via Doctoral Bliss
This Friday, March 5, the Beta-Upsilon Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta will host its 5th Annual Red River Valley History Conference at the Memorial Union on the UND campus. Several student will present papers on a variety of topics. In addition, staff from our Dept. of Special Collections, as well as local archivists will present a panel on careers in public history. Finally, Dr. Robin Jensen will deliver the keynote address as part of the 2010 Robert Wilkins Lecture at 4:00PM entitled “Living Water: Rituals, Spaces, and Images of Early Christian Baptism”. Below is the schedule of panels:
Panel 1: (9:15-10:30)—Memorial Room
Race and Gender in 19th Century America
Chair: Daniel Sauerwein, UND
“No Country For End Men: A Re-Evaluation of American Small Ensemble Blackface Minstrelsy From 1843 to 1853.” By Dorothea Nelson, UND
“Independence in Cape Palmas: The Contentious Path for Autonomy in Maryland in Liberia” By Matthew Helm, UND
“Women and the American Civil War” By Chad Holter, UND
Panel 2: (9:15-10:30)—President’s Room
Controversy in American History
“What Are You Afraid Of? How Governments Have Reacted to Real (or unreal) Threats” By Mark Hermann, UND
“The Lost Environmentalists: The Struggle Between Conservative Christianity and the Environment in the 1970s” By Neall Pogue, NDSU
Panel 3 (10:45-12:00)—Alumni Room
Material Culture, New Media, and How They Shape History
“Grandma’s Cookie Jar” By Kathryn Nedegaard, UND
“French Heritage Tour 2009 – Directed by Dr. Virgil Benoit with IFMidwest” By Emilie VanDeventer, UND
“William Bligh or Jack Aubrey? Two Alternative Historical Views of Nelson’s Navy” By Jon Eclov, UND
Panel 4: (1:00-2:30)—Memorial Room
“Career Paths for History Majors: Opportunities in Museums and Archives”
Chair: Daniel Sauerwein, UND
Leah Byzewski, Director, Grand Forks County Historical Society
Curt Hanson, Head, Department of Special Collections, UND Library
Mark Peihl, Archivist, Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County
Michael Swanson, Assistant Archivist, Department of Special Collections, UND Library
Alison Voss, Head Curator/Director of Education, Bonanzaville
Panel 5: (1:00-2:30)—Alumni Room
Art and Faith in European History
Chair: Dr. Bill Caraher, UND
“Caught between the Old Man and the New: Women and the Body of the Soul in High Medieval Ghost Stories” By Christopher Gust, UND
“The Theology of Existential Salvation in the Interrogative Sayings of the Desert Fathers” By Paul A. Ferderer, UND
“A wild boar from the forest:” Martin Luther as a Model of Rebellion, 1520-1525” By Danielle Skjelver, UND
“The New Topographics: Emergence and Legacy” By Ryan Stander, UND
Panel 6: (1:00-2:30)—President’s Room
The Power of Persuasion in early 20th Century America
Chair: Dr. Kimberly Porter, UND
“Father Coughlin: A Historiography of the Radio Priest” By Emilie VanDeventer, UND
“Henry Ford’s Anti-Semitism and Influence on the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (Nazi Party)” By Paul Robinette, UND
In addition, conference participants have the option to partake of a lunch and there will be displays for various on and off-campus entities, including the Society for Military History, Elwyn B. Robinson Dept. of Special Collections, Civil War items by Stuart Lawrence, to name a few. I hope you will come out and join us if you are in the area.
For all of you who were unable to attend Michael Fronda’s lecture on Thursday, I have made a podcast of the lecture available. Click here to download the Fronda Lecture.
