Department of History College of Arts and Sciences
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News about the Department of History and its faculty, staff, students, and alumni

Archives of History Happenings are available for:

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The department periodically publishes a newsletter.

For upcoming events, consult the Calendar of Events.

History Happenings Archive for 2008


David Turpie has article in Journal of Sport History, receives two academic awards at the University of Maine

[28 December 2008] David Turpie (M.A. 2004, The University of Memphis) has an article entitled “From Broadway to Hollywood: The Image of the 1939 University of Tennessee Football Team and the Americanization of the South” in the Journal of Sport History 35, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 119-42. The article is an outgrowth of research he did for his M.A. thesis on college football’s “mythical” national championship in 1938 and 1939.

The Journal of Sport History has been published by the North American Society for Sport History since 1974.

Mr Turpie is now a fourth-year doctoral student at the University of Maine. He began research for his dissertation this past Fall. The dissertation examines southern opposition to the Spanish-American War and the postwar annexations of the former Spanish islands. In support of his research he has received a two-year University of Maine Doctoral Research Fellowship. New this year, there were only six awards made university-wide and Mr Turpie was the only recipient from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He was also awarded a John Nolde lectureship by the History Department, which will allow him to teach his own course, something that rarely happens at the University of Maine. He will be teaching “U.S. after 1877.”

Mr Turpie has also created a Web site for the History Graduate Student Association at the University of Maine, but he modestly gives credit to a fellow student for updating the site.


Three students from the Department of History receive the Ph.D. degree in winter commencement

[13 December 2008] Three students from the Department of History recently defended their dissertations successfully and were awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the winter commencement today: Ed Hamelrath. whose dissertation “From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Reform of the German Volkspolizei in the State of Saxony after the Fall of the GDR, 1989-1994” was directed by Dr Daniel Unowsky; Matthew Daniel Mason. whose dissertation “A Partial Presentation of the Past: A Critical Examination of Wisconsin Death Trip” was directed by Dr Janann Sherman; and Larry Powers, whose dissertation “George C. Krick — American Guitarist: 1871-1962” was directed by Dr Charles Crawford.

The awarding of these degrees brings the number of Ph.D. students in 2008 from the Department of History to seven. Three other students received their degrees at the summer commencement and one received his degree at the spring commencement (read our article about the earlier students).


Dr Jonathan Judaken and Dr Dennis Laumann named as finalists for 2008-2009 Distinguished Teaching Awards

[12 December 2008] Among the faculty members at The University of Memphis who have been chosen as finalists for the 2008-2009 Distinguished Teaching Awards are two members of the Department of History: Dr Jonathan Judaken and Dr Dennis Laumann, both associate professors. The awards are funded and sponsored by The University of Memphis Alumni Association each year to recognize excellence in teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels.


Dr Stephen Stein’s book on naval pioneer Washington Irving Chambers reviewed by H-Net

[12 December 2008] Following closely upon his interview with the Commercial Appeal about Pearl Harbor, Dr Stephen Stein has had his book From Torpedoes to Aviation: Washington Irving Chambers and Technological Innovation in the New Navy, 1877-1913 favorably reviewed by H-Net.

Here are extracts from the review by Robert Moss:

Without his efforts, the specifics of an important contributor to U.S. naval history would still be unknown. I do not know of any other work that even begins to cover the life of Washington Irving Chambers, despite his contributions to modernizing the navy at the turn of the twentieth century. This short biography scratches the surface of an era and subject matter that would benefit from far more in-depth coverage. I sincerely hope Stein will continue to write on this period in the U.S. Navy.

From Torpedoes to Aviation is a well-written, solid biography of an otherwise little-known U.S. Navy officer. The prose is easy to follow and interesting, as is the format of the book. Reading this work was a pleasure. Stein’s book is an excellent step toward better understanding of an important period in U.S. naval and military history. As his work is the first to tackle the ideas and accomplishments of Chambers, this area is wide open for further exploration. Each of Stein's chapters offers an opportunity for students of the era to explore further. He deserves our thanks for opening the door.

Read the entire review at H-Net.


Dr Stephen Stein featured in Commercial Appeal article about Pearl Harbor

[9 December 2008] Sunday was the 67th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The Commercial Appeal had a front-page article in which Dr Stephen Stein, assistant professor, was extensively quoted, along with James M. McPherson, on how the American public feels about that attack and its aftermath and the 9/11 attack in 2001 and its aftermath (read the online version of the article). The History News Network extracted the remarks of the two historians in its blog entry for 8 December. Both spoke of how the American public had a feeling of closure and triumph because of the outcome of the earlier war, while that feeling has so far eluded it for the later conflict.


Former departmental member Dr Gabor Boritt receives National Humanities Medal

[7 December 2008] In a ceremony at the White House on 17 November 2008, President George W. Bush awarded a National Humanities Medal to Dr Gabor Boritt, Robert Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies and Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.

Dr Boritt was a member of the Department of History for several years in the 1970s. His first book, Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream, was published by the Memphis State University Press in 1978. He has since written, co-written, or edited sixteen books on the Civil War and Lincoln, including The Lincoln Enigma: The Changing Faces of an American Icon, The Gettysburg Nobody Knows, and Jefferson Davis’s Generals. His most recent book is The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows.

For more complete information, read the National Endowment for the Humanities article about the award


Tammy Prater publishes article on Kate Waller Barrett in Encyclopedia Virginia

[7 December 2008] Tammy Prater, teaching assistant, has an article on Kate Waller Barrett in Encyclopedia Virginia, an online publication of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in Charottesville.

Ms Waller (1858-1925) was a prominent physician, social reformer, humanitarian, and leader of the National Florence Crittenton Mission, a progressive organization established in 1883 to assist unmarried women and teenage girls who either had children or were trying to leave prostitution.


Department hosts retirement party for Drs Kell Mitchell and Abe Kriegel

[4 December 2008] Dr Kell Mitchell and Dr Abe Kriegel are retiring at the end of this semester. The Department of History hosted a retirement party in their honor today in the lobby of Mitchell Hall.

Group photo

Dr Mitchell, whose speciality is American diplomatic history, has been teaching in the department since 1963. Dr Kriegel, a specialist in modern British history, has been teaching in the department since 1965. Both will continue to teach on a reduced schedule in the post-retirement program, and Dr Mitchell will continue to help advise undergraduate students, as he has done for many years.

In the photographs below, they converse with well-wishers and listen as colleagues and former colleagues reminisce about their careers at the university.

First photo Second photo Third photo Fourth photo

Dr Suzanne Onstine receives research concession for work on 19th-dynasty Egyptian tomb

Panehsy and brother [24 November 2008] Dr Suzanne Onstine, assistant professor, has been awarded a research concession to do epigraphic work in an Egyptian tomb of the 19th dynasty. The tomb is in the Theban necropolis in southern Egypt and belonged to a man named Panehsy, who held the unusual title of “overseer of the chanters of the offering table of Amun.” Most chanters in ancient Egypt were women, but in her research on gender in the ancient world, Dr Onstine became aware of several men who held non-traditional titles like this one. It is hoped that by studying and documenting the tomb of Panehsy and his wife Tareut (who was also a chantress) new ideas about what constituted gender-appropriate jobs in ancient Egypt will emerge.

Dr Onstine will take graduate student Katarzyna Scherr to do fieldwork at the tomb over the holiday break.

In the image, Panehsy is pictured with his brother (like Panehsy, a chanter) in a procession of the god.


Dr Peter Brand appears in National Geographic telecast about the “Screaming Man Mummy”

[21 November 2008] Dr Peter Brand, associate professor, went to Egypt in May 2008 to film several episodes for the National Geographic Channel about ancient Egypt. The first in a series of five episodes to be telecast during November and December is “Egypt Unwrapped: Mystery of the Screaming Man”on the “Screaming Man Mummy,” which was telecast this evening. It involves a mummy whose face seems to be locked in an eternal scream and which presents several unusual departures from the ordinary Egyptian techniques of embalming.

