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Letter from the Chair

Welcome to Winthrop University’s Department of History, home to a cohort of teacher-scholars dedicated to guiding students in an exploration of the past and of how that past has shaped and continues to shape a diverse human experience. Join Dr. J. Edward Lee as he applies research from his numerous books to award-winning teaching, introducing students to the fertile resources of Winthrop’s Louise Pettus Archives and the South Carolina State Archives for one of the richest experiences available to any student of history. Follow Dr. Gregory Crider, our Ellison Capers Palmer, Jr. Professor and co-editor of The Latin Americanist, as he presents an elucidating analysis of revolutions in the Americas or leads an exhilarating discussion on the history of Mexico. Take a class with Dr. Andrew Doyle on the American South or the history of American sports; or maybe engage him in a stimulating discussion of his current book project on college football’s relationship to southern culture in the early twentieth century.

Find yourself immersed in the history of China with Dr. Catherine Chang (faculty advisor for the history honors society, Phi Alpha Theta) or accompany her on a study abroad adventure to explore the history of the Middle Kingdom while standing atop The Great Wall. Study with Dr. Dave Pretty as he taps years of experience in European archives to offer insight into German and Russian history or, perhaps, for an in-depth examination of the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. Return to the real “Game of Thrones” with medievalist Dr. Greg Bell, who not only offers some of our most popular classes, but also directs the Medieval Studies program. Dr. Bell draws on extensive research in European repositories both to inform his scholarship and to breathe life into characters such as Peter the Hermit and Richard Lionheart during an entire week of medieval events each spring. For history a bit closer to the present, students will find Dr. Jennifer Dixon-McKnight’s “Black Women in America” and the “Modern Civil Rights Movement” both enlightening and inspiring. Approach her in class or in her almost-always-open office about her fascinating work on “Black Women Hospital Workers and the Charleston Hospital Strike, 1967-1970,” the subject of a future monograph that is certain to garner attention from a wide range of readers.

Longtime member of the department and now Director of Peace, Justice, and Conflict Resolution Studies and the Individualized Studies programs–Dr. Virginia Williams–teaches popular classes for the department on American Social Movements and US-Latin American relations. Join her in class or on a unique (and for many, “life-changing”) service-learning course that takes students to Nicaragua to work with a village school she founded in 2007, The Winthrop School. Or maybe take a class with me that examines the foreign policy of Manifest Destiny and the international dimensions of the American Civil War; or just drop by for a chat about my new book on Daniel Webster. As you can see, Winthrop’s history department provides a host of academic opportunities for majors, minors, social studies students, and all intrigued by the past who hope to develop or enhance careers ranging from the courtroom to the classroom and from Wall Street to Main Street. If you are interested in joining us on this journey, please contact me or any of my colleagues. And again, welcome to our department.


Dr. Donald A. Rakestraw

Dr. Donald Rakestraw
Department of History


 

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