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Department of History
Sherrie Sanders, Administrative Specialist
Spring 2007 New Orleans History Lecture Series
"The series offered a stimulus for participating scholars as well as an opportunity for historical information to be circulated into the public sphere," Associate Director of the Midlo Center Dr. Connie Atkinson said.
Scholars of national and international renown presented their research to members of the public as well as to students enrolled in the History of New Orleans course, which was taught by Dr. Al Kennedy.
The University of New Orleans Ethel and Herman L. Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies and the department of history offered a history course/lecture series on the history of New Orleans during thespring 2007 semester. The lecture series was free and open to the public.
The lectures were held on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Earl K. Long Library on the Lakefront Campus. Permission has been sought to have the course count toward earning the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association’s Louisiana Certified Travel Professional designation.
In the fall of 2002, the Midlo Center hosted a similar program on the Louisiana Purchase, and in 2004 the UNO department of anthropology held a similar series. Both programs were well attended, said Connie Z. Atkinson, associate director of the Midlo Center. "The series offered a stimulus for participating scholars as well as an opportunity for historical information to be circulated into the public sphere," Atkinson said.
The Midlo Center Public Lecture Series was presented by the UNO Graduate School, and the UNO Earl K. Long Library and the Friends of the Earl K. Long Library are co-sponsors. The history course will be taught by Al Kennedy, a UNO history instructor and longtime associate of the Midlo Center. Kennedy, who was a public information officer with New Orleans Schools for 21 years, is author of Chord Changes on the Chalkboard: How Public School Teachers Shaped Jazz and the Music of New Orleans. Chord Changes was awarded the 2003 Henry Kmen Award for Excellence in New Orleans Music Research by the New Orleans International Music Colloquium.
Connie Z. Atkinson, associate director of the Midlo Center and assistant professor of history, presented the lecture on January 23 titled “Make Way for the Rebirth: Music’s Role in the Imagining and Re-imagining of New Orleans.” Atkinson was editor and publisher of the New Orleans music magazine, Wavelength, for 11 years. Her research interests include New Orleans music, tourism and oral history.
On January 30, Daniel Usner, the Holland M. McTyeire Professor of History and chairman of the history department at Vanderbilt University, spoke on “"From Portage to Marketplace: American Indians in New Orleans.” Usner is author of Indians, Settlers & Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy and American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley. The New Orleans native’s research focuses on the South during the colonial and early national periods and on Indian-United States relations through the 19th century.
On February 6, Mary Niall Mitchell, presented “A Good and Delicious Country, Parts I and II: Free Children of Color Before and After the Civil War,” Mitchell, assistant professor and director of the UNO graduate program in history, Mitchell is author of the forthcoming book, Raising Freedom’s Child: Black Children and Visions of the Future After Slavery. Mitchell received the Constance Rourke prize from the American Studies Association in 2003 for her article, “Rosebloom and Pure White, Or So It Seemed,” published in American Quarterly (September 2002) on Civil War images of white-looking slave girls.
On February 13, Times-Picayune columnist James Gill delivered a timely lecture on “Mardi Gras and the Confederate Legacy.” Gill, a 1963 graduate of the University of Liverpool, came to the United States in 1977 and has penned an op-ed column for The Times-Picayune for 21 years. He has published three books, including two on New Orleans Carnival.
The February 27 lecture featured Ari Kelman, associate professor of history at the University of California Davis, and the topic was “Boundary Issues: Clarifying New Orleans’s Murky Edges.” Kelman served as consultant for the “Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America” film series on the History Channel, as well as several films for the PBS American Experience Documentary Series, including “New Orleans.” His current book is A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek and in the New West. (Harvard University Press, forthcoming).
Kelman is the author of A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans for which he received the 2004 Abbott Lowell Cummings Award. “The work has been widely circulated since Katrina as have his thoughtful commentaries on historians’ response to the disaster,” Atkinson said.
On March 6, Emily Clark, assistant professor of history at Tulane University, spoke on “Catholicism without Priests: Nuns and Slaves, Women and Children in Colonial New Orleans,” Clark is the author of Masterless Mistresses: The New Orleans Ursulines and the Development of a New World Society 1727-1834 and Voices from an Early American Convent: Marie Madeleine Hachard and the New Orleans Ursulines, 1727-1760.
On March 13, local author Ronnie Virgets addressed “The Sportin’ Life.” The native-born New Orleans writer and columnist, Emmy-award winning journalist and television personality is author of Say Cap! The New Orleans Views of Ronnie Virgets and Lost Bread (Pain Perdu) Flavored With a Little Steen’s Cane Syrup.
On March 20, the featured guest lecturer was Walter Johnson, professor of history at Harvard University. Johnson is author of Soul By Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market, a groundbreaking study of slave markets in the American South that garnered praise from historians and six major prizes.
On March 27, Helen Taylor, professor of English at England’s Exeter University, lectured on “New Orleans, World City of Letters.” Taylor is the author of Circling Dixie: Contemporary Southern Culture Through a Transatlantic Lens. Her articles on American southern literature and culture and women’s writing have been widely published.
On April 10, the Midlo Lecture on Civil Rights featured Caryn Cossé Bell, University of Massachusetts Lowell, who presented her interview with A.P. Tureaud Jr., son of the late local civil rights leader. Bell is author of Revolution, Romanticism, and the Afro-Creole Protest Tradition in New Orleans, 1718-1868 which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. A New Orleans native, Bell has a master’s degree in history from UNO and a doctorate from Tulane University. Bell has been a John E. Sawyer Fellow at Harvard University’s Longfellow Institute.
On April 17, Robert L. Dupont, UNO associate professor of history and former dean of Metropolitan College, spoke on “Civic Progressivism in New Orleans in the Berhman Years: The Machine Politician as Reformer.” Dupont is co-author (with Günter Bischof) of The Pacific War Revisited. His areas of academic interest include urban history, the history of New Orleans, progressivism, and World War II.
On April 24, Lawrence N. Powell, professor of history at Tulane University, presented the final lecture in the series, “New Orleans: An Overview.” Powell was recognized in 1999 as the Louisiana Humanist of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and is currently writing a history of New Orleans. A researcher of Southern history, race relations and Holocaust studies, Powell has written several books on Louisiana, including Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke's Louisiana, and Reconstructing Louisiana: Volume VI: Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Series in Louisiana History (ed).
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