the first black students at the university in 1959; Allie Prescott, current president of the Alumni Association; and Dr Jerry Boone, former vice president for Academic Affairs and interim president of the university.

All interviews will be available to the public through the Preservation and Special Collections department of University Libraries during school hours. The interviews may eventually be placed online.

The article is on pages 30-33 of the printed Magazine and is available online on the university's Web site.

Ann Mulhearn presents her research at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch

[13 April 2012] It has been the tradition for several years that the last Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch of the academic year features a graduate student presenting her research. Following that tradition, Ann Mulhearn spoke today on her recently-defended dissertation, “Southern Graces: Women, Faith, and the Quest for Social Justice, Memphis, 1950-1969.”

Dr Janann Sherman speaks at Pink Palace on her book about Phoebe Omlie

[12 April 2012] Dr Janann Sherman spoke this evening at the Pink Palace Museum about her book, Walking on Air: The Aerial Adventures of Phoebe Omlie.

The new control tower at Memphis International Airport is named for Ms Omlie and her husband Vernon, commemorating their contributions to the aviation industry in Memphis during the 1920s and 1930s. The departmental newsletter for December 2011 contains an article entitled “Phoebe Omlie Returns Home” that explains why the naming process took almost 30 years to complete.

Dr Kent Schull gives “informance” about Arabian Nights

 [12 April 2012] The Arabian Nights, Mary Zimmerman’s play about the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, opened at the University of Memphis Mainstage Theatre this evening and will be performed again on 13-14 and 19-21 April.

Before the opening performance, Dr Kent Schemmargin-left: 30px;ull, assistant professor, gave an “informance” on the play in the lobby of the Communication and Fine Arts Building, illuminating the complicated origins of the tales, their literary themes, and their connections to the cultures of the Middle East over the centuries. 

History faculty and alumnus participate in CAS Great Conversations

[10 April 2012] Three faculty members and one alumnus of the Department of History participated this evening in the 2012 Great Conversations event sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Begun in 2002, the purpose of this annual dinner is to to bring community guests together with award-winning research and teaching faculty for an evening of dining and conversation.

Dr Janann Sherman and Dr Beverly Bond conducted a table dedicated to conversation about the history of The University of Memphis, based on their two recent books, Dreamers. Thinkers. Doers. A Centennial History of The University of Memphis, published by the university, and University of Memphis, published by Arcadia Publishing.

Dr Aram Goudsouzian's table talked about about Bill Russell and the basketball revolution, based on his book of the same name, published by the University of California Press.

Dr Thomas Appleton, professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University, graduated in 1971 with honors in history and foreign languages and went on to the University of Kentucky for his graduate work. His table talked about “The Real Housewives of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” While Americans know of the presidents who have been assassinated or died in office, the misfortunes of the first ladies are much less well known. The conversation was about how first ladies have suffered more misfortune while in the White House than have their husbands.

Department conducts Phi Alpha Theta initiation and History awards day

[7 April 2012] Phi Alpha Theta initiated its new members and the Department of History made awards to its outstanding students this evening at a banquet held this evening in the River Room of the University Center.

Daniel SharfsteinAfter the banquet, Phi Alpha Theta's faculty sponsor, Dr Sarah Potter, asked Dr Beverly Bond to introduce the speaker, Dr Daniel Sharfstein. Dr Sharfstein, associate professor of law at Vanderbilt University, based his remarks on his recent book, The Invisible Line: A Secret History of Race in America, in which he told the story of three families who originated as persons of color but who came to be regarded as white: the Gibsons, wealthy landowners in the South Carolina backcountry, became white in the 1760s, ascending to the heights of the Southern elite and ultimately to the U.S. Senate; the Spencers, hardscrabble farmers in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, joining an isolated Appalachian community in the 1840s and for the better part of a century hovering on the line between white and black; and the Walls, fixtures of the rising black middle class in post–Civil War Washington, D.C., only to give up everything they had fought for to become white at the dawn of the twentieth century.


Following Dr Sharfstein's address, Amber Colvin and Michael Nerby-Sarafolean, president and vice-president of Phi Alpha Theta, conducted the initiation of new members of the honor society. Initiates included Kevin Armstrong, Conner Bass, Wesley Carter, Justin Caughlin, Averill Conway, Charles Cooper, Brianna Daniel, Robert Davis III, David DuBois, Joseph Endler, Sean Folk, Martha Fouche, Robin Haner, Atlanta Heathman, Robert Hunt, Cayce Jeanes, Pamela Johnson, Christy Joyner, Adam Kellerman, Lauren Killingsworth, Patricia Lawrence, Johna Likins, Lydia Loden, Jonathan Lohnes, Matthew Martin, Brendan Parsons, Christopher Patterson, Scott Peters, Kelly Rematta, Suzanna Stanley, Mary Stepheny, Jonathan Swann, Walt Ulbricht, David Walker, Carol Wardell, and Daniel Woodard.

