This book focuses on the merchants of New Orleans and how their conservative investment
mentalities contributed to the city’s unusually rapid economic downfall during and
after the Civil War.
The members of the committee were impressed by Ms Ewing’s prospectus presentation
and would like to support and encourage her research with a $500 award.
The Endowment Committee offers a Best Prospectus Award every Fall and Spring semester
or academic year, depending on the number and quality of presentations.
A couple of years ago Mr Janzen’s prospectus on the dissertation won second place
in the Graduate Student Papers contest at a previous American Research Center meeting
in Chicago. He successfully defended his dissertation on the depiction and treatment
of foreign captives in New Kingdom Egypt on 5 March and will graduate in May.
The society is named for Edward Bouchet (1852-1918), who was the first African-American
to earn a doctorate from an American university when he earned a Ph.D. in physics
at Yale University in 1876. Members are expected to be “scholars who exemplify academic
and personal excellence, foster environments of support and serve as examples of scholarship,
leadership, character, service and advocacy for students who have been traditionally
underrepresented in the academy.”
Her membership came in part from her work in bringing the Latino Graduate Student
Alliance recognition as a university-wide student group at Washington University,
and for her efforts on behalf of the Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE) to take scholars out
She also received a citation from the University of Michigan National Center for Institutional
Diversity as an “Emerging Diversity Scholar.”
Dr Aram Goudsouzian opened the formal part of the reception and introduced Dr Shirley
Raines, president of the university, as the first speaker to give tribute to Dr Sherman.
She was followed by Dean Henry Kurtz of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr Frank
Andrasik, chair of the Department of Psychology, who spoke after unfurling a long
scroll of notes for his address; and Karen Bradley, administrative associate of the
Department of History.
After the opening tributes, others from the audience were invited to speak. Those
who took up the invitation included Dr Richard Ranta, dean of the College of Communications
and Fine Arts; Dr Leslie Luebbers, director of the Art Museum of The University of
Memphis; Dr Jonathan Judaken, former member of our Department of History and now Spence
L. Wilson Chair of Humanities at Rhodes College; Michael Lejman, doctoral student;
and Rosie Bingham, vice-president for student affairs.
Among the gifts given to Dr Sherman was a keepsake book from the Department of History
containing photographs and notes of best wishes to her.
Dr Catherine Phipps leads discussion at Arts and Sciences “Great Conversations”
[18 April 2013] Since 2002, the College of Arts and Sciences has hosted the annual Great Conversations
dinner in order to bring community guests together with award-winning research and
teaching faculty for an evening of dining and conversation. This year’s event was
held this evening at the Memphis Botanic Garden.
Along with other discussion leaders, Dr Catherine Phipps led a discussion on the topic “Territorial
Disputes and Instability in East Asia.”
Dr Dennis Laumann participates in panel on Wangari Maatai’s Unbowed: A Memoir
[16 April 2013] Dr Dennis Laumann participated this afternoon in a panel discussion
of Unbowed: A Memoir, by Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan activist who was the first African woman and the
first environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Ms Maathai won the prize in 2004
for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.”
Others on the panel, held at Christian Brothers University, were Mark Behr, associate
professor of English at Rhodes College; Benjamin Jordan, associate professor of history
at Christian Brothers University; and Shadrack Nasong'o, associate professor of international
studies at Rhodes College.
Dr Dennis Laumann serves on examining board and delivers lecture in Ghana
[16 April 2013] Dr Dennis Laumann has just returned from a one-week visit to the University of Ghana.
The primary purpose of his trip was to serve as an external examiner for the doctoral
defense of Clifford Campbell, a student in the Department of History who wrote his
thesis on Caribbean influences in Ghana’s recent history. Dr Laumann is shown above
addressing a question to Mr Campbell. The Dean of the Graduate School is seated to
Additionally, he delivered a lecture to the faculty and graduate students of the Department
of History entitled “The Historical Significance of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale”
to commemorate the 25th anniversary of that key event in the defeat of apartheid in
Dr Laumann is shown at the left with some of the faculty members of the Department
of History at the University of Ghana. To his right is Dr Kofi Baku, the departmental
chair, who visited The University of Memphis in 2008.
Jonathan Toles wins full scholarship to Yale Divinity School
[15 April 2013] Jonathan Toles, who earned his BA in History in August 2011, has accepted a full
scholarship offer to Yale University Divinity School to pursue the Master of Divinity
degree. As an undergraduate student, Mr Toles specialized in African and African-American
history in our program.
Doctoral students present prospectuses for dissertations
[5 April 2013] Two doctoral students today presented prospectuses for their dissertations.
Nancy Parrish (left) made a presentation on “Cotton, Factory, and People: The Production
of Bemis, Tennessee, a Mill Town,” a study of the mill near Jackson, Tennessee, that
was noted for its differences from most mill towns in other parts of the South.
Kaylin Ewing (right) presented “Remember My Name: The Life of Alberta Hunter,” a study
of the Memphis-born, world-traveled singer and composer who also had a career in nursing.
Hafife Montgomery wins award for best graduate paper
[4 April 2013] Ph.D. student Hafife Montgomery, who wrote “Socialist Representations of Working-Class
Women in Red Vienna” for a course taught by Dr Daniel Unowsky, is the winner of this
year’s Major L. Wilson Best Graduate Paper. The award was created in honor of Dr Major
L. Wilson, professor emeritus, upon his retirement from the Department of History.
The Wilson award for the best undergraduate paper, announced at the departmental honors
ceremony on 22 March 2013, was won by Jonathan Lohnes.
Department announces Belle McWilliams undergraduate scholarship in U.S. history and
Dr Kell F. Mitchell Memorial Award for undergraduates for 2013-2014
[25 March 2013] The Department of History today announced the Belle McWilliams undergraduate scholarship
in U.S. history for the academic year 2013-2014. The deadline for applications for
the scholarship is 12 April 2013 at 4:30 pm.
Details about the scholarship may be found at http://www.memphis.edu/history/ug_aid.htm#mcwilliams or as a PDF document at http://www.memphis.edu/history/pdfs/mcwilliams2013.pdf and the application form may be found at http://www.memphis.edu/history/pdfs/mcwilliams_form.pdf.