Future episodes will be on “Pyramids,” “The Sphinx,”“Ramesses II,” and “Scorpion King.”


Dr Janann Sherman lectures on aviation pioneer Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch

Plaque[21 November 2008] Dr Janann Sherman, professor and chair of the department, spoke today at the November session of the Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunches on the topic of Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie, who was one of the pioneers of aviation in Tennessee and the United States. Dr Sherman is writing a biography of Ms Onlie.

Omlie groupMs Omlie (1902-1975) was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Sevierville, Tennessee, held on 15 November, which Dr Sherman attended. The photograph on the left is the plaque describing Ms Omlie's achievements. The photograph on the right includes Dr Sherman (standing), Dee Navrkal (Phoebe Omlie’s niece), Janet Scott (Phoebe’s grandniece) and Tom Wolcott (partner of Janet).

The lecture was one of a series of lectures on borders and boundaries sponsored by Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honorary, and Student Event Allocation.


Dr Andrei Znamenski lectures on neoshamanism at the College of Charleston

[12 November 2008] Dr Andrei Znamenski, assistant professor, lectured today on “Quest for the Ancient Future: Neoshamanism in the Modern West” at the College of Charleston. Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, he discussed versions of neoshamanism popular in Europe and North America, from the “core shamanism” of Michael Harner to shamanic Wicca, including a brief look at Mircea Eliade’s influential concept of “archaic techniques of ecstasy.”


Dr Jonathan Judaken publishes two articles on anti-Semitism

[12 November 2008] Dr Jonathan Judaken, associate professor, has recently published two articles: “So what’s new? Rethinking the ‘new anti-Semitism’ in a global age,” in Patterns of Prejudice and the lead article “Between Philosemitism and Antisemitism: The Frankfurt School’s Anti-Antisemitism,” in Phyllis Lassner and Lara Trubowitz, Antisemitism and Philosemitism in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries: Representing Jews, Jewishness, and Modern Culture (University of Delaware Press, 2008).


Dr Andrei Znamenski receives grant for biographical project

[12 November 2008] Dr Andrei Znamenski, assistant professor, has received a grant of $7000 from the Alaska Humanities Forum to support his research for Who was Who in Russian America: A Comprehensive Biographical Dictionary, 1741-1867. The project is a biographical dictionary of all prominent Russian, Native American, British, American, German, and Finnish individuals who contributed to the history of Alaska during the period when it was a colony of the Russian Empire (from the 1750s to 1867). The territory was sold to the United States in 1867 by a treaty that was negotiated by William H. Seward, the American secretary of state.


Dr Maurice Crouse addresses the Jamestowne Society

[8 November 2008] Dr Maurice Crouse, professor, spoke this afternoon at the University Club to the Tennessee Company of the Jamestowne Society. His topic was “The Rise and Fall of the Virginia Company.”


Dr Janann Sherman leads discussion at First Fridays Teaching Forum

[7 November 2008] At the third session of the monthly series on teaching tactics, held this afternoon, Dr Janann Sherman, professor and chair of the department, led a discussion on paper grading and rubrics.


Drs Beverly Bond and John Harkins speak on “Turning Points: Important Milestones in Memphis History”

[5 November 2008] Dr Beverly Bond, associate professor, and director of African and African-American Studies, and Dr John Harkins, archivist and 2008 writer-in-residence at Memphis University School, spoke as panelists today in McWherter Library on “Turning Points: Important Milestones in Memphis History.” Mr G. Wayne Dowdy, archivist at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, also participated as a panelist. Mr Ed Frank, head of Special Collections, moderated the panel.

Three of the participants received degrees in history at The University of Memphis: Dr Harkins with a Ph.D. in 1974, Dr Bond with a Ph.D. in 1996, and Mr Frank with an M.A. in 1999.


Graduate Association for African-American History opens Thanksgiving food drive

[27 October 2008] The Graduate Association for African-American History (GAAAH) is hosting its third annual Thanksgiving canned food/penny drive. All proceeds will go to the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) and the Mid-South Food Bank. GAAAH will have large gray totes and money boxes in the office of the Department of History and in the faculty lounge. All are urged to donate money and canned foods to the drive, which will end on Tuesday, 25 November.

For more information, send e-mail to Armanthia Duncan or Sheena Harris.


Dr Jonathan Judaken presents paper at Faculty Brown Bag Lunch Scholarship Seminar

[24 October 2008] Dr Jonathan Judaken, associate professor, presented a paper on “Talcott Parsons and ‘The Sociology of Modern Antisemitism’: Anti-antisemitism, Ambivalent Liberalism, and the Sociological Imagination” this afternoon in the department’s Faculty Brown Bag Lunch Scholarship Seminar series.


Dr Andrei Znamenski presents paper at Southeast World History Conference

[23 October 2008] Dr Andrei Znamenski, assistant professor, presented a paper entitled “The Fourth World: Integrating Tribal Societies into World Civilization Courses” at the Southeast World History Conference held 16-18 October at the Old State House Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas.


Dr Dennis Laumann presents paper at Third Chimalpahin Conference

Laumann at Trotsky tomb[21 October 2008] Dr Dennis Laumann, associate professor, presented a paper entitled “Gender, oral history, and remembering German colonialism in Ghana” at the Third Chimalpahin Conference 2008: Colonial and Post-Colonial Remembering and Forgetfulness, in Mexico City on 17 October. The paper was part of a special conference series on gender and empire.

Besides the conference, Dr Laumann had the opportunity to visit important historic sites in and around Mexico City, including the archaeological ruins of the pre-Colombian city of Teotihuacán, the studio of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and the home and burial place of Communist leader Leon Trotsky.


Dr Peter Brand publishes article on Egyptian-Hittite relations during reign of Ramesses II

[20 October 2008] Dr Peter Brand, associate professor, recently published “Ideological Imperatives: Irrational Factors in Egyptian-Hittite Relations Under Ramesses II” in the edited volume Moving Across Borders: Foreign Relations, Religion and Cultural Interactions in the Ancient Mediterranean, a collection of twenty essays. Edited by Panagiotis Kousoulis and Konstantinos Magliveras, the volume is published by Peeters in its Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta series.


Dr Suzanne Onstine to serve as book review editor for the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt

[20 October 2008] Dr Suzanne Onstine, assistant professor, has accepted a position as book review editor for the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt (JARCE). The American Research Center in Egypt is the primary research institute for American scholars working in Egypt. The first American journal devoted solely to the study of Egypt, JARCE was established in 1962 to foster scholarly research into the art, archaeology, languages, history, and social systems of the Egyptian people. As book review editor for this internationally prestigious journal, Dr Onstine will choose scholars to write reviews.


Dr Peter Brand speaks at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch

[17 October 2008] Dr Peter Brand, associate professor, Egyptologist and expert on ancient Egyptian foreign policy and diplomacy in the New Kingdom, spoke today at the pizza lunch co-sponsored by Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honorary, and Student Event Allocation. The second in this academic year’s series “Borders, Real and Imagined,” the lecture was on the topic of “Borders and Boundaries in Ancient Egypt.”


Dr Janann Sherman’s interview about Senator Margaret Chase Smith airs in “All Things Considered” series

[16 October 2008] Dr Janann Sherman, professor and chair, was interviewed today in “Contenders,” a series of five programs on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” She is the principal biographer for Ms Smith, who served in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1940 to 1949 and in the U. S. Senate from 1949 to 1973 as a Republican from Maine. For most of her career in the Senate, Ms Smith was the only woman there. She was notable for her service on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee. She was the first woman to have her name placed in nomination at the convention of a major political party, that of the Republicans in 1964. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona received the nomination of the party instead.

Dr Sherman’s dissertation on Ms Smith became a book, No Place for a Woman: A Life of Senator Margaret Chase Smith, published in 1999 by Rutgers University Press in the Rutgers Series on Women and Politics.

