Archive | January, 2011

Your New Blogger

29 Jan

Matt Bailey

Greetings to all the MTSU History blog followers (we’re up from eight).  We want to grow the blog with regular posts, interviews, guest bloggers, video blogs, and more!  I’m the newest blogger to join the team.  It’s a good time to tell you all a bit about myself.

I’ve been a graduate student at MTSU for 2 and 1/2 years.  Currently, I’m working on my thesis, which examines the split between Primitive and Missionary Baptists in the early 19th century.  I use association and church records with federal census records from 1820 and 1830 to give me quantitative data about individuals on each side.  Next, that is compared and contrasted with circular letters, periodicals, and biographies from the time period.  As you can probably tell from my thesis topic, American religious history is my favorite subject in history.  I find all the social sciences interesting because of their “sheer complexity” (as Richard Herrnstein put it).  This is especially true of religious history, an area where people seem move from the “rational” to the “irrational.”  Explaining the rhymes and reasons behind this behavior is fun.

Along with my interest in American religious history, I have another interest.  I’m currently working on becoming highly qualified in special education.  I’ve taught a total of three years in public schools – one as a special education teacher and two as a social studies teacher.  Higher education is part of an important continuum with secondary and primary education.  Research should be able to filter smoothly from professors through their students at universities to children in a variety of settings (schools, museums, libraries, historic sites, archives, etc).  At the same time, it’s important for researchers to keep the “end game” of education in mind while they are doing their work.

There’s much more you’ll find out about me in the coming months.  I’m a Yankee/Southerner hybrid.  Some of my mothers family sadly does not realize the Civil War is over.  I’m not sure if parts of my Dad’s family realize the Revolutionary War is over.  But that’s all for now.


Tell your friends! Graduate Program Open House

26 Jan

On February 12, 2011 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., the department is hosting an open house for anyone interested in pursuing graduate study in history at MTSU. Download an invitation here: OPEN HOUSE INVITATION. RSVP is requested, but not required.

The History Day Interviews – Part 1

21 Jan

An Interview with Katie Rosta

Welcome to the first part of our History Day series.  History Day is on February 25th.  Faculty, graduate students, and volunteers all create an exciting day of learning for students throughout Middle Tennessee.  This year’s effort is led by Dr. McIntyre and three graduate assistants – Katie Rosta, Brigitte Eubank, and Brad Wright.

Our first interviewee is Katie Rosta.

MB: Hello Katie.  Thank you for joining me for the History Day Interviews.  Will you describe some of your work with History Day?

Katie: This is my second year as a graduate assistant working on History Day.  We help coordinate the Middle Tennessee competition.  We partner with Kelly Wilkerson the state coordinator to assist teachers with workshops, registration questions, topics for history, and even going out to the schools to help teachers.

MB: That sounds exciting!  How does History Day this year compare with last year.

Katie: This year’s theme is Debate and Diplomacy in History.  Last year’s theme was Innovation in History.  We are expecting another exciting day just like last year.

MB: Do you still need volunteers?

Katie: Yes.  We can always use volunteers.  There are a variety of categories to judge, including exhibits, documentaries, performance, websites, and papers.

MB: Do you have any other thoughts about History Day?

Katie: Working on History Day has been a wonderful opportunity for me.  I enjoy working with teachers and students.  It ties in with my career goals to work in museum education.

MB: So tell me a bit about yourself.  How far along are in the program?

Katie: I’m in my fifth semester with a museum studies concentration.  Right now I’m taking Material Culture with Dr. West and Research Methods with Dr. Holloway.

MB: Do you have any advice for new graduate students?

Katie: Have Kate Turabian’s book as a second pillow!

MB: Haha.  What are some of the skills that you have learned while in the program?

Katie: I’ve learned exhibit design and curriculum development in Dr. Martin’s classes.  Last semester in Dr. West’s class we gathered and compiled information about the Old City Cemetery in Franklin.  There’s so much I’ve gotten to do while here.

MB: Is there anything else you would like everyone to know?

Katie: I’ve enjoyed my graduate school experience.  For anyone that gets overwhelmed at times remember there is light at the end of the tunnel.

MB: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

Matt Bailey with the MTSU History Department