The department also calls attention to the Dr Kell F. Mitchell Memorial Award for
undergraduates, for which there is no application form — the recipient is to be the
junior-year history major (61-89 credit hours) who has the highest GPA in history
courses. For details, download a poster for the award as a PDF document.
Phi Alpha Theta inducts new members, Department conveys honors
[22 March 2013] Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Alpha Theta inducted new members and the Department of
History conveyed honors for the academic year 2012-2013 at a meeting held this evening
in the Fountain View Room of the University Center.
Dr Sarah Potter, faculty advisor of the chapter, welcomed the audience and Dr Aram
Goudsouzian introduced the speaker for the event, Dr Randy Roberts, Distinguished
Professor of History at Purdue University. Dr Roberts, a specialist in sports history
and popular culture, was Dr Goudsouzian’s mentor at Purdue and directed his dissertation.
Dr Roberts spoke on the Army-Navy football game of 1944, the subject of his latest
book, A Team for America: The Army-Navy Game That Rallied a Nation at War. When World War II began, there was serious debate as to whether the two service
academies should continue their football programs. Dr Roberts explained how Red Blaik,
once the decision was made to continue the programs, built a weak Army team into one
of the best teams in the nation and won over Navy in a gripping game late in 1944,
when the nation was weary from the long war. American troops listened to the game
on shortwave radio and after the game General Douglas MacArthur sent a telegram which
read, “The greatest of all Army teams. We have stopped the war to celebrate your magnificent
Phi Alpha Theta inducted new members in a ritual presided over by Genevieve Donovan
and Michael Nerby-Sarafolean, president and vice-president of the chapter. Those inducted
on the basis of their interest and achievement in the field of history were Walter
J. Babineau, Zanya Hawk Mudbone Blauser, Heather Leilani Graves, Stewart Michael Harney,
Dylan Holzemer, Joseph Benjamin Johnson, Brittany Lyles, Yves Mai Orsino, Andrew Talon
Overstreet, Nancy Rogers Parrish, Ariel Pettit, Lana Danielle Suite, David Lang Tucker,
Robert Turner, Jason Kennedy Weatherly, and Keesa Mae Williams.
Dr Janann Sherman, chair of the Department of History, presided over the presentation
of awards from the department. Jonathan Lohnes won the 2013 Major L. Wilson Undergraduate
Paper Prize. The 2012-2013 Tennessee Historical Commission Prize was awarded jointly
to Katherine Berger and Lydia Loden. Kaylin Ewing received the 2012-2013 Outstanding
Graduate Assistant Teaching Award and Amanda Lee Savage received the 2012-2013 Outstanding
Adjunct Teaching Award. Wendy Clark was presented with the Graduate Leadership Award.
Not all recipients were present to receive the awards. In the photograph below left,
Kaylin Ewing, Katherine Berger, and Lydia Loden are pictured with Dr Sherman. Apologies
to Wendy Clark — the photograph showing her receiving her award was badly out of focus
and not usable.
As part of the closing remarks Ms Donovan and Amber Colvin, secretary of the chapter,
presented flowers to Dr Sherman in appreciation of her support for Phi Alpha Theta
and its activities.
Dr Marshall Poe delivers Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture, speaking on the history
[21 March 2013] Dr Marshall Poe, associate professor of history at the University of Iowa, was the
Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecturer this evening, speaking on the topic “From Grunts
to Tweets: Communication and Human History” in the University Center Theater. The
title was an adaptation of the title of his book, A History of Communications: Media and Society from the Evolution of Speech to the
Dr Poe maintained at the beginning of his lecture that there are certain ways to keep
up an audience’s attention — be a stand-up comedian (which works for perhaps 15 minutes
at most, he said), be a stripper, or show a movie. Saying he would use none of these
ways, he nevertheless performed somewhat like a stand-up comedian, roaming the stage
with a hand-held microphone and holding the audience’s attention for considerably
longer than 15 minutes with his witty, interactive lecture.
He began by asking everyone to hold up his or her smartphone and explained that it
represented the latest development in communication. Communication itself, he explained,
is one of the basic needs of human beings, serving to give information to others and
to get information from others. With the smartphone, “you don’t have to be lonely,
you don’t have to be ignorant.” As a form of computer, it is what all previous forms
of communication were tending toward — it can handle any sort of information.
The cover of his book shows images representing forms of communication — a man, representing
speech; a quill and inkpot, representing writing; a hand-operated press, representing
printing; a television set, representing electronic devices; and a laptop computer,
representing the Internet. Speech is perhaps 180,000 years old; writing perhaps 5,000;
printing, about 500; television, 50-60; and the Internet, about 20. The innovations
in communication have therefore followed with increasing rapidity. Dr Poe noted that
we still use all these forms of communication to some degree, but each has represented
improvement in the ability to communicate.
Speech and memory are natural and practically universal among human beings; nearly
all humans learn to speak with ease. They serve several purposes well, but they don’t
always provide what is needed; speech has a limited range, and memory can fade or
fail. What was needed was the ability to conquer the limitations of space and time.
That was writing, which emerged everywhere that agriculture began and involved symbols
to transmit information over greater distances and with more permanence. Symbols,
Dr Poe said, could have been used as early as speech, but writing was not really natural
and rather few within an early society ever learned to write. Moreover, most people
did not read or did not like to read (Dr Poe noted that Americans today claim to read
only one book a year, and are likely to be lying about even that amount of reading).
Printing was an advance over writing, allowing for even wider distribution of information,
but Dr Poe maintained that it was not the democratizing influence that many have pictured
it as being. Like writing, printing could have been done long before the era of Gutenberg.
The Romans had movable type, he said, but they used it to imprint the names of emperors
on sewer pipes. Printing was used by elites (commoners did not own presses) producing
information for other elites (Gutenberg printed his Bibles on expensive vellum).
Television, on the other hand, was a tremendous democratizing influence, being easily
available because of the technique of broadcasting information. It was easy to understand;
even children who could not read or write loved it, and human beings seem to have
a special love for watching and listening.
