An annual newsletter published
In This Issue
Greetings from the Chair
On the cover:
We have had another extraordinary year in the History Department. This is a vibrant and active department and one that continues to evolve. This year, we have added three new faculty members.
Dr. Suzanne Onstine, a superb Egyptologist, has joined us from Arizona. Dr. Onstine focuses her research on women in the ancient world. The University of Memphis now has more Egyptologists on staff (two in history and two in art history) than any other institution in the United States.
Also joining us is Catherine Phipps from Duke. Her area of specialization is East Asia, with a concentration in modern Japanese history. She will be defending her dissertation in December and will welcome the New Year as Dr. Phipps.
Dr. Robert Yelle, a specialist on India and religious history, has joined us as a half-time assistant professor. He is a Guggenheim Fellow this year, so he will begin offering classes in fall 2007.
We are in the process of tenuring three of our faculty members: Drs. Peter Brand, Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas and Robert Gudmestad. With pride and great confidence, we submitted their dossiers bearing the unanimous support of the History Department faculty.
The esteemed Dr. Robert Frankle, a key member of this department for many years, will retire in December. Fortunately for us and our students, he decided to participate in the Tennessee Board of Regents Post-Retirement Service Program, which means that he will retain an office and teach courses for an additional four years.
We are also launching searches this fall for new faculty in the fields of the Modern Middle East (unfortunately, Dr. Kevin Martin is leaving us) and United States history with an Atlantic World specialty.
Be sure to read the messages from our faculty and graduate students. This community of scholars is truly inspiring!
We had a very exciting event this fall, with the “welcome home” to the Memphis State Eight, the eight young African Americans who bravely integrated Memphis State in 1959. Invited to the campus after 47 years to be honored at the Eighth Annual Conference of the Graduate Association for African American History, the eight were celebrated at a banquet in their honor and received proclamations from both Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton and City of Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.
This fall we launched the beginning of what I hope will be a very long-term project. The Veterans’ Oral History Project is an archiving partner with the Library of Congress. Beginning with World War II, and ultimately addressing all American wars, we will be interviewing veterans and civilians who actively supported war efforts (such as war industry workers, USO workers, and medical volunteers). We will provide permanent storage and preservation as well as free access to these materials in McWherter Library and the Memphis Public Library, and we will share them with the Library of Congress, where they will be broadly accessible and permanently available to the public.
We have many more exciting events on the horizon. Please make it a point to periodically check our website so that you can join us!
This is your newsletter. Please send us your triumphs, your announcements, your personal stories. We publish every fall, post it on our website, and send it out via e-mail and snail mail to everyone we can find with a connection to The University of Memphis Department of History.
By Walter “Bob” Brown
In the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote of the Oxford scholar that “gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.” There could be no more apt description of Professor Robert Frankle, who is soon to retire.
Robert joined the faculty of the Department of History in 1970 after earning his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin and teaching two years at Morehouse College in Atlanta. During his years in our university he has earned a richly deserved reputation as a charismatic teacher who is passionately committed to stimulating all students to understand the past and its relevance in their own lives, and to lead a life of critical inquiry and engagement with ideas. His teaching is imaginative and dramatic, demands student involvement, and is intellectually challenging. Robert’s work has led to his recognition as one of the University’s most outstanding teachers. Twice he has received the Distinguished Teaching Service Award, and last spring he won the University’s prestigious Thomas W. Briggs Award for Teaching. Frankle’s intellectual curiosity and breadth of learning are the foundation of his teaching. Trained in the history of early modern England, he acquired expertise on the late Stuart period and was invited to contribute a number of biographical articles to the much-awaited and heralded Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). In addition to teaching in his specialized field, he has ranged widely in developing courses in both the Department of History and interdisciplinary programs. These have explored areas such as the Reformation, modern European intellectual history, War and American Society, Peace Studies, and the Idea of Progress. Particularly notable was his creation of the two integrative capstone courses, the Nature of Historical Inquiry and The Ascent to Civilization, taken by most history majors in recent years. Frankle has played a leading role in interdisciplinary and team teaching on campus.
Throughout his career, Robert has been the most outspoken, energetic, and effective advocate on our campus of a broad, inclusive study of the liberal arts and sciences as the foundation of a sound university education. The chief architect and first director of the innovative General Education Program implemented in 1989, Robert helped create a curriculum that emphasizes the acquisition and reinforcement of essential skills and the knowledge of a wide range of traditional academic disciplines. This curriculum is global, multicultural, and interdisciplinary in its scope. It demands active learning through extensive writing and classroom discussion. He has published a number of articles and made many conference presentations throughout the country, sharing his ideas and experience on general education issues. Frankle’s national leadership in this field was recognized by his election as President of the Association of General and Liberal Studies in 1997.
No faculty member has given more freely of his time and energy to university service, for Robert has provided leadership in campus life at all levels. He has served as president of the Academic Senate, the Memphis chapter of the AAUP, and the Liberal Arts Honor Society. He has chaired numerous University and department committees, advised student groups, and directed departmental programs. In all these activities, as well as in his activities in the community at large, Robert Frankle has exemplified the highest sense of academic and social integrity. He believes that the engaged scholar can help make the world a better place. He has certainly made The University of Memphis a better place, and we thank him for it.
|Dr. Frankle lecturing on the quadrangle outside Mitchell Hall|
|A sample of Dr. Blythe's photographic work|
James Blythe is preparing to
send his book The Life and Thought of Tolomeo Fiadoni (Ptolemy
of Lucca), 1236–1327 to Brepols Publishers. An article
with John La Salle, on whether Tolomeo Fiadoni made interpolations
in a work by Thomas Aquinas, is in press with the University of
Toronto Press as part of a volume of essays in honor of one of
Blythe’s teachers, John Najemy of Cornell University. In
March, Blythe presented a paper at the Fifteenth Biennial New
College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Sarasota,
Florida, and he will chair a session at the 42nd International
Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo in May. He expects to
deliver a paper at another session of the same conference on “Tolomeo Fiadoni’s
View of Women.” He continues to be Graduate Coordinator in
the History Department, and this year is teaching a course in
Renaissance history, as well as a required Ph.D. course in Global
History. In addition to his academic interests, Blythe continues to
be an active photographer specializing in abstract images. You can
see some of his pictures at
Beverly Bond edited with Janann Sherman the book Images of Beale Street, which went on sale at local bookstores November 13. Several of her photographs are included in this book. She has also completed a book review for the Journal of American History and an encyclopedia article on Mary Church Terrell for The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. She was recently appointed to the executive committee of the Board of Directors of Humanities Tennessee and the editorial board of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly. This past summer, she participated in a two-week faculty development seminar in China.
Dr. Brand (right) and British Egyptologist
Denys Stocks at the Temple at Karnak
Peter Brand had a busy year, traveling to Egypt three times between December 2005 and June 2006. In December, he filmed segments for a documentary about Ramesses II and his monuments, which appeared on the History Channel this past July. Returning in January, he led a tour for the American Institute of Archaeology, which was granted special access to ten sites normally off limits to tourists, including a very close encounter with the Great Sphinx at Giza. Finally, in May and June, he led a group of eight graduate students on a three-week study tour of Egypt. During his May sojourn, Brand also filmed interviews for two more documentaries on Ancient Egypt for the History Channel. Back at home, he has kept busy working on articles and giving public lectures. He is currently editing a volume of essays on Ancient Egyptian history in memory of the History Department’s late colleague, Dr. William J. Murnane. Several of these essays have been posted online in advance of the book’s publication and can be found at http://history.memphis.edu/murnane/.
Walter “Bob” Brown has largely devoted time to his regular teaching chores, advising undergraduates, doing directed reading courses for undergraduate and graduate students, and working with students on B.A. honors theses. He spent much of the summer in England listening to music, viewing art, and enjoying life in London, while continuing his long-term research on the development of the decorative arts and material life in the early modern era. His research interests have led to his involvement this year in several projects at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, where he serves as Adjunct Curator of Decorative Arts. These projects include the cataloguing of a large collection of late 18th and early 19th-century English caricatures and working on the acquisition of a number of objects for the permanent collection.
Margaret Caffrey edited, with colleague Patricia Francis, the book To Cherish the Life of the World: Selected Letters of Margaret Mead (Basic Books, 2006). The focus of the book is letters that reveal relationships and networks among family, friends, husbands and lovers, colleagues, and adopted family. The letters were picked for what they reveal about the roles that each of these categories played in her life and work as well as what they reveal about her character and personality. At the Tennessee Conference of Historians in Nashville, Caffrey gave a talk titled “Margaret Mead and the Complexities of Imperialism.” In September 2006 she gave the talk “Crossdressing Women in 19th Century America” for a session sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta.
