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Brenda Jackson-Abernathy

Dr. Brenda Jackson-Abernathy

A little about myself . . . I am a transplanted Westerner and grew up in Idaho and California. I earned my B.A. and M.A. degrees at San Jose State University in California, and my doctorate at Washington State University in Pullman, under the tutelage of my hero, Sue Armitage, a pioneer in western women's history. I taught at San Jose State University, Washington State University, the University of Idaho, and Gonzaga University before joining the History faculty at Belmont in the fall of 2003.  I teach 18th and 19th century U.S. history courses, as well as courses on Latin American history and Women's history.  I also teach the History Department's Junior-level research and writing course and, with my friend Darlene Panvini in the Biology Department, teach a linked cohort.  In 2005, the University of Nebraska Press published my manuscript, Domesticating the West. The Re-creation of the Nineteenth-Century American Middle Class, as well as a new edition of The Wide Northwest, the reminiscences of a 19th-century schoolteacher, with my Introduction.

My husband, Jack, is a native Tennessean, and I have two step-daughters, Sarah and Hannah, 7th and 4th grades, respectively.  I am an avid sports fan and grew up watching the Oakland A's and Raiders during their glory years.  I was privileged - though didn't know it then - to attend both World Series and NFL playoff games in Oakland.  My husband is a UT grad and we make the trek to Knoxville to cheer on the Vols (though the Pac-10 will always be first in my heart - GO COUGS!) We are also Nashville Predators' fans, attend the symphony and theater, and enjoy traveling and visiting historic sites.

I love history - and have since I was a little girl.  I love teaching history and helping students understand there is much more to its study than the memorization of names and dates.  My goal is for students to understand the world around them - and the best way to do that is to study the history of a particular place or people.  "Understanding" doesn't necessarily mean "agreeing with" - a hard lesson for students to learn, but once they do - the world is their oyster!  As the great philosopher Aristotle wrote, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Think about it - and take a history class!!