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.

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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.

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

Call for Proposals: 2019 Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium

We’re honored to be hosting the 6th annual Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium, coming back to Bethel on Saturday, April 27, 2019. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the call for proposals that’s going out this morning to religious college history departments around the Upper Midwest.

Header of MUHS 2019 call for proposals

When we hosted MUHS 2016, students and faculty from eleven different colleges and universities came to Bethel — including Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, which is now one of the four co-sponsors of the event with Bethel, Bethany Lutheran, and the University of Northwestern – St. Paul. We’re hoping to have even wider participation this year, including institutions from beyond Minnesota!

As always, the symposium will feature panels of three or four undergraduates presenting historical research from capstone seminars, upper-division courses, and independent study projects. But given the momentum behind our new Digital Humanities major, we’re also eager to showcase DH projects. And students can also share reflections on internships, student teaching placements, and other work-study experiences.

Kent WhitworthFinally, we’re especially excited to host the first keynote speaker in the history of MUHS: Kent Whitworth, the director and CEO of the Minnesota Historical Society, who will open the symposium with remarks on the future of public history and then take student and faculty questions.

As always, there is no fee for participation in the Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium. But if students want to present, they need to complete this Google form by March 15, 2019. (Students can also attend without presenting; we just need a representative from each institution to send Prof. Gehrz a list of those students and all participating faculty by March 29.)

How to Commemorate World War I This Month

As many of you may remember from one of our courses, World War I ended 100 years ago this month — at least, on its most famous front. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh hour of the eleventh month of 1918, the guns finally fell silent in Belgium and northern France.

If you’d like to take part in commemorating the centennial of that armistice, here are a few events coming up in the Twin Cities:

Silent Night

The Pulitzer Prize-winning opera about the Christmas Truce of 1914 comes home to the Minnesota Opera for a run at the Ordway Center in St. Paul. There are performances this weekend and next, plus the 13th and 15th. (I was part of a panel previewing the production last Monday; here’s a blog post inspired by one of the questions I received: “What misconceptions do we have about World War I?”)

State Veterans Day Event

The Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights will host the state’s Veterans Day event on Sunday morning, 9:30-11:30. The keynote speaker will be Nancy O’Brien Wagner, editor of a new collection of WWI letters from her great-aunt, one of the many women who volunteered for service in the war.

Bells of Peace

Around the country on Sunday, there will be bell-ringing ceremonies to mark the centennial of the Armistice. In addition to local churches, there will be a state Bells of Peace event on the University of Minnesota campus at Northrup Auditorium. The ceremony will start at 10:45am, with 21 bells rung at 11am, and then the reading of the names of all 1,432 Minnesotan soldiers killed in the war. (Presumably including at least a couple of Bethel’s fallen alumni.)

The Great War Symphony

Then at 4pm, Northrup will host the American debut of composer Patrick Hawes’ Great War Symphony (simultaneous with a production at Carnegie Hall in New York). While you’re at the Lest We Forget concert, you can also see David Geister’s mural, World War 1 America, which he painted during the run of that exhibition last year at the Minnesota History Center.

That mural now resides in the library of the Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley, which is open Thursday-Saturday and has a special exhibit through next year, In the Fight: Minnesota and the World War.

Save the Date: The 2019 Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium

We’re delighted to announce that the Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium will return to Bethel on Saturday, April 27, 2019!

As always, MUHS gives our students and other undergraduate historians from Minnesota and neighboring states a chance to present their research to peers and professors from a variety of private religious colleges. But this time we’re also excited to welcome a keynote speaker from beyond our faculties: Kent Whitworth, the new director of the Minnesota Historical Society, will open our symposium by talking about the future of public history.

Kent WhitworthKent came to MNHS this summer after serving as executive director of the Kentucky Historical Society for fourteen years. While in his previous position, he also helped to found and lead the national History Relevance campaign.

In an interview with the Star Tribune, Kent explained that his desire to be a historian started on a childhood tour of the Yorktown battlefield, where “it dawned on me… I could do that as a living.” He went on to earn a master’s degree in history and historic preservation from Middle Tennessee State University, then worked for a time at his undergraduate alma mater, Asbury University (one of our sister schools in the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities).

We’ll keep you posted as plans come together for MUHS 2019. But here’s what the event looked like the last time Bethel hosted, in 2016.

How You Can Hear Prof. Gehrz Talk about World War I — and Maybe Opera

Next month marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War on its famous Western Front. As part of the international commemoration of that event, the Minnesota Opera will be performing Silent Night, a dramatization of the 1914 Christmas Truce, at the Ordway Center — November 10-18.

As a preview event, the Minnesota Opera, MinnPost, and the University of Minnesota’s School of Music are presenting “Silent Night: A Soldier’s Humanity and the Impact of WWI” — Monday, October 29, 7pm at Westminster Hall in downtown Minneapolis. I’ll be one of the panelists discussing soldiers’ experiences of the war, plus a member of the cast will perform selections from the opera itself. The event is free, but click the link above to register.

To put you in mind of the subject… Enjoy these photos from Monday night’s meeting of our J-term WWI trip participants. Bethel alum Jenna Kubly ’02 joined us to share some of her extensive collection of WWI artifacts, including everything from swords and uniforms to medals and postcards.

Coming to Bethel: Former History Major David Brooks

Join us next Tuesday evening (Sept. 25, 7pm) when New York Times columnist, bestselling author, and radio/TV commentator David Brooks gives a public lecture in Benson Great Hall. (Tickets are free, but must be ordered ahead of time.)

Brooks, The Road to CharacterEntitled “The Road to Character,” Brooks’ talk builds on his 2015 book by that title,  which contrasts résumé virtues (“the skills that you bring to the job market and that contribute to external success”) with eulogy virtues (“the ones that exist at the core of your being”).

He’s one of the most prominent people to speak on campus in recent years, but I wonder how many people know that David Brooks was once a history major.

In an interview with the student newspaper at his alma mater, the University of Chicago, Brooks said that he ended up majoring in history because it somehow seemed more “practical” than his other choice: literature. But even as he moved into the worlds of politics and journalism, Brooks never lost his interest in history and literature.

In the midst of the Great Recession, Brooks dedicated one of his Times columns to warning against the decline of history, literature, and the other humanities as college students were increasingly tempted to think they had “to study something that will lead directly to a job.” He emphasized how history and similar fields train their students to read and write well, to understand emotion, and to make analogies.

But above all, he wrote that history and the other humanities would help students “befriend The Big Shaggy.” Here’s what he meant:

David Brooks…Over the past century or so, people have built various systems to help them understand human behavior: economics, political science, game theory and evolutionary psychology. These systems are useful in many circumstances. But none completely explain behavior because deep down people have passions and drives that don’t lend themselves to systemic modeling. They have yearnings and fears that reside in an inner beast you could call The Big Shaggy….

The observant person goes through life asking: Where did that come from? Why did he or she act that way? The answers are hard to come by because the behavior emanates from somewhere deep inside The Big Shaggy…

…over the centuries, there have been rare and strange people who possessed the skill of taking the upheavals of thought that emanate from The Big Shaggy and representing them in the form of story, music, myth, painting, liturgy, architecture, sculpture, landscape and speech. These men and women developed languages that help us understand these yearnings and also educate and mold them. They left rich veins of emotional knowledge that are the subjects of the humanities.

Learn more about David Brooks’ Bethel talk at bethel.edu/brooks. His wife, Anne Snyder (a former philosophy major at Wheaton), will be the convocation speaker during Chapel time on Monday.