Local history course at Tusculum attracts likely record number of participants for a class at the university

GREENEVILLE – A special summer course at Tusculum University designed to highlight Greene County’s heritage and its connection to regional and national history has attracted what organizers believe is the largest number of participants ever in a class at the institution.

Dr. Angela Keaton, foreground, poses with some course participants, who are in the background.

Dr. Angela Keaton, professor of history, delivered the keynote address for the first session of “A History of Greene County in Six Objects” Tuesday, June 29. Her presentation, “History in Stuff: An Introduction to Material Culture,” will be followed by others delivered by her and her colleagues in the Tusculum history program July 13, July 20, July 27, Aug. 3 and Aug. 10.

Tusculum has registered 240 people for the course, including Tusculum students and employees, as well as community members. Registrants are attending in the Meen Center lecture hall on the Greeneville campus or participating via the Zoom virtual platform.

“This outstanding class size not only demonstrates people’s interest in local history and its relationship to global society but also reinforces Tusculum’s commitment to civic engagement,” said Wayne Thomas, dean of the College of Civic and Liberal Arts. “We are delighted to see this level of interest in the series from community members and the Tusculum family and are grateful for their participation. We are also thrilled to highlight the expertise of our faculty.”

Those who are interested in participating in the series can register, without receiving academic credit, until Monday, July 12. The deadline to register and earn academic credit ended Friday, July 2. To register, please visit https://home.tusculum.edu/6-objects/.

Dr. Angela Keaton gives the keynote address for the first session of “A History of Greene County in Six Objects” Tuesday, June 29.

The class is free for anyone who does not seek academic credit. All faculty members who are making presentations are donating their time to this endeavor.

Dr. Keaton developed the lecture series in a creative and fun way that highlights imagery and tangible objects. In addition to ideas she already had, Dr. Keaton was inspired by suggestions made by participants in the 2020 summer course, “Pandemic! Perspectives,” that Tusculum develop a course with a focus on Greene County history.

“Even though every individual is different, this course will remind all of us that we share common bonds with our fellow human beings,” Dr. Keaton said. “The course is a fascinating way to look at objects people used that can still resonate in someone’s life today. Our class is interactive and enables attendees to draw on their own knowledge, perhaps from family lore, and grow in their understanding of local and national history. We are excited by the response we have received.”

The remaining presentations are:

  • July 13 – “The Book ‘Dubiorum Evangelicorum’ Volume 3 by Friderick Spanheim” as part of a presentation on the Colonial Period by Dr. Joel Van Amberg, professor of history and chairman of the History, Museum Studies and Religion Department
  • July 20 – “The McClure Desk” as part of a lecture on the Revolution and Early Republic by Dr. Keaton
  • July 27 – “Haun Pottery” as part of a presentation about the Civil War and Reconstruction by Dr. Jeffrey Perry, assistant professor of history
  • Aug. 3 – “Tobacco Basket” as part of a presentation about the early 20th century by Dr. Peter Noll, associate professor of public history and museum studies
  • Aug. 10 – “Cast Iron Kettle” as part of a presentation on the mid-20th century by Dr. Keaton

To learn more about the course, please visit https://home.tusculum.edu/6-objects/. Additional information about the university is available at www.tusculum.edu.