Prof. Sam Mulberry is the latest member of our department to be featured in Bethel’s Meet the Faculty video series. In his interview, Prof. Mulberry explains the connection between empathy and historical study in courses like GES130 Christianity and Western Culture: “History, when it’s taught well, can help us approach events, ideas, controversies from multiple perspectives. It challenges us to think about things from different points of view.”
Prof. Charlie Goldberg was featured in the same series earlier this year, talking about our new Digital Humanities program.
Prof. Magnuson is our resident expert on the subject, but as a Civil War buff, I had to take a couple hours out of my East Coast trip to visit the site of the single bloodiest day in American military history: the Antietam National Battlefield.
Two weeks after General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia crossed into Maryland in 1862, it met General George McClellan’s vastly larger Army of the Potomac near the village of Sharpsburg, along the banks of Antietam Creek. Combat began early on the morning of September 17th, near the church used by local German Baptists. By midday, the worst of the fighting turned a sunken road into “Bloody Lane,” with the Union forces suffering some 3,000 casualties in just over three hours, to 2,600 Confederate losses.
Known as the Dunkers for their mode of baptism, the German Baptists were pacifists
The Sunken Road, or “Bloody Lane” – All photos CC BY-NC 4.0 Chris Gehrz
View of the sunken road from an observation post built years later by the U.S. Army. The National Park Service visitor center is in the distance.
By the end of the day, nearly 23,000 men had been killed, wounded, taken prisoner, or gone missing at Antietam. Among those buried at the nearby military cemetery are 10 members of the 1st Minnesota, which suffered far worse losses ten months later at Gettysburg.
As in many battles of the Civil War, recent immigrants played a key role. Several Union unit memorials near Bloody Lane feature a clover leaf, including one honoring New York’s famous Irish Brigade, whose Catholic chaplain granted absolution from horseback as he rode along its lines. The same state’s 20th Regiment was called the Turner Rifles — for the German “Turner” (that is, gymnast) clubs that supplied most of its manpower. Its survivors dedicated a German-language memorial “to the memory of our fallen comrades.”
Thanks to late-arriving reinforcements from Harper’s Ferry, Lee’s army beat back the final Union assaults. But the Confederates were forced back into Virginia, and President Abraham Lincoln was emboldened to issue the Emancipation Proclamation several days later.
I’m in Washington this week to conduct research at the Library of Congress. But while I’m here, I thought I’d reconnect with a few of our alumni working in and around DC. The scene last night at an Italian bistro near Capitol Hill:
Going clockwise from the bottom-left, allow me to introduce:
- Andy Burmeister ’04, who started in Washington as a legislative staffer and now works as a contract lobbyist with Lockridge Grindal Nauen.
- Kyle Peterson ’05, who has worked at the U.S. State Department for about ten years, primarily helping with the economic reconstruction of Iraq and other aspects of American foreign aid.
- Peter Williams ’04, who is an attorney and senior policy officer for the Special Victims’ Counsel program for the National Guard Bureau, assisting victims of sexual assault. (Peter first talked to us about being an Army lawyer in this 2012 interview.)
- Caleb Graff ’10, who works as professional staff for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, specializing in health care policy. (Learn more from his 2014 interview with us.)
You can also find these four on our graduate/professional school map: Caleb, Andy, and Kyle earned master’s degrees in American government, public administration, and international relations, respectively; Peter went to law school at the University of St. Thomas.
So what can you do with a History and/or Political Science degree from Bethel? Work in politics, government, and law in our nation’s capital!
Last night Bethel hosted the premiere of Prof. Sam Mulberry’s documentary film, Why We Teach, featuring interviews with fifteen recipients of Bethel’s Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching (including Prof. Chris Gehrz). If you couldn’t be there, the full film is now available to stream:
Filmed and edited over the course of Prof. Mulberry’s spring sabbatical, Why We Teach is available at his CWC Radio Films website. In addition, there you’ll find the original faculty interviews and a searchable database of topical clips. For example, here’s Prof. Gehrz trying out some metaphors for teaching the liberal arts, including a moving story from HIS231L World War II that made the cut for the final draft of the film.
I was on sabbatical the semester that Prof. Mulberry published a series here called “The Things They Carried,” in which different Bethel History and Political Science faculty shared some of the things they, well, carry in their work at Bethel. But in the spirit of using “physical objects to tell a person’s story and to profile who they are and the job they do,” I’ll share some photographs I took today of my office (AC 212).
I was responding to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education that questioned the continuing value of the faculty office. You can read those reflections at my own blog, but I thought some of you might enjoy the pictures on their own. (And maybe I can convince a few more members of the department to do the same with their offices.)
None of us will ever match GW Carlson for sheer numbers of books, but I have finally started to adopt his method of storing some books horizontally to maximize space
But the books closest to where I sit aren’t actually academic…
In addition to pictures of my kids, wife, parents, and grandparents, this shelf includes a few pieces of memorabilia related to my favorite sport: a baseball signed by Kirby Puckett, a commemorative Jackie Robinson baseball I got in Kansas City, and an authentic Homer Hankie from the Twins’ World Series years
In front of a bulletin board featuring posters of talks I’ve given and postcards from globe-trotting students and alumni, there’s a student-made model of the Somme battlefield – inherited from previous AC 212 inhabitant Neil Lettinga, who taught the original version of our World War I course with his wife, Virginia
My sister sent me this life-sized (well, “life”-sized) cutout of Homer Simpson as an office-warming present in 2003
I think I’m the only member of our department who doesn’t pull down the blinds — I like the idea that students hanging out in the Brushaber Commons can see a professor in his natural habitat doing professor-y things
While he’s technically on sabbatical from Bethel, Prof. Sam Mulberry has actually spent most of his spring thinking and talking about Bethel.
