Arch Dalrymple III Department of History

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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

Jessica Wilkerson Wins Article Prize

Posted on: September 13th, 2017 by atwitty

The Southern Association for Women Historians has awarded Jessica Wilkerson, Assistant Professor of History and Southern Studies, the 2017 A. Elizabeth Taylor Prize, which is given annually for the best article on women’s history published during the preceding calendar year.

Wilkerson’s winning article, “The Company Owns the Mine but They Don’t Own Us: Feminist Critiques of Capitalism in the Coalfields of Kentucky in the 1970s,” appeared in Gender & History last March. It examined women’s involvement in the Brookside Mine strike of 1974, which captivated US audiences and provided women with an unprecedented public platform to challenge the class and gender system undergirding coalfield capitalism. During the strike, Wilkerson shows, female kin of miners in Harlan County, Kentucky, started a club to support striking miners and their families and to organize picket lines and were joined by women from across the region and country.

With the strike as their foundation these women generated a women’s movement that revealed the specific ways class and gender inequality shaped their lives, defined by the heavy-duty care work characteristic of the coalfields. The Brookside women’s support of striking miners, Wilkerson demonstrates, was fundamentally about gendered class inequality: the denigration of working-class, female caregivers alongside the devaluing of men’s labour. Using collective memory and individual experience as their interpretive devices, her article reveals how the Brookside women forged a class-conscious feminism that exposed the traumas of coalfield capitalism, shone a light on women’s unpaid care work (one of the foundations of corporate capitalism), and destabilized the gender and class hierarchies that defined coalfield communities.

2017 Center for Civil War Research Conference to Take Place in September

Posted on: September 12th, 2017 by atwitty

The Center for Civil War Research and the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History present the eleventh annual Conference on the Civil War to be held September 29 and 30 in Oxford, Mississippi. The theme of this year’s conference is “Borders, Boundaries, and Lines in the Civil War” and will include work that explores both literal and figurative boundaries, including the experiences of border states, the boundaries between slavery and freedom, border patrols, racial boundaries, and battle lines.

The keynote address will be given by Dr. Christopher Phillips of the University of Cincinnati, author of The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border, which was the winner of the 2017 Tom Watson Brown Book Award. Phillips will speak on “Southern Cross, North Star: The Cultural Politics of Race and Irreconciliation on the Post-Civil War Middle Border” on Friday, September 29 at 6:30 p.m. in 107 Croft Institute. This event is free and open to the public.

The 2017 Wiley-Silver Prize for Best First Book in Civil War History will also be awarded at the conference.

A complete schedule of events will available soon at the Center for Civil War Research site.

Nicolas Trépanier awarded European Institutes for Advanced Study Fellowship

Posted on: September 7th, 2017 by atwitty

Nicolas Trépanier, associate professor in the University of Mississippi’s Arch Dalrymple III Department of History, has received a yearlong research fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Amsterdam for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Trépanier was awarded the European Institutes for Advanced Study fellowship, which brings together scholars in a variety of disciplines, ranging from neurology to art history and from journalism to philosophy. Their projects are not connected to one other, but the fellows are expected to interact.

The idea behind the EURIAS model is that creative thinkers will benefit from being exposed to other creative thinkers in fields that are unfamiliar to them.

Trépanier says he’s grateful to EURIAS for the opportunity to collaborate with such an esteemed group.

“Spending a year at NIAS will allow me to concentrate on that research on a full-time basis, so it’s likely to be very important in the advancement of my research career,” Trépanier said. “It will also allow me to work with a few archaeologists I know in the Netherlands, which is also a precious opportunity because historians in my field rarely engage in such collaborations.”

EURIAS’ fellowship program is part of the Network of European Institutes for Advanced Study, which brings together 22 institutes across Europe. Within the network, more than 500 researchers are hosted every year for up to one full academic year, with the goal of creating international and multidisciplinary learning communities.