Other contenders in the “All Things Considered” series include Victoria Woodhull, William Jennings Bryan, Adlai Stevenson, and (somewhat surprisingly) Gracie Allen.


Dr Stephen Stein discusses eCourseware and technology in the classroom at First Fridays Teaching Forum

[4 October 2008] At the second session of the monthly series on teaching tactics, held this afternoon, Dr Stephen Stein, assistant professor, facilitated a discussion on eCourseware and technology in the classroom, demonstrating both Regents Online Degree Programs and UMOnline courses.


Dr Robert Yelle makes presentation at Faculty Brown Bag Lunch Scholarship Seminar

[26 September 2008] Dr Robert Yelle, assistant professor, this afternoon made the first presentation in the department’s Faculty Brown Bag Lunch Scholarship Seminar series. His paper was on “The Hindu Moses: Christian Polemics against Jewish Ritual and the Secularization of Hindu Law under Colonialism.” The seminars are held on the last Friday of each month at 12:30 pm.


Department publishes Fall 2008 issue of newsletter, aiming at more alumni/alumnae involvement

[23 September 2008] The Fall 2008 issue of History Happenings, the departmental newsletter, is now available in both a PDF version and an HTML version.

This issue contains an article about Allie Prescott, a prominent alumnus of the Department of History, and an appeal by chair Janann Sherman to enlist more alumni and alumnae in involvement with the department through various events, programs, and organizations. If you received a degree in history and have not yet contributed your name, address, e-mail address, etc., to our database, please e-mail Dr Sherman (sherman@memphis.edu) and continue or renew your association with the department.


Dr Catherine Phipps speaks at Phi Alpha Theta pizza lunch on borders and the study of history

[19 September 2008] Dr Catherine Phipps, assistant professor, spoke on “Within, Without, and In-Between: Borders and the Study of History” at today’s pizza lunch sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta and Student Event Allocation. This was the first lecture for the academic year 2008-2009 in a series of programs held approximately monthly.


SUNY Press publishes Dr Jonathan Judaken’s Race after Sartre: Antiracism, Africana Existentialism, Postcolonialism

Judaken, Race[18 September 2008] The State University of New York Press has just published Race after Sartre: Antiracism, Africana Existentialism, Postcolonialism, a collection of essays edited by Dr Jonathan Judaken. Dr Judaken contributed the lead essay. Other authors are Paige Arthur, Robert Bernasconi, Judith Butler, George Ciccariello-Maher, Christian Delacampagne, Lewis Gordon, Steve Martinot, Mabogo P. More, and Richard Watts.

The University of Nebraska Press published Dr Judaken’s earlier volume, Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question, in 2006. Dr Judaken is a co-president of the North American Sartre Society.


Graduate Association for African American History holds eleventh annual conference

King and Duncan[16 September 2008] The Graduate Association for African American History held its eleventh annual conference from September 10 to 12, 2008. This year’s conference featured Dr Wilma King, Arvarh E. Strickland Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri, as its keynote speaker (shown here with Armanthia Duncan, president of GAAAH). Dr King’s address examined the legal records behind a rape case in 19th-century Virginia that involved both a free white child and a black slave child. A reception followed this well-attended lecture.

McFerren and KylesThe next evening, the conference held a roundtable discussion with two distinguished guests: Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles, pastor of the Monumental Baptist Church and veteran of the civil rights movement in Memphis, and Daphene McFerren, the executive director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change. Rev. Kyles reminisced upon the fight for desegregation in Memphis and his relationship with Dr Martin Luther King. Ms McFerren recounted the civil rights battles in neighboring Fayette County, which her parents had helped spur, as well as her personal experiences as an attorney, trained at Harvard and Yale Universities, who served in the Justice Department. Both Rev. Kyles and Ms McFerren examined the current political climate in a lively discussion with the attendees.

PresentationThe conference centered upon two days of panels with graduate students visiting from such institutions as University of California at Los Angeles, Emory, University of Georgia, Harvard, and University of Nottingham. The panels concerned such topics as historical memory, education’s role in the black freedom struggle, the intersections of women and black radicalism, and local struggles for political change.

Prize winners The Memphis State Eight paper prize was awarded to Jason Manthorne (middle) of the University of Georgia for “‘Are We Going to Stick Together or Split?’: Reconsidering the Role of Race in the Southern Tenant Farmers Union.” Second prize went to Tanisha C. Ford (left) of Indiana University-Bloomington for “Soul Call: Black Women Entertainers, Modernity, and the Transnational Politics of Soul Culture, 1954-1969.” Third prize went to Clare Russell (right) of the University of Nottingham for “‘Beauticians, storekeepers, bus drivers, housewives, retired teachers, seamstresses, businessmen- or any interested persons’: Rethinking Bernice Robinson, citizenship school teachers and grassroots leadership.”


Mark Miller (B.A. 2005) reports on studies since graduating; will seek Ph.D. at Cambridge

[10 September 2008] Mark Miller sent the following report on his studies since receiving his B.A. in history in 2005:

I attended the University of Memphis from 2001 to 2005 and earned a BA in History, Summa Cum Laude, in December 2005. My historical studies during that period were focused mostly on the twentieth century, and I covered a wide range of areas including America, Europe, the Soviet Union, Vietnam, and South Africa. Under the guidance of history professors Dr. Daniel Unowsky, Dr. Dennis Laumann, and Dr. D’Ann Penner I matured in the field and decided to continue my academic career in the study of history. I spent my final semester studying in an intensive German language course in Heidelberg, Germany, which I arranged through the international office at the University of Memphis. During this time I traveled extensively throughout Europe and decided to focus my studies on German history.

In 2006 I moved to England to begin a Masters in German History at University College London under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hewitson. In the summer of 2007 I lived in Berlin, Germany to attend another intensive language course and carry out research for my MA dissertation, which looked at public reaction to Joseph Goebbels’ 1943 ‘Total War’ campaign after the German defeat at Stalingrad.

After finishing the MA and working one year in London for a small corporate language-training provider, I will begin studies for a PhD in History at Jesus College, University of Cambridge under the supervision of Professor Richard Evans. My proposed thesis focuses on East German media propaganda.


Dr Jonathan Judaken speaks on Critical Race Studies at Hooks Institute open house

[10 September 2008] Dr Jonathan Judaken, associate professor, was one of several speakers who made presentations on initiatives of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the institute’s open house held this afternoon in the Rose Theatre. He outlined the origins of the Critical Race Studies program and explained its activities, which include presentations of research, reading groups, and an annual conference. He called attention to this year’s conference, which will be on the theme “The Obama Phenomenon: Race and Political Discourse in the United States Today,” to be held 3-4 April 2009. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright will be the keynote speaker and an undisclosed “close advisor” of the Obama campaign will also speak. There will be papers on numerous aspects of Mr Obama’s campaign and the publication of the volume Patterns of Prejudice.


Work on new canopy for Mitchell Hall virtually completed

[9 September 2008] With the installation of handrails on the front steps, work on the new canopy for Mitchell Hall was completed today, except for some possible additional landscaping. The original canopy, which had been in place since the construction of Mitchell Hall in the 1950s, had deteriorated dangerously and was removed during the first week of January 2007 (read our article). Although it was announced at that time that a new canopy would be installed during the summer months of 2007, summer came and went, and so did winter and most of spring of the next year. Work on the new canopy started on 9 May 2008 (read our article). The estimate at that time was that the construction would take two weeks. Things again moved slowly. The basic structure emerged during the summer school terms, and bit by bit such features as drainage pipes appeared and the damaged grass was resodded. By the start of the fall semester, only the handrails and possible replacement of destroyed shrubs were lacking.

Physical Plant and Planning may later replace the shrubs that were uprooted during the construction. But now, exactly four months (or seventeen weeks and three days) from the starting date, the handrails are in place and for any practical purposes the work is complete.