The Internet was even more democratizing. As with printing, the technology for the
Internet was there before it was invented, in the form of ARPANet, developed for use
by the Department of Defense and which initially prohibited personal messages, commercial
use, and political use. Today the Internet, freed from those restrictions, is almost
ubiquitous, providing remarkably inexpensive means to transmit any sort of information,
and smartphones are rapidly becoming the way people use the Internet. The smartphone
incorporates all previous forms of communication — speech, through chat rooms and
text messages (and even telephoning); writing, through e-mail; print, through blogs;
and audio/visuals through YouTube — and all these forms can be produced on the smartphone
itself by the owner of the smartphone for use by others with similar devices.
Speaking of the implications for education, Dr Poe said, “The lecture as such is pretty
much dead.” For transmission of information between scholars, nothing is better than
reading and writing, he maintained, but they are not the best ways to present information
to students. He cited his own experience: since putting his lectures on the Russian
Revolution online, he no longer has to spend time repeating the content of the lectures
but can better spend the time talking about that content. This, he said, frees teachers
from the rote part of learning (and students love to watch videos, he added).
Dr Poe took several questions from the audience after his lecture and most of his
answers elaborated on points he had made earlier. The opening question was different —
couldn’t the Internet be used as an agency of tyranny by a government? Dr Poe admitted
that a government could with enormous expenditures of energy and resources do so,
but he maintained that the Internet is basically uncontrollable.
Dr Poe is a former writer and editor for The Atlantic Monthly and the author or editor of several books, including A People Born to Slavery: Russia in Early Modern European Ethnography, The Russian Elite in the Seventeenth Century, and The Russian Moment in World History. He has been a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, the Harriman Institute,
and the Kennan Institute. He is best-known, however, as the founder and editor of
the podcast website “New Books in History,” which brings interviews with historians
to popular audiences.
The Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture Series began in the late 1980s with the bequest
to the Department of History of some medallions made to commemorate the 150th anniversary
of the founding of Memphis. Because the Belle McWilliams Lecture Series was already
dedicated to the subject of American history, the Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture
Series has concentrated on other areas. Dr Poe’s address was also an event of the
Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.
Drs Janann Sherman and Beverly Bond receive the Cynthia G. Pitcock Women’s History
Award from St. Mary’s Episcopal School
[10 March 2013] Dr Cynthia Pitcock taught history at St. Mary’s Episcopal School for twelve years
and now teaches at the University of Arkansas. St. Mary’s honored her by creating
an award named after her and made her the first recipient of it. Since then the award
has been made annually to a man or a woman who has made an outstanding contribution
to the study of women’s history.
This year the award went to two historians instead of one — Dr Janann Sherman and
Dr Beverly Bond of our Department of History. The ceremony was held on 5 March 2013,
with Dr Dalton Lyon, chair of history at St. Mary’s presiding. The award was conveyed
by Dr Shirley Raines, president of The University of Memphis.
Dr Sherman called Dr Bond to the platform with her, saying, “We collaborate on everything.”
In turn, the two spoke to the students about women in their personal lives and in
their research who have influenced them. St. Mary’s posted a video of the ceremony
on YouTube, and rather than attempt to summarize their addresses, we recommend that
you view the video, which speaks for itself.
Over the years the Department of History has figured prominently in the Pitcock Award.
Dr Pitcock, after whom the award is named and its first recipient, received her Ph.D.
from us in 1985. Both Dr Selma Lewis, who received the award in 2003, and Dr John
Harkins, who received it in 2010, received the Ph.D. in 1976. Dr Peggy Jemison Bodine,
the recipient in 2006, received her Ph.D. in 1992. Dr Gail Murray, the recipient in
2011, received her Ph.D. in 1991.
Four departmental faculty members participate in discussion on “Muted Belles Revisited”
[6 March 2013] In 1994, artist Gail Rothschild collaborated with the University of Memphis Art Museum
and students and faculty from the History and English departments to create the outdoor
sculpture “Muted Belles,” which was installed near the Communication & Fine Arts Building. Intended
to be a temporary installation, the sculpture honoring several Memphis women has withstood
the test of time. The Art Museum has created an exhibition in the lobby of the Communication
& Fine Arts Building which will be in place through 31 March, featuring the eight
women immortalized on the outdoor sculpture.
This afternoon Drs Beverly Bond, Janann Sherman, Peggy Caffrey, and Christine Eisel
from the Department of History and Leslie Luebbers from the Art Museum of The University
of Memphis explored the exhibition and had a conversation on the significance of the
sculpture and the women it represents.
The “muted belles” represented by the sculpture are Annie Cook, Alberta Hunter, Julia
Hooks, Myra Dreifus, Frances Wright, Suzanne Scruggs, Ida B. Wells, and Juanita Williamson.
Those who did not have an opportunity to attend the conversation can gain a great
deal of information about them from a supplement to The Daily Helmsman (a PDF document) in 1994 when the sculpture was installed. It includes short biographies
of all of them and a complete transcript of a meeting of the committee to narrow the
suggested nominees down to the eight who were finally selected. The transcript reveals
information about other “muted belles” who did not make the final cut. Drs Caffrey
and Luebbers were revisiting the scene today; both were on the 1994 committee.
Department publishes March 2013 issue of the newsletter History Happenings
[4 March 2013] The Department of History published the latest issue of its newsletter, History Happenings, today.
Dr Janann Sherman's welcome letter is also a farewell letter because she will be retiring
at the end of this semester and moving to Maine. She reviews the 9-year period during
which she served as chair of the department and gives counsel to the incoming chair
about what she believes to be the proper strategy for managing the department.
The issue also has the following articles:
- Dr Dennis Laumann’s article about the study-abroad group he led to Cuba during the
- Micki Kaleta’s article about the 14th Annual Graduate Student Conference in African-American
- An interview with Dr Andrei Znamenski about Soviet propaganda posters in a recent
exhibit in the Art Museum
- Johna Likens’ article about the page on Ancient Egypt that she maintains on Facebook
- An interview with Dr Robert Yelle about his book The Language of Disenchantment: Protestant Literalism and Colonial Discourse in British India
- An interview with Dr Dennis Laumann about his book Colonial Africa, 1884-1994
- An article about the award in Women's Studies named in honor of Dr Janann Sherman
This newsletter is available online as a PDF document.