Catherine PropstAmber Colvin

Dr Janann Sherman, chair of the department, then presided over the presentation of the awards, assisted by Dr Potter. Catherine Propst (shown left above) received the 2012 Major L. Wilson Undergraduate Paper Prize, and Amber Colvin (shown right above) received the Wilson award for the best graduate paper.

Charles CrabtreeRobert Griffin and Carol Ciscel

Charles Crabtree (shown left above) was awarded the 2012 Tennessee Historical Commission Prize for the uliemndergraduate history student with the highest grade point average. Dr Carol Ciscel and Dr Robert Griffin (shown right above), and Dr Shirletta Kinchen (not present) received Outstanding Dissertation Prizes for 2009-2012.

Vincent ClarkNatalie Koho, who was not present, received the Outstanding Master's Thesis Prize for 2009-2012, and Michael Blum, also not present, received the 2011-2012 Outstanding Graduate Assistant Teaching Award. Vincent Clark (shown left) received the 2011-2012 Outstanding Adjunct Teaching Award.

President Amber Colvin closed the meeting with thanks to various persons who helped to make the event a success.



Banquet guests

Dr Robert Yelle contributes post to The Immanent Frame

[6 April 2012] Dr Robert Yelle, assistant professor, has contributed a post on “Christian Genealogies of Religious Freedom” to The Immanent Frame, an online exchange edited by the Social Science Research Council. His post may be found at http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2012/04/06/christian-genealogies-of-religious-freedom/.

The Immanent Frame publishes interdisciplinary perspectives on secularism, religion, and the public sphere. It serves as a forum for ongoing exchanges among leading thinkers across the social sciences and humanities, featuring invited contributions and original essays that have not been previously published in print or online. More information on The Immanent Frame can be found at http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/about/.

Department announces Belle McWilliams Scholarship in American History for Fall 2012

[5 April 2012] The Department of History will award a $2500 scholarship in American history for Fall 2012. The recipient must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be an undergraduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences (only sophomores, uniors, and seniors are eligible)
  • Be a resident of the United States
  • Have a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher
  • Demonstrate a special interest in United
  • States history
  • Have diverse extracurricular activities

The deadline for filing a complete application is Friday, 20 April, by 4 pm.

Direct any questions about the scholarship to Dr. Dennis Laumann, dlaumann@memphis.edu.

Endowment Committee awards funds for graduate research and conferences 

[5 April 2012] The Endowment Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of pre-session/summer 2012 research and conference funding:

  • Michael Blum for research in Knoxville
  • Mark D. Janzen for research in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston
  • Brian McClure for research in Washington, DC
  • Rachel Mittelman for conference participation in Vienna

The deadline for Fall 2012 funding requests is 1 September; application instructions will be emailed in mid-summer.

Dr Janann Sherman receives Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Award

Beverly Bond[4 April 2012] The Department of History was well represented at the ceremony for the 37th Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Rights Award in the University Center Theatre this afternoon. Many faculty and staff members were present, Dr Beverly Bond presided over the event, Kaylin Ewing helped to read the roll of previous recipients, and Dr Janann Sherman received the award.

Dr Rosie Phillips Bingham, vice president for student affairs, gave the welcome. The Reverend Dr Andre Johnson, instructor in African and African-American Studies, gave the invocation. Sharenda Jones, a senior in political science, explained the purpose of the awards, which included a scholarship to a student. Rishira Lamari Smith, who was last year's recipient of the scholarship, presented the scholarship to Nhat Minh Le, a junior in chemistry. Dr Vivian Gunn Morris, assistant dean of the College of Education, presented the King award to Dr Sherman, who then spoke about her background. Kaylin Ewing, graduate assistant in history, and Shernita Heard ended the ceremony by reading the roll of the 36 previous recipients of the award.

Kaylin Ewing and Shernita HeardA condensed version of Dr Sherman’s remarks follows:

I am deeply honored to be selected for this award. I can think of none other I could cherish more. Beyond the recognition itself, it is a validation of my deep commitment to social and racial justice.

In my case, this commitment stems from a combination of my personal history and the empowerment of education.

I grew up in poverty and struggle, in a large family with a small income.

After I graduated from high school, I was put to unpaid work in my father’s laundry. College? That was never discussed. People like me did not go to college.

It was only after the tragedy of my husband’s descent into blindness, making him a service-connected disabled veteran, that we learned I could go to college on his unused G.I. Bill.

Janann ShermanWhen I went to enroll in North Arkansas Community College at the age of 35, I didn't think they'd let me in. My high school grades were terrible; I refused to provide my transcripts, arguing that it had been 18 years since I’d graduated and asking to take a test.

I did well on the ACT, surprising everyone, especially me. After completing my associate’s degree, I went on to pursue my bachelor's at The School of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri. I majored in history and psychology and secured a secondary social studies teaching certificate.

I was extremely fortunate to have a wonderful mentor. I cannot overstress how important mentoring is in changing lives. My history professor convinced me that I could go farther. I could go to graduate school. I didn’t know what that was.

He convinced me there was money to assist good students and he helped me apply for graduate schools.

