Taylor Richardson receives Outstanding Alumnus Award from Arts and Sciences chapter
of the Alumni Association
[24 April 2015] The College of Arts and Sciences chapter of the Alumni Association conveyed several
Outstanding Alumni Awards and a Friend of the College Award this afternoon at a luncheon.
Among them was Taylor Richardson, who graduated in 1962 as a history major. He is
shown above (center) with others who were honored (Dean Tom Nenon stands proudly behind
them). He is also shown below with Dr Aram Goudsouzian, chair of the Department of
Mr Richardson worked for a variety of Fortune 500 companies. He has been president
of the University of Memphis Foundation and the Highland Hundred and has served on
the university’s Board of Visitors. He received the university’s Distinguished Alumni
Award in 1997. He and his wife Mary Beth, who has an MA in anthropology from the university,
have been generous supporters of the university, with an annual scholarship for students
from their native Lake County, Tennessee. Recently they made a gift for the History
Educational Resource Center, which opened in August 2014 in Mitchell Hall.
Dr Dennis Laumann and Dr Andrew Daily receive Faculty Research Grants
[22 April 2015] The university today announced fifteen recipients of Faculty Research Grants for
2015. Two of the grants are to members of the Department of History: Dr Dennis Laumann
and Dr Andrew Daily.
Dr Daily will use his funds for the final research on his project After Negritude: The Cultural Politics of Place in Postwar France and the Antilles. Dr Laumann’s award will support his new project, to be co-authored with Dr Kofi
Baku of the University of Ghana, entitled A History of Ghana in the World.
Dr Suzanne Onstine delivers Legacy of Egypt lecture
[17 April 2015] Speaking on “A Living Legacy: Theban Tomb 16 and the Reuse of the Tombs of the Nobles
at Thebes," Dr Suzanne Onstine delivered the twelfth annual Legacy of Egypt lecture this evening.
Theban Tomb 16 began in the 19th Dynasty as the tomb of Pa-nehsy and his wife Ta-renut
but was used for about a thousand years thereafter as burial sites for others, and
in modern times was invaded by tomb robbers in search of valuable metals or objects
that could be sold.
Dr Onstine has been responsible for excavations of Theban Tomb 16 since 2008 and regularly
takes Egyptology graduate students to do work there. A detailed report of the 2012-2013
season may be found in the departmental newsletter for September 2013 and a report from the 2014-2015 season our article of 22 January 2015. Dr Onstine also has a blog about Theban Tomb 16.
Three doctoral students present their prospectuses for dissertations
[17 April 2015] All the prospectuses for dissertations presented this afternoon centered various
aspects of the history of Memphis. Rita Hall (below, left) began with “The Memphis Zoo: From Natch to Now”; Vanessa Welshans (below, center) made a presentation
on “The Home Front in Memphis, Tennessee: Before, During, and After World War II, 1941-1945”;
and Wendy Clark (below, right) concluded with “Currents of Change: The Relationship between Memphians and the Mississippi River,
Wendi Thomas writes about Study Abroad trip to Cuba led by Dr Dennis Laumann
[16 April 2015] Wendi Thomas, a former columnist for the Commercial Appeal, now writes for the Memphis Flyer. Today’s issue has as its cover story Cuba, Si!, which tells of her visit to Cuba when she accompanied a Study Abroad trip during
March led by Dr Dennis Laumann.
Ms Thomas writes about her experience at length, in sections dedicated to cars, cigars,
cuisine, art, and history. The cars were mostly 1950s-vintage and described as “museums
on wheels” because the only original parts were the bodies, and owners and drivers
had to be magicians to keep them going. There is a photograph of Dr Laumann smoking
one of the hand-rolled cigars for which Cuba is famous (reproduced here with the permission
of Ms Thomas).
Ms Thomas was highly impressed with the quality of Cuban rum (“the smoothest rum I've
ever tasted”) and coffee, but found the food, with rare exceptions, disappointing. The
section on art described and illustrated many found objects (such as bathtubs inscribed
with political poems) in the alley of the Callejón de Hamel, devoted to Afro-Cuban
culture, art, and music.
She reported that the travelers were most impressed with the Museo Nacional de la
Campaña Alfabetización, the national literacy museum (the group’s bus driver had,
as a young man, been a volunteer worker for the museum). The adult illiteracy rate
in Cuba today is reported to be less than 0.2% — the corresponding rate for the U.S.
is 14%. (The photo of the museum is reproduced with the permission of Ms Thomas.)
The Memphis Flyer is a free publication and issues may be found at numerous locations in Memphis. The
entire current issue is available online as a PDF document; the story is found on pages 19-23. The article alone is also available in HTML, and the photographs are larger in this version than in the PDF.
