LAWRENCE — The Hall Center for the Humanities has announced the winners of the Visiting Regional Humanities Faculty Program. Rachel Goossen, professor of history, Washburn University; Heather McCrea, associate professor of history, Kansas State University, and Rebeccah Bechtold, assistant professor of English, Wichita State University, will work on humanities scholarship and teaching improvement projects while in residence at the Hall Center for approximately 3-4 weeks in 2017. The William T. Kemper Foundation—Commerce Bank, Trustee, and the Sosland Foundation of Kansas City have made this project possible.
Goossen’s project, “Finding a Home: LGBTQ Mennonite Leaders and Denominational Identity,” aims to document, analyze and interpret Mennonite leaders’ experiences, particularly those who, in past decades, have left congregations and/or related institutions due to LGBTQ exclusion. The study emphasizes the range of theological and historical perspectives gained by church leaders in — and then moving beyond — Anabaptist/Mennonite faith traditions. Goossen intends to utilize Watson Library to conduct a literature review and connect with scholars both previously and currently in residence at the Hall Center, including former Sias Fellow Stephanie Krehbiel and faculty seminar directors Sherrie Tucker and Akiko Takeyama.
McCrea intends to conduct research and make progress on her publication "Gulf of Disease: Environment, Medicine, and the Construction of the Tropics in Latin America." The Kenneth Spencer Research Library contains many collections of relevance to this topic, including the Hollis Hedberg collection; the papers of Bishop John Gregg; the John Montgomery, Harvey Family and Frank Hodders papers; the William White Collection and the Shane-Thompson papers. Using this research, McCrea will untangle the complicated relationships between medical and sanitary scientists, foreign laborers and regional statesmen as they strove to survive and eradicate debilitating diseases like yellow fever and malaria during the late-19th and early-20th centuries.
Becthold’s time at the Hall Center will be spent working on a hybrid writing and teaching project, seeking to examine the distinct role of humanities teachers in the modern classroom’s social construction of diversity, exploring possible answer to the increasingly pressing question of how we can create an “engaged,” yet racially aware, literature classroom with a student body dominated by white experiences. The resources made available through the Spencer Research Library, the Langston Hughes Center and the Center for Teaching Excellence will be especially vital to this work
For more information on the Hall Center’s resident fellows, including how to apply for a Humanities Research or Creative Work Fellowship, please visit the Hall Center’s website at hallcenter.ku.edu.