For his primary sabbatical project, Sam has been filming interviews with fifteen winners of the Bethel Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching — including 2009 recepient Chris Gehrz. (Sam won the excellence award for service this past August.)
Eventually, those interviews will be available in an online archive, but Sam has also edited them into a documentary film, Why We Teach. If you’d like to see the film’s premiere, come to CC 313 at 7pm on Wednesday, May 23rd. (Earlier that day, Sam will talk about the larger sabbatical project as part of our annual West by Midwest forum on innovation in teaching — 1:30pm in the Bethel Maker Space.)
Meanwhile, enjoy the trailer for Why We Teach, featuring Sara Shady (Philosophy), Dan Ritchie and Joey Horstman (English), Carole Young (Psychology), Ken Steinbach (Art), Leta Frazier (Communication Studies), and Dick Peterson (Physics).
Over the weekend students and faculty from our department took part in the fifth annual Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium (MUHS), joining peers from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, Bethany Lutheran College, Martin Luther College, and our hosts, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Saint Mary’s was founded as a men’s academy in 1912 by the bishop of Winona
In 1933 the diocese sold Saint Mary’s to the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a teaching order
founded in 1680 by St. John Baptist de La Salle
The symposium was held in the year-old Science and Learning Center
Six Bethel History majors presented their research at Saturday’s three concurrent sessions:
- Kerry Bloomfield, “Evangelical Marriage Manuals from 1970-1979”
- Andrew Fort, “The Quintessential American Cowboy”
- Hannah Harville, “The Christian Palestinian Experience with, Involvement in, and Response to the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict since the First Intifada”
- Nelson Menjivar, “Catalonia and Spain: Origins of a Nationalist Movement”
- Sarah Sauer, “The Moderating Role of Virtus Romana in Augustine’s Desacralization of Nature”
- Matt Velasco, “The Development and Impact of the Confessing Church”
(Most of these students are currently taking HIS499 Senior Seminar and will be giving more final versions of their research papers on Monday, May 21, 6pm, CLC 109. All are invited!)
Faculty members Amy Poppinga, AnneMarie Kooistra, and Chris Gehrz moderated panels during the symposium, and Prof. Poppinga spoke on the closing faculty roundtable (“Students’ Religious Literacy in a Pluralistic Society”).
Prof. Poppinga speaking at the closing session, where she was joined by Saint Mary’s professor Erich Lippman
From left to right: front row – Matt Velasco ’18, Andrew Fort ’18, Prof. AnneMarie Kooistra, Prof. Amy Poppinga; back row – Nelson Menjivar ’19, Hannah Harville ’19, Kerry Bloomfield ’19, Prof. Chris Gehrz
(If you’d like to see some highlights from various sessions, Prof. Gehrz live-tweeted the symposium at the hashtag #MUHS2018.)
Thanks to Dr. Tycho de Boer and the rest of our hosts from Saint Mary’s for putting on a fine symposium. We’re looking forward to having MUHS return to Bethel next year.
Nelson Menjivar ’19, a Bethel History major and Philosophy minor, was named to the 2018-2019 cohort of the INCE Museum Fellows at the Minnesota Historical Society. The program includes a fall course at MNHS, a site visit to museums in Chicago, a paid internship next spring, and ongoing mentoring after the program concludes.
In addition to letting students explore museum-related careers, the INCE program
is designed to engage students in studying the challenges related to the underrepresentation of communities of color and American Indian Nations in historical organizations and public history graduate programs. Communities need to “see themselves” in the work of cultural organizations in order to identify with their missions.
A native of West Saint Paul, MN, Nelson currently serves as a teaching assistant with Bethel’s Christianity and Western Culture program. He says that he was particularly excited about the INCE program because it offered “the chance to work with museums and professionals who not only study history, but also find a way to present it to the public… I’m excited to get the internship started and use the valuable tools I’ve picked up at the Bethel History department!”
As I wrote yesterday at my personal blog, perhaps the rarest thing in American higher education is a truly distinctive academic program… and Bethel offers one in the form of our new Digital Humanities major.
So whether you’re a prospective student, a high school teacher or guidance counselor, an employer, or simply an interested alum, get in touch with Prof. Goldberg if you’d like to learn more about DH at Bethel.
Join Prof. Magnuson and the other Friends of The History Center for their spring event on Saturday, April 21 at Calvary Church in Roseville. After coffee and refreshments at 9:30am, the program will begin at 10am.
This year’s featured speaker is Ron Dischinger, retired CEO/president of the Elim Park Baptist Home in Cheshire, Connecticut (and former Bethel History student — find him on our alumni map). In addition to his nearly four decades at Elim Park, Ron served at the Klingberg Children’s Home. Both institutions are rooted in the historic social ministry of the Baptist General Conference (now known as Converge). (Learn more about Klingberg in the May 2008 issue of The Baptist Pietist Clarion.) In his talk, Ron will trace some of that history, plus the program will feature some creative social ministries being carried out by Converge churches in the Twin Cities. And guests are invited to stop by the oral history table to share their own story of social ministry.
The program is free, but attendees are encouraged to register online and bring a food item to donate.