Dr Laumann had led a Study Abroad trip to Cuba during the winter break of 2012-2013
and wrote an article about it for the departmental newsletter for March 2013. The trip that Ms Thomas wrote about was one of the first Memphis groups to visit
Cuba after President Obama announced that diplomatic relations between the U.S. and
Cuba would resume for the first time in more than fifty years.
Dr Peter Brand is one of twelve notable scholars in university’s branding initiative
[14 April 2015] As part of the university’s new branding initiative, it is featuring twelve notable
scholars on a series of banners on display on Central Avenue. Among them is our very
own Peter Brand.
Dr Brand is a Dunavant University Professor, an adjunct professor of the Institute of Egyptian Art and Architecture, and head of the epigraphy team that is recording inscriptions at the Karnak Great Hypostyle Hall in Luxor.
Another part of the branding initiative was the placement of an electronic billboard
about the Department of History at the intersection of Poplar Avenue and White Station
Road (see our article of 3 March 2015).
West Tennessee History Day students win further honors at Tennessee History Day
[13 April 2015] Middle-school and high-school students who won first or second place in West Tennessee
History Day competition, held here on 21 February 2015, advanced to the statewide competition in Nashville on Saturday, and eight projects
placed third, three placed second, and four placed first. No district in the state
exceeded that total of prize winners. First- and second-place finishers now advance
automatically to the national contest, which takes place in June at the University
of Maryland-College Park. Third-place finishers are the alternates.
[ADDENDUM: 16 April 2015] Tre Hargett, Tennessee Secretary of State, has long been a strong supporter of Tennessee
History Day. Today he published a complete list of the winners of the state competition in Nashville.
Department has banquet for Phi Alpha Theta induction and departmental awards
[10 April 2015] Dr Laurie Green, associate professor of history at the University of Texas-Austin,
spoke on “From Mississippi to Memphis: Racial Injustice and the Politics of Hunger
in the Era of the Sanitation Strike” today at the annual Phi Alpha Theta induction
and Department of History honors awards. Dr Green won the 2008 Philip Taft Labor History
Book Award for her book Battling the Plantation Mentality: Memphis and the Black Freedom Struggle.
Following Dr Green’s lecture Dr Andrew Daily and Amanda Lee Savage, faculty advisors,
and Tannie Arnsdorf, secretary, conducted the induction ceremony for new members of
Phi Alpha Theta, the national honorary organization for history. The new members are
Victoria Dowdy, Seth Harden, Jerry Venable, Cody Lee Fletcher, Roy Smith II, Katherine
Mary Hanna, Brad A. Baird II, Justin Pickard, Allison Maria Heirigs, Derek Copper,
Taylor Hopkins, Benjamin J. Woodford, Kyle Holley, Allison Benoit, Samantha Traylor,
Janet Towater Wickers, Chloe Gabrielle Russell, Aragon C. Etzel, and Allen Bowers.
Dr Aram Goudsouzian, chair of the department, assisted by Amanda Lee Savage, presided
over the awards to undergraduate and graduate students.
The award recipients for 2014-2015 were:
- Bob Baker Scholarship: Jennifer Amber Humes, Steven Turner
- Belle McWilliams Scholarship: Seth Andrew Harden, Grace White
- Janann M. Sherman Undergraduate Award for the Study of Women’s History: Allison Amanda
- Paul R. Coppock Scholarship: Jeremy Stitts
- Tennessee Historical Commission Award: Lillian Gardner Page
- Major L. Wilson Undergraduate Paper Prize: Lillian Gardner Page
- Major L. Wilson Graduate Paper Prize: Scott Roth
- Internship: Angela Jean Porritt
- National Society of Colonial Dames of America in the State of Tennessee American History
Scholarship 2015: Troy Hallsell
- Most Outstanding Graduate Assistant Instructor: Dustin Peasley
- Most Outstanding Part-Time Instructor Award: Dr Rachel Mittelman
The award recipients of 2015-2016 were:
- Dr Dalvan M. Coger and Dr Greta M. Coger Fellowship in History: Genevieve AnnMarie
- Ruth and Harry Woodbury Graduate Fellowship for the Study of Southern History: Troy
- Dr Peggy Jemison Bodine Fellowship: Maria R. Carlenius
- Dr William R. and Helen Lucile Gillaspie Scholarship: Isabel Machado
- One-Year Dissertation Fellowship: Micki Yvonne Kaleta
- Semester Dissertation Writing Fellowship: Wendy J. Clark (Fall 2015), Amber Anna Colvin
Some of the recipients of awards are shown below. First row: Jeremy Stitts, Lillian
Page; second row: Troy Hallsell, Genevieve Donovan; third row: Isabel Machado, MIcki
Following the banquet, Dr Green met with students in the History Educational Resource
Center for informal discussion.