Charles Crawford was selected by GlaxoSmithKline Corporation as the Southern historian to present a Labor Day television program on “Life and Labor in the South, 1906-2006,” broadcast to an estimated audience of 6 million viewers. He also provides historical commentary to local television stations, as well as the Commercial Appeal and national publications on request. A continuing reviewer for The University Press of Kentucky, The University Press of Mississippi, and The University of Tennessee Press, he has also presented a paper, “German Cultural Contributions to Memphis,” at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library’s Conference on German Heritage, and he has been a planning committee advisor and program participant for the Tennessee Conference of Historians. By appointment of the Shelby County Mayor, he serves as a member of the Mississippi River Natural and Recreational Corridor Task Force and the Shelby County Historical Commission. On campus, he serves as a planning committee member for the University Libraries’ Annual Symposium on the Mississippi Delta and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Great Conversations programs. As Director of the Oral History Research Office, he serves as the Project Director of staff interviewers participating in the new Veterans’ Oral History Project collecting the memories of World War II veterans. His participation in the University’s graduate program continues as well, with service as dissertation director of eleven doctoral students and as committee member for seventeen others in the Department of History and other academic departments.
Maurice Crouse continues to serve as Webmaster for the Web pages of the Department of History. He has recently taken on the responsibility of producing the departmental newsletter.
The photograph by Dr. Cupples
selected for the Memphis College of Art's
70th Anniversary Alumni Exhibition
Douglas Cupples continues to be an active participant in community history projects. He serves on the editorial board for the West Tennessee Historical Society Papers and as the recording secretary for the Shelby County Historical Commission. His research on the history of professional art education of Memphis and the Mid-South has continued by adding several oral histories of former members of faculty, staff, and students at the Memphis College of Art. He was accepted as one of twenty-four artists to display work in the Memphis College of Art’s Second Alumni Show in conjunction with the college’s seventieth anniversary. He was recently a consultant and panelist for the History Channel’s upcoming series Our Generation. The segment, which will be broadcast nationally this coming winter, focuses on the assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis thirty-eight years ago. He also had an article accepted for publication in the proceedings of the annual Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War and Free Expression at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas presented the paper “Contesting Patriarchy: Women and the Construction of Gender in 19th Century Colombia” at the annual meeting of the Latin American Studies Association, was a discussant on a panel about contemporary politics in Colombia at the annual meeting of the Southern Council of Latin American Studies, and delivered the paper “Gender in Colonial Nueva Granada: An Overview” at the Rocky Mountains Council for Latin American Studies. She also organized a panel on “Women, Human Rights and Peace in Costa Rica” as an academic component for the Memphis in May International Festival. She was a guest lecturer on the history of women in Latin America for students at Rhodes College, and she spoke on a panel about immigration sponsored by the Hispanic Students Association.
Eda Fain joined the History Department this fall on a one-year appointment. During the past four years, she has chaired the Education Committee of the Memphis/Shelby County Health Department’s School-Based Preventive Dental Program, designed and implemented educational programming for elementary and middle city schools, adapted grade-specific PowerPoint dental health presentations, and provided community outreach for libraries and health fairs. She even toured as the Tooth Fairy! As a departmental adjunct for the past seven years, she has taught American History surveys and Tennessee History. She is currently under contract with Harcourt School Publishers as a general content reviewer for a series of Tennessee Social Studies supplement publications. Since the 1990s, Fain has authored articles and publicity releases appearing in the Commercial Appeal, Germantown News, and Shelby Sun Times in conjunction with special events programming for the John Gray House Museum. She has served as an appointed member of the Germantown Historic Commission for over fifteen years. Her research interests include the nineteenth-century Memphis Mardi Gras and local ghost lore.
James Fickle has written numerous articles and books on forest history and has won the Theodore C. Blegen Award of the Forest History Society for his work. He has been appointed to the board of the National Museum of Forest Service History in Missoula, Montana. He recently received a substantial grant from the U.S. Forest Service to support his research on the hardwood industry in the American South.
|Dr. Tilley and Dr. Frankle|
Robert Frankle won the Thomas
W. Briggs Foundation award for excellence in teaching. JoAnne
Tilley presented the award on behalf of the Foundation. The
following citation was read during the ceremony:
“Bob has been the heart and soul of the teaching profession at the University of Memphis. He is an excellent classroom teacher and has been so recognized by his students, who were instrumental in making him a two-time Distinguished Teaching Award winner; by his peers, who have sought him out for team teaching in a number of different disciplines and colleges; and by administrators, who have used his expertise in producing innovative courses and modes of presentation. And students hang on his every word.”
Aram Goudsouzian published “‘My Impact Will Be Everlasting’: Wilt Chamberlain in History and Memory” in the Journal of Sport History and wrote an essay on Wilma Rudolph for Tennessee Women: Their Histories, Their Lives, a collection edited by Beverly Bond and Sarah Wilkerson-Freeman. He also wrote entries for the Encyclopedia of North American Sport and reviewed Mona Z. Smith’s Becoming Something: The Story of Canada Lee in the American Historical Review. He participated in the annual meetings of the Oral History Association and the Tennessee Conference of Historians, spoke on panels for the Hispanic Students Association and the Graduate Association of African American History, gave a talk at the National Civil Rights Museum, was heard on the BBC Radio special The Harry Belafonte Story, and appeared on the History Channel program Nature’s Fury: New England’s Killer Hurricane. He is currently participating in the Fellows Program of the Memphis Leadership Academy.
Robert Gudmestad taught two new courses for the History Department. “Slavery and Abolition in the Atlantic World” examines the rise and fall of slavery in the western hemisphere; “Manifest Destiny: Nineteenth Century American Territorial Expansion” covers the motives, activities, and results of adding territory to the United States. Gudmestad continues to write his book on the influence of steamboats in the development of the antebellum South. He has written several chapters, but he worries that completion of the manuscript remains as elusive as spotting the Loch Ness monster. Gudmestad presented portions of his research for the West Tennessee Historical Society and for the university at its Great Conversations Dinner.
Joseph Hawes chaired and commented on a session on children and youth at the annual meeting of the Canadian Historical Association in Toronto in May. He co-authored (with N. Ray Hiner) a brief essay on the current state of the field of the history of children and youth, “Hidden in Plain View: In Search of the Historical Child,” which will appear in the inaugural issue of the Journal of the History of Children and Youth. He also read a manuscript on African American children and civil rights for the University of North Carolina Press and reviewed Private Lives: Families, Individuals and the Law for the Journal of Legal History. He announced his retirement for December 2007. He hopes to take part in the university’s post-retirement program and teach a limited number of classes for the next three or four years. He is currently working on a book about the Philippine campaigns during World War II.
Jonathan Judaken is spending the 2006-2007 academic year in Washington D.C. at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies as a scholar-in-residence. His book, Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question: Antiantisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual (University of Nebraska, “Texts and Contexts” series) was published in November 2006, on the sixtieth anniversary of Sartre’s famous tract Anti-Semite and Jew. His edited collection, Race After Sartre, which explores Sartre’s anti-racism and contributions to critical race theory and post-colonialism, is forthcoming from SUNY Press. Judaken also published two articles (one on Sartre’s last published works and another on Alain Finkielkraut and the Nouveaux Philosophes) and had three others accepted for publication (one on intellectual and cultural responses to the German occupation, a second on the Frankfurt School’s anti-antisemitism, and another on Talcott Parsons, Zygmunt Bauman, and sociological theories of antisemitism). Judaken lectured at Fordham University in October, and will be speaking to the Association of Holocaust Organizations in January, participating in a symposium on elite responses to the Holocaust later that month, giving talks at Johns Hopkins and Temple University in February, speaking at Miami University in March, and participating in a conference on “Semitism and anti-Semitism” in Paris in June.
Dr. Laumann accepting his teaching award
from Dean Will Thompson
Dennis Laumann recently was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor. He also is the recipient of the 2006 Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Arts and Sciences. His latest publication, “Che Guevara’s Visit to Ghana,” was published in the current issue of Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana and his first book, Remembering the Germans in Ghana, will be published next year. During the summer, he led the university’s fifth annual Ghana Study Abroad Program. This year’s group consisted of 14 students drawn from various departments across campus and included one from the University of Florida. In September, Laumann delivered a presentation at a conference entitled “War, Genocide and Memory: German Colonialism and National Identity” at Sheffield University in the United Kingdom. He serves as Faculty Advisor to Phi Alpha Theta (the history honor society), the African Student Association, the Marxist Student Union, and the Vegetarian Students of America.