Department hosts West Tennessee Day
[2 March 2013] Dr Susan O’Donovan, coordinator of West Tennessee History Day, announced at the beginning of the event today that student entries had doubled over
last year — approximately 348 students from schools in western Tennessee would be
participating in various categories, using the theme of Turning Points in History:
People, Ideas, Events. Because of the large number of entries, competition was spread
over three separate locations: exhibits and performances in the Rose Theatre Lecture
Hall, documentaries and websites on the third floor of the University Center, and
papers in Mitchell Hall.
Winners announced at the awards ceremony, held at 4 pm, will advance to state competition
in Nashville on 20 April, and winners there will advance to national competition on
9-13 June at the University of Maryland at College Park. All of these competitions
are part of National History Day.
Approximately 60 judges for the competitions were drawn from faculty members, graduate
students, and historians from the community. Dr O’Donovan was assisted administratively
by doctoral student Micki Kaleta and numerous volunteers and the office staff of the
department, with special thanks being given to Karen Bradley.
UPDATE: [6 March 2013] A list of the winners in each category is available as a PDF document from the West Tennessee History Day site.
Department announces scholarship in women’s history in honor of Janann Sherman
[2 March 2013] As noted in yesterday’s report, the Department of History announced the creation
of a scholarship in women’s history in honor of Dr Janann Sherman, professor and chair
of the department, who will be retiring at the end of this semester. The complete
text of the announcement given by Dr Chrystal Goudsouzian at the ceremony follows:
This month, we take the time to honor the women who have made a difference in our
lives...in our histories; we celebrate the women who make history every day. Personally,
I can think of no better way to celebrate this month, than to honor Jan, who has made,
and continues to make, significant contributions to this campus and the community
on a daily basis. She is a part of our institutional history, and for the lucky among
us, part of our personal histories. Thus, it is my great pleasure to announce, on
behalf of the History Department and The University of Memphis, the creation of the
Dr. Janann Sherman Undergraduate Award for the Study of Women's History.
Given annually, the $500 award is intended to assist with the educational expenses
of an exceptional undergraduate student with a demonstrated interest, either through
coursework or research, in the history of women, gender, or the family.
The groundwork Jan has laid through her scholarship and her administrative career
for female students, staff, and faculty is immeasurable. Though Jan will no longer
be here with us on campus, it is our hope that her work and her vision for this university
and its students will live on, and be built upon, by the students who receive this
If you, like I, believe that Jan's work, and the work of our students to engage in
and further women's history, equality, and rights, is integral to the betterment of
our university and community, I encourage you all to consider donating to this award
in Jan's honor. You will find donation cards available on your tables, and checks
can be made out to The University of Memphis Foundation. Your donation is fully tax
deductible and our volunteers will be happy to collect your donation envelopes in
the lobby as you exit, or, if you prefer, you can mail in a donation at a later date.
This month, I encourage you to take the time to think about the women who make a difference
in each of your lives. From your first grade teacher to your daughter, mother, sister,
and wife, honor the exceptional women who have made your history. As our students
have done through their writing, please consider writing a personal tribute for the
Women's History Month website. Pick up a calendar...encourage your colleagues, friends,
and students to attend this month's events. But most important, keep these women in
your thoughts year-round and continue, like Jan and the other influential women on
our campus, to work towards a better and more equal future for all. Thank you.
The invitation to contribute to the fund remains open. You may contribute through
the university's online giving site or by mail to Dept 238, The University of Memphis Foundation, P.O. Box 1000, Memphis,
TN 38148-0001. Designate the gift as being made to the Dr Janann Sherman Fund.
Women's History Month opening salutes Dr Janann Sherman
[1 March 2013] Approximately 150 persons gathered at noon today to attend the opening event of Women’s
History Month, a luncheon held in the University Center Ballroom at which Dr Janann
Sherman was the guest of honor.
The luncheon began with a video presentation on women entitled “I Can” which had been
prepared by Mikayla Jones, a student at the Campus School of The University of Memphis.
Dr Stephanie Blaisdell, assistant vice president for student affairs, made the official
Dr Leslie Luebbers, director of the Art Museum, spoke about the winning poster for
Women’s History Month, which was submitted by a group: Brooke Smith, Corie Walker,
Zi Felton, Terrance Mason, Terrell Harmon, and Zachary Morgan. The poster may be viewed
on the website for Women’s History Month. Jennifer Schnabel, assistant to the dean of University Libraries for community engagement,
spoke about the Women Making History Every Day Writing Program and invited faculty
members to submit entries about women who influenced their careers. Caray Oldham,
vice president of the Student Government Association, gave a student’s perspective
on Women’s History Month and introduced Dr Sherman.
Dr Sherman’s address, entitled “A Personal Journey through Women’s History,” traced
her own life from her youth, when she had to work because of the family’s poverty.
"College? People like me didn’t go to college,” she said. She married at 18. When
her husband, Charlie, began to develop blindness she found that she could use his
GI BIll of Rights to attend college. She enrolled at the College of the Ozarks, where
she found excellent mentoring from a faculty member who urged her to go to graduate
school. "I didn’t know what graduate school was,” she said, but she received a 5-year
scholarship to earn an M.A. and a Ph.D. in history at Rutgers University. She received
the Ph.D. when she was 49 and was employed by the Department of History at The University
of Memphis when she was just short of 50. She rose to the rank of professor and has
served for the past nine years as chair of the department, the first woman to hold
the position. She will be retiring and moving to Maine in a few months.
Dr Sherman spoke at some length about her research on Senator Margaret Chase Smith,
who was the subject of her dissertation and eventually a book, learning many lessons
from the Senator’s life and career, and briefly about her books on Betty Friedan,
who published The Feminine Mystique 50 years ago, and Phoebe Omlie, the Memphis aviation pioneer who showed that confidence
in oneself can take a person to the top.
Following Dr Sherman’s address, tributes to her were made by Dr Linda Bennett, associate
dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr Tom Nenon, interim provost of the university;
Dr Kimberly Nichols, one of her first students in 1994 and a close friend of her and
of Charlie as well, who is now on the adjunct faculty of The University of Memphis
and Northeast Texas Community College; and Dr Beverly Bond, associate professor and
her colleague in the Department of History, who has collaborated with her on several
books about women and local history (including the history of The University of Memphis).