Graduate students awarded funding for research and conferences for summer 2015
[9 April 2015] The Graduate Awards Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of Summer 2015
research and conference funding:
- Wendy Clark, research in Nashville
- Jeffery Jones, research in Pennsylvania
- Andrea Ringer, research in New York
- Isabel Machado Wildberger, research in Mobile, Alabama, and institute participation
in Berkeley, California
Dr Daryl Carter receives research grant and service award
[1 April 2015] The Dirksen Congressional Center in Pekin, Illinois, has awarded Dr Daryl A. Carter, associate professor of history
and graduate coordinator of the Department of History at East Tennessee University,
a grant of $3,500 at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at The University of Tennessee-Knoxville for research in the late senator’s papers.
He will also be honored with the Service Award of the College of Arts and Sciences
at East Tennessee at a faculty meeting later in April, and be recommended for the
University Service Award to be made in August.
Dr Carter received his PhD in history from The University of Memphis in May 2011 under
the direction of Dr Aram Goudsouzian, completing a dissertation entitled “President
Bill Clinton, African Americans, and the Politics of Race and Class.” In 2013, he
was named as a Maxine Smith Fellow by the Tennessee Board of Regents.
Dr Beverly Bond is keynote speaker for concluding event in Women’s History Month
[31 March 2015] Women’s History Month 2015 at The University of Memphis ended, as it had begun, with extensive participation by members of the Department of History. Dr Beverly
Bond was the keynote speaker for the event, and Dr Christine Eisel introduced the
portion on “Weaving Women’s Stories" near its conclusion.
The opening highlight was Campus School student Abigail Kellett reading her illustrated
story of Deborah Sampson (later Gannett), who disguised herself as a man so that she
could enlist in the Continental Army. While she read, her story was displayed on the
screen so that the audience could see her text and illustrations. The picture at
the right shows the page on which she discussed Paul Revere’s support of Deborah Sampson’s
petition to be awarded a pension for her service.
During her keynote address Dr Bond spoke about three Tennessee women who are the subjects
of essays in the two volumes that she and Dr Sarah Wilkerson Freeman have edited.
While she told the stories of the women, three dancers —Jill Nee, Trinica Goods, and
Angelina Cearra Clark, under the direction of Jazmin Miller — interpreted the stories.
Dr Bond concluded her address with a tribute to her aunt, Mrs. Jeraldine Sanderlin,
whom she described as the “matriarch” of the family and who celebrated her 85th birthday
The first volume of Tennessee Women: Their Lives and Times was published in 2009 and the second volume will be released in July 2015. Both are
under the imprint of the University of Georgia Press (images of both volumes are shown
above at the base of the podium).
The full texts of tributes to women in “Weaving Women’s Stories" were printed in the
program for the event. During the portion of the event introduced by Dr Eisel the
names of the honorees were displayed on a screen along with three words chosen to
summarize the printed tributes. Shown at the left is the visual tribute to our former
chair, Dr Janann Sherman. Several women from the Department of History were honored
along with Dr Sherman, and several members of the department paid tribute to others.
Dr Danielle McGuire delivers Belle McWilliams Lecture in U.S. History
[26 March 2015] Dr Danielle McGuire, assistant professor of history at Wayne State University, delivered
the Belle McWilliams Lecture in U.S. History for 2014-2015 this evening, speaking
on the topic “To Gain Title to Our Bodies: Black Women and the Long Civil Rights Movement.” The
lecture was based on her book At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance—A New History of the
Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, published by Knopf in 2010 and issued as a Vintage paperback in 2011. The lecture
was also an event of the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities, co-sponsored by the Center for Research on Women, African and African American Studies,
and the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change.
Dr McGuire’s lecture both began and ended with stories about Recy Taylor, a black
woman from Abbeville, Alabama, who in 1944 was kidnapped and gang-raped by a group
of white men. Assisting in a national protest movement, Rosa Parks made an investigation
for the NAACP and helped to establish a national protest movement named the Committee
for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor. The charges against the men were dismissed
after a jury deliberated for five minutes. This happened when Martin Luther King Jr.
was still in high school.
In 1949, in Montgomery, Alabama, charges of raping Gertude Perkins by two uniformed
policemen resulted in no indictment. But the incident had the effect of politicizing
black ministers such as Solomon Seay. In 1951 Sam Green, who ran a grocery store in
Montgomery, raped Gertrude Perkins, one of his employees. As part of the protest,
black women led a boycott that resulted in the closing of the store. Black women also
organized a bus boycott in protest against bus drivers' abuse of black passengers.
Montgomery was not unique. Protests of violence against black women occurred in other
places, but Dr McGuire did not give details of them.
