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.


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