Kevin Martin has taught freshman World History surveys and several classes in his area of specialization, including The Modern Middle East, The Modern Islamic World, and Modern Iraq. This semester he is being taught “The Philosophy of History” by a number of the department’s excellent M.A. and Ph.D. candidates. He is currently serving as a reader for the International Journal of Middle East Studies and as book review editor for the online journal H-Levant. He will chair a panel on advertising in the modern Middle East at the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association in November, by which time he hopes to complete his latest project, an article entitled “Images of Syria’s Awakening: Bourgeois Industry, Leisure, Consumption, and Dreams at the Damascus International Exposition of 1954.”
Suzanne Onstine joined the faculty this fall to augment the department’s focus area in Egyptology. A specialist on women in ancient Egypt, she is offering a graduate seminar on women in the ancient world this spring, as well as advising several graduate students with interests in this area. She has spent the last few years since graduating from the University of Toronto in 2001 doing contract archaeology in Egypt and serving as a consultant for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She spent two seasons with the University of Memphis’s Hypostyle Hall Project. She honed her epigraphic skills in the Karnak Temple, and she intends to apply those skills in her own new project in Egypt during the summer of 2007. Onstine received a four-month fellowship from the American Research Center in Egypt to carry out epigraphy and documentation in the private tombs of Thebes, one of ancient Egypt’s most important cities.
D’Ann Penner, Associate Professor of Soviet history, was the lead P.I. of the Hooks Katrina Task Force, which conducted over 300 hours of qualitative interviews with members of the New Orleans diaspora in eight cities. She is in the process of co-authoring with Dr. Keith Ferdinand and Dr. Cynthia Pelak the Task Force’s findings.
Catherine Phipps joined the department this fall as Assistant Professor of East Asian History. She specializes in the study of nineteenth-century Japan and has a background in historical geography. Her study and research interests include Japan’s empire in comparative perspective, Japan’s industrialization, and the urban history of metropoles and colonies. She will defend her dissertation, “Imperial Geographies: Remapping Japan’s Ports, Coal, and Empire in Northeast Asia, 1850-1900,” at Duke University this fall. In the spring she will present a paper at the Association for Asian Studies annual meeting entitled “Kyushu in the Age of Maritime Empire: Military Defense and Commercial Offense in the Port City of Moji.”
Janann Sherman has had another busy and rewarding year as chair of the History Department. The department is beginning a self-study this fall, with outside evaluators coming to campus in the spring to help figure out how to take this department forward into the 21st century. Meanwhile, she continues to enjoy teaching undergraduates, who often arrive with assumptions that history is a synonym for boring, and teaching graduate students, who are finding their way as professional scholars. As for her own research, she is working on a biography of aviation pioneer Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie. She wrote an article about Omlie to be included in a forthcoming anthology on Tennessee women edited by her colleague Beverly Bond. Bond and Sherman, recreating their winning collaboration from Memphis in Black and White, worked together this year on Beale Street. This book, part of a series on Images of America from Arcadia Publishers, is hot off the press; the official publication date is November 13.
Arwin Smallwood presented “Red Black, and White: The Influence of Native Americans and Europeans on the Development of the African American Community” at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in Atlanta, Georgia. He recently delivered a lecture to Middle Eastern students for the Center for International Studies at the University of Delaware, as part of the State Department-sponsored Middle Eastern Partnership Initiative. Smallwood has been putting the finishing touches on his book manuscript about Indian Woods, a community in eastern North Carolina, and he assembled an archival collection titled “Indian Woods” for the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Also, the Joiner Library at East Carolina University has collected the Arwin Smallwood Papers, a collection of sources used in his earlier book on the history of Bertie County, North Carolina. He serves as a consultant for the Historic Hope Foundation Museums for America project titled “Plantations at the Crossroads.” He is currently revising a new edition of the Atlas of African American History for McGraw Hill. He continues to serve as faculty adviser for the Graduate Association of African American History.
Stephen Stein will publish his first book, From Torpedoes to Aviation: Washington Irving Chambers and Technological Innovation in the New Navy, next year with the University of Alabama Press. He is currently revising an article on the Greely Relief Expedition for publication. Additionally, he has authored more than a dozen entries for encyclopedias over the past year including “Apple Computer,” “Nolan Bushnell,” “Hewlett-Packard,” “Integrated Circuits,” “Intel,” “Video Games,” and “Wright Brothers” in Cynthia Clark Northrup, ed., The First, Second, and Third Industrial Revolutions: An Encyclopedia (M.E. Sharpe); “Eilat, sinking of,” “Golda Meir,” “Israeli Defense Industry,” “Warships,” and “Chaim Weizmann” in Spencer Tucker, ed., Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Wars (ABC CLIO); and “Airplane,” “iPod,” and “Video Games” in David J. Staley, ed., The Encyclopedia of the History of the Invention and Technology (Facts on File). He continues to teach both in the classroom and online, and is currently developing a course on the history of technology for the Regents Online Degree Programs.
Daniel Unowsky, along with Laurence Cole of East Anglia University, is editing The Limits of Loyalty: Imperial Celebrations and the Dynamics of State Patriotism in the Late Habsburg Monarchy, a collection of essays by British, Israeli, German, and Austrian scholars. This book is scheduled for publication in 2007 in the Center for Austrian Studies series published by Berghahn Books. This past summer, Unowsky presented two papers at international conferences. He delivered a paper on Viennese political demonstrations in the late nineteenth century at the European Association for Urban History conference in Stockholm. He also presented research from his current book project on a series of anti-Jewish riots in 1898 in the former Habsburg province of Galicia (today divided between Poland and Ukraine) at a conference at the Rockefeller Study and Research Center in Bellagio, Italy. Unowsky made a brief side trip to Warsaw, Poland, where he conducted research related to his new project.
Robert Yelle is a new Research Assistant Professor. He attended Harvard College, Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he received his Ph.D. in 2002. Prior to coming to Memphis, he taught at Southern Illinois University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Yelle’s areas of specialization include classical and colonial South Asian history, the history of religions, and the history of law. His dissertation on medieval Sanskrit ritual texts was published in 2003 under the title Explaining Mantras. This year, Yelle will be on leave during the tenure of a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. For most of the year, apart from research trips to India and less distant places, he will be living in Memphis and working on a book entitled The Disenchantment of Language.
John Bass, Richard Chandonnet, Lori Clanton, and Frances Wright recently received the M.A. degree in history.
Daryl Carter, who finished his M.A. at Eastern Tennessee State University and plans on writing a dissertation about race in the Clinton years, delivered the paper “Hubris: The Similarities between Richard M. Nixon and George W. Bush” at the Tennessee Conference of Historians. He also presented “Robert F. Kennedy and the Civil Rights Movement” at the Graduate Student Conference in African American History.
Carol Ciscel won the Best Graduate Student Teacher Award. She, Julie Elb (Ph.D., 2003), and Whitney Huey will be presenting on a panel that has been accepted by the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Entitled “Broadening the Cloister: Reconstructing Monastic Dialogue about the Feminine,” it will include some of Carol’s research on Heloise, Julie’s work on Teresa of Avila, and Whitney’s research on Catherine of Siena. Dr. Jim Blythe of The University of Memphis will be the moderator.
Laura Cunningham won the Ruth and Harry Woodbury Graduate Fellowship in Southern History for her research on German prisoner of war camps in the United States.
Le’Trice Donaldson presented “I Am a Man! Gender, Race, and Imperialism: African American Soldiers in the Spanish-American-Cuban-Filipino War” at the Tennessee Conference of Historians and “From Triumph to Tragedy: African-American Soldiers Fight for Citizenship and Manhood in the Spanish-American-Filipino War” at the UNB-UMO History International Graduate Student Conference in Bangor, Maine. Le’Trice finished her M.A. at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and studies nineteenth-century African American history.
Chrystal Dykes, Yuan Gao, Colleen Harris, Josh Gorman, Ed Hamelrath, Darius Long-Young, and Catherine Norvell received awards from the Donovan Travel Enrichment Fund. Mr. Philip Donovan, a vice president with FTN Financial Capital Markets who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from The University of Memphis, initiated the fund in 2004 to help support faculty and students who are traveling to research centers, to conferences, or to study abroad. The fund is administered through the College of Arts and Sciences, and awards are made each semester.