So the familiar story of Rosa Parks beginning the protests because her feet were tired
was not the real beginning of the movement by black women to secure their rights,
Dr McGuire stated. Violence against black women, particularly sexual violence, had
its roots in the colonial period when laws and customs regarded the children of slave
women as slaves and prohibited interracial marriage while permitting sexual exploitation
of black women by white men.
During Reconstruction, claims that black men were raping white women led to many lynchings
of black men, fueled by the image of the "black beast rapist," and white southern
political leaders of later generations claimed that integrationists were really interested
in miscegenation or amalgamation of the races. One was quoted as saying, "They don't
want rights. They want your women."
The conviction and sentencing of white men in 1959 for raping Betty Jean Owens in
Tallahassee, Florida, was a real milestone for black women. It was followed by similar
convictions in North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi. The overturning
by the Supreme Court in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia of laws forbidding interracial marriage removed the last vestige of slavery to fall,
Dr McGuire said.
The trial in Washington, North Carolina, in 1974 of Joan Little on charges of first-degree
murder involved the issue of whether black women could use violence themselves to
guard against sexual assault. She was accused of being a "black Jezebel" who enticed
a white jailer to have sex with her and then killing him with an ice pick that she
had smuggled into her cell. Rosa Parks, who had moved to Detroit shortly after the
bus boycott in Montgomery, was part of a protest movement. The jury unanimously acquitted
Ms Little of the charges, accepting her account that she had managed to wrestle the
ice pick away from the jailer who was demanding sexual favors and threatening her
with death if she did not oblige.
Dr McGuire ended the formal part of her lecture by noting that she had met with Recy
Taylor on Inauguration Day in 2011. She asked Ms Taylor if she had ever thought a
black man could be elected president of the United States. "Not in my lifetime," Ms
Taylor had replied. In May 2011 the Alabama House of Representatives apologized for
the state's failure to prosecute the men charged with her rape in 1944, and several
Abbeville leaders also apologized. Ms Taylor said that she had not expected that to
happen either. Later in the year she visited the White House and attended a forum
on Rosa Parks.
Dr McGuire's book in 2011 won the Lillian Smith Book Award from the Southern Regional
Council and the Frederick Jackson Turner Book Award from the Organization of American
Historians. It also received honorable mention for the Darlene Clark Hine Book Award
of the OAH.
The Belle McWilliams Lecture Series began in 1980 with a bequest from Major Benjamin Schultze and his sister Ms 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.” Besides
the lecture series, the fund supports the Belle McWilliams Scholarships and other
activities of the department.
[ADDENDUM: 27 March 2015] As a bonus, Dr McGuire chatted informally with students and faculty members in the
History Educational Resource Center this afternoon.
Harvard University Press to release Dr Catherine Phipps’ book on Japanese ports in
[23 March 2015] Dr Catherine Phipps’ book, Empire on the Waterfront: Japan’s Ports and Power, 1858-1899, will be published on 6 April 2015 by Harvard University Press in its Harvard East
Asian Monographs series. It is available now for pre-order from the press and commercial
Through an in-depth assessment of the port of Moji in northern Kyushu, this study
examines a largely unacknowledged system of “special trading ports” that operated
under full Japanese jurisdiction in the shadow of the better-known treaty ports. By
allowing Japan to circumvent conditions imposed on treaty ports, the special trading
ports were key to achieving autonomy and regional power.
Gawker publishes Dr Chris Johnson’s essay, “The Unauthorized Biography of a Black Cop”
[23 March 2015] The blog Gawker publishes several sections, one of which is True Stories, devoted to first-person accounts of real-life events, published on Saturdays. This
weekend it featured an essay by Dr Chris Johnson entitled “The Unauthorized Biography of a Black Cop."
This is the story of the remarkable man he identifies only as “Dad" (he gives the
name of only one person in the entire essay), who worked as a prison guard and police
officer in New York, whom he characterizes as “my uncle by blood, my guardian, my
hero and my archenemy, the man who took me in when everyone else wanted to flush me
down the toilet” and later in the essay as “my blood uncle—my futurefather—now my
father, my only father, and for most of my life, my father and mother and sometime-friend.”
Dr Sarah Potter wins Distinguished Teaching Award from the Alumni Association
[20 March 2015] The Department of History has another winner of the Alumni Association’s Distinguished
Teaching Award, with Dr Sarah Potter being announced today as one of the four faculty members at The University of Memphis to receive the award
for this year at a luncheon for them and their guests to be held in April.
No details at available at this time. We will add further information as it becomes
[ADDENDUM: 14 April 2015]: No further information was ever made public. Dr Potter received the award at a luncheon
held today in the Center View Room of the University Center, according to a news item on the university’s website.
Dr Beverly Tsacoyanis speaks at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch
[20 March 2015] Dr Beverly Tsacoyanis spoke this afternoon at the Spring 2015 Phi Alpha Theta pizza
lunch, presenting information about mental illness and treatment in early twentieth-century
Syria and Lebanon, the subject of her dissertation at Washington University in Saint
Louis and for which she is preparing a book-length monograph.