Trépanier holds a doctorate in Middle Eastern studies and History from Harvard University. His first book, Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia: A New Social History, explores the daily experiences of ordinary folk through the various parts that food played in their lives: from agricultural production to religious fasting and from commercial exchanges to meal schedules.

The fellowship will give him a chance to work on a second book, also focused on Anatolia, in medieval Turkey. This work explores the idea of landscapes, how people living at that time perceived the territory around them and what were the differences in perception between travelers, political elites, peasants and others.

Trépanier is an exceptional scholar and teacher whose theoretical innovation and productivity in research places him within the top tier of an already accomplished University of Mississippi faculty, said Noell Wilson, interim chair and associate professor of history and international studies.

“His cross-disciplinary study of landscape in medieval Anatolia engages projects of colleagues not only within his home discipline of history, but in archaeology and the broader digital humanities,” Wilson said. “We are thrilled to see international recognition for his work beyond the U.S. academy, and the broader department will benefit from Professor Trépanier’s role as an intellectual bridge between Oxford and European scholars.”

Native American Scholar David Nichols to Lecture on Chickasaw Nation

Posted on: August 28th, 2017 by atwitty

David Nichols, Professor of History at Indiana State University, will give a talk entitled “Between a Dollar and a Pistaroon: Currency, Commensurability, and Conspicuous Consumption in the Chickasaw Nation” on Wednesday, September 13 at 5:30 pm in 515 Lamar Hall.

Professor Nichols received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of Kentucky. He joined the faculty at Indiana State University in 2004 and became an associate professor in 2010.

His specialty is early America, with a particular interest in Native American history during the Revolutionary and early national era. He is the author of Red Gentlemen & White Savages: Indians, Federalists, and the Search for Order on the Early American Frontier (University of Virginia Press, 2008), and Engines of Diplomacy: Indian Trading Factories and the Negotiation of American Empire (University of North Carolina Press, 2016). He is currently working on a short history of the Great Lakes Indians and a study of economic change among the Chickasaws.

Phi Beta Kappa Visting Scholar Judith Carney to Speak

Posted on: August 28th, 2017 by atwitty

Judith Carney, Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, will speak on “Seeds of Memory: Food Legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade” as the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar on Thursday, September 14 at 5:30 pm in the Tupelo Room inside Barnard Observatory.

Few Americans identify slavery with the cultivation of rice. Yet rice was a major plantation crop during the first centuries of settlement in the Americas. By the middle of the eighteenth century, rice plantations in South Carolina, and the enslaved Africans who worked them, had created one of the world’s most profitable economies. A longstanding question in American historiography is how rice, a crop introduced to the Americas, came to be cultivated in plantation societies. This lecture discusses the provenance of rice and its cultural antecedents in the Americas. It establishes, through agricultural and historical evidence, the independent domestication of rice in West Africa and the crop’s vital significance there for a millennium before Europeans arrived and the transatlantic slave trade began. This rice accompanied enslaved Africans throughout the New World, including Southern colonies, Brazil, and the Caribbean. Slaves from the West African rice region established rice as a food crop and provided the critical knowledge that enabled its cultivation. A comparative analysis of land use, methods of cultivation, processing and cooking traditions on both sides of the Atlantic during the plantation era help fill in the historical record. Recent genetics research and findings of African rice in botanical collections and among contemporary maroon societies of Suriname lend support for the African lineaments of rice culture in the Americas.

Carney’s research centers on African ecology and development, food security, gender and agrarian change, and African contributions to New World environmental history. She is the author of Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas and In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World.

Rhonda Williams to Give 2017 Gilder-Jordan Lecture

Posted on: August 27th, 2017 by krsims

Dr. Rhonda Y. Williams of Vanderbilt University will deliver the 2017 Gilder-Jordan Lecture in Southern Cultural History, “Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power, Then and Now” on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at 7 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium.