Stella Eke presented “Race, Class, and Gender in Colonial St. Dominique” at the annual conference of the Midwest Association of Latin American Studies in Nashville.
Reggie Ellis interviews Mrs. Marvis Kneeland
one of the Memphis State Eight
Reggie Ellis taught an upper-level course this summer entitled “Black Americans in the 20th Century.” The course was at Florida A&M University, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He returned to Memphis and found himself busy escorting and interviewing the Memphis State Eight during the 8th Annual Conference of the Graduate Association for African American History. He also presented at the Tennessee Conference of Historians in Nashville on the legacy of William Jasper Hale Sr., Tennessee Agriculture and Industrial State College’s first president. The paper is part of his proposed dissertation topic on black college presidents during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He continues to teach “Introduction to African and African American Studies,” conduct oral history interviews with World War II veterans, and teach a course on African American history twice a month for the ACE Academy, a youth educational initiative sponsored by the Benjamin Hooks Institute for Social Change.
Dianna Fraley presented “Tom Bass: Legendary Horseman, African American Icon” at the Graduate Student Conference in African American History. She is currently studying for her comprehensive examinations.
Joe Frazer has been appointed to a tenure-track position as Instructor at Columbia State Community College, where he will teach History 1110, 1120, 2010, 2020, and 2030. Frazer is writing his dissertation in British history under the direction of Robert Frankle, entitled “The Parliament of 1572: A Legislative History.”
Yuan Gao published a review of Son of the Yellow Earth in the Tangdu Journal and reviewed four books on the rise of the Nazis to power in the Journal of Xi’an University of Arts and Sciences. He currently has articles under review in The China Journal and the Journal of Xianyang Normal University, and he has a forthcoming article comparing the political ideology of John Adams and Alexander Hamilton in the Journal of Shaanxi Normal University. He presented papers at the Southeast Conference Association for Asian Studies, the Tennessee Conference of Historians, and the Conference of the International Association of Asian Studies. He has received funding for his research through the Belle McWilliams Dissertation Fellowship, the Duke University Library Travel Fund, and the Student Government Association Travel Fund. He has published two articles in Chinese newspapers, and he has submitted a number of other articles and book reviews for publication with various journals.
Lauren Goller is currently in an internship position at the Woodruff-Fontaine House in the Victorian Village on Adams Street. She is a docent and works in the gift shop as needed.
One of Josh Gorman's photographs
from his trip
Josh Gorman recently attended the sixth annual conference for the University Museums and Collections Committee of the International Council of Museums in Mexico City. He gave a presentation on the intellectual foundations for exhibitions and programming at Chucalissa, the museum of Native American history in Memphis. He marveled at the facilities provided by the National Autonomous University, which serves 300,000 students on a campus the size of a small city.
Ed Hamelrath has returned from Germany, where he spent ten months on a Fulbright scholarship researching his dissertation on the East German Police. He was a guest scholar at the Hannah Arendt Institute for Research on Totalitarianism. Sharing a little office with other graduate hopefuls from Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and even Germany, he taught some classes on American history. He also helped work a conference in Lower Silesia on Communist and ex-Communist political parties, which was hosted by Stephane Courtois, who edited the famous Black Book of Communism. He also participated in the Berlin Journalists Program, an amazing opportunity since he met many politicians from the Bundestag and went to the Chancellor’s office, the President’s office, and the public news studios of ARD and ZDF, the main news services of Germany. He presented some of his findings at a conference in Omaha, Nebraska, this past March.
Roy Hopper completed his written and oral comprehensive exams during the Fall 2005 semester. In April 2006 he presented his dissertation prospectus “The Reigns of Nineteenth Dynasty Kings Amenmesse and Seti II.” His account of participating in the Amenmesse Project’s 2001 excavations in the Valley of the Kings was turned into an entry hosted on the Department of History’s web log at The University of Memphis (http://memphishistoryweb.blogspot.com/2006/02/roy-hopper-writes-about-his-work-with.html ).
Roy at the Tomb of Roy,
a high official of the 18th Dynasty
This account added to the media excitement over the world-wide announcement made by the Egyptian government on February 8, 2006, that the Amenmesse Project had just discovered the first tomb in the Valley of the Kings since the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. Due to security regulations surrounding the Amenmesse Project’s work in the Valley of the Kings, Roy’s prior knowledge from 2005 that there was a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings could not be publicly mentioned until the official announcement and release of information by Egyptian authorities.
Horace Houston gave his paper “Uncle Tom’s Cabin Revisited” at the annual meeting of the Tennessee Conference of Historians in Nashville in September. He is writing his dissertation on reactions and resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
Whitney and her father Robert Huey
after receiving The University
of Memphis Society Fellowship at
the University Honors Assembly
Whitney Huey accepted a position at Margolin Hebrew Academy/Feinstone Yeshiva of the South, teaching history to the junior high and high school. She teaches World History, American History, and AP American History. Each summer she serves as a reader for the AP World History exam for ETS Collegeboard. She recently presented a paper at the Tennessee Conference of Historians in Nashville entitled “Cutting Catherine in Half: How Sources Construct our Understanding of Catherine of Siena.” Whitney also won the University of Memphis Society Doctoral Fellowship and participated in the Student Research Forum sponsored by the Graduate School last spring. She placed second in her division.
Chris Ivanes is working on his dissertation on Romanian national belonging and the Revolution of 1848 in Transylvania. He is currently hosting a daily call-in radio talk show on politics, culture, and society on Romanian Public Radio.
Webb Matthews spoke in March 2006 on the career of John McLendon, a Hall of Fame basketball coach who achieved his greatest success at Tennessee State University in Nashville. McLendon pioneered the up-tempo style of play which characterizes the sport today, and he was a leader in the movement to integrate college basketball by winning the right for teams from the historically black institutions to compete in national championship tournaments. After Webb’s presentation, there was a question-and-answer session with guest panelists Jerry Johnson, who coached at LeMoyne-Owen for 46 years, and Richard Miller, who played and coached under McLendon. Both paid eloquent tribute to Coach McLendon, telling numerous stories about his personal life and coaching style. They also expressed their opinions about recent developments in basketball.
Ann Mulhearn is writing five entries for the Encyclopedia of U.S. Latino/a History: “Louisiana,” “Mississippi,” “26th of July Movement,” “Keyes v. School District Number One,” and “The Labor Movement.” She presented research from her dissertation “Southern Graces: Women, Faith, and Social Justice in Memphis” at the Graduate Student Conference in African American History, and she is the incoming president of the Graduate History Association.
Kristin Nelson is presenting a paper at the Western Conference for British Studies in Dallas, Texas. The paper is titled “Obedient, Chaste, Sweet-tempered, Pious, and Kind? Empress: A Case Study of Twelfth Century Feminine Norms.” She currently serves as the President of the Graduate Student Association.
Dennis Paden delivered the paper “Lucius Burch: Homo Universalis” at the annual Tennessee Conference of Historians in Nashville this past September.
Keith Sisson and his wife Lisa
at the Trevi Fountain in Rome
Keith Sisson was awarded a University Foundation Grant for Dissertation Research. He conducted research at the Vatican Library and Archives and the Vatican Treasury Museum in Rome. In August 2006 he accepted a full-time position as Online Instructor of Interdisciplinary Studies with the Regents Online Degree Programs, University College at The University of Memphis. His duties include teaching courses in the Regents Online Degree Programs in world civilizations, American history, Hebrew and Greek Legacy, and Faith, Reason, and Imagination.
Richard Saunders, who commutes from the University of Tennessee-Martin while pursuing a Ph.D. in history, recently completed editing a manuscript for Utah State University Press. The volume is a collection of the work of historian Dale L. Morgan (1914-1971). “Shoshonean Peoples and the Overland Trail: The Western and Northern Frontier of the Utah Superintendency of Indian Affairs, 1849-1869” gathers Morgan’s writing about Numic bands in Idaho, Nevada and Utah. Saunders’ introduction puts Morgan’s work into context as some of the earliest studies of Indian policy as applied in the West. An ethnohistorical essay by Gregory Smoak of Colorado State University provides an ethnohistorical background of how broader Numic culture shifted and changed by the introduction of horses, pressure from surrounding tribes, and ultimately the disruption of the transcontinental trail itself. Saunders has also put together a photography exhibit on the “Tent City” movement in Fayette County for the commemoration put on by the Benjamin Hooks Institute for Social Change.
