A few updates from the History Department

22 Nov

A few updates here from the History Department about study abroad for spring and summer 2016 and a new B.S. degree in history.

New Bachelor of Science degree offered in History
The History Department has implemented a new BS degree and a BS degree with licensure beginning Fall 2015. The BS degree requires two minors and there is no foreign language requirement. The BS degree with licensure requires one minor in addition to the Secondary Education minor, with the possibility of adding a third endorsement. Talk to your faculty advisors if you want more information. Or you can contact the Undergraduate Director Dr. Yüan-ling Chao at ychao@mtsu.edu.

The MTSU history department has several study abroad options for spring and summer 2016. Listed below are undergraduate and graduate courses and contact information for each. 

MTSU in Scotland: International Historic Preservation, June 28-July 19
Experience three weeks in Glasgow and Edinburgh while learning about the preservation and interpretation of Scotland’s history and culture through its famous city centers, museums, artifacts, landscapes, and historic sites. Meet preservation professionals and learn about their practices in a British context. Gain a new perspective on your life and future career in two of Europe’s most vibrant cities.
Email Dr. Graham at Stacey.Graham@mtsu.edu

Native American History in the UK & Ireland, May 28-June 19
Come spend three weeks exploring the transnational history of Native North Americans in London, Belfast, and Dublin. Students will immerse themselves in the experience of being foreign visitors as they consider how unfamiliar people have encountered, interpreted, and misinterpreted Native Americans in the UK and Ireland since the sixteenth century.
Email Dr. Riley Sousa at Ashley.RiseySousa@mtsu.edu

Ireland 1916/2016, June 7-19
Join this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet academics and public historians involved in the centenary commemorations of the Irish Easter Rising of 1916, a seminal event in the history of Irish nationhood. Students will visit historical sites, archives, and museums in Dublin, Belfast, and Galway, meet the people who direct and interpret these sites, and attend an academic conference on the global context of Ireland’s 1916.
Email Dr. Doyle at Mark.Doyle@mtsu.edu

Public Memory and the Vietnam War, May 13-27
By traveling to Vietnam on this customized tour, our students will study history “on the ground” where it happened, as well as evaluating the historical literature, popular culture (including fiction, music, and film), and the cultural approaches to warfare.
Email Dr. Derek Frisby at Derek.Frisby@mtsu.edu

Cultural Ecology, March 4-13 (Spring Break)
Historically and spatially examine the symbolic relationship between the people and their natural environment in what the UN says is the “happiest” country in the world. From the volcanic mountains of north central Costa Rica to the beaches of the Pacific you will explore it all.
Email Dr. Doug Heffington at Doug.Heffington@mtsu.edu

24th Annual Tennessee Undergraduate Social Science Symposium

26 Oct

Wednesday October 28 and Thursday October 29, the 24th Annual Tennessee Undergraduate Social Science Symposium will be held on the MTSU campus in the James Union Building.


This years theme is “Voting Rights 1965-2015: Commemorating 50 Years”

Paper sessions will be held on both Wednesday and Thursday. For the conference schedule go to http://www.mtsu.edu/soc/socsymp/docs/2015_USSS_Program.pdf

This years Keynote Speaker will be Dr. Bernard Lafayette and he will be speaking on Thursday October 29 from 1:00- 2:20 in the James Union Building


Bernard LaFayette, Jr. has been a Civil Rights Movement activist, minister, educator, lecturer, and is an authority on the strategy on nonviolent social change. He co- founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. He was a leader of the Nashville Movement, 1960, and the Freedom Rides, 1961 and the 1965 Selma Movement.

He directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962, and he was appointed National Program Administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and National Coordinator of the 1968 Poor Peoples’ Campaign by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. LaFayette has served as Director of Peace and Justice in Latin America; Chairperson of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development; Director of the PUSH Excel Institute; and minister of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Tuskegee, Alabama.

An ordained minister, Dr. LaFayette earned the B.A. from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Ed.M. and Ed.D. from Harvard University. He served on the faculties of Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta and Alabama State University in Montgomery, where he was Dean of the Graduate School. He was principal of Tuskegee Institute High School in Tuskegee, Alabama and a teaching fellow at Harvard University.