Dr. Williams is a professor of history, the founder and director of the Social Justice Institute, and the inaugural John L. Siegenthaler Chair in American History at Vanderbilt University. The author of Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (2015) and the award-winning The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality (2005)Williams has been honored by History News Network as a Top Young Historian; the Organization of American Historians as a Distinguished Lecturer; and is listed in the 2009 and 2015 editions of Who’s Who in Black Cleveland. Williams is a recipient of an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Fellowship and a former Harvard University W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Fellow. She is the co-editor of the recently launched book series, Justice, Power, and Politics, with the University of North Carolina Press and co-editor of Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement.

Her publications include articles on black power politics, the war on poverty, low-income black women’s grassroots organizing, and urban and housing policy. Her research interests include the manifestations of race and gender inequality on urban space and policy, social movements, and illicit narcotics economies in the post-1940s United States.

Williams received her PhD in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Maryland College Park in 1989, where she became that university’s first black salutatorian in its then 187-year history.

Williams, also known as “Dr. Rhonda,” also has been engaged in local community efforts, including on police and criminal justice reform as a member of the Collaborative for a Safe, Fair, and Just Cleveland, and the “Cleveland 8.” She has appeared on MSNBC and Democracy Now! Currently, she is serving as a Commissioner on the Cleveland Community Police Commission, which was empaneled in September 2015. She is a Baltimore native.

Organized through the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the African American Studies Program, Center for Civil War Research, and the Department of History, the Gilder-Jordan Speaker Series is made possible through the generosity of the Gilder Foundation, Inc.  The series honors Richard Gilder of New York and his family, as well as his friends, Dan and Lou Jordan of Virginia. Contact Becca Walton at rwalton@olemiss.edu if you have any questions about the lecture.

UM History Faculty Welcomes Alexandra Lindgren-Gibson

Posted on: August 25th, 2017 by atwitty

The Arch Dalrymple III Department of History is thrilled to announce that Alexandra Lindgren-Gibson has joined our faculty as an Assistant Professor specializing in modern Britain.

Professor Lindgren-Gibson received her BA from Lawrence University, her MA in History with a specialization in Public History from Arizona State University, and her PhD from Northwestern University. Her research interests are located at the intersection of histories of the British colonial world, class formation, family history, and the histories of race, gender, and sexuality.

Her book project, Working-Class Raj: Making a British Imperial Nonelite, rethinks the history of British class formation through an imperial lens by bringing together two major themes in British history: class and empire. Drawing on the writings and records of British nonelites, Working-Class Raj sheds light on the entangled experiences of class, race, and private life in Victorian India and Britain.

Professor Lindgren-Gibson’s work has been published in the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History and supported by the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture, and Society, and Northwestern University’s Chabraja Center for Historical Research.

Professor Lindgren-Gibson has previously taught courses on the history of modern Europe, the British Empire, gender and sexuality in Victorian Britain and in empire, and the history of shopping. This fall she is teaching HST 121: Intro to European History since 1648 and HST 339: British Empire and Commonwealth.

Susan Gaunt Stearns Joins the UM History Faculty

Posted on: August 23rd, 2017 by atwitty

The Arch Dalrymple III Department of History is delighted to welcome Susan Gaunt Stearns to Oxford. Professor Stearns was hired as an Assistant Professor of History with a focus on Revolutionary America in the Spring of 2016 and joins us this fall after completing her term as a Jack Miller Center Postdoctoral Teaching and Research Scholar at Northwestern University.

Professor Stearns holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, a Master’s in Teaching from the University of Louisville, and a doctorate from the University of Chicago. Her work focuses on how various areas of economic activity, particularly land purchases and land speculation, influenced the ideologies and politics that shaped the nation in its first few decades of the early Republic.