I can describe what happened next no other way: I hit the jackpot. At the age of 42, I was awarded a full five-year fellowship to Rutgers University in New Jersey to obtain my M.A. and Ph.D. I got my Ph.D. at the age of 49 and achieved my goal of an academic job at age 50 at the University of Memphis.

Let me just say here that I fell in love with learning. I had no idea that there was a life of the mind, a life built around reading and thinking and grand ideas. I’m still in love with that world and frequently stop to think about how fortunate I was to find this life, and to live it.

So let me return to my point. Growing up, I knew that I was not responsible for my plight, but I had no way to think about it. It was education that enabled me to see that the rules are stacked for the advantage of some and the disadvantage of others. While some move easily toward the American dream, others are denied access, possibilities, opportunities.

I got access because of an accident of fate and a piece of progressive legislation (GI Bill); I found possibilities through the intervention of my mentor.

I found opportunities because of the color of my skin and my gender with another piece of progressive legislation—Affirmative Action (you may know that white women have historically been the chief beneficiaries of Affirmative Action).

Now it is my duty to pass it on.

I think of myself as a storyteller. It is little wonder that I choose to spread the stories about those who begin with little—and with the rules stacked against them—who struggle, persevere, and ultimately make this world better for us all.

Coming to Memphis was fortuitous to my life and work. I landed in a place with an incredibly rich history of struggle and perseverance-- inspiring stories to share as broadly as I could—in books, in public talks, in the classroom.

I firmly believe—with my whole progressive heart—that education and especially historical education is empowering. Understanding how the world works, how the rules have been set and why—all this is essential to figuring out how to make it better.

It is my hope that these sorts of stories will inspire every one of us to continue the struggle toward the ultimate goal of equity and fairness for all.

 Dr Andrew Daily presents paper at Faculty Research Brown Bag

[30 March 2012] Dr Andrew Daily presented a draft of a journal article entitled “A School for Nationalism: Antillean Student Activism in Metropolitan France, 1946-1964” at today’s session of the Faculty Research Brown Bag.

Department publishes March 2012 edition of the newsletter History Happenings

[28 March 2012] The Department of History published the March 2012 edition of its newsletter, History Happenings, today. It is available as a PDF document.

The issue is in memory of Dr Abraham D. “Abe” Kriegel, who died unexpectedly on 18 January 2012.

Dr Dennis Laumann wins teaching award from the Honors Program

[26 March 2012] Students in the Hardin Honors Program have selected Dr Dennis Laumann as the recipient of the 2011-12 Excellence in Honors Teaching Award. This is the second time that he has won the award from the program, having done so in 2003-2004 also.

The award will be officially conveyed at the Honors Awards Dinner on Wednesday, April 18.

In addition to the awards from the Honors Program, Dr Laumann has received the 2006-07 Thomas W. Briggs Foundation's Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2006 Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Department hosts West Tennessee History Day

[24 March 2012] The Department of History hosted the West Tennessee regional competition of Tennessee History Day today in the University Center. The theme for this year is Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History. Categories included essays, exhibits, performances, documentaries, and web sites at both the junior and senior levels.

Winners of school competitions in the western region of Tennessee are eligible to advance to the state level in Nashville in April, and winners there will advance to National History Day at the University of Maryland in June.

At the awards ceremony concluding the competition, Dr Susan O’Donovan, director of West Tennessee History Day, introduced Dr Janann Sherman, chair of the department, who in turn introduced special guests: Dr Cathy Gorn, executive director of National History Day, who noted that our department has sponsored History Day since 1980; University President Shirley Raines; Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell; and Jimmy Ogle, chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission. All of them urged the study of history, regardless of a student’s plans for a career. Mr Ogle noted that there will be a special dinner of the Historical Commission in August and that winners today, along with a teacher chosen for special achievement, will be guests on that occasion.

Dr Sherman then presided over the announcements about the winners, and when they mounted the podium the winners received a certificate from Mayor Luttrell and a medal from President Raines. Graduate assistants Caroline Mitchell and MIcki Kaleta assisted in handing out the awards.

[Addendum: 25 March 2012] Reporter Chelsea Boozer and photographer Brandon Dill had an article in today’s Commercial Appeal about West Tennessee History Day. The article has brief excerpts from the remarks made by Mayor Luttrell and President Raines. It is online at http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/mar/25/w-tenn-history-day/.

[Addendum: 1 April 2012]  Lausanne Collegiate School's director of marketing and communications contributed an article about the school's winners in West Tennessee History day that appeared in today's Commercial Appeal along with photographs of two of the winning entries in the category of senior group exhibits. It is online at http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/apr/01/history-competition-sweeping-victory/.

Dr Andrew Daily speaks at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch

[16 March 2012] Dr Andrew Daily spoke today in the Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch series on the topic “Windrush: Black Europe in the Postwar World.”

Dr Aram Goudsouzian chosen to receive CAS Distinguished Research Award for 2012

[14 March 2012] Dr Aram Goudsouzian has been chosen to receive the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Award for 2012.