Factoid for the day: A Google search on the term “not bad for government work” returns 795 hits.

Some of our readers may never have known the old canopy. Others may have forgotten how it looked. Here are “before and after” photographs of Mitchell Hall:

Mitchell Hall with old canopy Mitchell Hall with new canopy, close up

Dr D’Ann Penner co-authors Overcoming Katrina

Book cover [26 August 2008] Dr D’Ann Penner, former member of the Department of History and former director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, is a co-author of Overcoming Katrina: African American Voices from the Crescent City and Beyond, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in March 2009 in the series Palgrave Studies in Oral History. She was a 2007-2008 Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University and is now senior consultant at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Since September 2005 Dr Penner has conducted 275 interviews of displaced evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. Her co-author is Dr Keith Ferdinand, director of the Health Outreach Prevention & Empowerment (HOPE) Project of the Association of Black Cardiologists and the founder of Heartbeats Life Center, a cardiology clinic and human rights organization based in New Orleans’s Ninth Ward. He draws his conclusions on the basis of his personal and professional relationships with thousands of displaced evacuees before and after the storm.

The book chronicles twenty-seven histories of Black New Orleanians from the era of segregation to the present. Jimmy Carter, former president of the United States, contributed the book’s foreword, in which he says, “By reaching back into pre-Katrina memories, the narrators of Overcoming Katrina allow us to understand the richness of pre-Katrina community life and the non- material sources of trauma. It specifically speaks to the concerns, dreams, hopes, and unfulfilled promises experienced by the African American community.”


Dr Scott Marler publishes article in Civil War History

[24 August 2008] Dr Scott Marler’s article, “‘An Abiding Faith in Cotton’: The Merchant Capitalist Community of New Orleans, 1860-1862,” has been published in Civil War History 54 (September 2008). Dr Marler, assistant professor, is the department’s specialist in Atlantic World history.


Graduate program in History holds orientations and reception

[23 August 2008] The Department of History welcomed the new students in its graduate program this afternoon at the Alumni Center on Normal Avenue. Dr James Blythe, Graduate Coordinator, first met with the new graduate assistants and teaching assistants. Afterwards, the departmental chair, Dr Janann Sherman, and leaders of various graduate organizations and activities met with all the new graduate students. As a conclusion to the events, there was a reception for all the students, faculty, and staff members.

Here are views of all three events:

New TAs and GAs New graduate students Reception


Dr Charles Crawford receives College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Award for 2008

Crawford and Dean[20 August 2008] At the College of Arts and Sciences faculty meeting held this afternoon, Dr Charles W. Crawford, professor, was awarded the college's Distinguished Research Award for 2008. The following citation was read in connection with the award (photo and citation from Arts and Sciences website):

Dr. Charles Crawford, Professor, Department of History, completed his Ph.D. in History in 1968 at the University of Mississippi, and joined the faculty at Memphis State University in 1962. In 1983 he became Full Professor of History. He earlier served as a teacher and Department Chair at Lewisville High School in Arkansas and while a graduate student was a Tutor for the Football Team at the University of Mississippi.

Dr. Crawford is acknowledged as the “preeminent historian of Memphis and the Mid-South” by Dr. David Jackson, Professor of History at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. As his colleague Dr. Douglas Cupples in his nomination letter attests, “It may be in the area of oral history research that Charles Crawford has made his most lasting contributions to our university and the community it serves.”

He was appointed as Director of the Oral History Research Office by the President of the University in 1967. Among the many letters of recommendation in support of Dr. Crawford’s nomination for the CASDRA, several were received from former students of his who are now history professors across the Mid-South and beyond.

Dr. Judy LeForge, for example, faculty member at Union University, writes, “Of his numerous books and journal articles, perhaps two of his most noteworthy are: Tennessee: Land, History, and Government (1984) and ‘Tennessee: Three Different Divisions, One Unique State’ (2005). While the former represents the first, thorough Tennessee history textbook for secondary schools, the latter sheds much needed light on the Volunteer state’s three grand divisions.”

Department Chair Janann Sherman notes that Dr. Crawford is project director “of the World War II Veterans Oral History Project, a major research undertaking funded by the Military Order of World Wars and The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, to record interviews with several hundred area World War II veterans. These and all other oral history interview records are archived at the McWherter Library and will remain accessible to scholars conducting historical research.”


Dr Aram Goudsouzian receives College of Arts and Sciences Early Career Research Award for 2008

Goudsouzian and Dean[20 August 2008] At the College of Arts and Sciences faculty meeting held this afternoon, Dr Aram Goudsouzian, assistant professor, was awarded one of the college’s Early Career Research Award for 2008. The following citation was read in connection with the award (photo and citation from Arts and Sciences website):

Dr. Aram Goudsouzian, Assistant Professor, Department of History, joined the faculty at the University of Memphis in 2004 after completing his Ph.D. in History at Purdue University in 2002 and serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Hamilton College. He writes that his research “primarily concerns the intersection of African American politics and popular culture. My dissertation, which became the book Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor, Icon is a cultural biography of the sole black movie star during the civil rights era.” Published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2004, this book was reviewed in the New York Times and the Washington Post and was included on many of the “best of lists” that year.

In her letter of nomination, Dr. Margaret Caffrey notes that “Beyond this outstanding book, Dr. Goudsouzian has also written a second book, The Hurricane of 1938 (2004); four book chapters; and four peer-reviewed articles,” among other publications. According to Dr. David Welky at the University of Central Arkansas, Aram is working on a “biography of basketball great Bill Russell. Russell was one of the nations’ most prominent African Americans throughout the Civil Rights and Black Power eras.”

To sum up Dr. Goudsouzian's career to date according to Dr. Caffrey: “He is an energetic, disciplined, and productive researcher who deserves to be recognized for his remarkable accomplishments at this early stage of his career.”


Drs Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas, Aram Goudsouzian, and Arwin Smallwood receive Professional Development Assignments from the College of Arts and Sciences

[20 August 2008] At the College of Arts and Sciences faculty meeting held this afternoon, it was announced that three faculty members of the Department of History will hold Professional Development Assignments during the academic year 2008-2009. The assignments allow the recipients to devote either a full year or a single semester doing research without any teaching responsibilities. Dr Dueñas-Vargas will be on assignment for the entire academic year, Dr Goudsouzian for the fall semester 2008, and Dr Smallwood for the spring semester 2009.


Dr F. Jack Hurley appears in PBS documentary on FSA photographers

[18 August 2008] Dr F. Jack Hurley, Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Department of History, appeared this evening in Documenting the Face of America: Roy Stryker and the FSA/OWI Photographers, a PBS documentary on the legendary group of New Deal-sponsored photographers who traversed the country in the 1930s and early 1940s for the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information and created what has become a national treasure.

The film, produced by Butlerfilms LLC in association with South Carolina ETV and narrated by Julian Bond, explored the personal vision and the struggles experienced by photographers Gordon Parks, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Walker Evans, Marion Post Wolcott, and Jack Delano, who created some of the most iconic images in history. This unlikely group of photographers and artists was brought together by Roy Stryker.

Appearing in the film along with Dr Hurley were Gordon Parks: FSA/OWI photographer; David Kennedy: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Stanford University, author of Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945; William Christenberry: photographer, painter and sculptor, who taught in the Department of Art at what was then Memphis State University in the 1960s; Louise Rosskam: FSA/OWI photographer; Beverly Brannon: Curator, Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress; Sally Stein: art historian, University of California, Irvine; Bernarda Shahn: artist and widow of artist and FSA photographer Ben Shahn; and Rondal Partridge: photographer. Stryker died in 1975, but he appeared in the documentary through excerpts from his letters and interview transcripts.

Dr Hurley is the author of three books on FSA photographers: Portrait of a Decade, Roy Stryker and the FSA/OWI Photographers; Russell Lee: Photographer; and Marion Post Wolcott: A Photographic Journey. Since his retirement in 2004 after 38 years of teaching, during which he twice served as chair of the department, Dr Hurley has lived in Davidson, North Carolina. His wife, Dr Suzanne Linder Hurley, is also a historian.

