Dr. Stewart Dippel, professor of political science at University of the Ozarks, is the editor of a new scholarly book that offers a narrative history of the relationship between the British Parliament and the Crown during the 18th century.
The book, which was released this month, is titled, “The Struggle for the Scepter: A Study of the British Monarchy and Parliament in the Eighteenth Century.” It was written by Dr. Clayton Roberts and published by Peter Lang Inc.
Dippel, who has taught at Ozarks since 1992, said Roberts was his Ph.D. advisor when Dippel was a graduate student at Ohio State University. Roberts, who died in 2018, was a professor of history at Ohio State from 1952 to 1991.
While Roberts’ works included a textbook of English/British history and a book on historiography, his scholarly focus was on the political history of England during the 17th century. He published two previous books on the topic.
“The Struggle for the Scepter” is in essence a sequel advancing the argument into the 18th century, according to Dippel.
“Upon Dr. Roberts’ passing a little over a year ago, his widow reached out to me to see if I could put his last book manuscript in order and get it published,” Dippel said.
Dippel is considered a leading academic in 17th century religious history and has written several books on the topic, including “A Study of Religious Thought at Oxford and Cambridge, 1590-1640,” (1987); “The Professionalization of the English Church from 1560-1700: Ambassadors for Christ,” (1999); “The Sacralization of the World in the Seventeenth Century: The Experience of Holiness in Everyday Life,” (2009); and “The Fast Day Sermons Before the Long Parliament (1640-1660): Their Role in Shaping Intellectual and Political Life in 17th-Century England,” (2014).
In 2017, he also wrote, “Redeemed at Countless Cost: The Recovery of Iconographic Theology and Religious Experience from 1850-2000.”
Dippel was the recipient of the University’s Bagwell Outstanding Faculty Award in 2004. He also serves as the college’s faculty athletic representative.University of the Ozarks on Wednesday rededicated the J.T. Patterson Administrative Services Office in memory of the University’s long-time business manager. In front of numerous family, friends and University employees, the newly remodeled office suite was rededicated during a ceremony in the lobby of the Mabee Administration Building. Patterson, who passed away in 2000, served as business manager at Ozarks for 38 years, retiring in 1982. “We in leadership positions at Ozarks well know, and regularly and humbly acknowledge, that we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us,” said U of O President Richard Dunsworth. “These giants of Ozarks’ past endured, and persevered, and led through times and challenges so daunting that the institution’s very existence was sometimes threatened. Today, with J.T.’s amazing legacy in mind, we have a great opportunity to celebrate this giant by rededicating the newly remodeled Office of Administrative Services in his honor.” The ceremony was attended by several members of the Patterson family, including J.T. and Lucile Patterson’s two children, Dr. Jack Patterson and his wife, Lisa, and Ann Patterson. Both Jack and Ann Patterson are graduates of Ozarks. Also in attendance were J.T.’s niece, Beth Patterson Duvall; granddaughter Katie Patterson Bradley; and grandson Jay Patterson and his wife Sarah and their son, J.T. “For J.T. to be honored and memorialized in this way by the University means everything to our family,” said Jay Patterson. “This University meant so much to my grandfather as well as my grandmother and to see that Ozarks still holds him in such high esteem is very humbling. This University is in our family’s bloodlines and in our marrow and we’re so grateful that the family name will continue on here with this honor.” The J.T. Patterson Administrative Services Office houses the University’s student records and registrar functions, financial aid, work study reimbursement and student billing offices. “Not only does J.T.’s name above the door celebrate his legacy at Ozarks, so, too, does the design of the office suite,” Dunsworth said. “J.T.’s work to help students attend Ozarks is legendary. The personal time and attention he and his staff would give our students, now alumni, was exceptional. We hope and feel that he would very much like the way reception for students and access to convenient, one-stop help has been enhanced through these services.” Born in 1915 in northern Johnson County, J.T. Patterson attended what was then The College of the Ozarks and Draughon's Business College in Dallas, where he met his wife, Lucile. The couple were married Dec. 24, 1937, in Hubbard, Texas, the same year as his graduation from Draughon's. He worked as an accountant for Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Company in Dallas until 1943, when he returned to Clarksville to serve as business manager for the University. He retired from that position in June of 1980. The University administration asked him to return in September of 1981, and Patterson worked another year. His career at the University spanned 38 years and he served under 10 presidents. Other special guests during the ceremony were alumnus and long-time friend of the Pattersons, Dr. Don Pennington of Clarskville, and life-long friend Ann Murphy Lafferty of Gloucester, Mass., the daughter of long-time Ozarks librarian Lucille Murphy.
Matt Arant, a 2012 Ozarks graduate, will begin a next chapter of his life this fall at Mercer Law School in Macon, Ga.
Matt Arant, who graduated from Ozarks in 2012 with a major in history and literature, will attend Mercer Law School in the fall.
Arant, originally from Georgetown, Texas, came to Ozarks to study history, but his plans changed after he discovered a love of literature.
"After taking a couple of literature classes, I started to explore adding an English minor," he said. "When the history and literature major came along a short while later, I knew it was perfect for me. Combining history and literature in one program offers another level of understanding these two subjects. Most literature is not written in a vacuum, and authors are cognizant of events happening while they are writing. Applying the events occurring at the time of publication can influence the way literature is interpreted."
Arant, who graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors in 2012, was accepted to several graduate programs both in the United States and Great Britain. He credits the history and literature program at Ozarks with preparing him to think critically and analytically, which, he believes, will serve him well at Mercer.
"A liberal arts education promotes analytical thinking above all else, and the history and literature program has done a good job keeping those ideals in place," Arant explained.