Dr Nichols’ remarks were emotional at times because of their closeness (Dr Bond remarked
that Kim was “as close to being a daughter as anyone can be”). Dr Bond was more light-hearted,
telling the audience “four things you don’t know about Jan Sherman,” and also emphasizing
the strong personal bond between the two of them, noting that Dr Sherman was as close
as her two biological sisters. Dr Bond spoke for many who were not on the platform
in saying, “It’s been a pleasure.”
The printed program noted that Dr Chrystal Goudsouzian of the Department of History
was to make a special announcement. That announcement, made as the culmination of
the tributes to Dr Sherman, was that the Janann Sherman Fund has been created to honor
her and to give financial assistance to students of women’s history. Those who wish
to contribute to the fund may do so through the university’s online giving site or by mail to Dept 238, The University of Memphis Foundation, P.O. Box 1000, Memphis,
TN 38148-0001. Designate the gift as being made to the Dr Janann Sherman Fund.
Dr Suzanne Onstine reports on latest field work at Theban Tomb 16 in Ancient Egypt
[27 February 2013] Dr Suzanne Onstine recently returned from conducting field work at Theban Tomb 16,
the tomb of Panehsy, the Ramesside-period Overseer of Chanters of the Offering Table
of Amun and Priest of Amenhotep I, and to his wife Tarenu, a Chantress of Amun. Tiffany
Redman, Virginia Reckard, and Elizabeth Warkentin (Liz), graduate students in the
Egyptology program, participated in the work. Two Spanish professionals, Miguel Sánchez
and Jesús Herrerín, worked to analyze the human remains at the site.
Before leaving Egypt Dr Onstine lectured on 3 February 2013 at the Mummification Museum
in Luxor, as she had done in previous seasons, presenting an update of the work.
Before Dr Onstine adopted the project, earlier work (In 1932) had recorded only a
single room. Today the tomb is known to have two rooms and a long, winding corridor
leading to what is thought to be a burial chamber.The first phase of the work, which
she began in 2008, is digital epigraphy to record the state of the tomb, before any
conservation is attempted, as it is important to record everything before doing any
work in case the conservation changes the tomb. After the conservation there will
be an update of the epigraphy to record any changes. The digital epigraphy is to be
of the first two rooms, then eventually the whole tomb, using an electronic version
of the mylar-and-tracing technique. Digital epigraphy is faster, less costly, and
less likely to damage the surviving decoration than traditional epigraphic methods.
The digital images are used with Photoshop to trace the images and produce a line
The second phase is the cleaning and studying the looted human remains. So far the
remains have been Late Period, Third Intermediate Period, to Graeco-Roman. (The tomb
was re-used over a long period, about a thousand years.) They have found one 19th-Dynasty
object and excavation of the burial chamber might reveal more. Nice textiles and cartonage
have been found.
Speaking of the iconography, Dr Onstine said there are two representations of both
Hathor and Nut. Why there were two is unknown, but perhaps they are by different painters
because of the differing styles. Six scenes are very damaged from looting, which must
have happened after the 1950s, as photos from that time show them intact. Tombs did
not have doors then, and this tomb was very close to the road and therefore accessible.
Information in this article has been summarized from two blogs, which you may consult
for more detail and some photographs: Luxor Times, and Luxor News — Jane Akshar.
Documentary on women in the Civil War in which Dr Beverly Bond appeared now online
[26 February 2013] In 2011, in commemoration of the American Civil War, Nashville Public Television
and the Renaissance Center began a series of six documentaries entitled Tennessee Civil War 150, which delved into life in Tennessee during the war. Dr Beverly Bond was one of the
historical experts in the episode "No Going Back: Women and the War," which aired
initially in February 2012.
The episode was one of two in the series which received a Midsouth Regional Emmy Award
in January 2013, winning in the category of Historic/Cultural Program. Dr Bond recently
received word from Greta Requierme, a producer of the episode, that it is now available
for viewing on the NPT website at http://video.wnpt.org/video/2331459114. There is also a DVD of the episode available for sale at http://www.wnpt.org/productions/civilwar/dvd/getdvd.html.
Dr Bond modestly commented in an e-mail message, “My ‘expert’ section is really small
and near the end, but I’m in good company.”
Dr Gail Murray speaks on girlhood in the 19th century
[21 February 2013] Dr Gail Murray received her Ph.D. in history from our department in 1991. She is
currently an assistant professor of history at Rhodes College and has served earlier
as chair of that department.
She spoke this evening at the Brooks Museum of Art on girlhood in the 19th century
in connection with the exhibit “Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in Nineteenth-Century
American Art,” which is currently mounted at the museum and will continue until 12
May. She has also contributed a portion to the audio tour that is used by viewers
of the exhibit.
Dr Murray is the author of American Children’s Literature and the Construction of Childhood in Twayne's History of American Childhood Series and editor of and contributor to Throwing Off the Cloak of Privilege: White Southern Women in the Civil Rights Era.
Her dissertation, with Dr Major L. Wilson as major professor, was “Poverty and Its
Relief in the Antebellum South: Perceptions and Realities.” She is currently researching
and writing about Memphians who were involved in the War on Poverty in the 1960s-early
1970s, particularly women. She is also working on a longer essay about the role that
southern women, both African American and white, played in attacking racial discrimination
in Memphis in the half-century following World War II.
Dr Beverly Bond speaks on researching the African-American past
[21 February 2013] Dr Beverly Bond spoke this afternoon in a program in the Ned McWherter Library on
the search for family in the aftermath of the Civil War on the part of African-Americans.
Her lecture, entitled “Help Me to Find My People: Researching the African-American
Past,” referred to to Heather Williams’ new book Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery, and she connected her theme with pop-culture references found in television programs,
novels such as Leonard Pitts’ Freeman, and films such as Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
She also discussed the availability and relevance of primary sources in the University
Libraries’ Special Collections Department, which sponsored her lecture in connection
with Black History Month.
