Arch Dalrymple III Department of History

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Professor Mikaëla Adams Awarded ACLS Fellowship

Posted on: August 9th, 2018 by atwitty

Mikaëla M. Adams, associate professor of history at the University of Mississippi, has been awarded a coveted fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies.

The yearlong fellowship allows scholars to focus solely on their research or writing. Of the nearly 1,150 scholars who applied for the 2018 fellowship, only 78 – less than 7 percent – were chosen for the award. Adams, a highly regarded historian of modern America with a focus on Native American history, joined the faculty in the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History in 2012.

Adams plans to use her fellowship, to make progress on her new book project, tentatively titled “Influenza in Indian Country: Indigenous Sickness, Suffering, and Survival during the 1918-1919 Pandemic,” which will provide an ethnohistorical account of the world’s deadliest pandemic and its long-term consequences for Native American communities across the United States.

In particular, Adams’s work will explore how the influenza virus infected indigenous people on reservations and boarding schools, how their living conditions in this period exacerbated the effects of influenza, how institutionalized segregation determined Native access to healthcare, how indigenous people responded medically, and how this health crisis affected the federal-tribal relationship. By combining the methodologies of medical history and ethnohistory, moreover, it will highlight both the biological consequences of influenza on Native American communities and the ways that social constructions of race, ethnicity, sickness, and healing shaped the experience of infection for indigenous people in this time period.

Adams is already the author of Who Belongs? Race Resources, and Tribal Citizenship in the Native South (Oxford University Press, 2016), which was explores how six southeastern Indian tribes—the Pamunkey Indian Tribe of Virginia, the Catawba Indian Nation of South Carolina, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida—decided who belonged to their communities in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

UM Doctoral Student Eric Rexroat Wins Fulbright

Posted on: July 29th, 2018 by atwitty

University of Mississippi student Eric Rexroat, a Ph.D. candidate in the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History, will study in Belgium this fall, thanks to the 2018 Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

A St. Charles, Missouri, native, Rexroat will be at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, from this September until March 2019. He will conduct research at the Royal Library of Belgium and National Archives of Belgium, both in Brussels, as well as work under the direction of professor Hilde Greefs and some of her colleagues.

Rexroat, who earned his bachelor’s degree at Southeast Missouri State University in 2012, vividly recalls how he received notification of his award.

“I learned while in Paris doing research that I had been chosen as an alternative (which he said he viewed as an achievement in itself), but my understanding was that there would be little chance of my being promoted to a finalist,” he said. “Obviously something changed, and it was a very pleasant surprise.”

For the past three springs, Rexroat has been recognized for his achievements. He received the Tenin-Alexander Prize from the history department for Best Graduate Student Paper in 2015, the Graduate Achievement Award from the College of Liberal Arts in 2016 and officially passed his comprehensive exams with distinction in 2017.

“My career goals include teaching European history at a college or university, as well as continuing my research and eventually publishing on 19th-century Europe,” Rexroat said. “Receiving this Fulbright award will enable me to work closely with and benefit from the feedback of my adviser at the University of Antwerp, as well as to expand my research by providing the opportunity to spend further time in Europe. The experiences I have during this stint abroad will be invaluable to my development as a scholar and a person.”

UM faculty have praised Rexroat’s work.

“Eric came as an M.A. student and has excelled ever since he stepped foot on campus, impressing faculty and colleagues alike with his seriousness of purpose and focus,” said Marc Lerner, associate professor of history and director of Rexroat’s dissertation.

“His dissertation research on free trade as ideology and political controversy in the mid-19th century is fascinating and important work. The comparative and international perspective is what makes this a particularly challenging and powerful dissertation topic. I am excited to see the results of his research.”

Established in 1946, the Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected based on academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Fulbright awards allow the Croft Institute and the other participating units on the Oxford campus to deliver on the university’s commitment to educating and engaging global citizens and supporting experiential learning, two cores established in the university’s new strategic plan, Flagship Forward.

Students interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program award are encouraged to contact the Office of National Scholarship Advisement at

Story adapted from Edwin Smith.