Her sources — drawn from medical records, correspondence, and ethnographic studies
from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and centered around the Ibn
Sina Hospital in Damascus and the Lebanon Hospital for the Insane at Asfouriyeh, near
Beirut — revealed that practitioners of a variety of healing systems operated in contested spaces.
Most ordinary people of the time preferred to turn to local practices that imbued
healing with religiously and culturally significant meaning (in Christian and Jewish
as well as Muslim communities). While western-trained doctors insisted that insanity
was a physical disease, many persons in the community believed that it and other diseases
could be caused by evil spirits (and cured by good spirits). Moreover, doctors were
in the public mind often regarded as unwelcome agents of Westernization and as Protestant
In past years the pizza lunches have generally been held in the auditorium of Mitchell
Hall, but this session was held in the more informal setting of the History Educational
Resource Center (the HERC) in 147 Mitchell Hall.
Dr Sarah Potter facilitates discussion of book by Dr Danielle McGuire at CROW Book
[18 March 2015] As part of this year’s Women’s History Month at The University of Memphis, Dr Danielle
McGuire will lecture in the Belle McWilliams Lecture Series on 26 March on “To Gain Title to Our Bodies: Black Women and the Long Civil Rights Movement,” based on
her book At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance.
This afternoon in a Book Salon sponsored by the Center for Research on Women, and
also an event of Women’s History Month, Dr Sarah Potter was the facilitator for discussion
of selected portions of the book.
Dr Janann Sherman interviewed in documentary about the women’s national air derby
[17 March 2015] Phoebe Omlie was one of the twenty women who competed in August 1929 in the first
women’s national air derby (dubbed the “Powder Puff Derby” by Will Rogers). Dr Janann
Sherman, our former chair (now retired), is the expert on Phoebe Omlie, having published Walking on Air: The Aerial Adventures of Phoebe Omlie in 2011 and having helped James Kakarides in the campaign to get the new control tower at Memphis International Airport named for Phoebe
and her husband Vernon.
Dr Sherman appeared this morning on WKNO2 in a documentary by Heather Taylor, speaking
about Phoebe Omlie, along with others speaking about other participants in the derby.
The documentary, entitled Breaking Through the Clouds: The First Women’s National Air Derby, received the Combs Gates Award from the National Aviation Hall of Fame and yesterday
received an award for best historical feature film at the Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Film
Festival. It is being shown by PBS affiliates nationwide at various times and is available
as a DVD.
Phoebe Omlie was recently inducted into the Women In Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame.
Dr Sherman wrote a brief article about her for the organization’s newsletter.
Dr Aram Goudsouzian’s book on the Meredith march wins McLemore Prize from the Mississippi
[10 March 2015] Dr Aram Goudsouzian’s book Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against
Fear won the McLemore Book Prize from the Mississippi Historical Society this past weekend
as the most distinguished scholarly book on a topic in Mississippi history or biography
published in 2014. The photo shows him accepting the award from Dr Robert Fleegler, a historian at the
University of Mississsippi-Southaven and a member of the Book Award Committee. The
presentation was made at a meeting of the Mississippi Historical Society in Corinth
over the weekend.
The McLemore Prize memorializes Richard A. McLemore, former president of the Mississippi
Historical Society and former director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and
History, and his wife, Nannie Pitts McLemore, also a former president of the Society.
In addition to the certificate shown above, the prize carries a monetary award.
The book was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in February 2014 and has received
numerous favorable reviews. For more information about it, including extracts from the reviews, visit the website for the book and read the interview with Dr Goudsouzian in the February 2014 issue of the departmental newsletter, History Happenings.
Department of History participates in official opening event of Women’s History Month
[4 March 2015] Women’s History Month at The University of Memphis opened officially this morning
and continued into the afternoon in the atrium of the University Center with extensive
participation by the Department of History. Dr Chrystal Goudsouzian organized the
event. The second level of the atrium was decorated with the artwork created by student
Meredith Lones (shown above).
One of the principal exhibits (shown below) on Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives
invited visitors to write remarks to complete the expression “Women’s Lives Matter
Because . . ." (The Facebook page for the event has photos of many of those who participated.) Various organizations set up booths
to promote their activities; one of them (shown below) was selling teeshirts.
Volume co-edited by Dr Susan O’Donovan wins award for documentary editing
[4 March 2015] The Freedmen and Southern Society Project was established in 1976 to capture the essence of the profound social revolution
effected by emancipation by depicting the drama of emancipation in the words of the
participants: liberated slaves and defeated slaveholders, soldiers and civilians,
common folk and the elite, Northerners and Southerners.