Dr Colin Chapell speaks on religion’s Influence on gender in the South at Phi Alpha
Theta pizza lunch
[15 February 2013] At this afternoon’s pizza lunch sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta, the national honorary
organization for history students, Dr Colin Chapell spoke on “The Preacher, the Professor,
and Southern Manhood: Religion’s Influence on Gender in the South.”
Dr Mark Danley edits volume on the Seven Years’ War
[12 February 2013] Dr Mark H. Danley, associate professor and catalog librarian in University Libraries
at The University of Memphis, co-edited (with Patrick J. Speelman), wrote the introduction,
and contributed a chapter to The Seven Years' War: Global Views, which was published by Brill late in 2012. His chapter was entitled “The British Political Press and Military
Thought during the Seven Years’ War.”
Dr Danley received his Ph.D. in history in 2001 from Kansas State University and went
on to earn a librarianship degree from Louisiana State University. In addition to
his “day job” with University Libraries he has continued to be active in historical
research and teaching. He is particularly interested in bringing together the history
of information with military history. His current work is on the relationship between
strategic thought, decision-making, and military reading in the 18th-century British
As well as participating actively in professional associations in librarianship, Dr
Danley has instructed and advised in the Master of Arts in Military History program
at Norwich University, served as presenter and panel chair for the Society for Military
History Conference, and from time to time taught courses for the Department of History
here at The University of Memphis, most recently just last semester.
Dr Daryl Carter named a Maxine Smith Fellow for 2013
[12 February 2013] Dr Daryl Carter received his Ph.D. in history here in 2011 and is now assistant professor
of history at East Tennessee State University. He has been named as a Maxine Smith
Fellow for 2013 by the Tennessee Board of Regents. He will travel next week to Nashville
for the opening meetings and reception. The program continues until the quarterly
meeting of the board in September. It serves to prepare aspiring policymakers and
high level administrators for careers in higher education.
Dr Carter reports that President Brian Noland of ETSU strongly supported his nomination
and is working on securing a good mentor for him. UPDATE: Dr Carter will have as his mentor Dr Richard Rhoda, the executive director of the
Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
The program is named in honor of Dr Maxine Smith, the noted civil rights leader and
Memphis resident who served two terms as a member of the TBR. The objectives of the
- to increase the academic and professional credentials of the Fellows;
- to allow Fellows to observe and participate in decision-making situations;
- to provide Fellows the opportunity to experience how policy is made at the institution,
senior administrative and governing board levels; and
- to help increase the number of qualified applicants from underrepresented groups for
senior-level administrative positions at TBR institutions.
Dr Carter’s dissertation was “President Bill Clinton, African Americans, and the Politics
of Race and Class” with Dr Aram Goudsouzian as major professor.
Letter from department about Forrest Park debated at City Council meeting on the
renaming of city parks
[8 February 2013] Today’s online issue of the Memphis Daily News (available at http://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2013/feb/8/forrest-fire/) had some additional information about the City Council meeting held on Tuesday to
discuss the renaming of Forrest Park that did not get reported elsewhere. (The Council
ended up renaming three parks altogether: Forrest Park became Health Sciences Park,
Confederate Park became Memphis Park, and Jefferson Davis Park became Mississippi
In earlier controversy over Forrest Park, Lee Millar, former chairman of the Shelby
County Historical Commission and a leader of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, had
said that historians would be “up in arms” over removing Forrest’s name.
A letter dated 18 January 2013 and signed by 45 faculty members and graduate students
in the Department of History at The University of Memphis demurred, saying, “Mr. Millar
does not speak for all historians. As professionally trained historians, we try to
hold ourselves to ideals of rational objectivity and human decency. The undersigned
faculty and graduate students in the Department of History at the University of Memphis
support the removal of Forrest’s name from the park.”
According to the Daily News, Dr Aram Goudsouzian, professor of history at The University of Memphis who teaches
African-American history, said at the meeting, “By professional historians, I speak
of historians who have earned a Ph.D. in history, those who are teaching at universities
or colleges, those who are members of established nationally recognized organizations
such as the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association.
I think it’s fair and reasonable to say that with a few rare exceptions, professional
historians in general find the celebration of Nathan Bedford Forrest Park — Nathan
Bedford Forrest in this park — to be distasteful.”
According to the Daily News, Mr Millar countered by saying that Forrest was a “humane businessman” and that the
Ku Klux Klan that Forrest was a part of was a fraternal or social organization whose
purpose was to “restore law and order to the South.” Not so, Dr Goudsouzian maintained:
the Klan at that time was “an organization that any legitimate historian understands
to be a terrorist organization whose primary purpose was to intimidate newly freed
blacks from voting and achieving equality.” Mr Millar dismissed that claim, saying
it was “pure Northern propaganda” spread by “Union propagandists.” Dr Goudsouzian
said that Forrest bought and sold people — a business that was looked down upon even
in Forrest’s time by the very people who bought slaves from him and others. Mr Miller
then cited a speech by Forrest two years before he died in which Forrest, speaking
to a black fraternal organization, spoke of racial equality.
The Daily News reported that Dr Charles McKinney, associate professor and director of the African-American
Studies program at Rhodes College, spoke on the issue, saying that some historians
believe Forrest was trying to build political or business alliances: “This real or
imagined unity he allegedly supported at the end of his life was in fact a unity predicated
on the sustained political, social and economic subordination of African-Americans.
Not someone whose values I think many of us would seek to emulate.”
The Daily News said that Dr Goudsouzian acknowledged that Forrest was as complex as anyone past
or present and a product of his time, but he drew a distinction between chronicling
persons and analyzing their role in history and honoring them. “No one is saying we
should erase Nathan Bedford Forrest from our history books — our understanding of
history. But a public park is not a history book. It’s a public space with a monument
that suggests this person stands for values that we celebrate as a community.”
Council member Myron Lowery had proposed adding the name of Ida B. Wells to that of
Nathan Bedford Forrest for the park where Forrest and his wife are buried. The Daily News reported that several times during the discussion between historians Mr Lowery said, “I
don't need a history lesson.”
It is generally understood that in giving the generic names to the city parks the
City Council was acting to ward off a bill that had been introduced in the state legislature
that would have deprived the city of the ability to rename any parks or to remove
statues or markers from them. The ultimate names are this point wide open to speculation.
