History students and alumni might be interested in two faculty talks coming up in the Bethel University Library’s Prime Time series:
• For American history and politics buffs… This Thursday morning (3/7, 11:15am) Political Science professor Mitchell Krumm will examine how Federalists and Anti-Federalists used the ideas of the French philosopher Montesquieu to articulate “dramatically different conceptions of liberty.” Dr. Krumm is teaching our cross-listed American Constitutional History course this spring.
• Then on the other side of Spring Break, our own Profs. Sam Mulberry and Chris Gehrz will talk about the importance of professors using blogs, podcasts, and other media to “‘think in public’ about teaching, scholarship, and the integration of faith and learning” (Tu 3/26, 11:15am).
Ever since CWC: The Radio Show debuted in the summer of 2006, AC 2nd has been a hub for podcasting at Bethel. History and Political Science faculty collaborate on several current podcasts, including:
• Election Shock Therapy: Political scientists Chris Moore, Andy Bramsen, and Mitchell Krumm analyze current events in American and international politics — and sometimes the politics of fictional worlds like Middle Earth and the Star Wars universe.
• Amy Makes Us Try Stuff: On hiatus for the moment, as Prof. Poppinga enjoys her sabbatical, this podcast is exactly what the title says — she tasks Profs. Moore and Mulberry with trying TV shows, restaurants, etc., then they report back on the experience.
• Live from AC2nd: An occasional series of roundtable discussions featuring Profs. Mulberry, Moore, Poppinga, and other Bethel professors, the most recent episode had psychologist Sherryse Corrow, physicist Nathan Lindquist, and economist Tim Essenburg talking about beauty.
You can find all these podcasts on the Live from AC2nd network, which can be found at Podbean, iTunes, and Facebook. The network’s new Facebook page also includes links that follow up on or preview new episodes.
I’m excited to meet new classes this week, but even as they get underway, I can’t help but look ahead to Spring 2020 and a new course I’ll be teaching with Political Science professor Chris Moore: HIS/POS252L History and Politics of Sports.
As I explained last week at my own blog, I’ve wanted to create a baseball history course almost as long as I’ve been at Bethel. But while HIS252L will surely have a lot to say about my favorite sport, I’m glad that we’ve instead developed a course with a wider focus… and that I’ll be sharing it with Chris, a specialist in international relations who won the 2018 Bethel faculty excellence award for teaching. We’re not just fans ourselves, but scholars who think that studying sports can help our students ask fundamental questions about community, identity, purpose, and justice, by taking a different perspective on American and international history.
As you can see in the draft syllabus above, we’ve divided the course along the lines of a football or basketball game. After a warm-up week in which we’ll think about why we follow or play sports and how we approach the topic as scholars, we’ll survey the history of a few specific sports, then conclude our first half with deeper dives into topics like race, gender, labor, and business. Halftime will let us pause to consider various Christian perspectives on sports, then the third quarter will take us into the realm of international relations (with a focus on the Olympic Games). After the fourth quarter looks at emerging topics like e-sports and performance enhancement, we’ll conclude with a field trip to Target Field or Target Center, with students researching a “day in the life” of the Twins or Lynx franchises.
To help Chris and me think through the course before we teach it, our colleague Sam Mulberry is joining us this semester for a new weekly podcast, The 252. Last week’s debut previewed the Super Bowl and looked back at the history of the NFL. In today’s episode, we turned the focus on ourselves: why we play and follow sports, and what we love about them. Next week we’ll be joined by our first guest: Dr. Art Remillard of Saint Francis University, an expert on religion and sports.
For about six years now, we’ve tried to use social media to better connect with past, present, and future Bethel history students. While it seems like this blog and our accounts at Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn serve alumni well, we’re always looking for better ways to reach out to current and prospective students.
While we’ll keep publishing interviews and other posts about career paths, study abroad and internship options, and department news and events, our Instagram feed will feature much less text. In keeping with one of the key themes of our new Digital Humanities program, we want to do a better job of telling stories visually.
• Listen to any of the Live from AC 2nd podcasts(recent episodes featured Profs. Mulberry and Poppinga discussing the Winter Olympics and History alum and Bethel RA Lauren Gannon ’17 contributing to a conversation about pop culture awards season)
Thanks to the vision and energy of Prof. Sam Mulberry, members of our faculty have been podcasting for a decade — long before the medium really took off. (We even had our own departmental podcast for a couple years.) Now Sam is joined by two of our professors and several of our disciplinary neighbors, for a new podcast network he calls Live from AC2nd.
Its lineup currently includes the following podcasts:
• The Live from AC2nd flagship, a wide-ranging, roundtable discussion featuring a mix of faculty that includes Sam, historians Amy Poppinga and Chris Gehrz, political scientist Chris Moore, and philosopher Sara Shady. On their most recent episode, those five shared books they’re currently reading.