The collection assembled by Stryker is available online at the Library of Congress under the title America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945.


Three students from the Department of History receive the Ph.D. degree in summer commencement

[17 August 2008] Three students from the Department of History who recently defended their dissertations successfully were awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the summer commencement today: Whitney Huey, whose dissertation “Virtue and Authority: A Consideration of Catherine of Siena’s Letters as Political Theory” was directed by Dr James Blythe; Donna Reeves, whose dissertation “Battle for an Image: Black Memphians Define Their Place in Southern History” was directed by Dr Janann Sherman; and Jonathan Weems, whose dissertation “A Challenge Constantly Renewed: Medicare and the Struggle for National Health Insurance” also was directed by Dr Sherman. In addition to these three, Keith Sisson received his Ph.D. in the spring commencement, having written his dissertation on “Giles of Rome’s Hierocratic Theory of Universal Papal Monarchy” under the direction of Dr Blythe.


Graduate Coordinator issues revised “Guide for Graduate Students”

[Graduate guide] [15 August 2008] The “Guide for Graduate Students” contains the policies and procedures of the Department of History regarding all aspects of the graduate program from application through graduation. The Graduate Coordinator, Dr James Blythe, has extensively revised the guide, incorporating all the recent revisions in the degree programs and dealing with various topics in greater detail than in earlier editions. The guide is available now, allowing time for graduate students and faculty to read it before the new semester starts.

Some of the changes that are effective with the beginning of the Fall 2008 semester are:

  • Both M.A. and Ph.D. students will have to take a historiography course at the beginning of their programs instead of a historical methods course
  • Ph.D. students will be able to count up to 30 credits from a master’s degree instead of 24
  • 6000-level courses will be limited to six credits at the M.A. level and six more at the Ph.D. level

Beginning with applications for admission in Spring 2009, all applicants will have to provide writing samples and letters of recommendation (Ph.D. applicants have to do the latter now).]

All graduate students and graduate faculty should become thoroughly familiar with the provisions of the new guide and consult it often. The guide exists in two versions:


Online Bachelor of Arts in History program begins under direction of Dr Stephen Stein

[14 August 2008] The Department of History has begun an online program that will lead to a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, with Dr Stephen Stein as the director of the program. Students may complete this degree online, by combining online courses with courses offered at the University of Memphis campus, or by combining University of Memphis courses with a limited number of approved courses transferred from other institutions. This program is part of eCampus, the virtual environment where teaching and learning are enhanced by emerging technologies.

The initial online course offerings in history are HIST 2010, U.S. to 1877; HIST 2020, U.S. since 1877; HIST 3035, Technology and Culture in American History; HIST 4272, Modern Middle East, 1800-Present; HIST 4670, Civil War and Reconstruction, 1850-1877; HIST 4863, History of Childhood in America. In the myMemphis listing of classes, these classes will be identified by the section number M50.


Department of History graduate program in Egyptology launches its own Web site

[12 August 2008] The Department of History has long had a partnership in Egyptology with the Department of Art History and the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archeology, but until now its program has not had a presence on the World Wide Web. Prospective students searching for information about Egyptology at The University of Memphis found only links to Art History or IEAA. Dr Peter Brand, associate professor, and Dr Suzanne Onstine, assistant professor, have now launched a site to give the Department of History’s program a separate identity on the Web: http://history.memphis.edu/egyptology/.

As Google and the other search engines “crawl” the Web and compile their indexes, this site will begin to show up in the search results and increase awareness of the department's program. If you know of students who might be interested in our program in Egyptology, please direct them to this new site.


Tammy Prater makes presentation at National Women’s Studies Association Conference

[11 August 2008] Tammy Prater, doctoral candidate, made a poster presentation at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference held 19-22 June 2008 in Cincinnati. Her presentation was entitled “From Spreading the Misery to Spreading the Joy: Cleaning up Race Relations in Memphis.”


History faculty and graduate students win CAS travel grants

[11 August 2008] The College of Arts and Sciences has awarded travel enrichment funds for the upcoming academic year to Dr Jonathan Judaken, associate professor; Dr Suzanne Onstine, assistant professor; and graduate students Katarzyna Scherr, Katherine Fox, and Kevin Johnson.


Drs Beverly Bond, Charles Crawford, and Doug Cupples appear in documentary on Victorian Village

[7 August 2008] Victorian Village, centering around Adams Avenue, was the first “suburb” of Memphis and in its heyday the real center of the city. Many prominent figures built grand homes there. Willy Bearden’s “The View from Adams Avenue: 19th Century Memphis” documenting its history aired on WKNO (Channel 10) on Monday, 4 August. Among those appearing in the documentary were Dr Beverly Bond, associate professor; Dr Charles Crawford, professor; and Dr Doug Cupples, instructor.

Mr Bearden has produced documentaries on “Overton Park: A Century of Change,” “Elmwood — Reflections of Memphis,” and “Playing for a Piece of the Door.” In January 2008 he donated more than a thousand digital photographs of Victorian Village, taken by himself and his staff, to the Libraries of The University of Memphis. They are maintained in Special Collections, where they will be available to the public under secure conditions.


Department holds farewell party for Latasha Parrish

[31 July 2008] Latasha Parrish, who has been the Office Assistant for the Department of History for about the past year, has accepted a new position with the Information Technology Division. During that time she finished her Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (read our article about her achievement). Today was her last day with the department, and this afternoon the department honored her with a farewell party. Here are two views of Ms Parrish and her well-wishers:

Latosha Parrish and friend Latosha Parrish and well-wishers


Dr John Harkins signs copies of his new book on Shelby County at reception

Harkins book cover[27 July 2008] The West Tennessee Historical Society in cooperation with numerous local historical groups, including the Department of History at The University of Memphis, has published Historic Shelby County: An Illustrated History, written by Dr John E. Harkins. At a reception this afternoon at Memphis University School, sponsored by the School and the West Tennessee Historical Society, Dr Harkins signed copies of his book, billed as the first major history of Shelby County to appear since 1887.

Dr HarkinsDr Harkins received his Ph.D. in history from what was then Memphis State University in 1976, writing his dissertation on “The Neglected Phase of Louisiana's Colonial History: the New Orleans Cabildo, 1769-1803” under the direction of Dr William Gillaspie. He served as Shelby County Archivist from 1979 to 1985. He has been teaching history at Memphis University School since 1986 and has served as the departmental chair and school historian. Among other memberships, Dr Harkins has served eight years as president of the West Tennessee HIstorical Society. He has written The MUS Century Book; The New Orleans Cabildo: Colonial Louisiana’s First City Government, 1769-1803 (with Gilbert C. Din); and Metropolis of the American Nile — An Illustrated History of Memphls and Shelby County.


Departmental conference room receives new look

[14 July 2008] Room 100-B of Mitchell Hall, the venue for many small gatherings within the Department of History such as committee meetings and oral examinations for M.A. and Ph.D. students, has undergone a thorough renovation, with new furniture and new bookcases and colorful posters, including several on the theme of music in Memphis.

Here are two views:

View of table and posters View of bookcases


Dr Charles Crawford speaks on 1927 flood at conference on the Delta

[26 June 2008] Dr Charles W. Crawford spoke this afternoon on “Sullen, Untamed, Intractable: The 1927 Mississippi River Flood” at a session of the third annual conference on “The Delta: Everything Southern!” held in the Fogelman Executive Conference Center.


Dr Peter Brand appears in History Channel program on the “Lost Pyramid”

[23 June 2008] Dr Peter Brand appeared this evening in a program on The History Channel, entitled “The Lost Pyramid.” According to an article in National Geographic, the pyramid, located at Saqqara, near modern Cairo, was mentioned by the German archaeologist Karl Richard Lepsius in the mid-19th century but had in more recent times been completely covered by sand deposits. It was called the “Headless Pyramid” because it had been reduced to its foundations.

