History Happenings 2018

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[24 August 2018]

Congrats to Dr. Brian Kwoba, who is one of the co-editors on a new book, Rhodes Must Fall: The Struggle to Decolonise the Racist Heart of Empire, published in Great Britain by Zed Books and distributed in the US by the University of Chicago Press. Impressively, it gathers thirty-two contributions that explore a global student protest movement.

"From the colonies to the heart of empire, #RhodesMustFall reinvigorated the academy like no other student movement since the 1960s. This book is an explosive testament to that collective achievement, and a signpost for the intellectual road ahead."-- Xolela Mangcu, University of Cape Town, and author of Biko: A Life

[24 August 2018]

The University of Memphis Department of History has its fingerprints all over "Arkansas Women: Their Lives and Times," a new edited volume published in the Southern Women Series at the University of Georgia Press. Dr. Gary T. Edwards, who completed his PhD in History in 2004 under the direction of Charles Crawford and is now Associate Professor of History at Arkansas State University, is the co-editor of the book along with Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch. He also contributed an essay on Amanda Trulock, a northern transplant who owned a slave plantation near Pine Bluff. Dr. Marianne Leung, who completed her PhD in 1996 under the direction of Peggy Caffrey and is now a teacher at St. George's Independent School, wrote an essay on Hilda Kahlert Cornish, the founder of the birth control movement in Arkansas. Finally, Dr. Dianna Fraley contributed an essay on the progressive reformer Adolphine Fletcher Terry, who was the subject of the dissertation that she defended in 2016. Congratulations to these terrific historians!

[23 August 2018]

It was a huge day for the Department of History at this year's annual College of Arts and Sciences meeting. Andrei Znamenski is the winner of the Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Research in the Humanities. Dan Unowsky is the winner of the inaugural Freeburg Professorship in the Humanities.

Big congratulations to these two great historians!

[23 August 2018]


Dr. Reginald Ellis, who earned his PhD in History from the Department of History in 2011, has been officially appointed as the Assistant Dean for the School of Graduate Studies and Research at Florida A&M University. In his new position, he serves under the leadership of the Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Education, Dr. David Jackson, another PhD in History from the University of Memphis,. Dr. Ellis completed his PhD under the guidance of Dr. Beverly Bond. He recently published his first monograph, Between Washington and DuBois: The Racial Politics of James Edward Shepard, with the University Press of Florida. Congratulations to Dr. Ellis

[9 August 2018]


Dr. Leigh Ann Wilson, who completed her PhD in History at the University of Memphis in 2012, has been promoted to Associate Professor at Brandman University in Irvine, California. She teaches courses in both History and Communication. Her dissertation, entitled "Fighting Two 'Devils': Eleuterio Escobar and the School Improvement League's Battle for Mexican and Mexican-American Students' Educational Equality in the San Antonio, Texas Public Schools, 1934 to 1958," was written under the direction of Dr. Janann Sherman. Congratulations to Dr. Wilson for her promotion!


[20 July 2018]

Congratulations to Dan Unowsky for the publication of his latest book, The Plunder: The 1898 Anti-Jewish Riots in Habsburg Galicia. Published by Stanford University Press, the book describes how thousands of peasants and townspeople in western Galicia rioted against their Jewish neighbors. Alison Frank Johnson of Harvard University praises it: "A monumental study of the normalization of low-level violence against Jews at the turn of the twentieth century, The Plunder unmasks how longstanding, quiet prejudice can erupt into violence, and shows that such tension, far from being a relic of a bygone era, is an integral part of modern European history. This is a timely, troubling, and compelling account of how the rule of law can be undermined by bigotry."

[5 July 2018]

Last week Professor O'Donovan followed up her keynote address at the 2018 Southern Labor Studies Association conference (no photos, sorry) with an appearance at a Gilder Lehrman Institute teachers' workshop in New Orleans (photo) where she led a discussion on freedom and its meanings in post-Civil War America.

[27 June 2018]

Dr. Daniel Unowsky was recently at the Institute for Eastern European History at the University of Vienna where he was invited to present about his book. The second photo is in front of the Elisabeth Bridge in Budapest.

