Students Begin Summer Research Through Regional Studies

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Publication Date: 6/15/2009


The Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies, founded in 2003, begins today and runs through August 7. The program is dedicated to furthering academic research on Memphis and the Mid-South region. Below are project descriptions of this summer’s fellows.

Amy Bower ’11, an art major, is working with Professor Milton Moreland on cataloging and analyzing ceramic artifacts found at the Rhodes Ames Plantation excavation site in Fayette County, Tenn.  She also will examine the history of regional stores and commercial trade patterns in the area during the antebellum period.

Brent Butgereit ’11, an economics major, is working with Professor Tom Bremer to study African-American religious traditions in the Mid-South region. Butgereit’s project will culminate in a Web site presentation of visual images and sound recordings that will supplement Professor Bremer′s forthcoming textbook on the history of religion in America.

Lee Bryant ’11, a theatre major, is working with Professor David Jilg on a project that explores how Memphis has been shaped by the theatre arts. She will conduct interviews with individuals who have influenced local theatre with focus on Circuit Playhouse, Playhouse on the Square, TheatreWorks and Circuit Playhouse’s Jeanne and Henry Varnell Theatre Arts Education Building.

Danielle Fincher ’10, a neuroscience major, is working with Professor Kim Gerecke on a project that explores the neuroprotective effects of exercise and an enriched environment on chronic stress. Her research also will include developing strategies for teaching lessons about the development of the brain to elementary and junior high students in Memphis.

Cameron Goodman ’11, an undeclared major, is working with Professor Carole Blankenship on the topic of African-American spirituals in the context of the Mid-South.  He is particularly interested in very recent developments in African-American spirituals expressing ideas about power and culture. He will conduct interviews and analyze song lyrics in order to better understand the impact of the genre.

Josie Holland ’11, a music major, also is working with Professor Carole Blankenship to write about the life of the Rev. William Herbert Brewster (1897-1987). Holland’s research focuses on Brewster’s leadership at East Trigg Baptist Church, his involvement in the Memphis civil rights movement, his radio programs on WDIA radio and his contributions to gospel music. 

Brendan Keegan ’10, a philosophy major, is working with Professor Tom Bremer on a project about the religious lives of Sudanese refugees in Memphis. He will research how the beliefs and practices of the Sudanese community have been shaped by their persecution in Sudan and their ordeals since coming to the United States.

Jami King ’11, an undeclared major, also is working with Professor Tom Bremer about the history and legacy of the Social Gospel movement. King is investigating the rise of Christian groups that associate with this movement and more recent uses of Social Gospel ideas. She will interview members of  local churches and organizations that assert a Social Gospel doctrine.

Anna Kolobova ’11 is working with Professor Kim Gerecke to examine if exercise is beneficial in counteracting neuronal damage from common toxins such as those released by chronic stress.  She will test the effects of exercise and living conditions on the brain as well as work with Professor Gerecke on developing lessons about the brain for children in the Memphis community. 

Cailin Meyer ’10, a history major, is working with Professor Milton Moreland to examine the history and rise of John Jones, one of the largest landowners in antebellum Tennessee who accumulated 5,000 acres of land and more than 500 enslaved people. In her research, she will use primary sources such as land surveys, maps, land deeds, wills, diaries, personal letters, tax records and slave census records.
 
Kayla Miller ’11, an English major, is working with Professor Carole Blankenship to document the life and work of the Rev. William Herbert Brewster (1897-1987). Miller will attempt to find primary documents that clarify the important role that Brewster had in the history of music, performance and cultural history in the Mid-South.

Elizabeth Moak ’11, an undeclared major, is working with Professor David Jilg to study the way that theatre has the power to affect change in society. Her research will focus on specific theatrical productions in Memphis to demonstrate how theatre has changed the city of Memphis.

Gayatri Patel ’10, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, is working with Professor Kim Gerecke to study preventative care in guarding against brain xenobiotics. She also will prepare lessons for teaching middle school students about the brain.  She is particularly interested in educating students about the concept of neuroplasticity and brain anatomy.

Rebekah Pykosh ’11, an international studies major, is working with Professor David Jilg to explore how elements of theatre exist in religious services.  She is particularly interested in comparing and contrasting worship practices in two ethnically diverse Catholic churches in Memphis while addressing the question: At what points does theatre intersect religion or vice versa?

Sarah Rogers ’11, a double major in economics and Greek and Roman studies, is working with Professor Milton Moreland on the history of the Reconstruction period in the Memphis region, particularly on the Ames Plantation land base. She will study maps and census records as well as explore the lives of several Ames sharecroppers and landowners.

Jonathan Schwartz ’11, a bridge major in international studies and history, is working with Professor Robert Saxe in the Clinton Library archives. His research will examine how the Clinton administration dealt with the operation in Somalia and how foreign policy decisions that were made in the United States impacted U. S. relations and involvement with African nations. 

Elizabeth A. Steen ’12, a history major, also is working with Professor Robert Saxe at the Clinton Library. Her research focuses on the health care industry and consumer protection. In general, she is interested in sustainable development relating to health and the environment. She chose this topic because of its current and future significance to the American voter and consumer.

Daniel Williford ’11, a double major in French and history, is working with Professor Robert Saxe at the Clinton Library. His research deals with presidential policies toward Native Americans, specifically the extent to which the Clinton administration supported the preservation of Native American languages and cultural practices.

The Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies, part of Rhodes CARES (Center for Academic Research and Education through Service), is made possible by the generous support of the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust of Wichita Falls, Texas, and the Mike Curb Family Foundation.