This spring Jimmy Carter Professor of History and Department Chair Joseph Crespino is teaching a 385 course titled “Right-Wing America.” HowStuffWorks contributing writer John Donovan recently featured Crespino’s course in the article “Bridging the Chasm: Emory Class Delves Into America’s Right-wing History.” HowStuffWorks editorial board describes the website as a “source for unbiased, reliable, easy-to-understand answers and explanations of how the world actually works.” Read the full article here and check out Donovan’s observations from the first day of the spring course below.
“‘Donald Trump really defied what we thought we knew about American politics,’ Crespino tells his class that first day. ‘Trump’s election not only kind of upended what we thought were these iron laws of American politics’ — mainly, that candidates have to run toward the center to get elected — ‘but it also makes the American past look a lot different, you know? Things that we used to take for granted as kind of hiccups along the way all of a sudden look more important. And they look more ominous. And we begin to see that they weren’t just hiccups, but they’re kind of a recurring pattern.’
That pattern is what interests scholars. It’s what Crespino hopes his students will grasp, too; that the ideas and beliefs that drive right-wing America today didn’t begin with Trump. And they won’t disappear when he does, either.”
A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education featured Cahoon Family Professor of American History Patrick Allitt. The piece, “The Best and Worst Part of Being a Professor: Students” (by Audrey Williams June), surveys how professors view teaching responsibilities and interactions with students. Allitt is quoted as saying that “Teaching is really the best part of my job” – a sentiment that seems representative of broad satisfaction among professors with the teaching element of the job. Allitt is the author of I’m the Teacher, You’re the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).
Read the full article here and see the brief excerpt below.
When students fall short of his expectations, Allitt says, his teaching experience gives him the perspective he needs to deal with it. Two things haven’t changed, he says, since he started teaching as a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley. There will always be students who won’t do the reading. To deal with that, Allitt calls on every student in class during discussions. And most students don’t write as well as he would like. (He blames schools that rely on multiple-choice exams much more than did the schools in his native England, where he wrote in school every day.)
The Emory History Department welcomes updates from alumni. Below, 2017 graduate Andrew Shifren describes his recent arrival in Indonesia on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.
I’ve now spent about a week in my placement, Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, where I will be living for the next 10 months. So far Indonesia has defied many of my expectations. It is isolating, but also incredibly eye-opening and motivates me to learn the language (Bahasa Indonesia) like nothing else could. My town is the launching point for tours of the Komodo Islands and the surrounding coral reefs. In my free time I hope to snorkel and dive. The politics and history of Komodo National Park is fascinating and something I hope to learn more about. The teaching is going to be difficult, but I am looking forward to it. I teach eight 35-person classrooms per week with very little organizational help from the school. Most of the students hope to secure the well-paying tourism jobs that are popping up as hotels are built in the town and more and more tourist come to tour the Komodos; English is really the key to their futures.
Congratulations to Yanna Yannakakis and Dawn Peterson for winning Emory Women of Excellence Awards. Yannakakis is Associate Professor of History, Director of Graduate Studies, and 2018-2021 Winship Distinguished Research Professorship in History. She was recognized with the Berky Dolores Abreu Spirit Award. Peterson, Assistant Professor of History, won the Award for Excellence in Pedagogy. Read more about these distinguished honors below.
Berky Dolores Abreu Spirit Award
This award recognizes a woman in the greater Emory community whose presence has fostered the personal and academic growth of students, faculty, staff people, and/or departments. During her 13 years at Emory, Berky Abreu touched the lives of countless individuals. Highly involved in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and College Staff communities, Berky served as the Academic Department Administrator for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She also served on the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, the Center for Women at Emory Advisory Board, and the College Staff Consortium, including a term as Chair of the College Staff Consortium. Berky’s extensive contributions to the Emory community were recognized by awards including Emory University’s Award of Distinction and the Unsung Heroine award, and she was recognized as the Emory College Staff Consortium Employee of the Year. What was truly remarkable about Berky, however, was not only the extent and depth of her commitment and service to the Emory community, but the warmth she brought to the lives of everyone with whom she came into contact, her unparalleled joie de vivre, and her unique ability to lift up each and every person who came into her office. She made everyone she met feel special, and lit up every room she entered with her contagious humor and zest for life. Berky’s boundless kindness and concern for others and her ability to show us the goodness of people and life even in the most challenging of situations continue to be an inspiration for all of us.
Award for Excellence in Pedagogy
The Award for Excellence in Teaching and Pedagogy recognizes any teacher (lecturer, professor, graduate student, or teaching assistant) at Emory whose teaching methods, syllabi, and/or course design addresses women’s issues or matters of feminist importance with innovation and success. The award honors a teacher whose record demonstrates a willingness to bring gender issues into the classroom in creative and inspiring ways.
Congratulations to Dr. Yanna Yannakakis and Dr. Thomas D. Rogers for receiving named chair professorships. Associate Professor of History and a specialist in colonial Mexico, Yannakakis received the Winship Distinguished Research Professorship in History for the 2018-2021 term. Rogers is Associate Professor of Modern Latin American History and will serve as the NEH/Arthur Blank Distinguished Teaching Professor for the same period. Read more about these named chairs below, and view others available to Emory Faculty here.
The Winship Distinguished Research Award is given to tenured faculty who demonstrate singular accomplishments in research. Such recognition should honor achievement and further scholarly research and research-based teaching. Awarded for a three-year term.
The Arthur Blank/NEH Chair in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences is given to tenured faculty in the humanities and/or humanistic social sciences with a record of exemplary teaching and a commitment to pedagogical rigor and innovation. Appointees are expected to organize programming designed to enhance pedagogy and curricular development in the College, and continue teaching in her/his department(s), including at least one introductory level course each year. One leadership function of the NEH professors will be to serve on a newly formed advisory committee on Pedagogy and Curriculum. Awarded for a three-year term.
The Emory News Center recently highlighted the Spring 2018 History Department course “A History of Hunger” as innovative. The course is designed and taught by History faculty member Tom Rogers. Rogers is Associate Professor of Modern Latin American History and is currently working a book project titled Agriculture’s Energy: Development and Hunger During Brazil’s Ethanol Boom. “A History of Hunger” was one of 16 “cool” courses identified by the News Center and offered at undergraduate and/or graduate levels this Spring. Read more about this course and the other compelling offerings here.
Students in Dr. Joseph Crespino‘s fall 2017 class, “History 385: Right-Wing America,” produced short documentary films that were screened on November 29 at the “Documenting the Right” Student Film Festival. Students took advantage of Emory’s rich library holdings in crafting videos whose themes ranged from racism in the career of George Wallace to Atlanta’s motto as the “city too busy to hate.” Read more about the project on the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship Blog: “Emory history class uses digital storytelling to study political movements.”