UM History Faculty Welcomes Eva Payne

Posted on: July 29th, 2018 by atwitty

The Arch Dalrymple III Department of History is delighted to welcome Eva Payne to Oxford. Professor Payne was hired as an Assistant Professor of History with a focus on Gender and Sexuality in the Spring of 2017 and joins us this fall after completing her term as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Professor Payne holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and graduate degrees from Harvard University. Her work examines women, gender, and sexuality and the U.S. in transnational perspective.

Her current book project, To Purify the World: Americans and International Sexual Reform, 1865-1933, asks how and why many American reformers came to see sexual issues as the central humanitarian and political problems of their day. It tracks the movement for sexual reform from its origins, among American abolitionists and missionaries who became concerned with state-regulated prostitution in the British Empire, through to the movement’s denouement in the activities of Americans who traveled the globe after the First World War to investigate sex trafficking for the League of Nations. As American social reformers participated in debates over prostitution, the legal age of consent, venereal disease, and sex trafficking, they wove together religious, medical, racial, and legal discourses in ways that placed sexual matters at the heart of international politics.

Professor Payne is also engaged in a number of public history projects. She has worked on exhibitions of art and historical objects at museums and galleries, including the Harvard Art Museum and the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America.

During the fall semester, Professor Payne is teaching one graduate course, HST 614: Readings in U.S. Women’s and Gender History.

Peter Thilly Joins the UM History Faculty

Posted on: July 29th, 2018 by atwitty

The Arch Dalrymple III Department of History is thrilled to announce that Peter Thilly has joined our faculty as an Assistant Professor specializing in modern Asia.

Professor Thilly holds a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University, a Master’s in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and a doctorate in history from Northwestern University. His work focuses on Late Imperial and Republican China, with a particular focus on maritime and transnational history, as well as crime and legal culture.

His book manuscript, provisionally entitled Treacherous Waters: Drug Smugglers in the Making of Modern China, is a social history of the “opium century” – the one hundred years during which opiate narcotics dominated the Chinese economy and became normalized within Chinese society. By focusing on the criminal brokers who operated the drug trade, Treacherous Waters tells overlapping stories about the local experiences of global imperialism, nationalism, statebuilding and corruption. The people who dealt in drugs, over the course of the opium century, carved out a particular capitalist version of local power in the face of encroaching, modernizing states. In so doing, drug traders transformed the processes of nation-building and imperialism in China.

Professor Thilly’s June 2017 article in Late Imperial China, entitled “Opium and the Origins of Treason in Modern China: The View from Fujian,” explains how opium traders came to personify treason during the most critical moment in the crystallization of modern Chinese nationalism – the Opium War of 1839-41. His second article, “The Fujisturu Mystery: Translocal Xiamen, Japanese Expansionism, and the Asian Cocaine Trade, 1900-1937,” highlights the role of opportunism and entrepreneurialism within the wider history of state efforts to control trade in maritime Asia. It appaeared in Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, in a special December 2017 issue on “Binding Maritime China.”

During the fall semester, Professor Thilly is teaching two undergraduate courses, the survey course HST 130: Intro to East Asian History and HST 387: Modern Japanese History.

Thinking about Law School?

Posted on: February 8th, 2018 by atwitty

History majors and minors are invited to join the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History for a visit to the University of Mississippi Law School, where they’ll enjoy a free pizza lunch and learn about the process of applying to law school and the nature of legal education at an event specially planned for them.

This event will take place Thursday, February 22 at 12:30 PM in Room 1115 at the University of Mississippi Law School. Reserve your spot–and your pizza!–by RSVPing to Professor Anne Twitty at

History Faculty to Participate in 8th Annual MLK Day Commemoration

Posted on: January 22nd, 2018 by atwitty

The University of Mississippi Law School will host its eighth annual MLK Day commemoration, which celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 from 12:30 to 1:45 P.M. in Weems Auditorium.

This year’s panel will focus on slavery and its connections to the legacy of Dr. King. Panelists include two members of the University of Mississippi Slavery Research Group, associate professor of history Anne Twitty and associate professor of sociology Jeff Jackson, and instructor of English Jennie Lightweis-Goff, whose work focuses on slavery, race, and southern culture. The panel will be moderated by associate professor of history Marc Lerner.

