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