We’re Moving!

That’s right, we’re going to need a new name for this blog.

As of this summer, the History Department will leave its longtime home on AC 2nd and relocate to CC 4th, where we’ll join our Political Science friends in the office suite currently housing the Education Department.

We won’t move out until after spring commencement, but we’re well along in the process of starting to clean out our AC2 offices.

Which means that there’s a growing collection of books accumulating on AC 2nd — free for any student, alum, or other history buff who wants to add to their library.

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Introducing Inquiry Seminar

One of the newest courses in Bethel’s general education curriculum is GES160 Inquiry Seminar (or “IQ”). Replacing the older College Writing and Introduction to Liberal Arts courses, IQ sections introduce first-year students to the liberal arts in the Christian tradition and help prepare them for research, speaking, and writing assignments in later courses.

Taught by faculty from a variety of departments, IQ sections tend to start with questions that transcend any single academic field. For example, a recent Bethel News story on Inquiry Seminar featured a section called “Bracketology: Competition and Controversy in College Basketball.” Timed to coincide with Minneapolis hosting the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four last weekend, it’s being taught by chemistry professor Ashley Mahoney, a Kentucky Wildcats fan whose reading assignments include a Andrew Maraniss’ biography of Perry Wallace, the first African-American to play in the Southeast Conference. (Have we mentioned that we’re debuting a sports history course next spring?)

Other sections have covered topics as diverse as comedy, friendship, Native American culture, and YA literature. “This is a curiosity course,” explained IQ coordinator April Vinding in the Bethel News story. “How do you cultivate curiosity? How do you manage the bumper harvest that comes back to you when you start asking interesting questions? How do you communicate your passions and curiosity to other people?”

Two of our professors have already taught Inquiry Seminar. Chris Gehrz offered one of the first sections when the course launched in Fall 2017. Asking what it meant to seek Christian unity in the midst of an increasingly divided society, students read books like Christena Cleveland’s Disunity in Christ and John Inazu’s Confident Pluralism, presented case studies of schisms in church history, and researched causes of polarization in 21st century America.

AnneMarie Kooistra is currently leading “Writing Our Story: Your Voice and the Voices of the American Past,” an IQ option for Bethel’s Pietas Honors program. “We examine how our family histories intersect larger trends in American history in general,” she explains. “Students use digital tools like Family Search to uncover sometimes long-distant ancestors, and their research project asks them to write a paper to recreate the historical context of a family member’s experience.” Readings include Maxine Hong Kingston’s China Men, “an example of the tensions between memory, history, and family stories and artifacts.”

When Dr. Kooistra reprises the section this fall, students will read Martha Hode’s The Sea Captain’s Wife, a history of a nineteenth century working-class, interracial marriage and family constructed from a cache of family letters. In addition, our newest adjunct professor, Annie Berglund, will debut an IQ section called “All God’s Creatures: Animals as Property or Peers?” And our Political Science colleague Chris Moore will reprise a popular section on the politics of food.

What’s Coming Up at the 2019 Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium

I’m very happy to share the draft program for the 6th annual Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium, which is now less than a month away: Saturday, April 27th.

MUHS 2019 LogoHere’s the full MUHS 2019 schedule. A few highlights:

• We expect 45 students to present historical research at this year’s symposium! That eclipses the previous record of 37, set the first time we hosted in 2016.

• We’ll be welcoming guests from eleven colleges and universities, including previous MUHS hosts University of Northwestern-St. Paul (2014, 2017), Bethany Lutheran College (2015), and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (2018). We’ll also welcome back several schools whose students or faculty were on campus three years ago: Augsburg University, Concordia College-Moorhead, Martin Luther College, St. Olaf College, and the University of St. Thomas.

• Three departments will be making their first appearances at MUHS: our St. Paul neighbors at St. Catherine University, plus Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) and Dordt College (Sioux Center, IA) — the first symposium participants to come from beyond Minnesota.

Kent Whitworth in Bethel's Intro to History class
Kent with our Intro to History students – photo: Diana Magnuson

• One more first… This year’s symposium will begin with a keynote speaker: Kent Whitworth, the executive director and CEO of the Minnesota Historical Society. A recent guest in our Intro to History class, Kent will share remarks and answer questions about the future of public history and the History Relevance campaign.