Three things really stand out about Fronda’s lecture:
1. Modern Models and Ancient Evidence. The model that he used to understand the expansion of the Early and Middle Roman Republic called for the identification of so-called “enduring rivalries” between states that Rome exploited to enforce her hegemony over the Italian peninsula. This model derived from international relations theory and had clear roots in the Cold War efforts to not only understand but also the justify the binary world of Soviet – US relations. Despite the very clear historical context for the model’s development, it suited the ancient evidence admirably. This was a remarkable example of how history draws upon the present to understand the past. While this may seem like an obvious observation, it will be an excellent point of departure for our undergraduate methods students who often struggle to understand how the present molds the past without slipping into a kind of simplistic presentism.
2. Text and Landscape. Mike’s talk on Thursday (as well as his less formal talk on Friday afternoon in the Department of History) emphasized the role of texts in revealing the political landscape of Italy. While Mike did not explicit use the word “landscape” in his talk and certainly did not employ the various models that scholars of the ancient landscape have recently come to favor, he nevertheless read the political topography of Italy in a way that linked very local relationships to regional (or even global) regimes of power. He gave several examples of how the Romans became involved in adjudicating very local territorial disputes and highlighted how the looming threat of Roman political and military power could exacerbated or even produced local rivalries. The projection of Roman power on the local level and typically mediated through local concerns is surely a topic which would reward post-colonial theorizing. More importantly, it showed how local landscapes could be shaped and “distorted” by the regional powers in ways that might not necessarily be apparent on the ground.
3. The crowd! As I noted on Friday, Mike’s lecture attracted over 70 people and it is clear that others turned away at the prospect of standing throughout. While we did what we could to promote the talk on campus, it was great to see folks in attendance who I would not have thought to be interested in Ancient Rome.
Enjoy the lecture and thanks to everyone who helped make the talk a success.
The big news this week is that Professor Michael Fronda of McGill University has agreed to come and present the inaugural Cyprus Research Fund lecture here at the University of North Dakota. The talk will be at 4 pm on September 17th in the Chester Fritz Library’s East Asia Room.
The title of his talk is “Anarchy, Rivalry and the beginnings of the Roman Empire”.
Here’s an abstract for it:
Professor Fronda’s paper will examine the growth of Roman power in the ancient world by focusing on how the city of Rome came to dominate the Italian Peninsula. Through an innovative use of contemporary international relations theory, Prof. Fronda argues that Rome capitalized on the tendency for ancient state relations to be anarchic, on the one hand, but in some way limited by enduring rivalries between particular states, on the other. Rome’s ability to exploit these fundamental characteristics of ancient, and perhaps all, states led ultimately to the city’s domination of Italy and provided important lessons for the city’s conquest of the Mediterranean world.
The talk is open to the public and a reception will follow.
Mike is my oldest friends in academia and it’s great that he’s agreed to come and present this talks. It’s also exciting that the talk is sponsored by the Cyprus Research Fund and will be the first in a series of annual talks which seek to introduce the Mediterranean world to University of North Dakota community. Mike is particularly suitable candidate for the inaugural lecture because he has not only spent time working with us on Cyprus, but because he returns each year to the Mediterranean as both a scholar and a teacher. For more information on the Cyprus Research Fund and, in particular, how to give to this fund, click here.
Support for the talk has also been provided by the Department of Political Science and Public Administration.
The Medieval and Post Medieval Mediterranean at the 2010 Archaeological Institute of American Annual Meeting
We got the good news last week that the panel put together by Kostis Kourelis and Sharon Gerstel for the 2010 AIA Annual Meeting in Anaheim has been accepted. The panel is titled First Out: Late Levels at Early Sites and will feature papers by Jack Davis, Kathleen Quinn, Anne McCabe, Adam Rabinowitz, Guy Sanders, and Tim Gregory and myself. Here’s a link to the abstracts and overview statement.