The ceremony for the award will be held at the fall faculty meeting of the College of Arts and Sciences in August.

Ann Mulhearn named as US-Norway Fulbright Foundation Roving Scholar in American Studies

[13 March 2012] The US-Norway Fulbright Foundation has named Ann Mulhearn a Roving Scholar in American Studies for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Each year, The U.S.-Norway Fulbright Foundation offers two to three awards for roving scholars to visit lower secondary schools (student ages 14-16) or upper secondary schools (ages 16-18).

The Fulbright Roving Scholars Program was established in 1987, and brings highly skilled American teachers to Norway to teach and lead seminars for both students and teachers.  Roving Scholars are expected to be broadly knowledgeable in a variety of fields; their lessons focus on American history and culture, often combined with innovative and inspiring ideas on pedagogy and teaching methods. The Roving Scholar Program is a unique Norwegian Fulbright opportunity that does not exist in other countries.

Roving Scholars are based in Oslo, but travel throughout the country at the Foundation's expense.

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) assists in the administration of the Fulbright Scholar Program for faculty and professionals.

Seven students awarded Master of Arts degrees at winter commencement

[6 March 2012] The following students received the Master of Arts degree at the winter 2012 commencement:

  • Trisha E. Ellison
  • Natalie R. Koho, who write a thesis on “Devastated Utopias, or How to Leave a Legacy: Communist Art and Personality Cults in 20th Century Russia, China and Cambodia” under the direction of Dr Catherine Phipps
  • Amelia S. Mayahi
  • James R. Moon
  • Don C. Reynolds
  • Erin I. Rohlfing
  • Emily R. Schwimmer, who wrote a thesis on “A Tale of Two Plantations: The Comparative Development of the Ensley and Davies Plantations in Shelby County,Tennessee, and the Museums that Interpret Them” under the direction of Dr Aram Goudsouzian

Letoshia Foster and Charles deWitt present dissertation prospectuses

 [2 March 2012] Letoshia Foster and Charles deWitt presented their prospectuses today. Ms Foster presented "Medical Care and the Needy—Women, Infants and Children in Memphis, Tennessee: 1877-1915" and Mr deWitt presented "Ride that Gospel Train! The Blackwood Brothers Quartet and their Influence on Southern Gospel Quartet Music."

Dr Eric Foner delivers Belle McWilliams Lecture on Abraham Lincoln and slavery

[23 February 2012] Dr Eric Foner, Dewitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia University, delivered the Belle McWilliams Lecture for 2011-2012 this evening. In connection with the 150th anniversary of the drafting of the Emancipation Proclamation, he discussed his latest book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, exploring the complex evolution of Lincoln’s views about slavery from his Kentucky roots through his presidential vision for post-Civil War America.

Foner lecturingDr Foner began by noting that many recent books about Lincoln are introspective and self-referential, not considering or at least slighting the outside world. He intended his book to “put Lincoln back into history,” specifically the history of the American slavery issue.

What Charles Sumner called the “anti-slavery enterprise” ranged from gradualists and colonizers on the more conservative wing to radical abolitionists on the other. Lincoln occupied different positions on this spectrum at different times, showing his capacity for growth. (Dr Foner observed that while Lincoln’s position changed, at any given time everything in his position was consistent.) Lincoln was not an abolitionist, Dr Foner said, but rather a politician virtually all his life. While he was a member of the Whig Party, slavery was not an issue for him because of his concern that a debate about slavery would destroy the party as a national entity. It was only in the 1850s, when the Whigs did disintegrate and Lincoln joined the Republican Party that he began to speak about slavery. Even then, he denied being a believer in “Negro equality,” basing his opposition to slavery on its violation of the Declaration of Independence’s principles of liberty and pursuit of happiness. He believed that all persons had the right to enjoy the fruits of their labors, and therefore slavery was theft.

Lincoln said he always hated slavery. Why, Dr Foner asked, was he not an abolitionist? Politically, Lincoln could not afford to be an abolitionist. There were few in Illinois and they were sometimes were lynched. Lincoln’s guiding principle was always his reverence for the Constitution and his firm belief in self-government. He did not believe in Manifest Destiny, however, maintaining that America should lead by example instead of forcing itself upon other peoples.

Lincoln’s original views were that slaves should be freed but that they should then be colonized in other parts of the world so that there would be no social or economic problems resulting from their freedom. While Henry Clay had argued for colonization on the grounds that freed slaves in America would be dangerous, even criminal, Lincoln believed that American racism would always prevent freedmen from advancing themselves, so their only hope was colonization.

Lincoln’s initial efforts proved fruitless. When he urged Delaware, which had only 1800 slaves, to take the lead in working toward abolition, he was soundly rebuffed. Similarly, when he presented the proposal to the other slave-holding border states, which had more slaves, he had no success. When he urged blacks in the District of Columbia to work for colonization, once more his appeal was rejected. Lincoln had to come up with something new. Lincoln did not think the Civil War was originally intended to abolish slavery, but abolitionists pressed the issue. His first movement in that direction was to permit the slaves who flocked to Union forts to be regarded as “contraband of war” — which meant that he regarded them as Confederate property being used illegally against the Union. As the war dragged on, Congress was moving more and more toward abolition: the war was not being won and many urged an attack on slavery as being the only way to destroy the Confederacy’s power; enthusiasm for enlistement was waning and there were calls for letting blacks fight; and slavery itself was disintegrating as thousands of refugees continued to flock to the Union forts.