His publications include the Curriculum and Training Manual for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Nonviolent Community Leadership Training Program, his doctoral thesis, Pedagogy for Peace and Nonviolence, and Campus Ministries and Social Change in the ’6o’s (Duke Divinity Review) and The Leaders Manual: A Structured Guide and Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence with David Jehnsen. Bernard LaFayette has traveled extensively to many countries as a lecturer and consultant on peace and nonviolence.

Dr. LaFayette is a former President of the American Baptist College of ABT Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee; Scholar in Residence at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia; and Pastor emeritus of the Progressive Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He was founder and director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island from 1998 until 2006.

Since 2006, he has held the position of Distinguished Senior Scholar in Residence at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He is chairman of the Board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) – founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is married to the former Kate Bulls and is the father of two sons.

He is the National Civil Rights Museum’s National Freedom Award recipient for 2012. The following statement was made when the award was presented: “He never stopped believing in the future even when he was arrested with other riders in Jackson, Mississippi and jailed in Parchman State Prison Farm in 1961.”

He is the author of the newly published “In Peace and Freedom: My Journey in Selma”. Congressman John Lewis, in his foreword to the book, states, “A powerful history of struggle, commitment, and hope. No one, but no one, who lived through the creation and development of the movement for voting rights in Selma is better prepared to tell this story than Bernard LaFayette himself.”

Gerhard Weinberg will be speaking at the Holocaust Studies Conference on the MTSU campus!

19 Oct


Gerhard Weinberg, MTSU’s first Strickland Scholar, earned his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1951 and taught at a number of universities including the University of Kentucky, the Air Force Academy and most significantly the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill from which he retired in 1999. He is the preeminent scholar of World War II. In a time when scholarship is becoming more and more specialized and narrow, he takes on the entire globe. He has won the George Beer prize of the American Historical Association twice, once for A World At Arms: A Global History of World War II and once for his two-volume study of Hitler’s Foreign policy. In December 2004 the History Channel announced that its second highest special for that year was “Hitler’s Lost Plan,” a documentary about Gerhard Weinberg’s discovery of Adolf Hitler’s sequel to Mein Kampf in the archives. In 2009 he was chosen to receive the prestigious Pritzger prize for military history along with a check for $100,000. In addition he has won the Halverson prize of the German Studies Association, awards from the Society for Military History, the Hoover Book Award and the coveted Samuel Eliot Morrison award for Military History from the Society for Military History. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from universities in the U.S. and Europe and was appointed Research Analyst for the War Documentation Project. He has served as President of a number of professional organizations, including the German Studies Association and the European Section of the Southern Historical Association, has won a number of distinguished fellowships and served as the Shapiro Senior Scholar in Residence at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

On October 22nd Gerhard L. Weinberg will present an innovative approach to Holocaust scholarship in a plenary session titled “The Holocaust After 70 Years”. In addition, Professor Gerhard Weinberg has agreed to present a second public lecture titled “World War II: An Entirely Different War.” at Adams Place on Tuesday, October 20th at 4:00 pm. It also is free and open to the general public. Adams Place is located at 1927 Memorial Blvd., Murfreesboro, TN. A selection of Professor Weinberg’s books will also be available for purchase in the Phillips bookstore and he will be able to sign them after his lectures.


Visions of Victory: The Hopes of Eight World War II Leaders (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Hitler’s Foreign Policy 19331939: The Road to World War II (New York: Enigma Books, 2005)

A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994)

World in the Balance (Hanover: Brandeis University Press, 1981)

Strickland Scholar Dr. Alan Taylor will be at MTSU on Monday October 19!

16 Oct

Strickland Lecture Series Event

Race & Violence in the American Revolution

An evening with Pulitzer Prize-winning author

Dr. Alan Taylor 

Thomas Jefferson Chair in American History, University of Virginia 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Lecture 7:00 pm

State Farm Room in the Business & Aerospace Building

Reception & Refreshments at 6:00 pm 

Book signing to follow lecture


Alan Taylor graduated from Colby College in 1977. After serving as a researcher for historic preservation in the United States Virgin Islands, he received his Ph.d in American History from Brandeis University in 1986.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Early American History and Culture, he taught in the history department at Boston University from 1987 to 1994.  Beginning in 1994, he was a professor at the University of California at Davis. In August 2014, he began his position as the Thomas Jefferson Chair in American History at the University of Virginia. He is also active in California State Social Science and History Project.  This project provides curriculum support for K-12 teachers in history and social studies.  In 2002 he won the University of California at Davis Award for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement and the Phi Beta Kappa, Northern California Association, Teaching Excellence Award.


