2011 Rhodes Institute Faculty

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Milton C. Moreland, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Program in Archaeology, is the Director of the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies. He teaches courses in the Search and Life curricula. An archaeologist and scholar of early Christianity, Prof. Moreland has worked on excavations at ancient archaeological sites in Israel and Cyprus. His publications include articles on Roman period Galilee and Jerusalem and two books on the sayings of Jesus. Prof. Moreland also co-directs the Rhodes archaeology field school at the Ames Plantation in Fayette County, Tennessee. Research opportunities in the 2011 Institute include projects on the history, material culture, or economics of Memphis and the local area; and studying economic development issues related to slavery and plantation life.


John Bass
, Program Manager for the Mike Curb Institute for Music and Assistant Professor of Music, directs the Rhodes Jazz Ensemble and teaches courses on the Music of Africa and African American Music. Dr. Bass holds two degrees in jazz performance from the University of Southern Mississippi (B.M.) and the University of Memphis (M.M.), and a Ph.D. in historical musicology from the University of Memphis. He has presented scholarly papers at national and international conferences and his articles have appeared in Early Music and Performance Practice Review. Opportunities in the 2011 Institute will focus on the musical traditions of Memphis and students will work with the Mike Curb Institute and local music organizations to research and preserve these traditions.

Thomas S. Bremer, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, teaches classes on American religious history, including courses on Religious Diversity in America, American Sacred Space, and The Music of Memphis Religions.  He is author of the book, Blessed with Tourists: The Borderlands of Religion and Tourism in San Antonio, which recounts the history of religious tourist attractions in San Antonio, Texas.  He also has authored articles on religious tourism, pilgrimage, sacred space, and displays of religion in museums, and is currently working on a college textbook of American religious history.  Opportunities in the 2011 Institute include historical research on the religious lives of immigrant and migrant communities; research on African American and Native American religious traditions in urban settings; and on the history of religious musical expression.


A. Victor Coonin
, Associate professor of Art History and Chair of the Art Department, teaches courses in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Art History.  He is widely published in his field of Italian Renaissance Art, having authored numerous catalogue and encyclopedia contributions and major articles in leading academic journals.  A former Fulbright fellow to Italy, his research has been supported by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, among others.  Opportunities in the 2011 Institute will focus on the earliest art collections of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, assembled from 1916-1952.  These include an initial 21 works, 38 paintings from the McCall Collection in Saint Louis, and an important share of the famous Samuel H. Kress Collection.  Topics will vary by student interest and may include issues of connoisseurship, provenance, aesthetics, civic engagement, and public reception both historical and contemporary.


Liz Daggett is an Assistant Professor in Art, and teaches courses in digital art: photography, documentary filmmaking, experimental filmmaking, and animation. She is also the Director of CODA, the Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts, www.rhodes.edu/coda and has made many award-winning documentaries and experimental films. As part of the Rhodes Institute in 2010, she will consult students on how to shoot and edit images; she will also work with a Rhodes student on a documentary made in conjunction with Cypress Middle students that aims to tell a story of relevance to their lives. Students interested in film, media, urban studies, or education, and who have a sense of adventure, should contact Prof. Daggett.

David Jilg, Associate Professor of Theatre and alumnus of the College, has designed sets and/or costumes for nearly one hundred productions in Memphis, New Orleans and elsewhere, half of them for the McCoy Theatre during his teaching career at Rhodes. Award-winning designs include The Seagull (1998), J.B. (1999), Gianni Schicchi (2002), and Ubu Roi (2006). In addition to teaching design, his academic interests include Spanish American drama. He has directed several Spanish language productions with student actors, most recently La noche de los asesinos (2007). Research opportunities will focus on a multimedia history of the McCoy Theatre at Rhodes. Students interested in regional history, documentary film production, theatre or oral history should contact Professor Jilg.


Leigh M. Johnson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, teaches courses in contemporary European philosophy and social/political philosophy, including courses on Existentialism, Humanism and Human Rights, Feminist Theory and the Philosophy of Race.  She is also a participating faculty member in Rhodes′ African-American Studies Program, the Gender and Sexuality Studies program, and the interdisciplinary-humanities Search for Values program.  Her research and publications primarily focus on issues of justice, democracy, human rights and their violation.  In the 2011 Institute, she will direct research projects focused on particular civil and/or human rights problems in the Memphis area.  Students interested in philosophy, political theory, history, democracy and law should contact Professor Johnson for more information about her projects.


Robert Saxe, Associate Professor of History, teaches courses in 20th Century US history, political history, and war and society. His book, “Settling Down”: World War II Veterans’ Challenge to the Postwar Consensus (2007) examines the return of World War II veterans and their impact on Cold War American politics and culture. As part of the Rhodes Institute in 2011, he will direct research projects focusing on recently processed collections at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. Additional information about research topics can be found at http://clintonlibrary.gov/textual-systematic.html. Students interested in history, political science, archival research or presidential politics should contact Professor Saxe for more information about his project.