Lecture series features USM professors
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 22:03
Andrew Wiest gave a lecture titled “The Boys of ‘67” Wednesday night as part of Phi Alpha Theta’s Lecture Series.
The University of Southern Mississippi’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, a national history honor society, is hosting the lecture series throughout this semester.
Dawne Kennedy, president of the organization, hopes students participate in the series.
“I am excited to be able to share our brilliant faculty with the rest of Southern Miss, who may not always get the opportunity to sit under any of our amazing professors,” Kennedy said.
“I hope lots of history majors and friends of history will come to these lectures,” said Phyllis Jestice, chair of the USM Department of History. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to see how professors conduct their own research and to put them on the spot.”
Wiest, professor and director of War and Society, spoke about his new book, “The Boys of 67: Charlie Company’s War in Vietnam.” According to Wiest, the book follows a single company of men and their experiences in Vietnam, including the 25 deaths and 105 injuries the group of 160 men experienced.
“We tend to argue and write about the big things of war—strategy, effect on culture. But too often we forget the reality of war—what war does to the lives of its young participants,” Wiest said.
Jestice will give the next lecture in the series. “Imperial Ladies: The Dynamics of Women’s Rule at the Turn of the First Millennium” will be held on March 27.
Jestice’s research focuses on Otto III, a king of Germany, who was only three years old when he became king.
“First his mother, then his grandmother, then his aunt ruled for him. Because women’s rule was so strange, it’s a wonderful opportunity to see how German kingship had evolved by this time, so that even a woman could rule,” Jestice said.
Miles Doleac will give the third lecture on April 10, titled “Triclinium Pauperum: Poverty and the Christian Charity to the Time of Gregory the Great (590-604 CE).”
Doleac’s research explores the nature of poverty in Roman antiquity and Christian responses to it.
“Until very recently, Roman historians have written the history of the top one percent: the emperors, their households and their associates. But the vast majority of people inhabiting the cities of the Roman Empire lived in abject poverty or teetered on the brink of it,” Doleac said.
Doleac will focus on the Christians’ relief programs and charity during the time period.
“The Christians, from a very early stage, recognized and sought to ameliorate the plight of these individuals. I would argue that Christian poor relief programs, Christian charity, carried out within a society that possessed no such ideal as such, had a great deal to do with Christianity’s widespread appeal and ultimate success,” Doleac said.
The final installment of the series, Kenneth Swope’s “Hanging by a Silken Thread: The Suicide of the Last Emporer of the Ming Dynasty” will be held on April 24.
Doleac and Weist both view the lecture series as beneficial to the university community.
“I think Phyllis Jestice, Dawne Kennedy and Phi Alpha Theta are doing a great service to the university with this lecture series. I am particularly impressed with the chronological, geographic and thematic scope of these lectures. There truly is something for everyone,” Doleac said.
“Here our students will get to know us as scholars in addition to our role as teachers. We have folks in the history department that fly all over the nation and the world giving talks on our research – what a great opportunity this is for us to talk about our research to the people that matter most, our own students,” Wiest said.
The lectures will be held Wednesdays in Liberal Arts Building room 101 at 5 p.m.