The project’s editors have been transcribing, organizing, and annotating resources
from the National Archives of the United States and to date have published six of
the projected nine volumes of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861–1867. (Four volumes prepared for general readers and classroom use have also been published.)
Susan O’Donovan is one of the editors. The volume Land and Labor, 1866–1867, one on which Dr O’Donovan worked, has won the 2015 Thomas Jefferson Prize from the
Society for History in the Federal Government. The prize is awarded every two years for documentary editing. It is the fourth of
the six volumes in the series to win this prestigious honor.
Dr Christine Eisel speaks at opening of Libraries’ exhibition
[3 March 2015] Dr Christine Eisel spoke this evening at the opening of the University of Memphis
Libraries’ exhibition “Woven Into Words: Tennessee Women Making History.” Her presentation
was “Lessons Learned in the Archives" and dealt with the online women’s history project her students are building using the Libraries’ special
The exhibition, held on the fourth floor of McWherter Library, consists of documents
and images from the University Libraries' departments of Special Collections and Government
Publications. Guests can explore several display cases that illustrate the impact
of women such as Roberta Church, Elizabeth Meriwether, Sister Hughetta Snowden, Cornelia
Crenshaw, and Maxine Smith, and highlight government documents relating to women’s
suffrage and political history.
University billboard advertises the Department of History
[3 March 2015] The University of Memphis has erected an electronic billboard at Poplar Avenue and
White Station Road that advertises the Department of History. The billboard contains
the new branding symbol for the university in the lower right-hand corner.
The intersection is heavily traveled. Poplar Avenue is also U.S. route 72 and Tennessee
route 57 and is one of the main east-west streets in the city, and White Station Road
is one of the main north-south streets in east Memphis.
Dr Aram Goudsouzian leads viewing and discussion of Freedom Riders
[25 February 2015] Dr Aram Goudsouzian led a discussion this evening at the National Civil Rights Museum
of the documentary Freedom Riders in connection with Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle. This was part
of a series of scholar-led film viewings and dicussions. The documentary dealt with
the Freedom Rides of 1961 that were a pivotal moment in the long civil rights struggle
that redefined America. Based on Raymond Arsenault’s recent book, it offers an inside
look at the brave band of activists who challenged segregation in the Deep South.
Dr William Campbell speaks in Humanities Brown Bag Series for faculty
[24 February 2015] Dr William Campbell spoke this afternoon in the Humanities Brown Bag Series for faculty
sponsored by the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities. His topic was “The Legalities
of Exploitation: Treaty-Making in Native America,” how the protocols and precedents
established by negotiations immediately following the American Revolution remain important
to rulings and arguments today. Dr Campbell is under contract by the National Parks
Service to revisit and reinterpret the terms and means of a number of late-eighteenth-century
treaties, Dr. Campbell will explore some of these themes and aspects as he discusses
most recent research.
Department publishes February 2015 issue of History Happenings newsletter
[24 February 2015] The February 2015 issue of History Happenings, the newsletter of the Department of History, is now online as a PDF document.
The issue contains the following articles:
Department hosts largest West Tennessee History Day ever
[21 February 2015] The weather was a worrisome factor all week, since The University of Memphis had
closed for four days, including yesterday, because of snow and ice. Today was a rather
unpleasant day also, with a cold, blowing rain but the front that moved through the
area during the early morning hours brought enough warmth with it to melt most of
the ice and snow and allow West Tennessee History Day to proceed today as scheduled,
in the University Center, Mitchell Hall, and the Michael Rose Theatre.
Dr Susan O’Donovan reported that it was the largest West Tennessee Day ever, with
421 students involved in various projects such as written papers, websites, documentaries,
performances, and exhibits. Judging, which was done by volunteers from the university
and the community, began at 9 o’clock and concluded shortly before the awards ceremony
at 3 pm in the auditorium of the University Center. Dr O’Donovan called on Shelby
County Historian Jimmy Ogle to make introductory remarks and to introduce Dr Curt
Fields, chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission. (Mr Ogle remarked that
Dr Fields often plays the role of General U. S. Grant in Civil War reenactments.)They
were joined shortly by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Dr Aram Goudsouzian,
chair of the Department of History, who helped to distribute medals to the winners.
It was not only students who received honors. The Shelby County Historical Society
makes an annual award (named in honor of Ed Williams, a former Shelby County Historian)
to a "teacher of the year." The recipient this year (in absentia) was Dr Mark Janzen,
one of our PhD alumni in Egyptology from 2013 and who now teaches U.S. history, world
history, and advanced placement U.S. history at First Assembly Christian School.