The result was the Emancipation Proclamation, which Dr Foner called the most misunderstood document in American history. While it did not apply to the border states or the areas of the Confederacy under Union occupation, which had about 750,000 slaves, it proclaimed immediate freedom for 3,200,000, the largest emancipation in history. Because it applied to areas under Confederate control at the moment it was issued, the proclamation is said by some to have freed no slaves. But it committed the Union armies to protecting those declared free as those armies moved into the affected areas.

emanc_proc_last What gave the president the right to issue such a proclamation? The Constitution does not convey such a right, but Lincoln issued the proclamation as commander-in-chief, using the concept of “war powers” that have routinely been asserted by American presidents. The emancipation was based on military necessity and all but the concluding sentence were strictly military. Bowing to the insistence of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln agreed to add the words “sincerely believed to be an act of justice.”

The Emancipation Proclamation differed radically from Lincoln’s earlier beliefs about slavery. Emancipation was immediate. There was no compensation to slave-holders. There was nothing about colonization; instead freedmen were urged to work in America for “reasonable” wages, that is, wages that they bargained for on their own terms. Lincoln was then faced with considering the place of blacks in America, but he was assassinated before he could finish the process.

second_inaug Dr Foner said that, as Lincoln put it in his second inaugural address, “All knew that this interest [slavery] was somehow the cause of the war,” although many other issues, such as disagreements over tariff policies, have been advanced: “Six hundred thousand people don’t kill themselves over tariffs.” He pointed out that his book title says “American slavery,” not “southern slavery.” The North was complicitous in maintaining slavery. In his second inaugural address, before his famous statement about “With malice toward none, with charity for all,” Lincoln expressed the fervent hope that the war would soon cease: “Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”

Among the responses to questions that were asked after the lecture, Dr Foner spoke to several additional points:

  • He said that race was not an important issue for Lincoln at any time. He received numerous blacks at the White House, always on equal terms (Frederick Douglass remarked that Lincoln treated him like a man). Slavery, not race, was the important category for Lincoln.
  • Delaware, with only 1800 slaves, rejected Lincoln’s proposal for compensated emancipation. The end of slavery in Delaware came only with the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which Delaware had voted against. The slaveholders simply wanted to keep their slaves. Was there any change that Mississippi, or any other southern state, would have voluntarily ended slavery?
  • Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln as president, lacked every quality Lincoln had. He was stubborn, unable to get along with Congress, racist and determined to keep blacks down. What would have happened if Lincoln had lived? Dr. Foner noted that the question involved counterfactual history, which he said was easy because no one could prove his conjectures were wrong. He spectulated that Lincoln and Congress could have worked out an acceptable plan for Reconstruction, because Lincoln nearly always accepted bills proposed by Congress (he voted only four bills overall, the only important one being the Wade-Davis Bill, which called for a harsh program for Reconstruction).

fiery_trial_cover Dr Foner is the author or editor of 26 books. A scholar of American intellectual, political, social, and racial history, he has won almost every major prize in his profession. Foner has served as president of three historical and professional organizations (Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, and Society of American Historians), curated prizewinning museum exhibitions, and won numerous teaching awards at Columbia. He has also written in popular venues such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He also has appeared on programs such as Charlie Rose, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report.

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery won the Pulitzer Prize for History, the Bancroft Prize, and the Lincoln Prize, and it was named by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year.

The Belle McWilliams Lecture was also sponsored by the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.

Department publishes February 2012 edition of the newsletter History Happenings

Newsletter cover[17 February 2012] The Department of History published the February 2012 edition of its newsletter, <c/emite>History Happenings, today. It is available as a PDF document.

The issue contains articles about:

  • the recent acquisition of digital collections from Adam Matthew Digital
  • Jim Blythe’s photography
  • the publication of the pictorial history University of Memphis by Drs Bond and Sherman and Frances Wright Breland
  • the lecture by Dr Timothy Snyder based on his book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

Pictorial history University of Memphis released by Arcadia Publishing

Book cover, U of M[15 February 2012] Along with the university-sponsored book Dreamers, Thinkers, Doers: A Centennial History of the University of Memphis, which was published in August 2011 (read our article about that publication), Dr Beverly Bond and Dr Janann Sherman agreed with Arcadia Publishing to produce a pictorial history of The University of Memphis in Arcadia’s Campus History Series. The 128-page book containing 200 captioned photographs covering the school’s one-hundred-year history was released this week (read the announcement from Arcadia) and will be available in local bookstores, drugstores like Walgreens, online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and by direct order from Arcadia Publishing.