Marilyn Taylor has been appointed Social Studies Supervisor for Memphis City Schools.
Darius Young presented “Saving Black America’s Body and White America’s Soul: The Lynching of Ell Parsons and the Rise of the NAACP” at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in Atlanta, Georgia. His paper won a graduate student essay contest.
Elton Weaver spoke at the Second Annual Graduate Student Research Forum sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta. He presented some findings from his dissertation, “Mark the Perfect Man, and Behold the Upright: Bishop C.H. Mason and the Emergence of the Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tennessee.” Elton has won grants from the Gilder Lehrman Institute in American History and the Southern Regional Education Board dissertation fellowship.
Frances Wright won the Major L. Wilson Paper Prize for her essay “Mobility, Nationalism, and Womanhood: Public and Political Discourse on the National Service Act Part III in World War II Britain.”
Thomas Young won the National Patriotic Service Committee American History Scholarship given by the National Society of the Colonial Dames in the State of Tennessee. The award is made annually to an outstanding undergraduate or graduate student in the field of American colonial history.
Michael Bertrand (Ph.D., 1995) had an essay accepted for Southern Cultures entitled “Forever in the Shadow of Race, Region, and Rumor: Elvis Presley and the Politics of Popular Memory.” Now a professor at Tennessee State University, he also contributed an essay, “You Seem Just Like Home Folks: The Reiteration of Racial Identity in the Radio Barn Dance,” for Chad Berry’s The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance, a collection currently under review at the University of Illinois Press. The book will accompany a documentary of the same title. Last spring Bertrand appeared on the History Channel Program When America was Rocked, one episode in the series Ten Days That Unexpectedly Shook America. Ironically, the Journal of American History asked him to do a film review of the documentary, which will be coming out in the December issue of the journal. He also just completed an essay, “Why Elvis?” for Historically Speaking: The Bulletin of the Historical Society, and he has written numerous book reviews. Bertrand coordinated the 2006 annual meeting of the Tennessee Conference of Historians, and Tennessee State is hosting a Phi Alpha Theta Tennessee Regional in the spring. He hopes that Memphis students and faculty will participate.
Gary Edwards (Ph.D., 2004) has accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Arkansas State University. He is a specialist in 19th-century United States history, having received his Ph.D. from The University of Memphis in 2004. His dissertation, directed by Dr. Charles W. Crawford, was entitled “Yeomen Families in a Slaveholders’ Democracy: Conflict, Community, and the Transition to Capitalism in Antebellum Southwestern Tennessee.” Edwards will be joining a department of fifteen faculty on a campus at Jonesboro that enrolls 9,500 students; including its satellite campuses, Arkansas State has 16,000 students. He will be teaching Early Republic, Civil War/Reconstruction, American South, and State/Local (Arkansas), and expects in future years to teach Agricultural/Rural History and a graduate seminar in Heritage Studies (Public History).
Edwin Frank (M.A., 1999) is the curator of the Special Collections Deparment/Mississippi Valley Collection at The University of Memphis. He recently gave a public lecture in McWherter Library on the strengths of the department, including the materials germane to the Mississippi Valley region of the nation including the City of Memphis, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Sanitation Strike Collection, World War II holdings, the newly-acquired Lawrence and Sarah J. Wynn Collection of Romantic and Victorian Literature, and other noteworthy collections of materials on historic persons and events. Last fall he spoke at a meeting of the Friends of the University Libraries on “The Meriwethers, Two Remarkable Memphians.” The Meriwether Family Papers are owned by the West Tennessee Historical Society and are housed in the Mississippi Valley Collection, which is part of Special Collections. Frank wrote his thesis on “The Meriwethers of Memphis and Saint Louis.”
Trygve Has-Ellison (Ph.D., 2004) gave a presentation on Emanuel Baron von Bodman at a conference in Sigmaringen, Germany, in October 2005 that resulted in the publication of his article “The Noble as Nietzschian-inspired Artist: The Conceptual Work of Emanuel Freiherr von Bodman” in Peter Blickle, Mark Hengerer, Elmar L. Kuhn, eds., Adel im Wandel: Oberschwaben von der Frühen Neuzeit bis zur Gegenwart Band 2 (Ostfildern: 2006). In March 2006 he presented a paper on “Imperial Knights and Artistic Modernism in Fin-de-Siècle Munich” at the European Social Science Conference in Amsterdam. In July he presented at Cambridge University, Magdalene College, on the topic of “German Nobles and the Reception of Artistic Modernism,” and at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, on the topic of “Modernism, Regionalism, and the Nobility: Fin-de-Siècle Munich as Locus of Aristocratic Memory.” A related article, “Nobles, Modernism, and Fin-de-Siècle Munich,” has been accepted for publication in German History. Trygve is a Lecturer in European History at the University of Texas-Dallas. He also served recently as a sabbatical replacement at the University of Texas-Arlington for Dr. Thomas Adam. His dissertation, written under the direction of Dr. Daniel Unowsky, was “‘True Art is Always an Aristocratic Matter’: Nobles and the Fine Arts in Bavaria, 1890-1914.”
James McSwain (Ph.D., 1986) has been promoted to the rank of Professor at Tuskegee University. He recently received a Filson Society Fellowship, which will enable him to do research at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, Kentucky. He has also been named as Research Teacher of the Year in the College of Liberal Arts and Education at Tuskegee University.
Gail Murray (Ph.D., 1991) chairs the History Department at Rhodes College. The University Press of Florida published her most recent book, Throwing Off the Cloak of Privilege: White Southern Women Activists in the Civil Rights Era. She teaches courses in early American history, southern women’s history, and the history of American childhood. Her current research concerns the leadership of black and white in new social and economic justice initiatives in Memphis during the 1950s and 1960s.
Steven Patterson (Ph.D., 2003) published the article “Postcards from the Raj” in Patterns of Prejudice. His dissertation, written under the direction of Dr Abraham Kriegel, was “Tin Gods on Wheels: Gentlemanly Honor and the Imperial Ideal in India.” In a different vein, he wrote an article about how little regarded the game of soccer is in the United States, which appeared in the June 11 issue of the Jackson Sun. He is an Assistant Professor of History at Lambuth University.
Shirletta Kinchen, Darius Young, Reginald
and Dr. David Jackson at the 2005 Graduate Student
Conference in African American History
When the Graduate Association for African American History was considering speakers for this past Black History Month, the organization wanted not only a serious scholar, but also someone who could inspire students – a real role model. Reginald Ellis, Shirletta Kinchen, and Darius Young knew the perfect candidate. All three considered this man a mentor. At Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, he had sparked their interest in history, encouraged them to major in the subject, and shepherded them toward the Ph.D. program at The University of Memphis, the same institution from which he received his Ph.D. in 1997. So they invited David Jackson.
It was a triumphant homecoming. Jackson spoke about Charles Banks, the subject of his dissertation and first book, but he more broadly referenced the entire African American struggle. Just as his former students had hoped, he combined scholarship and passion – the same qualities that inform his influential career.
Jackson’s connection to The University of Memphis came almost by chance. After graduating with an M.A. from FAMU, he worked as a financial analyst for International Paper. But he still loved history, and he took graduate classes at night. His graduate career depended on personal discipline. He worked full-time and studied at night. He possessed confidence in his intellectual abilities, but after a lifetime in schools with a black majority, it took some adjustment to being the only African American student in his classes.
Under the guidance of Professors Charles Crawford and Kenneth Goings, Jackson wrote his dissertation. That project became his first book, A Chief Lieutenant of the Tuskegee Machine: Charles Banks of Mississippi (University Press of Florida, 2002). Booker T. Washington’s chief contact in the state of Mississippi, Banks became the most powerful African American leader in Mississippi. The book examines his philosophy of racial uplift, involvement in politics, educational advocacy and fundraising, participation in the National Negro Business League, and triumphs and travails as a businessman during the Jim Crow era in Mississippi. “With rich texture,” writes Vernon Ford in Booklist, “Jackson presents behind-the-scenes tensions within the machine and the work of developing strategies for the racial advancement of black people in the South. Readers interested in black history will enjoy this biography of a man who lived his ideals.”