Although scholars have dated the pyramid either in the Old Kingdom, between 2575 and 2150 BCE, or in the Middle Kingdom, between 1975 and 1640 BCE, Dr Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, for various reasons believes it was constructed for Menkauhor during the Middle Kingdom.

Saqqara was the necropolis and burial site of the rulers of ancient Memphis, the capital of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, about 12 miles south of Cairo.

Along with the announcement about the pyramid, scholars also announced the discovery of a partial ceremonial procession road which runs by the side of Menkauhor’s pyramid and dates from the much-later Ptolemaic period. It was probably used by priests to take mummified bulls from a mummification chamber to the Saqqara Serapium for interment. Apis bulls were considered incarnations of the city god of ancient Memphis and connected with fertility and the sun-cult.

The 6 June issue of the Commercial Appeal quoted Dr Brand on the discoveries as follows: “It illustrates that there are still many, many discoveries waiting to be made in Egypt. The Menkauhor pyramid may increase our understanding of a more obscure pharaoh. The discovery of the processional route helps us to understand how the site of Saqqara, the necropolis of ancient Memphis, was used as a religious center as well as a burial ground. The Apis bull cult was very important in the later eras of Egyptian civilization.”


Patricia LaPointe McFarland lectures on three generations of Church women

[13 June 2008] Patricia LaPointe McFarland lectured this morning on “Lives of Achievement: Three Generations of Church Women” This was part of the presentations of the Women’s History Project in the conference of National Episcopal Historians and Archivists held at St. Mary’s Cathedral. She spoke on the lives and work of Anna Wright Church (1856-1928), Marry Church Terrell (1863-1954), and Roberta Church (1914-1995), who in the post-Civil War period of strict segregation and limited opportunity for women made significant contributions in the areas of music, social justice, and politics.

Ms McFarland received her M.A. in history in 1980 at what was then Memphis State University. She is Archivist-Historian for the Diocese of West Tennessee and recently retired as Curator/Manuscript Librarian at Memphis Public Library.


Dr Doug Cupples lectures on King assassination photographs

[12 June 2008} Dr Doug Cupples, Instructor of History, lectured this afternoon on “Photographs — Then and Now: The Day when The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was Assassinated.” This was part of the session on “Memphis, 1968” in the conference of National Episcopal Historians and Archivists held at St. Mary’s Cathedral.


Dianna Fraley receives full-time appointment to teach online classes at Middle Tennessee State University

[9 June 2008] Dianna Fraley, doctoral candidate in the Department of History, has accepted a position at Middle Tennessee State University to teach online classes. The arrangement will allow her to work at her home in Missouri or wherever she is doing research on his dissertation, and if any travel to the MTSU campus is required, her travel expenses will be paid by the university.

Ms Fraley received her B.A. from MTSU with a double major in History and International Relations before going to Arkansas State University for her M.A. She is researching her dissertation “Moderation in the Gateway City: The Role of the NAACP in the Civil Rights Movement in St. Louis, Missouri” under the direction of Dr Aram Goudsouzian.


Dr Doug Cupples to attend Army ROTC Leader’s Training Course at Fort Knox

[5 June 2008] Dr Doug Cupples, Instructor of History, has accepted an invitation to participate in the Educator/Nurse Educator Visit as part of the Army ROTC Leader’s Training Course to be conducted at Fort Knox, Kentucky, 22-27 June. While there, he will be escorted by Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Marinich, Professor of Military Science at The University of Memphis, and by 2nd Lieutenant Kevin Ellis, a former student. In addition to classroom sessions on various aspects of curriculum and development, the activities will include rappelling, mountain climbing, combat water survival training, and small boat training.


Darius Young receives Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History fellowship

[3 June 2008] Darius Young, Teaching Assistant in the Department of History, has been awarded a fellowship from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The $1500 stipend will be used by Mr Young to conduct research at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, which is part of the New York Public Library. Mr Young will use several of the center’s collections to add insight to his study of Robert Church, Jr. and black leadership during the Jim Crow era.

ADDENDUM: University News had a fuller account of Mr Young's award in its press release of 18 June 2008. Please refer to it for details not included here in this initial article.


Reggie Ellis publishes article on Dr Hollis Price in Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture

[28 May 2008] Reggie Ellis, Teaching Assistant in the Department of History, recently published an article on Dr Hollis Freeman Price, Sr., in the Tennessee Encylopedia of History and Culture. Dr Price served as president of Lemoyne (later Lemoyne-Owen) College from 1943 to 1970, the first African American to hold that position.


Dr Steven Patterson receives teaching award, gets dissertation accepted for publication, and has a new son

[27 May 2008] Dr Steven Patterson, Assistant Professor of History at Lambuth University, has had a “triple crown” achievement — he received the Billie P. Exum Outstanding Educator Award, presented by the Student Government Association to the faculty member who demonstrates the qualities of dedication, professionalism, fairness and good rapport with his/her students; Palgrave Macmillan has accepted his dissertation for publication in summer 2009; and he and his wife had their second son, David (see his photograph on our blog).

The dissertation which is to be published was written at The University of Memphis under the direction of Dr Abraham Kriegel. It was entitled “Tin Gods on Wheels: Gentlemanly Honor and the Imperial Ideal in India.” Dr Patterson received his Ph.D. in 2003.


Latasha Parrish honored for her Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree at “Celebration of Staff Day”

[15 May 2008] At the “Celebration of Staff Day” held this morning in the Rose Theatre, Latasha Parrish, Office Assistant in the Department of History, was honored for having received her B.L.S. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at the recent Commencement on 3 May. The Department joins in congratulating her for her achievement.


Construction begins on new canopy for Mitchell Hall

New canopy for Mitchell Hall[9 May 2008] Since January 2007, when the existing canopy was demolished as a safety hazard (read our article about it), the east side of Mitchell Hall has been without a canopy. Originally promised for the summer of 2007, construction on a new canopy began today.

During the construction, which is estimated to take two weeks, the east entrance to Mitchell Hall will be closed except for emergency exit. All persons entering or leaving Mitchell Hall during the construction period will use the west entrance, which has a ramp for access by persons with handicaps.


Dr Aram Goudsouzian receives Emerging Voice Award from Purdue University

[6 May 2008] Dr Aram Goudsouzian, Assistant Professor of History, received the 2007 Emerging Voice Award from the College of Liberal Arts of Purdue University. Dr Goudsouzian received his Ph.D. in history from Purdue in 2002. In his nomination letter, Dr Randy W. Roberts said of Dr Goudsouzian, “He established himself as a talented, diligent, innovative graduate student, committed to intellectual diversity and pressing the boundaries of scholarship.”

For details about the award, read the article from the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue.


Dr James Fickle receives Alumni Association Distinguished Research Award

Fickle receiving award[23 April 2008] At the Faculty Convocation held in the Rose Theatre this afternoon, Dr James Fickle, Professor of History, received the Alumni Association Distinguished Research Award in the Humanities for 2008. He is shown here receiving the plaque for the award from Mr Rob Evans of The University of Memphis Alumni Association, while Dr Shirley Raines, President of the University, joins in the applause.


Dr Kent Schull speaks on Turkey for Memphis in May

[22 April 2008] Dr Kent Schull, Assistant Professor of History, spoke this evening on the topic “The Republic of Turkey in 2008: The State of the Union on its 85th Anniversary” as part of the Salute to Turkey International Lecture Program. Turkey is the nation that is being honored by this year’s Memphis in May International Festival.