Professor April Holm’s New Book

Posted on: January 2nd, 2018 by atwitty

A Kingdom Divided: Evangelicals, Loyalty, and Sectionalism in the Civil War Era

Louisiana State University Press, 2017

A Kingdom Divided uncovers how evangelical Christians in the border states influenced debates about slavery, morality, and politics from the 1830s to the 1890s. Using little-studied events and surprising incidents from the region, April E. Holm argues that evangelicals on the border powerfully shaped the regional structure of American religion in the Civil War era.

In the decades before the Civil War, the three largest evangelical denominations diverged sharply over the sinfulness of slavery. This division generated tremendous local conflict in the border region, where individual churches had to define themselves as being either northern or southern. In response, many border evangelicals drew upon the “doctrine of spirituality,” which dictated that churches should abstain from all political debate. Proponents of this doctrine defined slavery as a purely political issue, rather than a moral one, and the wartime arrival of secular authorities who demanded loyalty to the Union only intensified this commitment to “spirituality.” Holm contends that these churches’ insistence that politics and religion were separate spheres was instrumental in the development of the ideal of the nonpolitical southern church. After the Civil War, southern churches adopted both the disaffected churches from border states and their doctrine of spirituality, claiming it as their own and using it to supply a theological basis for remaining divided after the abolition of slavery. By the late nineteenth century, evangelicals were more sectionally divided than they had been at war’s end.

In A Kingdom Divided, Holm provides the first analysis of the crucial role of churches in border states in shaping antebellum divisions in the major evangelical denominations, in navigating the relationship between church and the federal government, and in rewriting denominational histories to forestall reunion in the churches. Offering a new perspective on nineteenth-century sectionalism, it highlights how religion, morality, and politics interacted—often in unexpected ways—in a time of political crisis and war.

Ph.D. Candidate Phil Baltuskonis Wins Two Outside Fellowships

Posted on: December 1st, 2017 by atwitty

Arch Dalrymple III Department of History Ph.D. candidate Phil Baltuskonis has won two external grants that will fund research on his dissertation, which explores the role of ideas in shaping the social movements that led individuals in Spanish America to reject the Spanish crown and explore ideas of independence.

In January 2018, Baltuskonis will travel to the Lily Library in Bloomington, Indiana on a Mendel Fellowship, which is designed to support research by scholars from around the world in areas of particular interest to the Mendel family, including the history of the Spanish Colonial Empire, Latin American independence movements, European expansion in the Americas, and voyages, travels and exploration. Baltuskonis’s research in Bloomington will center on the correspondence among members of the eighteenth century Royal Botanical Expedition to New Granada.

After completing this trip, Baltuskonis will travel to Seville and Madrid with support from the University of Mississippi graduate school and the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History. There he will undertake research in the colonial archives. Finally, a visiting Ph.D. fellowship from the Universidad del Rosario will bring Baltuskonis to Bogotá, Colombia. The archives in Bogotá will allow him to explore the impact that people connected to the leaders in and around the city had on the creation of a new Latin American state.

Baltuskonis’s dissertation, “Hesitant Independence in Spanish America: Science, Patronage, and the Power of Community,” examines the social networks created by the alumni of the Colegio del Rosario, a private university founded in Bogotá in 1653, and the members of the Botanical Expedition to New Granada (present-day Colombia), as well as their connection to the revolutions in Spanish America during the late colonial period. His work is being supervised by Douglass Sullivan-González.

Elizabeth Payne Receives Lifetime Merit Award

Posted on: November 15th, 2017 by atwitty

At the 2017 meeting of the Southern Historical Association, Professor Elizabeth Payne was recognized with an award for “extraordinary service” to the Southern Association for Women Historians (SAWH). Organized in 1970, the SAWH meets annually and has over 700 members. It strives to stimulate interest in the study of Southern and women’s history as well to advance the status of women historians.

Payne first joined the SAWH in 1985 when she moved to the University of Arkansas history department. She has continued to be an active member ever since. In particular, the award highlighted her leadership in organizing a mentoring program for graduate students and service on multiple committees. Two other historians, Professor Jacqueline Dowd Hall of the University of North Carolina and Professor Darlene Clark Hine of Northwestern University, also received the lifetime merit awards.