Tim Gregory and I plan to re-examine the data produced by the decades old Ohio Boeotia Project around the ancient city of Thisvi. This survey data was initially analyzed in a series of publications in the 1980s. Since that time, digital analysis tools have become considerably more powerful and there is a growing body of work in the region, particularly associated with the Cambridge Boeotia Project and its various spin-offs, that promises to add significance to any re-examination of the OBE results. Returning to excavation and survey results — so called legacy data — has taken on new importance in recent years as excavation permits have become more difficult to acquire, a vigorous ethical discourse has put pressure on project directors to make unpublished finds available, and the digital archaeology “movement” has improved our ability to make published and unpublished data alike visible and accessible to the professional public. A recent issue of the leading electronic journal in archaeology, Internet Archaeology, has dedicated an issue to the reanalysis of “legacy data” taking advantage of the intersection of digital distribution, new technologies, and the remarkable potential of the existing pool of archaeological data to inform contemporary research questions. We hope our paper frames not only some of the methods and procedures at stake in the re-examination of survey data, but also makes the argument that this kind of secondary analysis marks the coming of age of intensive pedestrian survey. It marks the potential of survey data to go beyond its applicability to narrowly defined research questions and to have the kind of enduring value that excavations have nurtured by long standing methods and carefully cultivated archival practices.
Proving that survey data is available for re-analysis is absolutely critical for its persistence as an archaeological methodology in the Mediterranean. And the recent transformation of post-Classical landscapes from spaces seen as stagnant and unchanging to dynamic “contingent” countrysides makes the study of the post-Classical world ideally suited as a test case.
If you haven’t look at the schedule or the participants or the history, here are the links. This year the theme is Wit and the featured authors include University of North Dakota alumnus Chuck Klosterman.
So if you are trapped in the Grand Forks area by weather or just happen to live here, go and check out a panel.
I’ve been thinking a good bit about the web site for our proposed Working Group in Digital and New Media. I can remember when it was pretty easy to set up a website — throw up some links, perhaps frames or a nice stable menu bar, add a photo or a bit of music (if you were flash-y).
Now things are different. First, the number of applications, add-on, languages, style sheets, and the like have proliferated. It’s hard to figure out exactly how to combine various forms of java, flash, shockwave, php, CSS, et c. to make an appealing and manageable interface. And we have to contend with multiple browsers.
It’s also hard to figure out what kind of devices the page will appear on. A page will look great on my 17 inch Macbook Pro, but not so good on my 9 inch Dell Mini and damn near illegible on my iPod touch or Samsung Omnia (running Opera Mobile). So, do we create multiple pages for multiple devices?
How often do we change our looks? Do we run the page as a blog with that allows up to update easily into a new theme to keep the page fresh. Do we strip the page down and run it as a wiki which could be changed collaboratively, impulsively, and tracked historically? Or do we combine multiple options to capture the dynamism of the web in it’s various facets?
Some other little hits:
- I like this and impressed with the interface that Tumblr provides. I am going on a little road trip and want to create a small blog to document my travels. Perhaps Tumblr is the solution?
- Here’s another in the growing list of Digital Humanities White Papers. It would be cool to produce an index of these.
- Keep an eye on the Grand Forks Herald’s flood headlines and keep the folks in Fargo-Moorhead in your thought and prayers.
- It sure would be fun to hear about the Corinthia Archaeology conference in Loutraki! Can anyone send along a copy of the program?
Have a good weekend and stay dry.
We heard this past week that the Modern Greek Studies Association accepted a panel coordinated by Kostis Kourelis and Effie Athanassopoulos under the auspices of the Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology in the Mediterranean Interest Group of the Archaeological Institute of America.
The panel is entitled “From Town to Country: The Archaeology of Modern Greek Landscapes” and here’s the description:
Since the birth of the nation-state, the identity of Modern Greece has been defined by its relationship to antiquity. The discipline of archaeology has, thus, played a central role in the construction of Greece, but only in so far as it concerns ancient periods (archaia). For Greece, the archaeology of the recent past is an etymological contradiction. Material culture dating to after 1850 is considered non-archaeological; it can be exported and traded freely. Archaeological studies on 19th- and 20th-century Greece are greatly lacking, leaving a huge disciplinary gap with Historical Archaeology, a discipline that flourishes in the United States.