Liberty Men and Great Proprietors: The Revolutionary Settlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760-1820 (1990)

 William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early Republic, (1995)

 American Colonies (2001)

 Writing Early American History (2005)

 The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution (2006)

 The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies (2010)

 The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia (2013)

Note: The information provided above came from Dr. Taylor’s faculty page. Further information can be found at http://history.virginia.edu/user/400

The 12th biennial MTSU multi-disciplinary International Holocaust Studies Conference, Oct. 21-23!

15 Oct

The 12th biennial MTSU multi-disciplinary International Holocaust Studies Conference will convene in the JUB October 21-23, 2015. Scholars from five of the six inhabited continents will journey to MTSU to deliver papers and presentations on a wide variety of Genocide and Holocaust topics that are pertinent to almost all MTSU disciplines and programs. Paper sessions include such diverse topics as Alabama and the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, Jewish and gentile protest humor, genocide in Argentina and Ukraine, Sports heroes as rescuers, Eastern Europe in the Holocaust, Women and gender in the camps, literary and film studies, Euthanasia and others. In addition, special programming for teachers and education students will be presented on October 20th in the Education building.

The entire conference is free and open to all MTSU students, faculty and staff. In addition, all featured Conference sessions are free and open to the general public. The link below to the Holocaust Studies Program website provides a complete conference schedule of all conference presentation.


Three prominent scholars have been invited as featured speakers for the conference. All three featured plenary sessions will include questions from and conversations with the audience.

Because 2015 is the centenary of the Armenian genocide, on October 21st Richard Hovannisian, a nationally recognized authority on Armenia, will offer a featured retrospective lecture called “The Armenian Genocide on its Centennial: What Have We Learned?”

On October 22nd Gerhard L. Weinberg, an internationally acclaimed scholar for his global history of World War II as well as his work in foreign policy and Holocaust Studies, will present an innovative approach to Holocaust scholarship in a plenary session titled “The Holocaust After 70 Years”. In addition, Professor Gerhard Weinberg has agreed to present a second public lecture titled “World War II: An Entirely Different War.” at Adams Place on Tuesday, October 20th at 4:00 pm. It also is free and open to the general public. Adams Place is located at 1927 Memorial Blvd., Murfreesboro, TN.

On October 23rd, MTSU will feature a evocative performance of Holocaust verse by renowned poet Jacquline Osherow who will read from her Holocaust poetry in a session titled   “Orders of Infinity: Poems of the Holocaust.”

Another featured conference session will focus on the experiences of Frances Cutler Hahn, a child Holocaust survivor in France and Guy Fortney who was a witness to the liberation of the Ohrdruf concentration camp, part of the Buchenwald camp complex. It was the first of the camps to be liberated by American troops. Both Fortney and Hahn will include visual evidence in the form of slides to illustrate their presentations. A featured panel on survivor literature immediately before the Hahn/Fortney session will include another survivor presentation by Sonja DuBois, a hidden child in the Netherlands during the Holocaust. In addition, there will be a featured panel discussion on the Armenian genocide that will include Hovannisian and two distinguished genocide scholars.

All featured conference presentations are free and open to the general public as well as the MTSU community.

We hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to attend this important conference.

September with the History Department

3 Oct

Forrest Hall: 

“Memorials like this say that certain lives don’t matter.” – Dr. Pippa Holloway

The school year started off with great controversy surrounding Forrest Hall, named for CSA General Nathan Bedford Forrest. This summer students began campaigning to rename the building. The first week of school a public demonstration was held on campus and the faculty of the History Department, along with AGSH and MTSU’s chapter of SAA, have made public their support to change the name. A committee has been created to examine the issue and make a decision regarding the building’s name. The committee will be chaired by Dr. Derek Frisby, a member of the MTSU Veterans Memorial Committee. Below are some news articles and pieces written by mtsu history students concerning the issue of Forrest Hall.








Middle Tennessee State University president, Dr. Sidney McPhee, announces the formation of committee to determine the fate of Forrest Hall during the March to Change the Name of Forrest Hall on Aug. 27 (Sarah Taylor)

Constitution Day

This year constitution day was held on September 17, 2015. Like usual, students read allowed the constitution throughout campus but this year MTSU hosted a special panel on the Voting Rights Act at 50 featuring legendary civil rights activists the Rev. James Lawson and the Rev. C.T. Vivian. Students gathered to hear the panel and Aleia Brown, a doctoral history student, was the moderator.