[14 February 2013] Addendum: Today’s issue of the Daily Helmsman (available online) adds more information on the controversy in an article by Melissa Wray.
Isabel Wilkerson delivers Belle McWilliams Lecture in American History, speaking
on the “great migration”
[7 February 2013] Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson delivered the Belle McWilliams
Lecture in American History for 2012-2013 this evening in the Rose Theater to an audience
estimated at 700 persons, speaking on the “great migration” of blacks from the American
South during the period 1915 to the 1930s. Her book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, was the basis for her lecture.
As a preliminary to the lecture, the audience was treated to two choral pieces by
the Stax Street Corner Harmonies. The first, “Middle Passage,” which borrowed from the
classic by the Reverend Thomas A. Dorsey, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” was rather
restrained, hardly preparing the audience for the strikingly choreographed and vigorously
performed “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel (and Why Not Every Man?)” which followed
and received a standing ovation from the audience.
Ms Wilkerson said that her book was about how far people are willing to go to improve
their lives. During the period from 1915 to the 1930s approximately 6 million blacks
left the rural South for urban areas of the nation, including the Northeast, the Midwest,
and the Pacific Coast, the first time that the lowest class of Americans signaled
that they had options and took them. In effect, they were seeking political asylum
within their own country, she said.
Although her book, based on more than 1,200 interviews gathered over fifteen years,
followed in detail the migrations of three of those 6 million — one to each to the
sections just mentioned — Ms Wilkerson chose to center her lecture on the more general
reasons for the migration and the results that were achieved.
The situation that provoked the migration, she said, was the caste system in the South
under the Jim Crow laws, an elaborate system of behavior based solely on skin color.
She remarked that although many older audiences actually lived through some part of
the period of migration or remember the system from its persistence long after the
migration, high-school audiences find it difficult to believe that she is telling
the truth about a judge in North Carolina suspending a trial until a “black Bible”
could be found for swearing in a black witness, a law forbidding blacks and whites
in Birmingham from playing checkers together, or another law forbidding black motorists
from passing slow white motorists. Students in Hawaii suggested that if they could
not pass, they would have honked the horn or tail-gated closely to encourage the white
motorists to speed up and were appalled when they were told such things were just “not
done” either with impunity. When one remarked, “Well, then, I would just have left,”
she explained that was exactly what her book was all about.
Enforcement of the caste system always implied coercion and often went to the point
of violence. During the period 1889-1929 there was a lynching every four days on average,
sometimes just for “acting like a white person” or for committing minor offenses such
as stealing small sums. Ms Wilkerson remarked that the system caused a loss to whites
as well — “to hold people down, you have to get in the ditch with them.”
Ms Wilkerson explained that a partial reason for the migration beginning about 1915
was that the caste system had always depended on an oversupply of black laborers,
most of them sharecroppers who did not own land themselves. The outbreak of war in
Europe caused immigration to fall off at the same time that northern factories needed
more workers to create the goods to support the Allies and later the American forces.
Black workers from the South were part of the answer to the problem. Planters resisted,
trying to keep blacks in the South, sometimes waving trains through passenger stations
so that blacks could not board them.
The only migration that she described in any detail was about an Alabama family, sharecroppers
with nine children, the youngest of whom was so frail that they worried about his
ability to survive work in the cotton fields. Long dreaming of moving to Cleveland
(they even named the youngest James Cleveland -- they called him J.C.), they finally
made the move. The teacher in Cleveland could not understand his dialect and thought
his name was Jesse and eventually the family followed suit. This was Jesse Owens,
who in 1936 won four gold medals in the Olympics with Adolph Hitler looking on.
Other than Owens in sports, Ms Wilkerson mentioned several writers and musicians who
emerged out of the migration: Toni Morrison and Lorraine Hansberry in literature,
and Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Jacksons, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, and John
Coltrane in music. Indeed, she maintained, much of American culture was transformed
through the migration. (Later in the lecture she said that she owed her own existence
to the migration, for her parents would never have met otherwise.)
Ms Wilkerson also emphasized the political importance of the migration, maintaining
that it in time produced the civil rights movement which was directed as much against
reactions to blacks which had developed in northern states as against the southern
caste system. The early migration had no acknowledged leaders, she said, but represented
rather a people’s decision. Together the people accomplished what Abraham Lincoln’s
Emancipation Proclamation could not do — "they freed themselves," Ms Wilkerson asserted.
Toward the end of her lecture Ms Wilkerson directed attention to the moment of departure
for the migrants, usually a very poignant moment. The migrants were generally young
people and their leaving the South was often a virtually complete break with the family,
whom they might never see alive again. She reminded the audience that there was no
Skype, no cell phones, only letters and expensive long-distance systems for the few
who owned telephones of any sort, and expensive telegrams.
She ended with a quotation from Richard Wright, who left Natchez, Mississippi, in
1927 and passed through Memphis on his way to Chicago: “I was taking a part of the
South to transplant in alien soil, to see if it could drink of new and cool rains,
bend in strange winds, respond to the warmth of other suns and, perhaps, to bloom.”
During the question-and-answer period which followed the lecture, someone asked Ms
Wilkerson what had prompted her to write the book. She explained that everyone knew
The Grapes of Wrath, which described a much smaller group of migrants. She felt that there ought to be
a book like it about the “great migration,” so she determined to write it.
A former correspondent for the New York Times, Ms Wilkerson was the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, for
reporting she did in 1994 when she was with the newspaper’s Chicago bureau. The Warmth of Other Suns won over ten major literary prizes, including the National Book Critics’ Circle Award
for Nonfiction, and has been named to over thirty periodicals' lists for “Best Books
of the Year.”
The Belle McWilliams Lecture in American History has been made possible since 1980
by the Department of History through a bequest from Major Benjamin Schultze and his
sister Ms Louise Fellows. They named a fund in honor of Miss Belle McWilliams, their
aunt and guardian, “who for 40 years taught American History in the Memphis Public
School system.” Besides the lecture series, the fund supports the Belle McWilliams
Scholarships and other activities of the department. For several years the lecture
has been part of a series sponsored by the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.
