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Dr. Andrew McMichael
Assistant Dean, Associate Professor, of History, Interim Department Head, English
Phone: (270) 745-2344; (270)-745-3046
My teaching follows my research interests, to a large degree. At the same time, I want my personal interests to influence my teaching as well, which I believe helps keep my classes "fresh" for students. I believe that students should be challenged to think about history in new ways, that they should think about how history is packaged in the public space, and the ways that a knowledge of history can help them better understand their own time. If my classes don't challenge students's identity, their assumptions about the world in which they live, and their social and cultural viewpoints, then I'm not doing my job. I lecture, but we also spend a great deal of time discussing readings, concepts, and problems. I hope to challenge students to think in new ways. As an example, in my Western Civ class we are playing two computer games-Civilization and Europa Universalis. Both are sim-type games that require the player to lead a "country" to prominence in some way. How are these games packaged? Do they reflect reality in some way? What reality are they intended to reflect, and what does the format and popularity of these games suggest about the way that history is "sold" in the public sphere? I have published an article on this topic that appears in the February, 2007 issue of The History Teacher. In spring, 2008, I am team-teaching my "Cultural History of Alcohol" class as "The History and Science of Beer and Brewing" with Rodney King in Biology. As part of the class we'll be making ten gallons of beer every other week. We will do tastings, learn the history of alcohol, the culturing of yeast, the chemical processes that go into brewing, basic enzymology and fermentative metabolism. Hands-on learning!
My primary scholarly interest is colonial American Atlantic World, focusing on British colonial North America and its connections with Latin America. My first monograph, Atlantic Loyalties: Americans in Spanish West Florida, 1785-1810, is out from the University of Georgia Press. I am currently working on several projects related to the colonial Atlantic World. My current research interests tend towards food and drink, most specifically in the area of alcohol consumption. I am currently in the research and planning stages of a series of books that will explore the history and use (past and present) of food and wine, spirits, and beer. My current work in the dean’s office, where I now spend most of my time, centers around curriculum development and grant writing.
My other interests include the use of computers and history. I serve as a consultant for several history projects and have written a couple of articles on the subject and taught a course on history and the Internet. I work with the Ecclesiastical Sources in Slave Societies project, "advanc[es] the study of slavery and the African diaspora by identifying, inventorying, and creating a digital archive of rich, underutilized, and at-risk ecclesiastical sources for Africans and persons of African descent in Brazil, Cuba, and the Spanish circum-Caribbean." Additionally I wrote a short book on teaching students how to use the Internet to do history.
Ph.D., Vanderbilt, 2000
Fields: Atlantic World, Borderlands, Colonial/Revolutionary/Early America