American Association for State and Local History Conference

Several students and faculty attended and presented at the State and Local History Conference this September.

  • “Visitors Talk Back: Analyses of Talk-Back Boards @ Seminary Ridge Museum & Women’s Rights National Historical Park,” Josh Howard
  • “Transcending Time: Place and the Development of Community,” Lane Tilner and Caleb Knies

Association for the Study of African American Life and History Annual Meeting

Many MTSU history students and faculty presented at this year’s ASALH Conference

  • “Subjected to still greater punishment”: Testimonial Incapacity as a Collateral Consequence of Criminal Conviction in the 19th Century South – Dr. Pippa Holloway
  • Panel Session: Materials, Memory, Place: The Public History of the Black Freedom Struggle, Chair- Dr. Thomas Bynum, Commentator- Dr. Louis Woods
    • “War people, that is how we must be”: Quilting the Black Freedom Struggle – Aleia M Brown
    • In the Shadows of Freedom: Contextualizing 18th and 19th Century Charleston Slave Badges – Torren Gatson
    • Saving the world, Slaying Monsters and Adventures: How African American women are craving a space in science fiction and fantasy – Marquita Reed
    • We Were There: Examining Place, Race, and Memory in New Town – Tiffany Momon

Make sure to look out for a special post in October about the The 12th biennial MTSU multi-disciplinary International Holocaust Studies Conference!

This school year is coming to an end, but the history department isn’t slowing down!

1 May

This school year is coming to an end and its been a great year for this history department.

Here are some recent highlights!


Many of our graduate students had the opportunity to attend the National Council on Public History’s annual meeting and some of our students and professors even presented!!

Here are some photos from the 4 day conference held in Nashville:







Presenters include:

Poster Sessions:

“A United Neighborhood:” Exploring an African American Community and Century Home – Lindsay Hagar

Altering the Narrative: Giving Voice to Childhood on Jekyll Island – Caleb Knies and Olivia Tilner

Building a Cornerstone: Interpreting Place in the Development of Community – Kayla Elizabeth Pressley and Erica Bettross

Contesting Narratives: The African American Heritage Society of Maury County Tennessee – Jaryn Abdallah

Story, Space, and Place: Developing Interpretation of the Franklin Battlefield through Spatial Technology – Rachel Finch and Thomas Flagel


Making Space for Activists: Public History in the Age of Ferguson – Aleia Brown, Joshua Crutchfield, Ashley Bouknight

Public History in the Age of Anthropogenic Climate Change: Edging Towards a New Reality – Dr. Rebecca Conard

Triangulation: Joining Scholarship, Primary Sources, and Spatial Visualization to Map the African American Landscape of the Civil War – Dr. Susan Knowles, Zada Law, Ken Middleton, and Lydia Simpson

Grassroots Public History Activism: Adding the Names of Black Union Soldiers to the War Monument in an Old Southern Town – Dr. Martha Norkunas

Unbounded Partnerships: Community Based Preservation – Aleia Brown Brad Miller and Ginna Foster

Working Groups

Free, Separate, Uncertain: Can Public History Play? – Josh Howard

Public History as Digital History as Public History – Dr. Susan Knowles

After the Administrative History: What Next? – Angela Sirna

Teaching Public History through International Collaborations – Elizabeth Catte


Graduate student Erica Bettross won an Award of Commendation for Best Educational Programming at the 2015 Tennessee Association of Museums Conference

museum project web


CMS Exhibit: A Legacy of Learning

Dr. Martin’s Essentials of Museum Management class has partnered with Central Magnet School, located in Murfreesboro, to create an exhibit including all the school sites located on the campus. These educational sites include: Union University, The Tennessee College for Women, Linebaugh Library, Central High School, Central Middle School and currently Central Magnet School. Grad students have worked tirelessly all semester in preparation for the May 1st Exhibit Opening located at the Central Magnet School Campus (701 East Main Street, Murfreesboro, TN) from 5-8pm.

Here are some photos from the work they have been doing this semester:







Make sure to come out and support those who have worked on the exhibit at the opening on May 1!


Dr. Martin’s Class at the Exhibit Opening



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