Students who won first- and second-place prizes in today’s competition are eligible
to participate in Tennessee History Day to be held in Nashville on 11 April 2015,
and third-place winners are alternates. In addition, first-place winners will be further
honored at an awards ceremony to be held by the Shelby County Historical Commission
on 5 August. Here are some of the winners receiving their medals:
At the conclusion of the awards Mayor Luttrell, who had been a history major himself,
exhorted the students to continue their pursuit of historical knowledge. To judge
from the number of persons who attended the events and packed the auditorium to near-capacity,
he might be said to have been “preaching to the choir.” Here are some of them on the
Dr Susan O’Donovan leads viewing and discussion of The Abolitionists
[19 February 2015] Dr Susan O’Donovan led a discussion this evening at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central
Library of the documentary The Abolitionists in connection with Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle. This was part
of a series of scholar-led film viewings and dicussions. The documentary dealt with
the struggles of the men and women to end slavery in the period before the Civil War.
Dr Beverly Bond leads viewing and discussion of The Loving Story
[12 February 2015] In the series of scholar-led film viewings and discussions in connection with Created
Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, Dr Beverly Bond this evening led discussion
of The Loving Story. The documentary dealt with the interracial marriage of Richard and MIldred Loving
in Virginia, the conviction under the state’s law against miscegenation, and the unanimous
Supreme Court decision (1967) that led to the overturning of such laws throughout
the United States.
The event was held at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library.
Jeffery Jones and Scott Frizzell present dissertation prospectuses
[6 February 2015] Jeffery Jones and Scott Frizzell presented prospectuses for their dissertations this
afternoon at the first prospectus session of the Spring 2015 semester. Mr Jones (below
left) proposes a dissertation on General Benjamin O. Davis, the first black Army officer
to achieve the rank of general. Mr Frizzell (below right) will study busing and school
desegregation in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr Sheena Harris speaks at opening event for Black History Month at LeMoyne-Owen
[5 February 2015] Dr Sheena Harris was the speaker Wednesday evening for the opening event in Black
History Month at LeMoyne-Owen College, speaking on the topic of how reality shows
like Real Housewives of Atlanta shape viewers’ perceptions of African- Americans.
The perceptions are not very encouraging, according to Dr Harris, not very different
from the freak shows of the 19th century that presented the stereotype of black women
as “docile and subservient but also exotic and oversexualized.” That image was so
prevalent that elite black women such as Ida B. Wells and Margaret Murray Washington
(the wife of Booker T. Washington) felt the responsibility of black elite women to
help in the uplifting of the race. Today, she maintained, those ideas are being overshadowed
by “the glitz and glam of rising popular culture.”
Dr Harris is a graduate of our PhD program, having received her degree in 2012 with
a dissertation on the life and times of Margaret Murray Washington, with Dr Beverly
Bond as major professor. She is now an assistant professor of history at Tuskegee
Dr Aram Goudsouzian speaks about the Meredith March Against Fear at historical society
[2 February 2015] At the February meeting of the West Tennessee Historical Society this evening, Dr
Aram Goudsouzian spoke on the theme of his book Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against
U of M faculty members to lead viewing and discussion of films for Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle
[30 January 2015] Dr Earnestine Jenkins, associate professor of art history, will join with Dr Beverly
Bond, Dr Susan O’Donovan, and Dr Aram Goudsouzian of the Department of History in
a series of film viewings and discussions during February in connection with Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle, a project brought to Memphis by the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Gilder
Lehrman Institute of American History, and the American Library Association.
All the events will be held on Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 pm; two will be at the
National Civil Rights Museum and two will be at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library:
- 5 February, National Civil Rights Museum: Slavery by Another Name, led by Dr Jenkins
- 12 February, Meeting Rooms A-C, Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library: The Loving Story, led by Dr Bond
- 19 February, Meeting Rooms A-C, Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library: The Abolitionists, led by Dr O’Donovan
- 26 February, National Civil Rights Museum: Freedom Riders, led by Dr Goudsouzian
Theban Tomb 16 team reports on the current excavation season
[22 January 2015] Dr Suzanne Onstine reports from Luxor, Egypt, that having worked for three weeks the team that is excavating Theban Tomb 16 has reached the halfway point in this season’s excavations. The 19th-Dynasty tomb is the burial site for Pahnesy and his wife
Tarenu, priest and priestess. Dr Onstine has been responsible for excavation there
since 2008 (a detailed report of the 2012-2013 season may be found in the departmental newsletter for September 2013).
The physical anthropology team has analysed thousands of bones and has discovered
several lovely funerary objects like shabtis (funerary figures) and amulets. The rest of the burial equipment is in a very ruined
state—all the coffins and bodies were smashed into small pieces during the looting
of the tomb in the 20th century. The project, however, is happy with the amount of
data that can be secured from the broken remains, and all kinds of pathologies and
mummification techniques have been found.