Awards made at 2008 History Honors Gala

[12 April 2008] The Department of History held its third annual History Honors Gala this afternoon at the Fogelman Executive Center, with Dr Suzanne Onstine, Assistant Professor and faculty advisor to Phi Alpha Theta, presiding. After announcing the awards that faculty members have received recently, she presented the following awards to students:

Major L. Wilson paper prize Undergraduate: Cameron W. Harvey
Graduate: Shawn A. Fisher
Tennessee Historical Commission Prize
to History major graduating with the highest GPA
James Patrick Graves
Ruth and Harry Woodbury Graduate Fellowship
in Southern History
Shawn A. Fisher
Best Part-time Instructor Award Dr Jim Johnson
Best Graduate Student Teacher Award Reginald Ellis

Dr Gail Murray, Associate Professor of History at Rhodes College, then spoke to the society from her own experiences as a historian on the subject “Race and the Perils of Doing Civil Rights History.”

As a conclusion to the Gala, Katarzyna Scherr, president of the Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, assisted by Le’Trice Donaldson and Amy Piccarreto, initiated the new members of Phi Alpha Theta, the history honorary society:
Undergraduates: Richard Curry, Kimberly Funk, Patrick Halloran, Bonnie Mahar, Richard Whittington
Graduates: Maurice Brown, Pamela Brown, Louise Cooper, Roy Dowdy, Catherine Ginn, Mary McIntosh, Glenda Newsom, Richard Nolan, Cynthia Sadler

The guests Gail Murray Initiates

Josh Gorman addresses Phi Alpha Theta meeting on the Chickasaw Nation

[11 April 2008] Joshua Gorman, doctoral candidate in the Department of History, spoke today in the Graduate Student Research Forum Series sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta, the national honorary for history students. His topic was “The Chicksaw Nation 1890-1907/1990-2007: The Built Environment of Nation, Sovereignty and Heritage.” The research forum presentations are part of the pizza luncheons sponsored regularly by Phi Alpha Theta, with additional funding from the Student Event Allocation.


Brian Fouche wins prize for best paper at Phi Alpha Theta regional meeting

[8 April 2008] Brian Fouche, doctoral candidate, won the prize for the best paper in post-war American history at the regional meeting of Phi Alpha Theta, the national honorary for history students, held 5 April at the University of Tennessee at Martin. His topic was “From Tragedy to Triumph: The Apollo 1 Fire and the Successful Failure of Apollo 13.”


Rhonda Charnes selected to attend Gilder Lehrman Institute seminar

[7 April 2008] Rhonda Charnes, doctoral candidate, former Teaching Assistant, and now instructor with St. George’s Independent School, has been chosen to attend a seminar with Dr John Demos at Yale University during the period 22-28 June 2008. The seminar, entitled “Everyday Life in Early America,” is sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. According to the description furnished by the Institute, “The seminar will explore the lived experience of ordinary Americans during the colonial period of history. Topics will include: family and household, community organization, making a living, religious belief and practice, witchcraft and magic, and shared patterns of human psychology. Material culture will also receive considerable emphasis: domestic architecture, furnishings, the natural environment. Mornings will be devoted to lectures and discussion; afternoons to field trips and library work.”

Dr John P. Demos, Samuel Knight Professor of History at Yale University, is one of the most prolific writers about the social history of colonial America. His books include A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony (1970); Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England (1982); Past, Present, and Personal: The Family and the Life Course (1986); and The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America (1994). The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History promotes the study and love of American history through numerous projects such as history-centered schools, seminars and programs for educators, print and electronic publications and traveling exhibitions, lectures by eminent historians, and a History Teacher of the Year Award in every state through its partnership with Preserve America. The Institute also awards the Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and George Washington Book Prizes, and offers fellowships for scholars to work in the Gilder Lehrman Collection.

Ms Charnes received her M.A. degree in history from The University of Memphis in 2005. Specializing in European history, she hopes to take her comprehensive examinations in December. She has been teaching advanced-placement classes in both United States and European history since her appointment to St. George’s at the beginning of the 2007-2008 academic year, and she currently serves as Department Coordinator.


Department of History hosts Tennessee History Day

[5 April 2008] Numerous faculty members, graduate students, undergraduate students, and other volunteers hosted Tennessee History Day and judged its events at the FedEx Institute of Technology today. This year’s theme was “Conflict and Compromise in History.”

The top two winners in each category are eligible to participate in the National History Day competition to be held at the University of Maryland-College Park in mid-June, and third-place winners are alternates.


Dr Daniel Unowsky and Dr Dennis Laumann receive Faculty Research Grants for 2008-2009

[4 April 2008] Dr Daniel Unowsky and Dr Dennis Laumann, both Associate Professors in the Department of History, have each been awarded a Faculty Research Grant in Arts and Humanities for 2008-2009.

Dr Unowsky will use his grant to do research in Poland on the topic “Rural Violence and Polish Nationalism: The 1898 anti-Jewish Riots in Western Galicia” and Dr Laumann will use his grant to do research on “The Communist Party of the United States and African Liberation Movements” during the Cold War, based on the archives of the CPUSA which were recently donated to the Tamiment Library at New York University.


Dr Laurie B. Green speaks on the Memphis Sanitation Strike in Belle McWilliams Lecture Series

Dr Green lecturing[26 March 2008] Dr Laurie B. Green, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas-Austin, spoke this evening in the Belle McWilliams Lecture Series on the topic “Finding the Roots of the Sanitation Strike: Battles Against the ’Plantation Mentality’ in Memphis, 1940-1968.” Her lecture centered on her book Battling the ’Plantation Mentality’: Race, Gender and Freedom in Memphis during the Civil Rights Era, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2007 in the John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture.

Dr Green had spent a year at The University of Memphis six years ago on a Rockefeller grant, doing research on the book. She explained that in researching the background of the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968 she ran into two problems. The first was the belief of many that Memphis was a harmonious city, exempt from the turmoil which had struck Little Rock and Birmingham. The other was the belief that the tight control of the Crump organization had, in the words of Ralph Bunche, terrified black workers and that the NAACP was dying a slow death. Both led to the feeling that the strike had “come out of nowhere.”

Dr Green at receptionWorking in the city’s archival records during the day and conducting oral interviews with women workers at night, she began to develop an understanding that there were indeed roots of the strike far in the past. Many of the workers had come to Memphis from surrounding rural areas and often compared conditions in Memphis to the plantations they had left behind. There were two aspects to the plantation mentality - that of the bosses and that of the workers, both of whom internalized the plantation mentality. One worker in particular objected to the way black workers had been treated in their request for drinking water. Instead of installing a water fountain, the foreman bought a tin bucket and a dipper. “I left that behind in Mississippi,” the worker said.

Dr Green said she had been surprised by the role that popular culture played. Memphis was known throughout the nation for its censorship of the movies, which went beyond concerns over violence and religion to include racial matters. The city prohibited by ordinance any films that showed blacks outside their traditional roles as servants or which had all-black casts. Many blacks nevertheless saw those films when they were shown in West Memphis. Radio station WDIA, with its black-oriented programming and DJs, though subject to pressures, could not be censored in quite the same way.

According to Dr Green, the period 1964-1968 was a particularly intense period of attempts to organize black workers in the Memphis area. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was flooded with complaints from black workers. In addition to the expected issues of hours and wages, the complaints often were centered around dignity and respect for workers. The South Memphis area, where many of the sanitation workers lived, saw numerous neighbhood clubs whose goals were very similar to those expressed by the signs the sanitation workers carried in the famous photograph by Dr Ernest Withers: I AM A MAN. Far from “coming out of nowhere” in 1968, Dr Green maintained, the strike had roots that extended well into the past.


Dr Beverly Bond selected for Women of Excellence by Tri-State Defender

[26 March 2008] The Tri-State Defender has honored Dr Beverly Bond, Associate Professor, Department of History, by selecting her for inclusion in Women of Excellence. She and the other honorees will celebrate at a high tea on 28 March at the Crescent Club.

The Tri-State Defender is one of the oldest continuously-published African-American papers in the United States, having been published for the last 56 years. Since 2003 the newspaper has been part of the Detroit-based newspaper chain Real Times Inc., which also publishes the Chicago Defender, the New Pittsburgh Courier, and the Michigan Chronicle.


