Rhodes Institute Faculty & Staff

2021 Faculty and Staff

Charles McKinney
Director, Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies
Associate Professor of History and Director of the Africana Studies Program
Office: Buckman Hall 213
Phone: (901) 843-3525
Email: mckinneyc@rhodes.edu

Charles McKinney, Associate Professor of History, Chair of Africana Studies, and Director of the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies is a specialist in African-American history and twentieth century U.S. social history, particularly the history of the Civil Rights Movement. He is the author of Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina, which chronicles a movement from the 1930s to the 1970’s. His current research focuses on the impact of local leadership on civil rights activity in Memphis, and his regional interests include the history of segregation, civil rights, and social justice movements in Memphis. Previous Institute mentorship projects have included historical research on Civil Rights activity in Memphis and surrounding communities; research on African American political activity in Memphis; and gender dynamics within the Civil Rights movement.

Joy Fairfield
Assistant Professor of Theatre
Office: McCoy Theatre 131
Phone: 901-843-3937
Email: fairfieldj@rhodes.edu

Joy Brooke Fairfield joins the Department of Theatre as Assistant Professor. Dr. Fairfield just received her Ph.D. in the department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Stanford University where she won the Charles M. Lyons award for outstanding dissertation for her manuscript "Fugitive Intimacies: The Unsettling Vows of Queer Wedlock Performance." She received her MA from New York University and her BA from Harvard University and her teaching interests include Performance Studies, Queer and Trans Theory, Feminist Theories and Methods, History of Theatre and Performance, Political and Protest Performance, Playwriting/Screenwriting, Acting, and Directing.

Charles Hughes
Director, Lynne & Henry Turley Memphis Center
Office:  West Campus Education Building 206
Phone: (901) 843-3379
Email: hughesc@rhodes.edu

Dr. Charles L. Hughes is the Director of the Lynne & Henry Turley Memphis Center at Rhodes College, where he designs courses, programs and partnerships. Dr. Hughes received a Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012. His recent course offerings include The History of Memphis; Beale Street: The Past, Present and Future; Elvis Presley and America; Introduction to Urban Studies; and The Music of the American South. His acclaimed first book, Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2015. He has published essays and delivered presentations on a wide variety of topics. He is currently working on a book about the history of African-Americans and professional wrestling in the United States, as well as several articles.

Tait Keller
Associate Professor of History
Office: Buckman Hall 212
Phone: (901) 843-3655
Email: kellert@rhodes.edu

Dr. Tait Keller is an Associate Professor and Chair of History and former Chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences. His first book, Apostles of the Alps: Mountaineering, Nature, and Nationhood in Germany and Austria examines various political, social, and cultural values that outdoor enthusiasts and recreational clubs project onto landscapes. His current research focuses on energy production, distribution, and consumption in times of war and how those processes impact marginalized people, particularly communities of color and indigenous populations. With his interdisciplinary background in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, he teaches classes on disease and epidemics, war and the environment, energy, environment and society, natural resource conservation, and environmental justice.

Shaolu Yu
Assistant Professor of Urban Studies
Office: Education Building, West Campus
Phone: (901) 843-3340
Email: yus@rhodes.edu

Dr. Shaolu Yu is an urban geographer. Her current research interests include: Urban Space and Place-making, Transportation Geography and Mobility, Transnational migration and cities, Race and Ethnicity, Urban Segregation, and Asian Urbanism. She is also interested in applying cartography and GIS in visualizing and analyzing spatial data. Her ongoing research projects include "Triangulated Between White and Black: Chinese in the Mid-South" and "Sexuality and Urban Space in the South." She also continues her research interest in Asian Urbanization, particularly the social, cultural, and spatial changes in Asian cities under the impacts of globalization and neoliberalism. Her papers have been published in the journals The Professional Geographer, Urban Geography, Geographical Review, and the Journal of Transport Geography.

Tyler Fritts
Adjunct instructor of Music
Archives Manager and Team Lead at the Mike Curb Institute for Music
Office: 101 Hassell Hall
Phone: (859) 585-1097
Email: fritts@rhodes.edu

Dr. J. Tyler Fritts is an ethnomusicologist and ethnographer that has taught classes in African American Music, the blues, American popular music, World Music, and the music of Latin America; he has also taught Music, Myth, and Magic, a course that focuses on the connection between mythology, folklore, and music. He currently serves as the Archives Manager and Writing/Research/Archives Team Lead at the Mike Curb Institute of Music, where he oversees the series Beyond Beale, a student-run podcast that explores Memphis music and music communities through original ethnographic and historical research. Fritts’s research focuses on community, tradition, myth, and identity in American folk and popular music, specifically in the blues and the music of Memphis. He has presented his work at local, national, and international conferences. His article on blues composition can be found in the Winter 2020 edition of the journal Ethnomusicology. His essay and liner notes on Memphis blues musician Furry Lewis will be published as part of the upcoming Memphis Blues: 1914 – 1969 Box Set by Bear Family Records. In 2019, he served as the Visiting Professor of Popular Music and Media at Universität Paderborn in Paderborn, Germany.