Upon finishing his Ph.D. Jackson returned to FAMU, where he has taught a variety of courses, including surveys in African history, African-American history, and United States history, along with courses about secondary school teaching, historical research methods, and graduate internships. He currently serves as Professor of History and Chairman of the Department of History, Political Science, Public Administration, Geography and African American Studies. He has somehow found time to research new projects on Booker T. Washington’s southern tours from 1908 to 1912 and on the life of Washington’s lieutenant in Tennessee, James Napier. He has also co-edited Go Sound the Trumpet! Selections in Florida’s African American History (University of Tampa Press, 2005). Graduate students Ellis and Kinchen contributed essays to that book, and Young worked as an editorial assistant. All three obtained their bachelor’s and master’s degrees from FAMU, and all three credit Jackson for his mentorship. “He changed the way that I look at history,” says Ellis, whose current research on black higher education grew out of intellectual collaborations with Jackson. “He’s demanding in the way that makes you better, and he’s passionate about what he does,” adds Kinchen. As an adviser, Jackson can be tough, but he is also supportive. Young recalls discussing his master’s thesis with Jackson on the telephone late into the night, and then waking up at 6:00 a.m. to the phone ringing, with Jackson on the line offering more suggestions.
Jackson has sent his graduate students into Ph.D. programs across the country, including the University of Georgia, University of Indiana, University of Miami, University of North Carolina, Florida State University, and Ole Miss. But he has also guided Ellis, Kinchen, and Young back to his alma mater; since his own stint, the department has built its faculty and reputation in African American History, and Jackson speaks fondly of such professors as Charles Crawford, Beverly Bond, and Margaret Caffrey. So when The University of Memphis brought David Jackson back to campus, it was not just to feature a talented speaker and engaging public speaker. It was a way to say thanks.
The Myth-Conception Film Society made its debut this semester with an examination of two significant themes in the popular interpretation of American history: The Myth of the Lost Cause and the Legend of the West, under the leadership of doctoral candidate Webb Matthews. The aim of the film series is to acquaint students, especially at the undergraduate level, with the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle means by which ideological messages are transmitted through cultural media.
The society’s name — either very clever or very silly, according to individual taste — is meant to be more than a play on the word “misconception.” Human societies, from their earliest stages, have used explanatory myths to rationalize concepts of social organization; myth thus underpins a society’s conception of itself. In contemporary America, we no longer have griots to sing our foundation tales around the communal fire, offering explanations of social contradiction that are acceptable to the audience; that role has been assumed largely by filmmakers whose work, exhibited in such communal settings as the movie theater or the family television room, often represents a means of smoothing the rough spots of social organization.
Myth-Conception’s general theme this semester is the process by which twentieth-century filmmakers blended the Lost Cause and Old West myths into a sort of all-purpose vindication of two of the more troubling episodes of American history.
During the first session, students watched selected scenes from The Birth of A Nation and Gone With the Wind as a general introduction to the principal elements of the Lost Cause myth and an example of the way in which the presentation of the elements evolved from 1915 (the year the first film was released) and 1939 (the release of the second).
In the second session, students screened Santa Fe Trail, in which the elements of the Lost Cause myth were transplanted to the Western frontier in a decidedly unhistorical rendition of the saga of the abolitionist John Brown. Some elements of the Old West myth are blended in this 1940 film into the ongoing ideological debate between Jeb Stuart (played by Errol Flynn) and George Custer (played by Ronald Reagan); it is clear that the film espouses the views expressed by Flynn as the dashing Southern cavalier.
The Western elements of this theme are further developed in the third film, John Ford’s She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, in which the more controversial elements of the Lost Cause myth (slavery, Reconstruction) are ignored, but former Confederate soldiers under the command of John Wayne are shown as fully integrated back into society, playing a heroic role in the winning of the West — an idea fully consistent with the consensus values of the early Cold War period when the film was released. The Plains Indians are depicted as unpredictably savage, but they are defeated by the gentle stratagems, not the overpowering military force, of the United States Cavalry.
The final Myth-Conception session, scheduled tentatively for November 27 or 28, is intended to bring this survey full circle with The Outlaw Josey Wales. This film, released in that period intervening between the end of the Vietnam War and the rise of Reaganism, abandons any effort to rationalize Southern behavior in the antebellum or Reconstruction years in favor of the depiction of an unreconstructed rebel who refuses to make peace with the representatives of a federal government that has destroyed his family and seeks vengefully to destroy him. In this crusade, he makes common cause with American Indians, who thus are linked with the South as common victims of a callous higher social authority.
Though it has focused in its initial run on the Lost Cause and Old West myths, the Myth-Conception format carries the potential for adaptation to any number of other themes of interest to historians. Circumstances permitting, the series will resume in the spring semester with a new theme, and it is hoped that faculty members or other graduate students might adopt the idea for a semester at a time in the future to explore areas of interest and value to students.
By Jonathan Judaken
On April 20-21, 2006, the first annual Scholars in Critical Race Studies Conference was convened at The University of Memphis. Associate Professor Jonathan Judaken chaired the effort, but he depended on support from other faculty in the department and across the university. The conference was sponsored by the Benjamin Hooks Institute for Social Change, Bornblum Judaic Studies, and the College of Arts and Sciences, with support from Phi Alpha Theta and the Graduate History Association.
This was a culminating event for a group of University of Memphis scholars in History, Philosophy, English, Anthropology, and Political Science who have gathered together once a month to discuss their own work and the efforts of others to address the history and consequences of racism. The conference brought together an interdisciplinary cohort of researchers from universities across the United States, including NYU, University of Pennsylvania, Emory, Tulane, Vanderbilt and Rhodes.
The papers were wide-ranging, but nonetheless cohered around the theme of “Naming Race, Naming Racism.” Presenters of the plenary sessions that bracketed the proceedings discussed the Negritude (Black Consciousness) movement in Europe and the racially charged world that followed in the aftermath of 9/11. Papers ranged from the eighteenth century to the civil rights movement and into the contemporary era. They addressed, among other issues, the racialization of criminals in nineteenth-century England, immigration policies toward South Asians in the 1920s, the Matrix trilogy, the use of Indian mascots, and postwar literature in Japan and Germany dealing with the trauma of the Second World War.
The opening address was held at the historic Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum. There could be no more conducive environment for discussing these timely topics, and the lecture hall was filled to capacity with students, community members, and professors. Events on the second day continued at The University of Memphis, with the papers well attended throughout. The meals that broke up the proceedings gave participants a glimpse of Memphis and provided a space for local scholars, including graduate students, to interact more intimately with their colleagues from across the country, as all were treated to barbecue and Ethiopian and Middle Eastern cuisine. The impact of the conference will continue long past the closing session, as papers from the conference will be published in a special issue of the journal Patterns of Prejudice next year, and hopefully republished as a book.
|Papers at the conference addressed such disparate subjects as the Matrix trilogy, the post-war devastation of Japan, and Indian mascots|
By Thomas Young
|The Memphis State Eight in 1959|
The Graduate Association for African American History held its eighth annual conference this past September. This conference is a unique opportunity for graduate students around the country to present their research and meet their colleagues, and GAAAH thanks The University of Memphis for its continued support. The theme of this year’s conference was “From Slavery to Freedom: The African American Experience From Africa to the Americas.” This theme echoes the title of the groundbreaking book by the legendary John Hope Franklin, whose survey of African American history is now in its eighth edition.
The conference was kicked off by a community banquet to honor the Memphis State Eight, the courageous African Americans who desegregated Memphis State University (now The University of Memphis) in 1959. That experience was a difficult time for these young pioneers, and their sacrifices for racial equality deserve substantial respect. The night of the banquet was the first time all eight had been back on campus at the same time since that monumental year. The Memphis State Eight’s contributions to the state of Tennessee, the city of Memphis, and the university were recognized by the university administration along with state, city and county officials during a special awards ceremony. The guest list included university president Shirley Raines, Memphis city mayor Willie Herenton, and Shelby County mayor A.C. Wharton.
Conference participants and honorees,
from left to right: Thomas Young, Daria
Joseph, Shirletta Kinchen, Sammie Burnett-
Johnson and her husband, Darius Young,
Tremaine Anderson, and James Conway
Dr. John Dittmer
The momentum of the opening night carried over into the conference, which spanned the next two days. Graduate students from across the country presented a variety of papers dealing with the African American experience. The Memphis State Eight took part in a roundtable discussion that was attended by both conference presenters and current students from The University of Memphis. Dr. John Dittmer of DePauw University – author of the seminal Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi – gave a riveting keynote address focusing on the historiography of the civil rights movement.
