Department of History News

Professor Recalls Chance Meeting with Mandela

Catherine Higgs

The recent passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela caused one UT professor to recall her chance meeting with him. Catherine Higgs, professor of history and vice chair of Africana studies, met Mandela in the Johannesburg airport in February 1991, a year after he was released after serving twenty-seven years in jail for protesting against the apartheid state.

UT’s Latest Volume of Jackson Papers Exposes “Most Lurid Year” in Presidency

Andrew Jackson

A woman with a dubious reputation. Presidential cabinet members at each other’s throats. A president with a conspiracy theory. It’s not a fictional story of political intrigue. It’s real-life drama—detailed through the correspondence chronicled in the ninth volume of The Papers of Andrew Jackson, recently published by the University of Tennessee Press.

Fifty Years Ago in Dallas: JFK Presidency, Assassination Change History


Fifty years ago—on November 22, 1963—President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, forever changing American politics. How might history have been different had that fateful day in Dallas not occurred? How did the assassination color the legacy of Kennedy’s short presidency? “The difficulty of assessing Kennedy, which is also part of his glittering memory, is that he was cut off at precisely the right moment,” history professor Dan Feller said. “One is free to imagine all kinds of promises, some of which might have been fulfilled and some of which might have not.”

UT’s Newest Volume of Polk Letters Casts Light on Mexican War Era

A critical seven-month period in one of America’s most transformational presidencies is revealed in the latest installment in the Correspondence of James K. Polk series. Volume 12 of the Polk series, encompassing letters from January to July 1847, was edited by Tom Chaffin and Michael David Cohen of UT’s history department. It was published by UT Press.

Faculty News and Notes

Honors and awards for the university’s faculty and graduate students.

UT’s Baker Center, Y-12 to Host Foreign Policy Expert Next Week

Noted foreign policy expert Walter Russell Mead will visit the campus on April 2 and 3. Mead will present a lecture titled “American Strategy in the Atomic Age” at 5:00 p.m. on April 2. At noon on April 3 there will be a panel discussion on “Public Intellectuals and Blogging” featuring Mead and Glenn Reynolds, professor in the UT College of Law and author of the blog “Instapundit.”

Bing West to speak at UT’s Thirteenth Annual Charles W. Johnson Lecture

Bing West, former assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, will speak on campus on Tuesday, March 13. West, an author and blogger, will deliver a 5:00 p.m. lecture in the Hermitage Room of the University Center. A meet-and greet will be held at 4:00 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.