This panel brings together recent work applying archaeological perspectives to the material culture of Modern Greece spanning a spectrum of ecological milieus from the metropolis, to the small town, the village, the monastery and the rural landscape. The theme that connects the individual papers is that of “landscape” approached through the lens of archaeology. Landscape as a concept refers to the external world mediated through subjective human experience. In archaeology, approaches to landscape have changed drastically over time, from economic and ecological perspectives of the 1960s to more recent post-modern views that focus on the social and symbolic construction of landscapes. In Greece, the field of landscape archaeology has grown out of the tradition of archaeological regional surveys, introduced by American scholars during the 1950s.
The individual papers offer diverse perspectives and examine a wide variety of landscapes in the 19th and 20th century. The settings range from the urban space of 19th century Athens to the town of Corinth, to rural space in the upland basins of Corinthia, to monastic space in Mount Menoikeion in northern Greece, and to landscape features such as Mt. Pentadaktylos in Cyprus. Each paper applies a different methodological tactic. Some revisit older historical records, others collect new data or re-conceptualize physical relationships. Collectively, they represent the richness of a growing field. Susan Buck Sutton, who pioneered the study of the Modern Greek countryside and single-handedly developed the discipline of ethno-archaeology, has agreed to serve as the panel’s respondent.
The panel is sponsored by the Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology in Greece Interest Group of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). The Group consists of AIA members with an interest in the archaeology of post-classical Greece, and in promoting its understanding through various programs and publications.
Here are the papers (for full abstracts):
“Athens in the 19th Century: Archaeological Landscapes and Competing Pasts”
Effie Athanassopoulos (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
“Ancient Corinth from the Ottoman Empire to the Archaeologists”
Amelia R. Brown (American School of Classical Studies at Athens)
“Between Sea and Mountain: The Archaeology of a 20th-Century “Small World” in he Upland Basins of the Southeastern Korinthia”
William R. Caraher (University of North Dakota)
David K. Pettegrew (Messiah College)
Timothy E. Gregory (Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia)
Lita Tzortzopoulou-Gregory (Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia)
“The Sacred Grip: Landscape, Art and Architecture in Mount Menoikeion (19th-20th Centuries)”
Nikolas Bakirtzis (The Cyprus Institute)
Kostis Kourelis (Connecticut College)
Matthew Milliner (Princeton University)
If you are in the Grand Forks area, I encourage you come to hear Prof. John Cox, the chair of the Department of History at North Dakota State speak on Socialism, Serbofilia, Sex, and Suicide: The Mad World of Slovene Literature and Politics around 1900. The talk will be in Gamble Hall 280, March 26, 2009, at 4:00 pm.
His talk will explore the changing landscape of Slovene politics and culture in the twilight years of the Habsburg Empire. In particular, he will focus on the ideas of Ivan Cankar (1876-1918). Cankar was a highly regarded and prolific prose writer whose quests for esthetic authenticity and for Slovene political rights led him to embrace socialist, pro-Balkan political views that complicate today’s dominant narrative of the Slovene “national awakening.” Cox will also read selected (potentially amusing!) passages from his newly released translation of Cankar’s novel Martin Kacur: Biography of an Idealist (Central European University Press, 2009), which treats the moral decline and catastrophic fall of a progressive schoolteacher in the Slovene countryside about 1900.
Gamble Hall 280 · March 26, 2009 · 4:00 pm
Lots going on this week! If you’re in Grand Forks — and have dug yourself out of the snow — come and check out my research talk at the Lecture Bowl at the Memorial Union at the University of North Dakota today at 12 pm.