Marc Lerner Named 2017 Humanities Teacher of the Year

Posted on: October 30th, 2017 by atwitty

Marc Lerner, associate professor of history at the University of Mississippi, will give the 2017 Humanities Teacher of the Year Lecture on a popular figure in folklore at 7 p.m. November 6 in the Bondurant Hall auditorium.

Lerner will discuss “The International William Tell: Highlighting Popular Culture in a Transatlantic World,” focusing on his research about the Swiss folk hero. The lecture is free and open to the public.

This year’s Humanities Teacher of the Year said he was shocked when he heard that he won the award, which is sponsored by the UM College of Liberal Arts and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

“I am deeply touched that the committee thought I was worthy of the honor,” Lerner said. “I know that there are many instructors who work very hard for their students and who deserve the recognition for doing a great job in the classroom.

“It is gratifying to be around such hard-working and supportive colleagues, who are great teachers and conduct such stimulating research. We are all fortunate to be inspired by the bright and enthusiastic students at this university.”

Lerner, who has been teaching at Ole Miss since 2005, holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in history from Columbia University.

He regularly teaches courses on the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Age of Revolution and on nationalism. His research interests are focused on revolutionary Europe in a comparative perspective, republicanism and the shift to a modern political world, as well as Tell, among other topics.

Lerner has been a star teacher for many years, said Donald Dyer, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts.

“He is very deserving of the recognition and the opportunity to give the 2017 lecture,” Dyer said. “His colleagues and his students agree that he is a compassionate, caring and engaging teacher of history and other topics. He has been teaching classes in the Honors College for several years as well.

“The college is proud of his skills and his teaching acumen, and he is highly deserving of the Mississippi Humanities Council Award.”

The William Tell story came to European prominence in the late 15th century as a foundational legend that sought to explain the origins of Swiss liberty. The different versions of the story agreed on some fundamental elements: Tell was a virtuous citizen of Canton Uri who was oppressed by the tyrannical Gessler after refusing to bow down before the symbols of Gessler’s authority.

Gessler then capriciously forced Tell to shoot an apple off his own son’s head.

“Ultimately, Gessler paid the price for his tyranny as Tell’s shot led to the independence of the Swiss Cantons and Gessler’s death,” Lerner said. “There was no agreement, however, on some other important elements of the story: Did Tell lead the revolt? Did he take part in the foundational oath? Was Gessler local or imposed by an outside power?”

Most often, the Tell story broke down into one of two categories, either supporting the elite leadership of the Swiss republics or arguing for more popular input into politics. Either message was easily extended beyond the Alps: Tell acted in defense of his family against the foreign tyrant and continued to respect the authority of the local elite, or he was a popular revolutionary who planned an insurrection to overthrow aristocratic rule.

During this period of revolutionary transformation, the figure of Tell evolved into a proxy in an ongoing battle between those who saw true liberty as self-rule, free from the intervention of foreigners, and those who saw liberty as an egalitarian principle.

Lerner’s lecture is an extension of his ongoing research about the international forms of Tell’s story to better understand a global Age of Revolutions from 1750 to 1850 through studying cultural productions. The story was used and manipulated by a variety of participants and he can track this story of liberty into all corners of the Revolutionary world, Lerner said.

“The development of a wider international perspective allows us to look more deeply at the Revolutionary period itself and the globalized world it created,” Lerner said. “Too often, historians observe fundamental revolutionary processes only in a single country.

“The Age of Revolution did not start and stop in Paris or Philadelphia; rather it was a transnational phenomenon. Revolutionary and counterrevolutionary ideals, principles and problems were not bound by national borders.”

Each October, the Mississippi Humanities Council honors outstanding humanities instructors at state institutions for higher learning as part of National Arts and Humanities Month. College presidents or academic deans nominate professors for consideration, based on the excellence of their humanities work in the classroom.

Each nominee receives a cash award from the Mississippi Humanities Council and is asked to prepare and deliver a public lecture on a humanities subject during October or November.

Story by Michael Newsom