History Department
History Department

Explore History at UT's Open House on March 4

Wed, February 15, 2006

Prof. H.W. Brands
Andrew Jackson and the Birth of American Democracy

11:00-11:40 a.m., Parlin 204

"The election of Andrew Jackson as U.S. president in 1828 marked the coming of age of American democracy. Though somewhat forgotten nowadays, Jackson was the towering figure of American politics during the first half of the nineteenth century," said Prof. H.W. Brands, history professor and author of recently published Andrew Jackson: His Life and Time.

"His presidency included a vigorous assertion of nationalism against the forces of regionalism and secession," Brands added. "This talk will explain what Jackson's contemporary stature says about his era and what his current neglect says about ours."

Associate Prof. Martha Newman
Mary Magdalene, Jesus and The Da Vinci Code

11:00-11:40 a.m., Mezes 1.306

Is there truth to historical claims in Dan Brown's book, The Da Vinci Code? This lecture untangles some of Brown's historical assertions, explores what is known about Mary Magdalene and asks why so many have treated this thriller as more than a novel.

Assistant Prof. Karl Miller
Something's Happening Here: Popular Music and American History

2:00-2:40 p.m., Parlin 102

Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, honky tonks and Motown: popular music offers a window into the past. History professor Karl Miller will use American popular music to explore twentieth-century U.S. history. "We will listen to songs from a variety of eras and talk about what they can tell us about the time in which they were performed as well as what it can tell us about our history and our future," Miller said.

Some questions he will explore:
-- Is music a good way to examine the past? Yes! But it is also more fraught with difficulty than you might think.

-- Does a song represent the feelings of the singer or the composer? The company that sells the recording or the audience that dances to it?

-- What is the relationship between the songs people love, their everyday lives and their sense of themselves?

"Music can reveal a great deal about U.S. history, but we must learn to hear it through many ears simultaneously," he said. The 'Something's Happening Here' talk offers both a survey of American popular music and some pointers on how to listen to the past.”

Complete listing of EXPLORE UT Open House

Photo of Brands by Marsha Miller; Miller by Michelle Bryant

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