Frances Wright Breland, who assisted in the production of Dreamers, Thinkers, Doers, also assisted with the production of University of Memphis.

[ADDENDUM, 17 February 2012:] The February 2012 issue of the departmental newsletter has an article about the book.

National History Day to receive National Humanities Medal at White House ceremony

[11 February 2012] The Department of History has supported National History Day since the early 1980s. We have always hosted West Tennessee Day competition and until state-wide competition became too extensive several years ago for our resources we also hosted it (it is now hosted by the Tennessee Historical Society in Nashville).

In a ceremony to be held in the East Room of the White House on Monday, 13 February 2012, President Obama, among other awards, will award National History Day a 2011 National Humanities Medal. The following citation will be read:

National History Day, a program that inspires in American students a passion for history. Each year more than half a million children from across the country compete in this event, conducting research and producing websites, papers, performances, and documentaries to tell the human story.

The ceremony will be streamed live at http://www.whitehouse.gov/Live, beginning at 1:45 Eastern Time (12:45 Central Time).

West Tennessee History Day will be held on 24 March 2012 in the University Center. Dr Susan O’Donovan is the coordinator for West Tennessee Day, assisted by Caroline Mitchell. For more information, telephone 901.678.4512 or e-mail odonovan@memphis.edu or ctmtchl1@memphis.edu.

Dr Dennis Laumann speaks at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch

[10 February 2012] In the first of the series of pizza lunches by Phi Alpha Theta for the Spring 2012 semester, Dr Dennis Laumann, associate professor, spoke on “The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale and the Liberation of Africa,” an important battle in the Angolan civil war.

The next pizza lunch is scheduled for 16 March 2012.

Six Adam Matthew digital archives available through University Libraries

[8 February 2012] The department recently acquired six digital archives from Adam Matthew that are now available to the entire campus through University Libraries. Each archive is accessible by a search of its name from the Database List as well as by searching for Adam Matthew. The individual resource pages are:

  • Empire Online
  • Everyday Life & Women in America : c.1820-1900
  • Medieval family life: the Paston, Cely, Plumpton, Stonor and Armburgh Papers
  • Rock and Roll, Counterculture, Peace and Protest : Popular Culture in Britain and America, 1950-1975
  • Slavery, Abolition & Social Justice
  • The First World War: Personal Experiences

The archives will be very valuable for students in history. Doctoral student Brian McClure wrote enthusiastically about his experience with one of them:

I took a moment to browse through the Adam Matthews digital collections, and was blown away by the materials on the site! Within ten minutes, I stumbled across pictures, newspapers, reports all on Tuskegee and Booker T. Washington. Most importantly, I found the entire papers of Anson and Carol Phelps Stokes! They were the philanthropists that helped get Liberian students to the school, so I am excited to go through those, and it will save me a trip to New York.

The collection is going to help us graduate students more than I think you all realized! And the search I did was ONLY in Education/ Slavery and Abolition section. Files from O. O. Howard, AMA records, School records... I am so excited!

ADDENDUM, 17 February 2012: The February 2012 issue of the departmental newsletter has an article about the collections.

Arcadia Publishing releases Rita Hall’s book on Millington

Book cover [7 February 2012] Arcadia Publishing has just released Images of America: Millington, the town’s first photographic history, by Rita Hall. The images for the book were generously contributed by Millington families and businesses and by Shelby County libraries and archives.

Ms Hall entered our doctoral program last Fall after completing her M.A. in Liberal Studies through the University College and is serving as president of the Graduate History Association. Her interest in the history of Millington stems, in part, from her deep roots in the area; her ancestors settled in the 1830s near what would become Millington.

Information about the book may be found in the announcement from Arcadia Publishing.

Graduate History Association to launch new discussion series (00:10 at 10:00) on 21 February

[7 February 2012] The Graduate History Association will sponsor a monthly free coffee hour and 10-minute presentation on a professional development issue, beginning on 21 February at 9:30 am, when GHA vice-president Wendy Clark will speak on “The Job Market: Advice from the American Historical Association.”

At each session, free coffee will be served from 9:30 to 10:30 and the presentation will begin at 10 am.

Future sessions are scheduled for 20 March 2012 and 17 April 2012. The Graduate History Association is a dues-free organization for all graduate students in History. For more information about the series contact Wendy Clark at wjclark@memphis.edu.

Dr Andrei Znamenski has discussion and book signing for Red Shambala at Rubin Museum of Art

[6 February 2012] Dr Andrei Znamenski, associate professor, spoke on 25 January at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York about the subject of his book Red Shambala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia and had a book signing afterward. The Rubin Museum of Art is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution dedicated to the art of the Himalayas.

Red Shambala is the story of the attempt by Bolshevik commissar Gleb Bokii and renowned occult writer Alexander Barchenko to use Tibetan Buddhist wisdom to conjure a divine era of Communism by tapping into a power of mysterious Shambhala, a prophecy about a land of pure mystical bliss where inhabitants enjoyed god-like capabilities. For fuller information about the book, read the interview of Dr Znamenski by Dr Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas in the History Happenings newsletter for October 2011.