The last day of the conference witnessed the presentation of many more insightful papers by some of the most promising scholars-in-training at universities throughout the country. A roundtable on Hurricane Katrina was headed by Dr. D’Ann Penner, Associate Professor of History at The University of Memphis. The Memphis State Eight Prize, awarded to the finest paper by a panel of the department’s faculty members, went to Andrew Diemer of Temple University for his paper “African Americans, Nativism and the Know Nothing Party.” He won an award of $500. Marc C. Goudling of New York University won second place for his paper “Information, Domination, and Resistance: Black Radical Networks, Communism, and Anti-Imperialism in the 1930s.” Third place went to John Matthew Smith of Purdue University for his paper “The Revolt of the Black Athlete at Michigan State University, 1968.”
Memphis State Eight honorees Sammie
Burnett-Johnson and Rose Blakney-Love
Memphis State Eight honoree Ralph
Prater and his wife
Next year’s conference will be held September 12-14, 2007. The theme is “A New Day in Babylon: Blacks and the Struggle for Liberation in Post World War Two Society, 1945-1991.” For more information contact Dr. Arwin Smallwood at (901) 678-3869, Shirletta Kinchen at (901) 678-1744, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Also look for more information on the GAAAH website https://umdrive.memphis.edu/g-gaaah/www/
By Charles Crawford
The Department of History and the Oral History Research Office have initiated a major new research undertaking—the collection of oral history memoirs of participants in World War II. Supported by grants from the Assisi Foundation of Memphis and the Military Order of World Wars, the Veterans’ Oral History Project will collect the accounts of veterans of all military services in the war, as well as of civilians who have memories of life and service on the home front in the Mid-South area.
Interviews are recorded using the latest digital technology with copies for permanent archival preservation placed in the University of Memphis Libraries’ Special Collections, the Central Branch of the Memphis Public Library, and the Library of Congress Archives in Washington, D.C. Each participant also receives a copy. The archival copies will be maintained as primary research material available for historians and others who study this war in the future.
Because this war ended sixty-one years ago and surviving veterans are now of advanced age, the interviews are being conducted on an urgent basis. In addition to several individual interviewers who give assistance, a staff of five graduate students is completing interviews each week. The current interviewers are Carl Brown, Laura Cunningham, Reginald Ellis, Shirletta Kinchen, and Dennis Paden. Each of the interviewers has received previous training and experience in oral history.
The purpose of this project is to secure 1,000 interviews with participants from the war years. At present, more than 200 interviews have been either completed or assigned for interviewing. Commenting on plans for the future, Dr. Janann Sherman, Chair of the Department of History, said, “After the completion of this extensive project, we hope that it can be continued to collect the community memory of participation in all subsequent American wars from the Second World War to the present.”
Alumni and friends with relatives or acquaintances who have memories of the World War II era should contact Dr. Charles Crawford, Director of the Oral History Research Office, at (901) 678-2524 or email@example.com.
By Chrystal Dykes
This past summer, six of the department’s Egyptology students – Justin Beavers, Chrystal Dykes, Colleen Harris, Jared Krebsbach, Catherine Norvell, and Katarzyna Scherr – embarked on an intensive twenty-eight-day sightseeing and research trip to Egypt. It was the first visit to the Land of the Pharaohs for all six. The students were lucky enough to be joined by their advisor and veteran traveler, Dr. Peter Brand, as well as Art History student Dennis O’Connor.
The students departed in mid-May and began their study of Egypt early in the trip during their long lay-over in Amsterdam. A quick train ride out to the quaint university town of Leiden took them to the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. The Rijksmuseum houses not only an impressive amount of Egyptian material, but also a large room with pillows and bizarre computer-generated films where the students could nap after their first twenty-four hours of travel.
Dr. Brand and Catherine Norvell
examining inscriptions under
an obelisk in the temple precinct of Karnak
Upon arrival in Cairo, the group was guided through the airport and customs with the help of the wonderful staff of Museum Tours and a few small bribes. Tired and already experiencing a bit of culture shock, the students had time to relax in their hotel before embarking on a solo day in Cairo. Not surprisingly, they spent the first full day in Cairo at the Egyptian Museum. The students traversed the many floors of the museum, observing the items which pertained to each one’s specific interests and areas of research. Later that evening Dr. Brand took them out for their first real Egyptian meal and taught them how to cross the street in Cairo – which is by no means a small feat.
During their first week, from their home base in Cairo, the students visited the impressive tombs and pyramids at sites such as Giza, Saqqara, Dashur, and Abu Sir. They also went on day trips to the Egyptian delta to see Alexandria, Bubastis and Tanis. At Giza the students journeyed up an enormous incline inside the Great Pyramid to see an empty room, and the brave took camel rides. When visiting Abu Sir, the group was given special entrance into the nearby sun-temple precinct of Niuserre, located in Abu Ghurob. This fifth-dynasty sun temple is not open to the public, as it lies in a military area, but the students were allowed to examine the site, take pictures, and even climb to the top of the small pyramid located there! It was a special treat for all.
Then the group was off to Minia to visit the sites in Middle Egypt. Though the accommodations in Minia were far superior to those in Cairo, leaving the hotel was difficult for security reasons. The group made the best of being sequestered by taking advantage of a nice pool and breathtaking views of the Nile. During these few days the group visited the rock-cut tombs of Beni Hassan, as well as the site of Amarna. At Amarna the students were allowed into a large number of the unfinished tombs belonging to the officials of the New Kingdom king Akhenaten, some of which Dr. Brand was able to see for the first time in his fifteen years of travel to Egypt.
Next the group journeyed to Luxor, where they had a week to visit many of the Upper Egyptian sites such as Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, The Valley of the Kings, Deir el-Medina, The Tombs of the Nobles, and Deir el-Bahri. They were even able to sneak in a day trip to the sites of Abydos and Dendara. At the temple at Karnak, Dr. Brand imparted his expert knowledge of the temple, as well as shared the site of his Hypostyle Hall Project with his students.
The group at KV 63. Back row, from left to right:
Project Director Otto Schaden,
Dr. Peter Brand, Justin Beavers, Dennis O'Connor, Catherine Norvell. Front row:
Colleen Harris, Jared Krebsbach, Chrystal Dykes, and Katarzyna Scherr
On the west bank, the students marveled at the tombs of the New Kingdom kings, and were lucky enough to visit KV 63, the University’s newly discovered site. The group went behind the yellow tape, smirked at envious tourists, and descended through the shaft, where they witnessed the ongoing preservation and removal of the newly unearthed materials. After they took a look at the tomb, Dr. Otto Schaden, head of the site’s excavations, graciously guided the students through the storage areas that contained the material which had already been extracted from the tomb.
The group left Luxor for the southern city of Aswan, where they were able to take in the sites of Edfu, Kom Ombo, Philae, a granite quarry, and various rock-cut tombs. During this portion of the trip, students visited the impressive Nubian museums and viewed artifacts that are not often included in other Egyptian exhibits. After enjoying spectacular views of the Nile’s cataracts, attempting felucca rides on windless days, and dodging tomb bats, the group embarked on the final part of the trip.
At the harbor in Aswan, the group boarded a cruise ship for a relaxing five-day trip around Lake Nasser. Oddly, the members of the group found that they were the only guests on the ship, which made for excellent service and huge meals. Yet, as one can imagine, eerie halls, empty rooms, and 1960s decor often left students with feelings similar to those experienced by the characters in the The Shining.
Fortunately, the cruise enabled the group to view many sites that are not easily accessed via Egyptian roads. During the daytime the students ventured out into the 117-degree heat for short junkets to temples, camel rides, and opportunities to hold baby crocodiles. Nights were spent eating enormous five-course meals, during which Dr. Brand would educate the students on Egyptian history and culture. On more than one occasion the students proved to be highly gullible, much to the delight of Dr. Brand, who used their naïveté as a main source of entertainment. One evening he was even able to convince them that one of the ship’s mechanical noises was a crocodile mating call! Skeptical at first, within five minutes they were looking out into the pitch-black night over the ship’s edge to view the crocodiles, which were obviously nowhere in sight. The last docking point on the cruise was the site of Abu Simbel, where the students were able to take in the impressive rock-cut temples of Ramesses II, after which they began their long journey home.
The trip was a huge success, allowing the students to work on and expand their own interests, as well as giving them access to sites they had previously known only through books. They gained invaluable professional and cultural knowledge, which will aid in their future academic endeavors. Yet they still have no idea what a crocodile mating call sounds like.
On a campus as racially diverse as The University of Memphis, the history of American race relations demands our particular attention. In the past year two visiting speakers have illuminated our understanding of race relations in the American past.
