History department presents Ballenger Lecture
TNE Editor
/ Categories: Feature, Campus

History department presents Ballenger Lecture

Published 1/31/19

Omar Ortiz Vega

TNE Writer

The Ballenger Lecture is the History department’s annual lecture series. The lecture is named after Dr. Thomas Lee Ballenger who taught at NSU for several decades. The topic of the lecture for 2019 is ‘Preserving Native Arts’.

“It is the history department’s premier event,” said Dr. Christopher Owen, Ballenger Organizing Committee chair. “We are trying to make the event grow so it will be bigger every year. Dr. Ballenger did a lot of work with Cherokee and local history for a long time, and the lecture series is intended to honor him.”

Ballenger taught at NSU various areas of American and world history, as well as political science. At NSU, he created the department of Special Collections, which contains over thousands of documents detailing the history of Cherokee Indians. He wrote various books including ‘Around Tahlequah council fires’ which is an anthology of myths and stories concerning Tahlequah. In 1951, he was awarded an honorary membership to the Oklahoma Historical Society. 

“The lecture is intended as a showcase for historical scholarship, and it is also a window for our students to see what top notch historians do,” said Owen. “Every year we invite distinguished lecturers from the region and even nationally to come in and talk about their scholarship to our students.” 

The speaker for this year’s Ballenger lecture is Dr. Patti Loughlin, Department of History and Geography Graduate Studies director, at the University of Central Oklahoma. Loughlin also serves on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Historical Society. 

“Dr. Loughlin has been doing very distinguished work in western, women’s and Oklahoma history,” said Owen. “After the lecture Loughlin will be speaking with some of our major students and other pupils interested wanting to pursue that field.”

Loughlin specializes in the history of the American West, women’s history and American Indian History. She has written books which have garnered many awards including ‘Angie Debo, Daughter of the Prairie’, which received the 2018 Oklahoma Book Award for children and young adults. 

“I am looking forward to visiting the campus for the lecture on Thursday,” said Loughlin. “I am very thankful for the opportunity.”

Loughlin’s presentation discusses the writer Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant and her role in the founding of the Indian Arts Fund in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the early 1920s. The larger project will trace Sergeant’s political activism in her work with John Collier and others as part of a community of writers, artists and anthropologists in the American Southwest during the 1920s and 1930s.

“The Ballenger lecture is the History Department's signature public event open to students, faculty and the general public,” said Dr. Iain Anderson, history chair. 

The Ballenger Lecture is at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31 in room 302 in the University Center. There is a reception following the lecture. 

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