Department hosts reception in memory of Dr Abraham Kriegel

[2 February 2012] The Department of History hosted a reception this afternoon in the lobby of Mitchell Hall in memory of Dr Abraham Kriegel, who died suddenly on 18 January. The reception was attended by Dr Kriegel’s colleagues, Department of History staff members, present and retired members of the administration, former students, and friends.

Dr Janann Sherman, chair of the department, began by reading tributes from persons who were not able to attend: Dr Shirley Raines, president of the university; Dr Steven Patterson, assistant professor of history and political science at Mississippi College; and Dr F. Jack Hurley, professor emeritus and two-time chair of the department. Following them, there were reminiscences of various aspects of Dr Kriegel’s life and career by Dr Walter R. “Bob” Brown, Dr Robert Frankle, Dr Maurice Crouse, Dr Major L. Wilson, Dr Barbara Frankle, and Dr Kriegel’s wife, Reva.

Below are some photographs taken at the reception.


Kriegel 07 Kriegel 11


Kriegel 16 Kriegel 18


Kriegel 36 Kriegel 05


Kriegel 10 Kriegel 19


Kriegel 23 Kriegel 35


Kriegel 38 Kriegel 41


Micki Kaleta named to editorial board of Southern Historian

[31 January 2012] Micki Kaleta has been named as an assistant editor of Southern Historian. The journal is published each spring at The University of Alabama under the direction of the Department of History and the Media Planning Board. A non-profit journal that highlights the best new articles in southern history and culture, it includes reviews of the latest books in all fields of American history. Each issue is written, refereed, and edited entirely by graduate students.

Ms Kaleta is also serving as the 2012 president of the Graduate Association for African-American history.

Dr Timothy Snyder delivers Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture for 2011-2012, speaking on "Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin"

[26 January 2012] During the years 1933 to 1945, there were 14,000,000 persons killed in the lands that lay between Germany and the Soviet Union. Dr Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University, delivered the Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture this evening on the killings, based on his prize-winning book on the subject. The lecture was also sponsored by the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.

Map of the bloodlands

The 14,000,000 represented the greatest scale of killings in modern Europe and do not include soldiers (if soldiers were included, the number would reach 28,000,000). Included in the 14,000,000 were 5,500,000 of the 6,000,000 Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Why, Dr Snyder asked, isn't this common knowledge? He thinks the reason is chiefly that we tend to partition history into subjects like the Soviet Terror and the Holocaust, seeing them as separate rather than related events. Another reason is that history is usually written about nations and told from the point of view of their governments. He maintains that affairs are not determined by national issues, that national histories can only ask questions, not answer them. He rejects dialectics, maintaining that Germany and the Soviet Union were not opposites, despite their great differences, and did not cancel each other out. In many ways they strongly resembled each other.

Snyder speakingMost of the writing about deaths during the period centers around the Germany concentration camps and the Soviet gulags. In fact, Dr Snyder said, most Holocaust victims never saw a camp — they were shot very close to where they lived, and many of the deaths in the gulags occurred because the German invasion cut off Soviet logistics to the gulags. But the camps and the gulags left many records, while most of those killed in the bloodlands left few or no records.

Dr Snyder does not find it helpful to invoke ideologies as the root of the killings. Ideologies change over time. Marxism was not originally concerned with killings but became so in the Soviet system. He believes that economics played a very important role. Both systems looked to the middle lands as a way of strengthening themselves, the Soviet Union seeking to modernize its economy and Germany seeking to find agricultural lands to support its population. Both wanted to get rid of Poland as simply being in the way, but they could not agree on what should happen to Ukraine.

The book Bloodlands divides into three segments: 1933-1938, when most of the killing was by the Soviet Union; 1939-1941, when the two nations were allied and killings were about equal between the two powers; and 1941-1945, when Germany took the lead. The early Soviet killings were directed mostly against Ukrainians, whom Stalin blamed for the failure of his policy of collectivization. The middle period was crucial, Dr Snyder believes. The primary damage was that entire states were destroyed, and he believes that states were very important for the protection of minority rights. With states destroyed and the rule of law at an end, minorities were perilously at risk at the hands of collaborators. Dr Snyder cited figures that indicated that minorities had a 1 in 2 chance of surviving in states that were allied with Germany. While not good, this was in startling contrast to the 1 in 20 chance where states had been destroyed. Germany turned against its former ally and went to war with the Soviet Union in 1941. The expectation was that there would be an easy victory and that the Jews could be driven eastward. But the Soviet Union did not fall, and Germany blamed the Jews for the failure of the invasion, leading to the third phase of the killings in which most were done by Germany.

Overall, Dr Snyder emphasized, his book is not about comparisons between German and Soviet killings. Comparisons involve separation, and his book is more about interaction between the two systems.

Recognizing that it is impossible to do so completely, Dr Snyder urged his readers to think in human terms, not of 14,000,000 killings but rather of one killing done 14,000,000 times. At the beginning of his lecture Dr Snyder had told how three persons in the bloodlands anticipated and prepared for what seemed inevitable death in different ways. He ended his lecture by identifying each of them by name.

