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2013-2014 Annual Newsletter of the Center for Georgia Studies and The Department of History and Geography, Georgia College

History major receives international scholarship

History major Luke Manders recently received the competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to support his upcoming study abroad experience in Cuzco, Peru.

Manders is one of 800 American undergraduate students from 356 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious scholarship to study or intern abroad during the spring 2015 academic term. 

Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go.  Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply. Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies – making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector. 

2013-2014 Department Newsletter

Dear alumni, colleagues and friends of the Department of History and Geography,

Greetings! It has been another exciting and productive year in the department. As you will see our faculty and students studied and spanned the globe in their successful pursuit of academic excellence.

Dr. Risch has been engaged with on-the-ground analyses of the dramatic events unfolding in Ukraine, and he served as an election observer for the recent elections. You may have heard some of his many interviews with various radio programs including the BBC.

Dr. Pascoe continues to delight students both intellectually and gastronomically with his fascinating course on Southern Foodways and his thriving summer study abroad program to Italy.

Dr. Samanta conducted research in India on health, animals and disease in the colonial period, and she will present a paper at the National University in Singapore this summer.

Dr. Auerbach’s scholarship includes work on the French Bordelais planters’ influence on the Haitian revolution, and he and colleague, Dr. Elisa Auerbach, have been awarded a grant to plan a study-abroad opportunity for students to Amsterdam and Paris.

In addition to presenting a paper on Moorish Science and African American connections with Morocco at a conference in Marrakech, Morocco, Dr. Huddle will be conducting a study-abroad trip to Madrid this year.

Dr. Wilson prepared for his long-awaited research trip to Ireland.

The world also came to Georgia College this year as Dr. Oetter and Dr. Fahrer once again did an outstanding job hosting the National Geographic Regional Geography Bee competition, and Dr. Sumpter hosted an invited speaker from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We were also delighted to welcome two new outstanding colleagues to the department. Dr. Lauren Acker made the great trek all the way from California brining her expertise in the politics of late 19th century Savannah, Ga., to join us as lecturer in U.S. history, and Dr. Opperman brought her wealth of knowledge about the history of Mexico and Latin America to join us as an assistant professor.

Among the many accomplishments of our students, we were delighted to celebrate Mr. Andrew Gutkowski’s having earned admission and scholarship to pursue his doctoral studies at the University of South Carolina, and Mr. Mario Tumen’s receiving the prestigious Prentice Scholarship to conduct research in Peru. For more on our graduate students’ endeavors, please see below.

2013-14 Event Collaborations

Thanks to Dr. Stephanie Opperman, co-coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program, the Department of History and Geography was able to collaborate with other departments to bring Atlanta-based Andean musical group, "Vientos del Pueblo," to perform at Georgia College.

In March of 2014, the History and Geography Department (in coordination with the Honors Program, the American Democracy Project and the Philosophy and Liberal Studies department) hosted bio-ethicist, theologian and refugee Crispin Ilombe from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He spoke on HIV/AIDS prevention, the political conflict in the Congo and the process of gaining asylum in the United States. Dr. Sumpter coordinated this prestigious event.

Center for Georgia Studies
The Center complements the mission of Georgia College - to "promote critical reflection and the advancement of knowledge" through the study of the natural and human environments, history, economics, literature, art, music and folk traditions-providing Georgians and non-Georgians with "the whole story" about the state, its diverse cultural heritage, and its involvement in regional, national and global issues. This year The Center for Georgia Studies hosted two events.

Dr. Ferguson Gives Talk on Jim Crow South
Dr. Robert Ferguson, Assistant Professor at Western Carolina University, came to campus as a guest of The Center for Georgia Studies on April 17 to give a talk entitled “Remaking the Jim Crow South: Race, Religion, and Socialism at Delta and Providence Farms.” Rooted in research conducted for his dissertation of the same title at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Dr. Ferguson spoke on the rise, relative success and ultimate decline of two integrated cooperative communities in Mississippi during the 1930s and 1940s. As the Great Depression wreaked havoc on the American economy in the early 1930s, hundreds of poor white families and black sharecropping families were left homeless and starving. In an attempt to help house these families and provide them with communal infrastructure, Mississippi individuals like H.L. Mitchell with the Southern Tenant Farmer’s Union, socialist William Amberson, manager Sam Franklin and missionary Sherwood Eddy pulled together resources to open Delta Farm in Boliver County in 1936 and Providence Farm in Holmes County in 1939. Set up like self-sufficient communities, these farms provided housing, education, medical care and banking to poor white and black families of the area. While cooperative farms were commonplace all over the nation during this time, these farms are one of only a handful that were integrated and attempted to create some level of racial and economic equality. Volunteers applied from across the state to work at the farms, many of them with interest in socialism or missionary work. Plagued with poor harvest, a tense political climate, the down-fall of sharecropping in the face of agricultural mechanization and racial tension, the farms closed in 1956 and pieces of the land were sold off. However, the farms remain significant due to their ability to illuminate the social, economic and political tensions of the time period.

Dr. Ambrose Gives Talk on New Tubman Museum
Dr. Andy Ambrose gave a talk at the Sally Ellis Davis House on April 30 about the ongoing construction underway for the new Tubman African American Museum in Macon. Open since 1981, the Tubman Museum is the largest museum in the Southeast dedicated to African American art, history and culture. The museum displays contemporary, folk and West African art, as well as housing exhibitions on African American history and, more recently, since the closing of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, exhibitions on music.  Construction is currently underway to build a new museum almost eight times the size of the original building in downtown Macon, and Dr. Ambrose projected that the new building will be open to visitors in May 2015. Outside of the museum walls, the Tubman Museum organization helps to sponsor local cultural and art events, such as the Pan-African Festival, the International Taste of Soul and their annual fundraiser titled “All that Jazz.” They also send out traveling exhibits to classrooms and other cultural centers, as well as pairing with college students from Middle Georgia State College to do outreach with at-risk students in Bibb County. The museum’s focus on local history, art and culture are a vital resource of the region and especially our students. We hope the enriching collaborations with Dr. Ambrose, the Tubman Museum and the community will continue to be a part of our department and The Center for Georgia Studies in the future.

The History and Geography Department would like to thank The Center for Georgia Studies, Dr. Huddle and Dr. Shelden, for making Dr. Ferguson's and Dr. Ambrose’s visits possible.

For a PDF version of this newsletter:

2013-2014 Department Newsletter

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