If any other Bethel students, faculty, or alumni are interested in attending the symposium, there’s no registration fee. Just get in touch with me to help us get a final head count.

Join Us for Alumni Trivia Night!

Join us Thursday, April 4th for Alumni Trivia Night 2019!

Alumni Trivia Night poster

Yes, it’s a night of pub trivia with the departments of History, Political Science and Philosophy. Co-sponsored by Bethel’s Office of Alumni Relations, there will be prizes, free food, and a chance to spend an hour or so testing your trivia knowledge with faculty, alumni, and current students. We’ll start around 5pm at The Exchange Food & Drink in New Brighton, just off the County Road E2 exit from I-35W.

Please register in advance to help us plan numbers. You can also find details and invite fellow alumni via our Facebook page.

If you have questions, get in touch with Poli Sci chair Chris Moore. Otherwise, we’ll look forward to seeing you on April 4th!

Upcoming Library Talks: Debating Liberty and Thinking in Public

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.

Poster for 3/26/19 talk by Chris Gehrz and Sam Mulberry, "Thinking in Public"

• 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).

Upcoming Career Development Events

February is always a busy month at Bethel’s Career Development and Calling office, with the following events available to students:

The Art of Conversation (Tu 2/12, 6:45pm, The Underground)

A new event letting up to 100 students practice their networking skills with professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Pre-register by Feb. 11.

Resume Workshop (Th 2/14, 10:15am, AC 228)

Whether you’re preparing for the next event on this list, have interviews coming up, or just want to get some useful advice, learn how to prepare effective resumes in this free event.

Minnesota Private Colleges Job & Internship Fair (Th 2/21, 9am-2pm, Minneapolis Convention Center)

One of the biggest such events open to Bethel students, this fair draws over 2,000 students and over 250 employers. Pre-register by Feb. 18 and plan to attend a prep session. The fair itself costs $12, but Bethel will run free shuttles to and from the Convention Center.

Previewing a New Course: The History and Politics of Sports

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.

1917 Bethel women's basketball team
The 1917 women’s basketball squad at then-Bethel Academy – Creative Commons (Bethel Digital Library)

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 252Last 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.

What’s Happening This Spring in Bethel’s History Department?

This morning marks the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester at Bethel. What’s happening this spring in the History Department?

• Dr. Poppinga is taking a well-earned sabbatical, as Dr. Kooistra returns from her fall away from Bethel.

• We have our largest enrollments ever in both Intro to History (30 students joining Dr. Magnuson) and Intro to the Digital Humanities (20 with Dr. Goldberg). We’ve also got full houses in American CivilizationWorld War II, Human Rights in International History, and History of China, Korea, and Japan.

• Eleven students will be completing their History majors in Senior Seminar with Dr. Kooistra. Look for them to present their capstone research projects in May.

• Those seniors will also be participating in the 2019 edition of the Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium, coming back to Bethel on Saturday, April 27.

• A recent alumna is returning to the department to teach HIS205U History of China, Korea, and Japan. We’ll introduce her tomorrow…

• And Profs. Gehrz and Mulberry roll out their newest media project, joining with Dr. Chris Moore (Political Science) on a podcast that previews a new course coming in Spring 2020. Learn more this Wednesday…

Upcoming Royal Nation Events

Bethel’s Royal Nation series of alumni gatherings continues this winter and spring.

Here are your next chances to connect with fellow former graduates and hear from Bethel president Jay Barnes: (click through to register)

Phoenix, AZ– Feb. 8, 6pm

Los Angeles, CA– Feb. 23, 6pm

Naples, FL – March 21, 6pm

Orlando, FL – March 22, 6pm

Bethel Seeking a New American Politics Professor

Some important news from our neighbors in the Political Science department… Prof. Krumm has decided to accept another job in order to be closer to family, so the department is currently hiring for a full-time, tenure-track position, to start this August. In addition to teaching courses in American politics and the general education curriculum, “[i]deal candidates will also demonstrate teaching and scholarly interest in political theory and/or political methodology. The ability to provide leadership for Pre-law advising is especially important.”

Interested candidates can find full details and a link to Bethel’s job application at this link. Contact Dr. Chris Moore, department chair, with any questions.