Dr. Steven Hahn, Roy F. and Jeanette P. Nichols Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke in October 2005 on the subject “Can Slaves Practice Politics?,” the latest offering of the Belle McWilliams Lecture Series. The lecture was sponsored by the Department of History, African and African-American Studies, the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities, and the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change.
Hahn described how slaves, through their communal activities, laid the basis for activism during and after the Civil War and eventually paved the way for later grassroots mobilization. Hahn’s view is that slavery was a formulative period for African-American political thought.
According to Hahn, the assumption that slaves were politically inert has determined much earlier historical writing. Challenging that assumption can open up many areas of investigation. More and more, Hahn said, historians are beginning to recognize that the American Civil War represented two rebellions, one of Southern states against national authority and the other of slaves against their masters. He further contended that historians of American labor movements have mistakenly excluded slaves on the assumption that they contributed nothing to workers’ struggles. Slaves formed networks that would shape aspirations and organizations after the achievement of freedom.
Dr. Hahn and his audience in
the Mitchell Hall Auditorium
The drive for autonomy was reflected in the postwar period by numerous separate organizations such as churches, fraternal and benevolent associations, educational institutions, newspapers, and the creation of black towns. Early movements urging migration to other parts of the United States or to Liberia were strongly reflected later in Marcus Garvey’s “Back to Africa” movement, the Great Migration, and the Black Nationalism movement. Hahn stressed the importance of circuits of communication capable of spreading news from both far and near.
Dr. Hahn, a specialist in the history of the American South and the comparative history of slavery and emancipation, has written A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration (Harvard, 2003), which won the Bancroft Prize, the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti Prize in Social History, and the Pulitzer Prize for History; and The Roots of Southern Populism: Yeoman Farmers and the Transformation of the Georgia Upcountry, 1850-1890 (1983), which won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award.
In October 2006, Dr. Christopher Capozzola, an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, delivered a lecture called “Repairing the Past: Racial Violence After World War I and the Politics of Reconciliation.” The talk was sponsored by The Department of History, The Benjamin Hooks Institute for Social Change, African and African-American Studies, and the Graduate Association for African American History.
Dr. Capozzola delivering his lecture
"Repairing the Past"
Dr. Capozzola focused upon the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. In describing the events of that violent day, he provided a larger context of race relations and contentions over American citizenship forged by Tulsa’s geographic location as a crossroads, the surge of black protest as a result of World War One, and the wave of racial violence that followed the war. Capozzola also addressed the issue of historical memory. He considered the recent push for reparations by victims of the riot and the recent political circumstances that waylaid their legal claims. He made a broader case for the legitimacy of reparations in such circumstances, and he urged Americans – especially through public education systems – to confront uglier chapters from their past. Anger about the past, he suggested, can serve good purposes when applied constructively in the present.
Dr. Capozzola (right) and Aram Goudsouzian
pore over a map of Tulsa from 1921
Capozzola’s book Uncle Sam Wants You: The Politics of Obligation in America’s First World War is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. He has published articles and essays in American Quarterly, Georgetown Law Journal, Journal of American History, Journal of Women’s History, New England Quarterly, and Rethinking History, as well as in popular periodicals including The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The Nation, New Labor Forum, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Washington Post Book World.
By Becky Hodges
Tennessee students at National History Day
at the University of Maryland
Tennessee History Day (THD) is an exciting program that brings history alive for students in grades 6-12. This program, part of National History Day (NHD), is a competition that is formatted similar to a science fair. Participating students learn how to properly research a topic from start to finish, and they sharpen their critical skills in the process. History Department faculty, staff, and graduate assistants coordinate the West Tennessee regional and the Tennessee state competitions.
Under the guidance of Dr. Jonathan Judaken, the 2006 Tennessee History Day program was another remarkable success. He teamed up with Gretchen Cook, an M.A. Communications student, to create a documentary-style workshop for teachers, which became available at the beginning of this school year. He also continued work with Acuity Marketing, a Nashville-based marketing group that created the online competition management system that is now used nationally throughout NHD. Furthermore, Dr. Judaken worked fervently on recruiting corporate and public sponsorship dollars to help build the THD infrastructure and create scholarships to send the state winners to the National History Day competition.
for a performance
The competitions themselves are getting more exciting for the students and the coordinators. This year’s theme was “taking a stand in history.” Six schools participated in the regional competition. The students from Lausanne Collegiate School, Snowden School, St. Agnes Academy–St.Dominic School, St. George’s Middle and High Schools, and White Station High School created impressive exhibits, papers, documentaries, and performances reenacting key people, places, and events that “took a stand.” The state competition was an even greater success – over 200 students from across the state competed to represent Tennessee at the National History Day competition, held at the University of Maryland in June. Two of our state winners presented their exhibits at two different Smithsonian Museums in Washington D.C. Six of our representatives made it to the final round of national competition, and one won a special award for research done on the history of abolitionism and resistance to slavery!
Dr. Judaken is on leave during the academic year 2006-2007 on a fellowship from the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In his absence, Dr. Robert Gudmestad has agreed to coordinate the program. With help from one graduate assistant and the History Department office assistant, Amanda Sanders, he plans to continue in his predecessor’s footsteps and grow this amazing program.
This year’s theme is “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” For more information please see the website at tennesseehistoryday.org. Remember, Tennessee History Day is not just a day…it’s an EXPERIENCE!
By Becky Hodges
The Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Alpha Theta at The University of Memphis is continuing its tradition of promoting and encouraging academic excellence in the field of history. With over forty active members, our chapter is fulfilling the motto of the national organization: to bring students, teachers and writers of history together for intellectual and social exchanges, which promote and assist historical research and publication.
We are continuing our monthly pizza luncheons, providing students – both members and nonmembers – with an opportunity to hear lectures on any aspect of history that falls under the current theme. This year’s topic is “Counterculture in History,” and we are anticipating some interesting talks from the History Department faculty. Dr. Caffrey enlightened us in September about crossdressing in American history; Dr. Unowsky shed light on the artistic and intellectual rebellions in Vienna at the turn of the century in October; and Dr. Martin spoke on the institution of the “holy fool” in the Ottoman Empire in November. The lineup for the rest of the year promises to be as exciting (and informative).
As outgoing President of Phi Alpha Theta, I am pleased to announce the new executive board for the 2006-2007 academic year. Katarzyna Scherr, a graduate student in Egyptology, will preside over the organization, with help from her Vice President, Le’Trice Donaldson. Tyler Stephenson has agreed to develop and maintain the new Phi Alpha Theta website (available soon), and Emilie Schaeffer will perform duties as this year’s Treasurer. I wish the new leaders luck in the upcoming year!
Guest speaker Dr. Olga Litvak
of Princeton University
The Epsilon Nu chapter initiated eight undergraduate and four graduate students at last year’s induction ceremony. Last year’s ceremony was held at the Alumni Center, and was attended by not only current and past members of Phi Alpha Theta, but also alumni of the History Department. Dr. Olga Litvak, Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University and a specialist in modern Jewish history, spoke on “A Subject in Search of a Discipline: History and the Work of Interpretation.” The new members of Phi Alpha Theta were formally initiated and the annual Department of History awards were presented throughout the evening. It was wonderful to have everyone join together and honor those that worked hard throughout the past year.
The following people were recognized for their achievements:
Phi Alpha Theta Undergraduate
Jefferson Brant, Allison Collier, Scott Healy, Cameron Higgs, Melissa Joy,Michael King, John Pabst, Shelley Wade
Phi Alpha Theta Graduate
Ken Baroff, Laura Cunningham, Timm Jobes, Webb Matthews
Major L. Wilson Paper Prizes:
Graduate: Frances Wright, “Mobility, Nationalism, and Womanhood: Public and Political Discourse on the National Service Act Part III in World War II Britain”
Undergraduate: Stephen C. Rogers, “The Levellers and Religious Toleration in an Age of Conflict”
Tennessee Historical Commission
Allison N. Collier
Ruth and Harry Woodbury Graduate Fellowship in
Belle McWilliams Scholarship:
Belle McWilliams Graduate Dissertation
Yuan Gao, Edward Hamelrath
Best Adjunct Instructor
Best Graduate Student Teacher
This year promises to be an exciting one! We will have our new webpage up and running soon, with a link available on the History homepage: http://history.memphis.edu/. Information about the upcoming pizza luncheons, which are open to all students, present and past, will also be available online. Good luck to the new executive board on the upcoming year’s events!
219 Mitchell Hall
Memphis, TN 38152-3450