[15 June 2018]

West TN students rocked National History Day again. Dr. Susan O'Donovan, the coordinator for West Tennessee History Day, shared the following:

"Muadth Malley (Pleasant View School, Memphis) walked away with first place for Senior Individual Paper. His project was also recognized by the National History Academy.

Honorable Mention certificates, awarded by the Tennessee Historical Society, go to students who came in second in their preliminary rounds (only first place projects go to the finals rounds at the national contest). The west Tennesseans who received Honorable Mentions include:

Junior Individual Website
Manal Aboushala
The Courage to Compromise: The Arab Israeli Conflict and the Camp David Accords
Pleasant View School, Memphis
Teacher: Andre Clarke

Senior Group Performance
Kate Heim, Dalia Chemaitilly, Ali Devji, Jad Hamze, Isabel Kagoo
The Coal Creek War: The Labored Effort Against Unjust Coal Mining Regulations
Lausanne Collegiate School, Memphis
Teacher: Rebecca Hodges

This is a really strong showing for West TN. Our students are no strangers to placing at Nationals, but to win is awesome. That's incredibly hard to do."

[15 June 2018]

The Department of History received a visit earlier this week from Joyce Schueller, who donated this beautiful tapestry that hangs in the lobby of Mitchell Hall. The tapestry recreates a terrestrial map, the Novs Totius Terrarium Orbis, published in Amsterdam by Frederik de Wit circa 1670-1680. Mrs. Schueller painstakingly stitched this beautiful piece of art in honor of her son Robert Schueller, who graduated with a BA in History in 2007. The accompanying plaque states that it is "in honor of the faculty of the Department of History who, by remembering the past, enrich the present and future." Our great thanks to Mrs. Schueller!

[11 June 2018]

Catherine Phipps was invited to be a visiting scholar for a month at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. If you have some familiarity of French you can read more information about her talks here!

[6 June 2018]

Dr. James B. McSwain has recently published Petroleum and Public Safety: Risk Management in the Gulf South, 1901-2005 in the "Making of the Modern South" series with LSU Press. Dr. McSwain, who earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of Memphis in 1986, is now a Professor of History at Tuskegee University. "Throughout the twentieth century," reads the book description, "cities such as Houston, Galveston, New Orleans, and Mobile grappled with the safety hazards created by oil and gas industries as well as the role municipal governments should play in protecting the public from these threats. James B. McSwain's Petroleum and Public Safety reveals how officials in these cities created standards based on technical, scientific, and engineering knowledge to devise politically workable ordinances related to the storage and handling of fuel." Congratulations to Dr. McSwain!

[17 May 2018]

Ms. Amanda Lee Savage delivered a talk about Andrew Jackson....

[14 May 2018] 

Dr. Aram Goudsouzian was on television with Dr. Charles McKinney (Rhodes College) discussing his new co-edited book An Unseen Light: Black Struggles for Freedom in Memphis, TN. You can view it at the link. 

[17 April 2018] 

Drs. Beverly Bond and Aram Goudsouzian participated in the panel discussion for An Unseen Light: Black Struggles for Freedom in Memphis, TN at the Civil Rights Museum. The edited volume includes seven authors with connections to the Department of History at the University of Memphis! They include faculty members Beverly Bond and Aram Goudsouzian, PhDs James Conway, Shirletta Kinchen, Elton Weaver, and Darius Young, and MA Steven Knowlton. 

[10 April 2018]

Congratulations to the recipients of the Catherine and Charles Freeburg Fellows for Spring 2019. We have two history department folks in the mix again, faculty member Dr. Cookie Woolner and graduate student Ms. Kyra Clapper.

[2 April 2018]

One of the most widely read articles in this Sunday's New York Times was an opinion piece by Wendi Thomas. You can read it by clicking on the link.

The article is a sobering and timely analysis of our city's racial inequalities. Its insights depend on the work of historians, including our own Mantri Sivananda, whose 2002 dissertation about Mayor Henry Loeb is cited in the article.

Kudos to Mantri, who is among our most dedicated and successful part-time instructors. His research reminds us how we, as historians, can contribute intellectual perspectives and granular information that shape our society's most important conversations.