It’s the last week of classes at Bethel University, which means that today’s is the episode of Past & Presence for a while. But it’s a good one: AnneMarie and Amy Poppinga talk about calling and career (and why they’re not the same thing); we meet attorney Tony Barthel ’99; and Chris Gehrz takes a road trip to Duluth, MN, by way of Tobies Restaurant in Hinckley and the North West Company Fur Post outside Pine City.
After a week off, Past & Presence returns today with an episode dedicated to the relationship between historians and the church. That’s the subject of our faculty conversation, between Profs. Amy Poppinga and Chris Gehrz. Plus we interview Andene (Christopherson) O’Neil ’05, Pastor of Worship & Adult Ministries at Church of the Cross in Hopkins, Minnesota, and Prof. Gehrz hosts the episode from four sacred sites in western Europe: the great cathedrals of St Paul’s (London), Notre Dame (Chartres), and Notre Dame (Paris), and the concentration camp memorial at Dachau.
Students in Introduction to History are preparing presentations on how Americans outside of the academy make meaning of the past, so we thought we’d dedicate an episode to history in popular culture. Profs. Poppinga, Kooistra, and Gehrz talk about films, TV, video games, historical fiction, etc. — both how such media can inspire interest in the past and promote misunderstanding of it. Then to echo our emphasis on popular culture, Prof. Gehrz hosts the episode as a kind of walking tour of F. Scott Fitzgerald sites in St. Paul.
Also in episode 11, we interview History alum Mike Bumann ’06, who teaches English in China for the organization ELIC, and we offer previews of the Oregon Extension program and Bethel’s master’s in teaching program.
A couple of themes run through episode 10 of Past & Presence.
First, connections between history and writing. Our conversation this week considers history as a kind of literature — and also shares some advice for students seeking to improve their writing on different kinds of assignments. And our interview this week features an alumnus who has made a career of the written word: Tim Krueger ’10, publications coordinator for Christians for Biblical Equality and editor of CBE’s magazine, Mutuality.
Then the second theme is that this is the first Past & Presence that doesn’t include any of our department’s faculty (past our regular host, Prof. Chris Gehrz). In addition to Tim, alumni are represented by Eve Burlingame ’08, site coordinator of Eidem Homestead, the living history farm in Brooklyn Park, MN that we feature throughout the episode. (See a recent graduate’s account of completing an internship with Eve at Eidem.) Our writing conversation features two of our senior teaching assistants: Jacob Manning ’15 and Fletcher Warren ’15. And instead of running ads for any of our courses, we introduce students to Bethel’s Gender Studies minor (represented here by co-coordinator Sara Shady, a philosophy professor) and its Pre-Law program (this one featuring Political Science professor Fred Van Geest).
This week Prof. Gehrz hosts Past & Presence from sites along the former Western Front, in Belgium and northern France. (This past January he and Prof. Mulberry brought a camera and microphone along on their World War I travel course. Look for one more episode this spring to feature European locales.)
Also in episode nine…
- We conclude our two-week conversation on Christian approaches to history, with Profs. Kooistra and Gehrz discussing “providential history,” moral judgment and reflection, and what’s transformative (even “conversional”) about the study of the past.
- Gretchen Luhmann ’14 remembers her time as an intern at Eidem Homestead, a living history site in Brooklyn Park, MN
- Fletcher Warren ’15 and Bethel librarian Kent Gerber explain how they go about adding to Bethel’s Digital Library
- And a preview of Diana Magnuson’s class on American Beginnings
On this week’s episode of Past & Presence, Profs. AnneMarie Kooistra and Chris Gehrz begin a two-part conversation about how Christians approach the discipline of history. In today’s half of that conversation, they take up historian George Marsden’s argument that Christians can and should “play by the rules” of the secular academy — that, in many respects, thinking historically about the past and thinking Christianly about it are identical.
Also in episode 8:
- Chris visits the World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and civil rights memorials on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol — a different way of getting at the interplay between the secular and the sacred.
- We interview History majors Kelly Van Wyk ’15 and Jacob Manning ’15, about how they chose that major and what it’s like to be a teaching assistant in the department.
- And we get previews of two of our Fall 2015 courses: HIS356 Modern Middle East and HIS354 Modern Europe. You can see many more course previews at our YouTube channel.
After a week off for Spring Break, Past & Presence returns today with an episode dedicated to biography:
The episode’s theme shows up in several different ways:
- Prof. Chris Gehrz hosts the episode from his hometown of Stillwater, introducing viewers to some of the formative sites in his life
- He and Prof. Amy Poppinga discuss their favorite biographies, how such sources show up in their teaching and research, and why historians are sometimes ambivalent about the genre
- And our final faculty interview of this season finds Prof. AnneMarie Kooistra sharing some of her intellectual autobiography
All that plus ads for HIS/POS324G Human Rights in International History (being taught this fall by political science professor Andy Bramsen) and Bethel’s graduate program in teaching. (Here’s a From AC 2nd… interview with one of our alumni who earned her master’s through that program.)
To this point we’ve been naming each installment of Past & Presence after the topics of our weekly faculty conversations, but this week the star of the show is the place we visit:
Yes, we had the great privilege of getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. Thanks to our host Matt Musel (who talked with us about the mission of the MN Historical Society and his role there as a majors gifts officer), we got to visit a textile conservation lab, talk with the coordinator of the MHS internship program, and learn about exhibit design from one of the masterminds of the popular Minnesota’s Greatest Generation exhibit.
Meanwhile, Profs. Amy Poppinga and AnneMarie Kooistra shared some pointers on how to give oral presentations and work together on group projects, we interviewed middle school social studies teacher Annie Sjoholm ’09, and we talked to Political Science professor Fred Van Geest about Bethel’s pre-law program.
We’ll be off next week during Bethel’s Spring Break, then back on March 25th with a new episode of Past & Presence!
Episode five of Past & Presence is now available!
It’s a special episode on at least two counts:
- It’s the first to be hosted somewhere beyond Bethel’s campus — at Bethel’s former campus across from the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul!
- And it’s the first to feature two of our teaching assistants in place of faculty members for our weekly conversation. History major Jacob Manning ’15 and History/Social Studies Ed major Kelly Van Wyk ’15 join Prof. Gehrz to discuss what’s “usable” about history and how “the past is a foreign country.”
Plus look for an interview with alum/prof Amy Poppinga ’99, an ad for Diana Magnuson’s American Beginnings course (returning this fall), and information for students who might want to continue their studies in seminary.
Episode 4 of Past & Presence, our department webisode, is now available!
This week’s was an especially rich faculty conversation, as we talked with Diana Magnuson and AnneMarie Kooistra about the nature of historical evidence and research. Not only did we discuss primary sources and why they’re fun to use in teaching, but we reflected on the experience of conducting archival research — which struck us as both sacred and earthy, frustrating and energizing.
Diana was also kind enough to take us on a virtual tour of The History Center, the archives of the Baptist General Conference and Bethel University in the upper floor of the Bethel Seminary Library. While we were up at the Sem, we shared some of its long history and visited Scandia Chapel, the oldest surviving Swedish Baptist church building in the state of Minnesota.
Rounding out episode #4 are conversations with Amy Poppinga about HIS356 Modern Middle East, Fletcher Warren ’15 about his semester in Oxford, and Brandon Raatikka ’03 (who also spent a semester in Oxford) about his journey from AC 2nd to his current position as vice president of risk assessment with FactRight, LLC (by way of the University of Minnesota Law School).