• Moore and Mulberry also occasionally join Poppinga for Amy Makes Us Try Stuff. Which is pretty much exactly what the title says. For example, on the debut episode, Amy “made” Sam and Chris try the TV series Justified.
• Predating the network itself is its most popular pod, Election Shock Therapy, an ongoing conversation about politics and government featuring Chris Moore and fellow political science professors Andy Bramsen and Mitchell Krumm. The most recent episode dissected Pres. Trump’s first address to Congress.
• And the newest member of the Live from AC2nd lineup is Nothing Rhymes with Gehrz, in which that Chris joins Sam to riff on six words that, well, don’t rhyme with Gehrz. Last Friday’s pilot episode featured everything from a rumination on the importance of wondering for teachers to a preview of likely upsets in the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
This blog generally stays pretty quiet during the summer, as our students and faculty scatter and busy themselves with summer research, work, and travel. But our own Prof. Chris Gehrz maintains his usual blogging schedule at The Pietist Schoolman, posting three or four times a week on “Christianity, history, education, and how they intersect.” (Yesterday marked the fifth birthday of that blog.) Now, you can also read Chris once a week at a much more prominent site.
Taking the spot of Baylor historian Thomas Kidd, Chris will both administer The Anxious Bench and write posts every Tuesday morning. Today he shared the story of a former Bethel dean whose Baptist principles led him to oppose school prayer in the 1960s. Last week he debuted with a post on British Christian responses to the “Brexit” debate and a call for Christians to love their LGBT neighbors by learning their history.
Calling all alumni — and especially those from the classes of 2010, 2005, 1995, 1985, 1975, and 1965… If you’re planning to return to campus for Homecoming next month, please plan to attend two events featuring our department’s faculty:
• On Friday afternoon, Oct. 9th, Prof. Chris Gehrz will be teaching a “class without a quiz” entitled “Remembering the Great War: Christian Perspectives on the Commemoration of World War I.” Here’s the full description:
One hundred years after it happened, how do we remember a war that killed over fifteen million people, unleashed the first modern genocide, and caused multiple political revolutions? To help us think about the commemoration of World War I – and why it’s especially challenging for Christians – Professor of History Chris Gehrz will draw on his experiences taking Bethel students to Europe, where they visit the former battlefields of the Western Front as well as sites in London, Paris, and Munich.
That talk will be at 2pm in BC 468 Benson Great Hall.
• Then on Saturday morning, Oct. 10th, History will partner with Political Science and Philosophy to host an open house for students and alumni in AC 228 (10:00-11:00am). In addition to catching up with friends and faculty (current and retired), you can check out early versions of Senior Sem research by Political Science students, and we’ll have a couple of computers available for people who want to explore Bethel at War, 1914-2014, the digital history project by Prof. Gehrz and History alum Fletcher Warren ’15 that will officially debut for Homecoming.
Whether you’re just entering our department, just about to leave it, or anywhere in between those stages, check out a new series of blog posts from the American Historical Association: “What to Do with a BA in History.”
History is dynamic, and you should be a bright, capable, and thorough thinker, writer, communicator, and researcher because of your time as an undergraduate. The problem is that no one will know it until you tell them! People make assumptions about various majors all the time, and in the news they often recite and rehash false stories about college education that go unchallenged. On your resume, in your cover letter, and during interviews and networking scenarios you need to quantify your experience in terms employers can understand and change the common perceptions out there. Your ability to do this can make all the difference.
Then earlier this week, post #2 in the series focused on the other end of the major, sharing practical tips for newer students wondering how to explore careers long before they graduate. One that fits well with summer vacation:
Conduct a career poll: Ask four friends or relatives for five careers they can “see” you in. Then ask why they considered that occupation. Write down your initial reaction to the suggestions. Take stock of your greatest strengths. What are you good at? What value does that have to others?
This spring in HIS/POS305G The Cold War, Prof. Chris Gehrz gave his students the option of completing their research project through the production of digital history sites. While most of their peers opted for the more traditional 10-12 page research paper, seven students agreed to take a shot at telling digital histories of the Cold War, enriching narrative text with images, video clips, documents, and other media. Follow the links below to read their projects and share your feedback:
I asked students how they would compare the experience of producing a digital history project to that of writing a more traditional research paper. Here’s what Micayla wrote:
I would say producing a digital history site is more (or perhaps just different) work than writing a traditional research paper. With digital history, not only do you have to do all the research, but you also have to use technology to incorporate it in a visually appealing and cohesive way. Even the way you research for digital history is different. For a more traditional paper, primary sources are important, but secondary sources often become central. In contrast, digital history research is predominantly focused on finding and incorporating a variety of primary sources with secondary sources being supplementary. The most exciting part about it for me was putting the primary sources together using the Scalar platform. By integrating the primary sources with technology, I saw the history come to life. The most challenging part was learning how to format the information in a visually appealing way. It took hours of reading user’s manuals, tweaking, deleting, redoing, and improvising in order to arrange the information cohesively.