In particular, Professor Stearns examines how the trans-Appalachian west — the region encompassing the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys, came to be incorporated into the American union in the 1780s and 1790s. Drawing on research conducted in ten states and on two continents, she argues that it was the development of trade connections that helped to develop a shared conception of national interests that united the trans-Appalachian west to the rest of the union. Her works focuses in particular on the period from 1784 until 1803 when Spain (and later France) the Gulf South and large parts of the Mississippi River — the primary trading outlet available to migrating western settlers. When Spain closed the Mississippi to American trade, it touched off an economic crisis in the trans-Appalachian west that forced an explicit evaluation the region’s relationship with the rest of the union.

During the fall semester, Professor Stearns is teaching two undergraduate courses, an honors section of HST 130: Intro to US History to 1877 and HST 401: Colonial America, 1607-1763.

Graduate Student Receives NEH Summer Award

Posted on: June 23rd, 2017 by krsims

A doctoral student in history at the University of Mississippi is among two graduate students nationally studying at a prestigious institute this summer in Washington, D.C.

Justin I. Rogers of Hurdle Mills, North Carolina, is exploring how Presbyterian missionaries influenced Native Americans in the Mid-South. He is attending “On Native Grounds: Studies of Native American Histories and the Land,” a three-week institute funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and co-sponsored by the Community College Humanities Association and the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.

Twenty-two faculty, including the two graduate students, from across the nation and from diverse humanities disciplines are working to enhance their teaching and research through the residency at the Library of Congress.

“I felt honored to be selected as one of two graduate students from across the nation and across humanities disciplines for this institute, and I was eager to take full advantage of the opportunities it presented to me,” Rogers said. “The most personally and professionally rewarding aspect of the summer institute has been daily seminars in the historic Library of Congress spent discussing Native American history and studies scholarship with peers and visiting faculty from across the humanities and social sciences.”

Ten visiting scholars in the field of Native American ethnohistory are sharing their groundbreaking research concerning Native American issues of land, sovereignty, culture and identity. Summer fellows have access to all collections.

Rogers’ research analyzes Presbyterian missions to Chickasaw Indians in northern Mississippi, southwestern Tennessee and northwestern Alabama. He also examines how elite Chickasaws and Euro-Americans helped to encode racial distinctions into court precedent and Mississippi law that reinforced associations of blackness with enslavement and whiteness with property holding during the 1820s and 1830s.

“Through the seminar discussions, I have been reminded about the importance of studying Native Americans, African-Americans, white Americans and race in the South, which I plan to do in my dissertation,” he said.

The institute’s emphasis on in-person access to resources allows Rogers to augment his existing source base with first editions of travelers’ accounts, church records and mission reports, as well as artifacts and manuscripts that pertain to the Chickasaw people in 19th-century Mississippi. Rogers said his seminar experience will both advance his scholarship and improve his classroom teaching.

Rogers, who earned his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from North Carolina State University, said that the courses he has taught at Ole Miss, as well as those he has developed for the future, focus on indigenous people’s experiences and perspectives and how they transform wider narratives of United States history.

One new course Rogers has developed will contextualize the historical experiences of Native Americans alongside changing notions of race, nation, culture and religion.

“I tend to emphasize the local histories of the Native American groups who inhabited and once inhabited Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee,” he said. “The institute’s kaleidoscopic regional range, however, will allow me to more fully incorporate issues of land, sovereignty, culture and identity in the Great Lakes, the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest.”

UM administrators and faculty said Rogers’ selection for the summer institute is well-deserved.

“A ferocious work ethic combined with a fantastic topic and elegant writing paved the way for Justin’s success in applying for prestigious research fellowships at the national level,” said Elizabeth Payne, UM professor of history. “In addition, he organized a panel session at the Southern Historical Association and presented a paper at the Society for Historians of Early American History about his research.

“Because of his work with these organizations, historians across the country know about and appreciate his work on north Mississippi as a tri-racial society.”

For more information about UM’s Department of History, visit http://history.olemiss.edu/. For more information about the NEH Summer Seminar Program, go to http://nativegrounds2017.com/.