The x-ray machine that was supposed to be used during this season is still sitting
in the Cairo airport awaiting customs clearance, so those investigations will have
to wait until a later season as the radiologist, Rosa Dinares, had to return to Spain
to her “real job.” Dr Onstine remarked that the team is very fortunate to have specialists
like Rosa, Jesus Herrerin (physical anthropologist), and Miguel Sanchez (pathologist),
willing to devote their vacation days to research at TT16.
The team was able to show off the tomb to the Karnak team in that team’s final days
of work (see a report from the Karnak Hypostyle Hall Project earlier this month). A further update on TT16 is promised at the end of the season.
The large photograph above is of Dr Onstine explaining some information about the
tomb to a group of visitors. The small photograph at the left is of the Memphis team
members: Dustin Peasley, Dr Onstine, Virginia Reckard, and Elizabeth Warkentin (kneeling).
Dr Darin Stephanov receives academic appointments in Finland
[13 January 2015] Dr Darin Stephanov has recently been named a post-doctoral researcher at the Academy
of Finland Project “Political Power in the Early Modern European and Islamic Worlds,”
and coordinator of the Nordic Exploratory Workshops “Eurasian Empires, Public Space/Sphere,
and Collective Identities at the Threshold of Modernity” at the University of Jyväskylä,
Finland. He is the author of “Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839) and the First Shift in
Modern Ruler Visibility in the Ottoman Empire,” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 1:1-2 (2014), among other articles.
Dr Stephanov received his PhD at The University of Memphis in 2012. His dissertation
was “Minorities, Majorities, and the Monarch: Nationalizing Effects of the Late Ottoman
Royal Public Ceremonies, 1808-1908,” with Dr Kent Schull as major professor. While
a student he won one of the first-ever awards for making the best prospectus presentation.
He did postdoctoral research in Finland and was a Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium
for Advanced Studies during 2012-2014.
Dr Aram Goudsouzian participates in historians' assessments of President Obama’s
[12 January 2015] Dr Aram Goudsouzian was one of 53 historians chosen by New York magazine to make assessments of the legacy of Barack Obama. Each historian was asked
by respond to 15 questions. In its general article on the online site the magazine chose from the full assessments brief quotations that it found most
In the category "What We Will Remember?" it included Dr Goudsouzian’s contention that
it would be the recent executive action on immigration: “According to one poll, almost
90 percent of registered Latino voters support the measure. The number of Hispanics
in the United States is projected to double by 2060, which means that one-third of
the nation’s population will be Hispanic. Obama’s executive action may not only help
stabilize the country’s Latino population but also cement much of its loyalty to the
In the category “The Most Lasting Image?" it included Dr Goudsouzian’s judgment that
it was “When Joe Wilson yelled ‘You lie!’ during the 2009 State of the Union: a cheap, nasty, and disrespectful moment and
a depressing emblem of the era in which Obama has governed.”
The magazine published the complete text of all the responses in separate articles;
Dr Goudsouzian’s response may be bound at http://nymag.com/news/politics/obama-history-project/aram-goudsouzian/.
Karnak Hypostyle Hall Project filmed by CNN for its series “Inside Africa”
[1 January 2015] CNN International recently visited Dr Peter Brand and his students who are working
on the field mission of the Karnak Hypostyle Hall Project in Luxor, Egypt, and did
extensive filming of the Hypostyle Hall for the first part of its weekly program “Inside
Africa” that is seen around the world.The crew spoke with doctoral student Andrew
Shilling and shot footage of him when he was upon the scaffolding recording inscriptions.
This part, which is narrated by CNN’s Ian Lee and deals with the Nile as the lifeblood
of Egypt’s civilization and concentrates on the ancient capital at Thebes (modern
Luxor), has been posted to the Internet at http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/international/2014/12/29/spc-inside-africa-egypt-nile-river-a.cnn.html. Beginning at about 3:08, the show depicts the Karnak Hypostyle Hall and how it has
been used in movies such as James Bond’s “They Spy Who Loved Me” and more recently “Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen.” It then speaks about how the University of Memphis is working
there, “uncovering the mysteries” of Ancient Egypt, and Mr Shilling is shown doing
his work on the scaffolding, beginning at 3:52.
Dr Brand reported today that the field season is going very well and that he will
be returning to Memphis on 15 January with most of the students. Another senior doctoral
student, Ms Erika Feleg, will continue to work at Karnak along with the project’s photographer
until 31 March.
This season’s field work was made possible by the project’s fifth consecutive grant
from the National Endowment for the Humanities and its first grant from the American
Research Center in Egypt’s Egyptian Antiquities Fund, which in turn is funded by the
US-AID program from the State Department.
You may find more information about the Karnak Hypostyle Hall Project on its website and on its Facebook page. (The Facebook page has an item about the project’s participating in the celebrations
arranged for this year’s solstice at Karnak on 21 December, which it described as