Dr Snyder was recently named the Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale. Bloodlands has been widely acclaimed. It was named a Best Book of 2010 by The Economist, The New Republic, Guardian, Reason, and The Forward, and has been translated into 20 languages.

[ADDENDUM, 17 February 2012] The February 2012 issue of the departmental newsletter has an additional article about the lecture.

Jody Callahan writes feature article about Dr Abraham Kriegel for the Commercial Appeal

[26 January 2012] Based largely on information supplied in an interview with Dr Walter R. Brown, Jody Callahan wrote a feature article on Dr Abraham Kriegel that was published in today's issue of the Commercial Appeal. A photograph used in the article is online at the newspaper's site but the article itself has not yet appeared online.

Dr Suzanne Onstine interviewed by Daily Helmsman about the Egyptian revolution

[25 January 2012] Dr Suzanne Onstine, assistant professor, and Ahmed Elnahas, an Egyptian doctoral student in finance, were interviewed by Elizabeth Cooper in an article that appeared in today's issue of the Daily Helmsman about the revolution that occurred in Egypt in early 2011. The article is available online. Dr Onstine contributed one of the photographs used in the printed article, but it was omitted (along with another photograph) in the online version.

Dr Onstine was working in Egypt when the revolution began to unfold in Cairo, in distant Luxor excavating a Theban tomb. After a brief period of indecision, she and the research party determined it safe to continue the work until the season ended.

Mr Elnahas pictured the youth of Egypt as being distracted by technology and fashion, yet knowing nothing about life, but Dr Onstine noted that it was precisely that same generation that brought down a government just by having a voice collectively. She added that she has noticed a rise in the awareness of the strength of activism in her clases following the events of the Arab Spring. Assessing the current state of affairs in Egypt, she said that the chief concern for the majority of Egyptians is that the sacrifices they made are not going to bring about a real democracy: "They feel like they have traded one bad master for another."

Funeral service held for Dr Abraham Kriegel

[22 January 2012] A funeral service was held this afternoon at the Levy-Cooper Chapel of Temple Israel for Dr Abraham Kriegel, who died suddenly on 18 January.

Dr Kriegel joined the department in 1964. He retired in December 2008 but continued to teach in post-retirement.

A memorial event to celebrate his life and career will be held by the Department of History soon.

[ADDENDUM, 26 January] The memorial reception will be held on 2 February 2012 from 2 to 4 pm in the lobby of Mitchell Hall.

Two doctoral candidates present prospectuses for dissertations in Egyptology

Catherine Norvell

Katarzyna Scherr[20 January 2012] Two doctoral candidates, both with a concentration in Egyptology, made their presentations of the prospectuses for their dissertations at a session held this afternoon, the first of a series of such presentations for the Spring Semester 2012.

Katarzyna Scherr (shown at right) presented "Agriculture as Ideology: Elite Identity and Agricultural Representation in Ancient Egypt," and Catherine Norvell (shown at left) presented "The Goddess of the Garden: A Study of the Tree Goddess in Ancient Egypt."

Another session of presentations is scheduled for 4 March.

Dr Arwin Smallwood participates in TV documentary on the beginnings of North Carolina, will speak at conference on early North Carolina

[19 January 2012] Dr Arwin Smallwood participated in the making of a television documentary titled "The Birth of a Colony: North Carolina," produced by UNC-TV and the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources in association with Horizons Productions. The material will be available on a companion web site that will feature interactive supplemental material, searchable chapters, and an educators' guide to assist teachers and home schoolers in the development of instructional material for North Carolina history. The film covers the period from 1524 to 1713.

On 3 February he will participate in a conference at East Carolina University to discuss new approaches to North Carolina history. The conference is the first in a series titled New Voyages to Carolina (an allusion to the 1709 book about the colony by John Lawson) and is concerned with the beginnings of the colony. Dr Smallwood will speak on "The Great Tuscarora Diaspora."

Graduate History Association presence on Facebook converted to new format

[12 January 2012] The Graduate History Association has converted its presence on Facebook to a closed group, with the expectation that the new format will make it easier to add members to the group and easier for all History graduate students to stay connected. Visit it at https://www.facebook.com/groups/271889449538640/.

Dr Daniel Unowsky to serve as Graduate Coordinator during Spring 2012 semester

[10 January 2012] While Dr James Blythe is on leave during the Spring 2012 semester, Dr Daniel Unowsky will serve as Graduate Coordinator. Please refer any matters relating to the graduate program to Dr Unowsky or to Ms Karen Jackett, the Graduate Secretary. Dr Unowsky's e-mail address is dunowsky@memphis.edu; his telephone number is 901.678.2720; and his office is located in 131 Mitchell Hall; he will hold office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:15 to 12:30 and by appointment. Ms Jackett's e-mail address is mkmiller@memphis.edu; her telephone number is 901.678.1366; and her office is located in 219B3 Michell Hall.