This year it was also supported by the Program in African and African-American Studies,
the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, the Department of English, the
Center for Research on Women, the Department of Journalism, and Facing History and
Yves Mai Orsino awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
[6 February 2013] Yves Mai Orsino, who is majoring in both history and political science and minoring
in international affairs, is one of three undergraduates to receive a Benjamin A.
Gilman International Scholarship for study abroad. She will study at Al Akhawayn University
in Ifrane, Morocco.
The Gilman program encourages students to choose non-traditional study destinations
and supports students who might otherwise be unlikely to study abroad, particularly
those with financial need or in underrepresented fields of study. Recipients are chosen
by a competitive selection process and will use the award to pay for eligible study-abroad
Dr Jayme Stone chosen as one of the nation’s top 10 first-year student advocates
[5 February 2013] Dr Jayme Stone, who received her Ph.D. in History in 2010, is now the director of Learning Communities
and instructor in the History department at the University of Central Arkansas. She
was recently selected as one of the top 10 first-year student advocates in the nation
by the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition. She will be honored at the 32nd Annual Conference on the First Year Experience in
Orlando, Florida, on 23 February 2013.
According to the announcement from UCA, Dr Stone’s “leadership and advocacy for residential
college programming has resulted in dramatic growth in the number and diversity of
institutional-themed residential colleges at UCA. Her support for Freshman Year Experience
classes, introduction of the Clustered Learning Program, redesign of Freshman Interest
Groups and the development of the Residential Linked Classes have had a dramatic impact
on UCA’s campus and culture.”
Dr Robert Parrent, vice president for Enrollment Management, made the announcement
of the award at the December Board of Trustees meeting. He said, “Dr. Stone is an
invaluable asset to the students she serves, the colleagues she inspires, the UCA
family and the greater global community.”
Dr Stone also will be recognized in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Center’s online newsletter, E-Source for College Transitions, and the Center’s webpage.
Dr Stone’s dissertation was “‘They Were Her Daughters’: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating
Committee and Grassroots Organizing for Social Justice in the Arkansas Delta, 1963-1967”
with Dr Janann Sherman as major professor.
Daily Helmsman reports on Study Abroad in Havana led by Dr Dennis Laumann during winter break
[23 January 2013] Today’s print issue of The Daily Helmsman has a lengthy article by Elizabeth Cooper reporting on the Study Abroad in Havana
program that was led by Dr Dennis Laumann during the winter break. (The online issues
of the newspaper have not been updated since 5 December 2012, so there is no online
link. Perhaps a link can be added later if the online site is updated.)
Shelby County Archives seeks volunteers to work with 19th-century Chancery Court
[23 January 2013] The Shelby County Archives extends an invitation, regardless of field, to all graduate
students and upper-level undergraduate history majors to assist in preparing a finding
aid for researchers in 19th-century Chancery Court records. There are several hundred
boxes of these records. Students who work twenty hours on the project will receive
a letter of completion and work experience for their curriculum vitae.
Interested students should send e-mail to Archives Specialist Vincent L. Clark at
email@example.com to receive more information.
Dr James McSwain publishes essay-review of book on corporate governance in Britain
and Ireland, re-elected director of Gulf South History and Humanities Conference
[18 January 2013] Dr James McSwain, who received his Ph.D. here in 1986 and is now a professor of history
at Tuskegee University, has returned from a leave during which he finished a chapter
in his book manuscript on petroleum and risk management on the Gulf Coast of the United
Just yesterday he published a major essay-review of Mark Freeman, Robin Pearson, and
James Taylor’s book Shareholder Democracies? Corporate Governance in Britain and Ireland before 1850 in Reviews in History, published by the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, where he
had a “place” in the 1980s courtesy of the University of Memphis; the review also
includes at the end the authors' reply. It may be accessed at http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/1364
He also has been re-elected as a director of the Gulf South History and Humanities
Conference, the 33rd annual meeting of which will be in 10-12 October 2013 in Pensacola
Beach, Forida. All U of M History Department graduate students and faculty who would
like to propose a paper or panel on a topic falling within the domain of the Gulf
South (including the Caribbean) should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department offers internships for undergraduate students
[10 January 2013] The Department of History at The University of Memphis is committed to providing
students with enriching educational experiences both in and outside of the classroom,
including helping students procure history-related internships. If you are interested
in participating in a history internship, please e-mail Dr Chrystal Goudsouzian, Undergraduate
Internship Coordinator, at email@example.com, call her at 901.678.5339, or visit her office in 125 Mitchell Hall.
Dr Robert Yelle publishes book on the semiotics of religion
[7 January 2013] Bloomsbury Publishing has published Dr Robert Yelle’s latest book, Semiotics of Religion: Signs of the Sacred in History. Although available earlier in the United Kingdom, its official release here is 3
January 2013 and it is now available for purchase in hardcover and paperback.
According to the publisher's description, following the heyday of Lévi-Straussian
structuralism in the 1970s-80s, little attention has been paid by scholars of religion
to semiotics. Now Dr Yelle’s Semiotics of Religion
reassesses key semiotic theories in the light of religious data. He examines the semiotics
of religion from structural and historical perspectives, drawing on Peircean linguistic
anthropology, Jakobsonian poetics, comparative religion and several theological traditions.
His book pays particular attention to the transformation of religious symbolism under
modernization and the rise of a culture of the printed book. Among the topics addressed
- ritual repetition and the poetics of ritual performance
- magic and the belief in a natural (iconic) language
- Protestant literalism and iconoclasm
- disenchantment and secularization
- holiness, arbitrariness, and agency
In reviewing the book, Webb Keane, professor of anthropology at the University of
Michigan, said: “This book is vast in scope, deep in implications, and admirably clear
and forthright in exposition.The study of religion has needed a work of this kind,
which brings together several research traditions and pushes the resulting synthesis
in new directions.The result is an agenda-setting project of huge ambition.”
Dr Yelle is an assistant professor in the Department of History and the Helen Hardin
Honors Program at The University of Memphis. He received his 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 Language of Disenchantment: Protestant Literalism and Colonial Discourse in British
India, and co-author of After Secular Law.