Dr James Fickle to receive Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Research in the Humanities

[25 March 2008] Dr James Fickle, Professor, Department of History, has been selected as the recipient of the 2008 Alumni Association for Distinguished Research in the Humanities. The award will be conveyed at the 2008 Faculty Convocation on 23 April.

Dr Fickle has published widely on forestry in America, particularly in the South. His books include Timber: A Photographic History of Mississippi Forestry, Mississippi Forests and Forestry, and The New South and the “New Competition”: Trade Association Development in the Southern Pine Industry. He is nearing completion of a history of the forestry profession for the Forest History Society and has received a grant from the U.S. Forest Service to write a history of bottomland hardwood research in the South. He is also working with the Forest History Society and the U.S. Forest Service on a history of the Forest Inventory and Analysis program of the Forest Service. Two years ago, he was appointed as Visiting Professor of Forest and Environmental History at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where he is researching and writing a history of the first century of the oldest school of forestry in the United States.


Dr Kent Schull receives a Tennessee Board of Regents Diversity Grant

[18 March 2008] The Tennessee Board of Regents has awarded a Diversity Grant in the amount of $100,000 to Dr Kent Schull, Assistant Professor, Department of History, for a proposal made jointly with Dr Jeffrey Byford, Assistant Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership, entitled “Integration Through Education: Muslims of Memphis and America.”

Drs Schull and Byford propose to create an educational model and curriculum for the integration of Muslims into American society aimed at both educating mainstream America on issues related to Islamic culture and history and assisting Muslim Americans to embrace U.S. values and the advantages offered here in the states. This model and curriculum will be developed based on a four-pronged interrelated strategy.

The first prong entails collecting information on the historic background and development of Islam and the modern Middle East. This information will then be synthesized and abbreviated for high school student consumption.

Secondly, they will conduct research on the Muslim community in the Memphis metropolitan area, where roughly 10-15,000 Muslims live. The information gathered (through a series of oral interviews and demographic surveys) will inform the curriculum and be used to write the history of Muslims in Memphis.

Third, they will survey and interview Memphis-area high school teachers regarding classroom teaching strategies and practices related to Islam and the Middle East.

The fourth prong entails combining what is learned from prongs one through three and developing a curriculum supplement to help educate Memphis high school students about the Middle East, Islam, and the Memphis Muslim community. This program may then also act as a model for the integration of Muslim populations throughout Tennessee, the United States, and Europe.


Graham Perry appointed as Curator of Social History at Tennessee State Museum

[12 March 2008] Doctoral candidate Graham Perry has accepted a position as Curator of Social History at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville. The museum was created by an act of the Tennessee General Assembly in 1937 to house World War I mementoes and other collections from the state, the Tennessee Historical Society, and other groups. Located originally in the lower level of the War Memorial Building, it was moved into the new James K. Polk Cultural Center on Deaderick at Fifth in 1981. The Tennessee State Museum currently occupies three floors, covering approximately 120,000 square feet, with more than 60,000 square feet devoted to exhibits.


Department of History hosts West Tennessee History Day

[27 February 2008] Numerous faculty members, graduate students, undergraduate students, and other volunteers hosted West Tennessee History Day and judged its events on Saturday, 23 February, at the Redbirds’ Stadium in Autozone Park.

The top three winners in each category are eligible to participate in the Tennessee History Day competition to be held at the FedEx Institute at The University of Memphis on 5 April. The Department of History will host that event also .


Dr Daniel Unowsky publishes volume of essays on dynastic-oriented state patriotism in the multinational Habsburg Monarchy

Unowsky, Limits[13 February 2008] Dr Daniel Unowsky, Associate Professor, recently had his co-edited volume The Limits of Loyalty: Imperial Symbolism, Popular Allegiances and State Patriotism in the Late Habsburg Monarchy published by Berghan Books. The co-editor is Laurence Cole, Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of East Anglia. The work is volume 9 in the series Austrian and Habsburg Studies.


Dr John Harkins lectures on Louis Hughes’ Thirty Years a Slave

[4 February 2008] Dr John Harkins, President of the West Tennessee Historical Society and head of the History Department at Memphis University School, spoke this evening for a meeting of the Society on the campus of Memphis University School. His lecture, accompanied by slides, centered on the memoir of Louis Hughes, which was published in the late 1890s and reissued in a facsimile reprint in the late 1960s. Hughes was purchased in Virginia and brought to North Mississippi in his teens. He worked as a house servant on a plantation near Pontotoc and later as a butler in Shelby County, just southeast of Memphis. His detailed description of his life in both areas sheds a good deal of light on how Mid-South-area slaves lived during the 1840s, 1850s, and early 1860s. Hughes’s life story is well told and often dramatic, including his two attempts to escape from bondage. It also includes his ultimate escape from Mississippi after Appomattox and his reunion with some of his family members after he moved north.

Dr Harkins received his Ph.D. from what was then Memphis State University in 1976, writing his dissertation “The Neglected Phase of Louisiana’s Colonial History: the New Orleans Cabildo, 1769-1803” under the direction of Dr William Gillaspie. His book The New Orleans Cabildo: Colonial Louisiana’s First City Government, 1769-1803 was published by Louisiana State University Press in 1996. He has also published Metropolis of the American Nile: An Illustrated History of Memphis and Shelby County and MUS Century Book: Memphis University School, 1893-1993: An Illustrated History.


Dr Trygve Has-Ellison publishes article in German History

[4 February 2008] Dr Trygve Has-Ellison, who recently published an article in German Studies Review, has now published an article in German History. “Nobles, Modernism, and the Culture of fin-de-siècle Munich” is the lead article, appearing in vol. 26, no. 1:1-23. German History, published by Oxford University Press for the German History Society, is described by the past Chair of the Society, Richard J. Evans, as “the leading journal in its field in the English-speaking world. Its broad coverage and high quality makes it the essential place to keep up with the latest research on German history since the early Middle Ages.”


Dr Trygve Has-Ellison publishes article in German Studies Review

[28 January 2008] “Fin-de-siècle Artistic Modernism and the Nobility: The Case of Nicholas Count Seebach” by Dr Trygve Has-Ellison has been published in German Studies Review 31, no. 1 (February 2008): 22-42.

Dr Has-Ellison received his Ph.D. in history from The Unversity of Memphis in 2004, writing his dissertation “True Art is Always an Aristocratic Matter: Nobles and the Fine Arts in Bavaria, 1890-1914” under the direction of Dr Daniel Unowsky. He is a Lecturer in European History at the University of Texas-Dallas. In addition to the current article, Dr Has-Ellison has a forthcoming article in German History.


Dr Kent Schull publishes two articles in Turkish edited volume

Turkish book[28 January 2008] Dr Kent Schull, Assistant Professor, has had two articles in Turkish published in a recent volume, Osmanli’da Asayiş, Suç ve Ceza: 18.-20. Yzyıllar [Crime, Punishment and Social Control in the Ottoman Empire: 18th-20th Centuries] (Istanbul: Tarih Vakfi, Yurt Yayinlari, 2007), edited by Noémi Lévy and Alexandre Toumarkine.

“Hapishaneler ve Cezalandırmaya İlişkin Yaklaşımlara Eleştirel Bir Bakış” [“A Critical Look at Approaches to Prisons and Punishment”] is on pages 46-54, and “Tutuklu Sayımı: Jön Türklerin Sistematik Bir Sekilde Hapishane Istatistiklerı Toplama Çalışmaları ve Bunların 1911-1918 Hapishane Reformu Üzerine Etkileri” [“Counting the Incarcerated: Young Turk Attempts to Systematically Collect Prison Statistics and their Effects on Prison Reform, 1911-1918”] on pages 212-238.

Tarih Vakfi is one of the most, if not the most, distinguished publishers in Turkey of historical studies.

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