News from the History Department – February 2015

28 Feb

Even with the crazy weather conditions February was still a busy month for the History Department!!

Department Rivalry 

The Department had its annual Grad Student vs. Faculty Bowling Tournament! The history faculty claimed victory and redemption from last years loss.


MTSU coordinated several events for Black History month

History Day: Leadership and Legacy in History

Friday February 27th MTSU hosted the The Middle Tennessee District History Day Competition

Faculty and Students participated as volunteers and judges for the event.


AGSH Bake Sale



Saturday February 29th 9 of MTSU’s history graduate and undergraduate students presented at the 2015 Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference:


“Patently Revolutionary: How Starr Piano’s successful challenge of Victor Talking Machine Company’s Patent led to the Birth of the Modern Record Industry and the Recording of American Music” Charlie Dahan

“Der Fuhrer Speaks: The Rhetoric of hatred in Adolf Hitler’s Germany” Shaun York

“From Lincoln to King to Obama: The Reinvention of the Gettysburg Address” Kathryn Slover

“Politics of Piety and Duty in Classical Athens” Laura Darnell

“The Desperate Drive for Perfection: Changing Beauty Ideals of the 1920’s” Kelsey Lamkin

“E.T. Wickham: The Intersection of Family and Preservation” Brittany Wickham Walker

“Built for the Living: African American Funeral Homes across Tennessee, 1880’-1960’s” Brad Miller

“To Whatever End: German Involvement in the Holocaust” J. Ethan Holden

“Judenfrei: An Analysis of the Development of the Final Solution to the Jewish Question” Tyler Golden

Geography 4540 Class Trip to New Mexico

24 Nov

There were apparently some issues with the previous video so here is a new version of the Geography 4540 Class Trip to New Mexico!

The class is a 4540 Geography of Indigenous Peoples course taught by Dr. Doug Heffington. The trips was for eight days and seven nights. The class visited several Native American sites.

Which version of history should we be teaching?

3 Nov

The debate about U.S. History curriculum in public schools has been a hot debate in recent news, particularly the proposed changes to curriculum in Jefferson County, Colorado. According to the proposal “Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.” An article from the Huffington Post calls it an attempt to “erase significant chunks of our nations’ history.” What is the point of teaching history if you are going to exclude important pieces of America’s past? As I’m sure most historians, like myself, would agree it is absurd to teach an incomplete history to students, especially about their own country. Historians are not the only people in outrage. There have been teacher sit outs and even students have walked out of classes to protest. If the students are demanding an honest version of American history why shouldn’t we give it to them? If they are not able to learn about critical (and sometimes controversial) subjects in American history how can we expect them to learn to think critically about history. They will not only end up leaving high school ill prepared for what college history classes have to teach but they are being cheated out of a real education of America’s past.

We The People Constitution___Flag

If you are interested in further reading, here are a few articles on the controversy in Jefferson County.

The History Department is Back in Action!!!

17 Oct

Hello fellow history students! My name is Kathryn Slover and I am the History Department’s social media graduate assistant. I’m sure its apparent from our lack of posts that the department blog has been out of commission for a while. We are finally back in action! We will be sharing department news, interviews, movie reviews of our favorite “historically accurate” films, and will hopefully have some guest bloggers! We hope you all follow the blog and stay up to date on the latest history news.

If you are interested in posting an interview, being a guest blogger or have a topic suggestion please contact me at

History Students and Faculty Attend Phi Alpha Theta Conference

26 Feb

Dr. Mark Doyle chairing a session.

On February 22, students and faculty from the History Department attended the Phi Alpha Theta conference at Tennessee Technology University in Cookeville, Tn. 

Matthew Holder won third place for best undergraduate paper with his presentation “‘T’ is a nice art, as much intellectual as moral”: The Moral Imperative of Historical Study.”

Elaura Highfield won first place for best graduate student paper with her presentation “John Hope Franklin, African American Historical Scholarship, and African American History as Cultural Property.”

PhD students Liz Lambert, Dallas Hanbury, and Josh Howard.


Matthew Holder presenting his paper.


Elaura Highfield presenting her paper



History Department Scholarships

10 Feb

History Department Scholarships

Don’t forget to apply for History Department Scholarships! There are undergraduate and graduate scholarships, as well as departmental scholarships open to both. Follow the link to learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply. Submissions are due the last Wednesday in February.

Top Five Cultural Landscapes of Rome

9 Dec

Guest blogger Stacey Graham is a professor at Middle Tennessee State University, where she has been a staff member at the Center for Historic Preservation since 2007.  Dr. Graham is leading MTSU’s Study Abroad Class,  “Cultural Landscapes of the Roman World,” June 4-25, 2014. If you are interested in participating, Contact Dr. Graham

This blog entry was originally published at International Studies Abroad. Visit  ISA, for more information about their study abroad programs.Image

Rome, capital of the founding empire of the Western world, has witnessed almost three millennia of history.  The stories of Rome – from the days of the Roman Republic, to the establishment of the Catholic Church, to the city’s designation as a World Heritage Site – can be read in its cultural landscapes.

Cultural landscapes are landscapes that reveal cultural values through people’s interactions with their environment. Join us as we spend three weeks approaching Rome through its buildings, piazzas, neighborhoods, and more.  In this course, we will try to answer questions such as “How are the stories of the Roman past preserved, interpreted, and used in the present?” and “How does the modern city of Rome co-exist with the Rome of Julius Caesar or Michelangelo?”

Here are my top five cultural landscapes of Rome:

5. Piazza del Campidoglio – Built on the ancient Capitoline Hill and ringed by palaces, this public square combines 16th-century Baroque flair (the stunning travertine pavement design) with Roman imperial artifacts (the famous statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback).

4. Catacombs – Before the Christian Church was triumphant, it was an underground movement—literally, as is best seen in the various catacombs around the city, most dating to around the 2nd century.  Preserved within them are myriad burial chambers and some wonderful examples of early Christian art.

3.  Trastevere – The part of the city across the Tiber river (trans Tiberim), this diverse and distinct neighborhood has been occupied by Romans since the earliest days of the Republic in the 5th century B.C.  Today, it is popular among residents, students, and tourists for its charm and many restaurants.

2.  Vatican City – The seat of popes and the capitol of the Catholic world, Vatican City is a city within a city.  The sober and imposing columns of the Piazza San Pietro guide the visitor into the Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter’s), a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and one of the most important churches in the world.


1.  Roman Forum – From Arch of Severus in the west to the Colosseum in the east, a walk through the Roman forum provides an unparalleled education in the role of civic participation.  Mainly in ruins today, the forum still inspires republican pride and western nostalgia.

These fascinating places will be our classroom as we learn how to “read” ancient history in cultural landscapes and how people in the present use the past to form identity.  On top of some of the most famous historic sites of the western world (like Pompeii!), we will enjoy incredible food, authentic gelato, and a warm welcome from Rome’s people and climate.  Join us as we explore one of the world’s most glorious cities!



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