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History & Anthropology

Research and Teaching Pedagogy Seminar Series

This seminar provides a forum for both full time and part time faculty in the Department of History and Anthropology to present their research in progress and teaching pedagogy to the campus community. The mission of this seminar is to foster awareness about the research interests among faculty within the department, improve communication about areas of teaching and scholarship, facilitate collegiality across disciplines, and encourage collaborative research opportunities. Presentations will take place once per-month from 1:15-2:15 pm on Wednesdays in HH 342 unless otherwise noted.

If you would like to present in the series, please email Prof. Hettie Williams.

Moderator: Prof. Hettie Williams

Fall 2019 Calendar


Presenter: Dr. Adam R. Heinrich, RPA
Title: “The Right Tools for the Job: Preliminary Thoughts on Native American Stone Tool Choices in New Jersey”
Wednesday, September 25, 1:15 pm to 2:15 pm HH 316
Synopsis: It has long been recognized that Native Americans utilized different parts of the landscape in different though relatively predictable ways. Archaeological sites representing these different uses have been identified as base camps, resource procurement camps, quarries, etc. These site identifications have generally relied upon the numbers and diversity of features, degrees of artifact quantities, and locations on the landscape. To add to the range of attributes, recent research suggests that Native Americans had intentional and long-held ideas about what tools were appropriate for certain site types across wide geographic areas.
Presenter: Dr. L. Benjamin Rolsky
Title: “In Defense of the Public: Religion, American Liberalism, and the Production of the Christian Right”
Wednesday, October 23, 1:15 pm to 2:15 pm HH 316
Synopsis: This talk first explores the recent history of American religious liberalism as illustrated through the career of television producer and writer Norman Lear. It argues that Lear’s actions and writings can be understood as representative of a “spiritual politics” as deployed and articulated by “the Religious Left” since the 1960s. At the same time, I contend that Lear contributed to a much longer tradition of “framing” religious conservatism as perpetually maturing and in need of liberal guidance in American public life. In this sense, Lear’s significance in the history of American religion is a complicated one, one that requires descriptive and theoretical attention to both “the Religious Left,” and perhaps more importantly, “the Christian Right.” The talk concludes by pursuing the question of how conservatives themselves understood such commentary, and how they, too, used various American constituencies to produce “the Christian Right” on behalf of a re-branded Republican party.

Presenter: Professor Matt O’Brien

Title and Date: TBA

Presenter: Dr. Monica R. Ward
Title: “Little Tallassee: Town or Sacred Space?”
Tuesday, December, 10, 2019, 1:15 pm to 2:15 pm HH 316
Synopsis: This talk discusses significance portions of my dissertation that I hope to convert to a book manuscript. My research aims to resituate the importance of the Upper Creek Indian town of Little Tallassee to the Native South by closely examining the town’s origins in the 1740s and 1750s to its decline in the late 1780s and 1790s. My study discuses how the majority of American Indian histories of the Native South have attached Little Tallassee’s identity to its most notable resident Alexander McGillivray, a mixed ancestry Creek and arguably one of the most prominent figures to emerge out of the American Southeast. Contrary to existing historiography, I contend that McGillivray identified and acted as a trader, and held very little political authority within Creek society. Instead, my study of the history of Little Tallassee reveals Emistisiguo to be the town’s first and only headman, to be the individual most responsible for Little Tallassee’s rise to prominence as an Upper Creek town during the mid-eighteenth century. In order to make this claim, I looked carefully at the relationships between people and places and the nature of Creek towns and communities. I also conducted biographical studies of the two individuals and placed their identities in dialogue with one another within historical context, utilizing methods of Ethnohistory in order to understand what culturally constitutes a Creek town.