If not, here’s part of my chaotic life: an abstract for next January’s Archaeological Institute of America‘s meeting. The plan is for a panel that looks at post-Classical levels at well-know ancient sites sponsored by our Medieval and Post-Medieval Interest Group of the AIA. My paper will tweak that a bit by looking at data collected from a handful of small intensive survey projects and re-analyzing them in light of recent work on the post-Classical world and changes in the basic questions survey archaeology has proven adept at addressing.
New Views on Old Data
Reinterpreting Intensive Survey Results After 30 Years
Intensive pedestrian surveys across Greece have vastly expanded our understanding of the Greek countryside, particularly for the post-Classical period. Over the past 25 years, the publications of the so-called second-phase intensive survey projects have contributed to our understanding of a more prosperous Late Roman east and refined our view of the post-Classical settlement structures. With these successes in mind, this paper will reexamine the results from several small-scale survey projects conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s in Boeotia and the Corinthia. Using a series of case studies, this paper argues that there is much to be gained by returning to old survey data with an eye toward addressing recent questions regarding the post-Classical landscape.
The survey projects examined in this paper coincided with many of the early second-phase survey projects, like the Cambridge Boeotia Project and the Argolid Exploration Project, but were published earlier and in a less comprehensive way. Returning to the material from these projects, in much the same way that archaeologists return to excavation material many years after its recovery and publication, both represents the coming of age of intensive survey and continues the reflexive trends in the study of survey material and data. Re-examining the data and these projects’ underlying assumptions increases the transparency of these older efforts, enriches the pool of material available for the comparative study of the Greek countryside, and contributes to the way in which current survey projects collect and organize their data.
Just a quick post advertising my talk next week. I’ll be giving a Graduate School Dean’s Lecture on Wednesday, March 11th at 12 pm at the Lecture Bowl of the Memorial Union. The talk is scheduled to coincide with the Graduate School Scholarly Forum. Here’s the schedule of events for that.
The talk is titled: “Five Years at an Ancient Harbor in Cyprus”.
The Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project (PKAP) began work in the coastal zone of Pyla in Cyprus in 2003. Our initial exploration of the area revealed a massive coastal site extending for over 1 km along the coastal plain. We quickly recognized that this site was remarkable both on account of its coastal position and its size and complexity. Moreover, we became aware that the previous archaeological work in the area had only reveal small and isolated sections of the diverse array of archaeological remains present. Consequently, beginning in 2004, the PKAP initiated a systematic, multi-tiered investigation of the microregion designed to understand the historical development of the in its political, economic, and cultural context. Using the tools of intensive pedestrian survey, remote sensing of various kinds, and targeted excavation, we produced a robust assemblage of material capable of answering numerous questions about the history, function, and chronology of the site.
This fieldwork confirmed that people occupied our corner of Cyprus from at least as early as the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1200 BC) and fortified parts of the site during the Archaic to Hellenistic period (700 BC-BC 300). The site, however, flourished during Late Antiquity (AD400-600) when it reached its greatest extent and included monumental religious architecture, fine imported ceramics, and a significant functional diversity across. At this time, sprawled for over a kilometer along the Cypriot coast producing a scatter of material considerably larger than a villa, hamlet or rural village yet smaller than a urbanized polis or city center. Scholars have generally overlooked such “mid-sized” sites in the Eastern Mediterranean and, consequently, must of our research has focused on the key role that such sites played in both the regional and local economy and within the local settlement structure.
Alongside these traditional components of archaeological research, PKAP has sought to document the performative, narrative, and reflexive components of the archaeological experience. By drawing extensively on new media technologies and applications we have worked to record the experience of archaeology and project it beyond the limits of the field. Such programs are more than simply ancillary components to the overall aims of the project, but complement the main lines of research by emphasizing the multiple narratives present within the same body of research. This practice not only remind project members of the dense web of assumptions, methods, and procedures required to produce archaeological knowledge, but also reinforces the ambivalence and ambiguity central to all humanistic inquiry.
I know, we’ve been working at Pyla-Koustopetria for six years, but five years had a better ring to it.
Have a good weekend.