Pundits like to toss around the word “historic” when referring to presidential elections, and the last election in particular stirred up a lot of talk about historical parallels. But if you’re in the Knoxville area and you’d like to hear some actual historians weigh in, the University of Tennessee is hosting an Inauguration Eve symposium that might be of interest. On Thursday, Jan. 19 these folks from UT’s Department of History will discuss the significance of the 2016 election, provide some historical perspective, and use the past to shed light on its implications:
- Joshua Hodge, doctoral student specializing in nineteenth-century land use in the South
- Bob Hutton, senior lecturer and authority on Appalachia
- Max Matherne, doctoral student specializing in Jacksonian political thought
- Brad Nichols, lecturer and specialist in Nazism and genocide
- Tore Olsson, assistant professor and expert on the history of food, agriculture, the environment, and politics in the U.S. and Latin America
- Julie Reed, assistant professor and authority on Cherokee social policy and education
This event will be in the Lindsay Young Auditorium of Hodges Library, 5:00-6:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public. (And the panelists are some of my favorite people!)
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!
The always-readable Jack Neely unravels the long, often ironic history of Tennessee’s presidential voting patterns. This state hasn’t always been red, although here in the eastern section Republicans have always been popular. Check it out.