Here are a couple of updates on what faculty from UT’s Department of History are doing.
Dr. Tore Olsson has a new book that will appeal to those of you interested in agrarian, twentieth-century, and transnational history. Agrarian Crossings: Reformers and the Remaking of the US and Mexican Countryside reveals how rural reform movements in two countries influenced and reinforced one another. Some of the ideas behind the New Deal were actually Mexican imports; in turn, New Deal programs like the TVA shaped Mexican development efforts. I got to take Dr. Olsson’s seminar on the United States and the world when I started my doctoral studies, and I can tell you that once you start looking at American history from his border-busting perspective, it’s a real eye-opener.
Dr. Dan Feller, editor of The Papers of Andrew Jackson, will lecture on the Indian Removal Act at the East Tennessee History Center at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 20. The Hermitage will also have a traveling exhibit on hand. The lecture is part of the East Tennessee Historical Society’s weekend-long History Fair, which is always well worth a visit.
We’re wrapping up another semester at UTK, and our history faculty (both current and emeritus) has been making headlines.
With all the brouhaha over the $20 bill, Jacksonian scholar Dan Feller has been in the news quite a bit lately (like here, for example). A few days ago he talked to NPR about the tumultuous presidential election of 1824 and how it helped make our modern party system.
Stephen Ash, author of a book about the bloody racial episode in Memphis in 1866, lent his expertise to another recent NPR story, this one about an effort to erect a state historical marker dedicated to the massacre and paid for by the local chapter of the NAACP. The Tennessee Historical Commission, which oversees the state markers program, approved text for the signage that referred to the massacre as a “race riot.” Historians and members of the community objected to the phrasing, so the NAACP decided to erect its own signage rather than go through the THC program. Personally, I much prefer the language on the NAACP’s private marker. In this case, I think the phrase “race riot” carries connotations that would obfuscate what happened in 1866, whereas “massacre” more accurately conveys the nature of the actual event.
Julie Reed, who taught one of my all-time favorite grad courses, has a new book out. She examines the Cherokee Nation’s social welfare efforts during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and their influence on U.S. government policy.
Finally, Shannen Dee Williams, whose seminar I had the privilege of taking this past semester, has been appointed to the Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lectureship Program.
We’ve got fantastic professors. I’m lucky to get to learn from these folks!