"For example, in Dr. [David] Strain's literature classes, he encouraged us to write about subjects that have not been exhaustively examined as long as they could be backed up with convincing evidence or textual support. This allowed me to write papers comparing John Wilkes Booth to Brutus of Julius Caesar and how minstrel shows produced in 19th century America contradicted Shakespeare's portrayal of Othello. I feel that Ozarks' trademark small class sizes and encouragement to 'think outside the box,' especially regarding research, has more than adequately prepared me for the nuances of studying and later practicing law," he said.
Arant is happy to have had the chance to study two of his favorite subjects at once and hopes other students will take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by the history and literature program at Ozarks.
"I hope that this program continues to thrive. I feel that Ozarks does a great job in preparing students for not only the workplace but also graduate and professional schools," he said.For many of us, an evening at the movies is time that we really look forward to. There's just something about watching a story unfold on the big screen that draws us in, bringing out powerful emotions such as joy, sadness, or fear in a way that few other forms of entertainment can. But through a special film series here at Ozarks, a night at the movies can do even more...it can also change the way we look at the history of mankind. "Historians at the Movies" is a series of movie nights organized by Dr. Steve Oatis, Ozarks associate professor of history, and Dr. Karen Frank, Ozarks assistant professor of history. As the name implies, the series features screenings of historically themed movies - normally six such films each semester. Each film screening is followed by an informal discussion which delves deeper into the characters, the plot, and the accuracy and significance of the history portrayed in the film. "The idea was originally Judy's," said Oatis, referring to Dr. Judy Walden, a former Ozarks history professor. "She thought film was a way to emphasize different things, so she started holding movie nights the second or third year we were here." Oatis said that although Walden selected the films and arranged for their showing, he would occasionally come in to help commentate on a film or lead a discussion. When Walden left Ozarks, Oatis said he wanted to grow the idea she had started. He approached his new colleague, Dr. Karen Frank, to see what she thought about continuing the movie program or even expanding it further. Frank was quickly on board with the idea. "This was something that I had done as a grad student as part of Phi Alpha Theta, which is the history honor society, at University of Akron," she said. "What we would do was organize the series, then invite professors to come in to present the movie and comment afterwards. To me, that was something that was really exciting." With the basic concept for the series established, Oatis and Frank set themselves to the task of selecting movies for the series' inaugural semester. What type of films might one expect to see at one of the movie nights? According to Oatis, the movies selected have to be related to history in terms of their content. "You have to be able to tie it in with something that's part of the curriculum," he explained, "either world civilization, or U.S. history." The first year brought to campus some movies which had seen big success at the box-office, including Braveheart (1995), Last of the Mohicans (1992), and Gladiator (2000). But because the concept for the series was still developing, Oatis said he decided to experiment with some films that hadn't achieved blockbuster status, including a film that he now says has become one of his favorites: The Alamo (2004). "When The Alamo came out, they tried to promote it as a blockbuster, and it just fizzled pretty quickly," Oatis said. "I had read some reviews of it, that made me think it might not be that great, but I was looking for a movie to show, and time-wise and content-wise, this movie fit pretty well, so I thought I'd give it a go." As the movie played, Oatis he knew his selection had been a good one. "Watching it, I thought 'this is a really good movie.' I think the students liked it too," he said. "It was very dramatic, and very gripping as far as the story went. And it was very watchable - it was an action movie, and was very stylized, and had some good acting in it." But what Oatis said impressed him the most was something that the average movie-goer might not notice. "I could tell that the people who did it - I could tell that they went out of their way to do a good job," he said, referring to the movie's attention to historical detail. "It mattered to them to try to be even-handed and fair. A lot of times that's what you're looking for. Even if they get some things wrong, if they're just trying to do a good job. I thought the people who made that movie were trying to do a good job and they did do a good job." Do all the movies shown have to be historically accurate, with the careful attention to detail shown by the producers of The Alamo? According to Oatis, the answer to that question is "no." "It doesn't have to be an accurate depiction of history," he said. "Even in a very good historical movie, they're going to make some embellishments and changes. That's one thing we emphasize to the students - that history in movies is an interpretation of history. Sometimes inaccuracies are unavoidable, sometimes they're intentional. To study a film critically is very important. You have to try to get a sense of what's going on, and why they might be doing something that way." One of Frank's movie selections illustrates this point in a way that perhaps no other movie could. "I chose the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail," she said with a laugh. But while the absurd wit in the Monty Python films might seem entirely out of place at a series featuring historical movies, Frank said it is actually a perfect choice. "First of all, I love Monty Python," she said. "A lot of historians do. The writers really 'get' what's going on in the different time periods they're talking about." She continued, "The best historian is not the one who knows the most, per se, but the one who understands what's important, and why it's important, and can explain that." She said that helping students understand this difference in "knowing" and "understanding" was one of the reasons she chose the Monty Python film. Her students who watched the movie on their own almost all said "this is the worst movie ever made! Who picked this?" while the students who watched the film at the screening, and took part in the discussion afterwards could see how, through hyperbole, the film was making points about the middle ages. "So they really are, I guess, sort of pulling the main threads of the culture and putting it together, and laughing about it, but in a way that makes a comedy, because the violence of the middle ages was just so horrific," she said. While the movies are normally shown in the film screening room in the university's Walker Hall, Oatis said that for two of last year's events, those in attendance got a special treat, when university President Dr. Rick Niece and First Lady Sheree invited them to watch the movies at the president's home. "Rick and I truly enjoy movies - as noted by the movie-theme decor in our big room," Mrs. Niece said. "Last year, we had such a great attendance during the Historians at the Movies, we ran out of popcorn! (Five batches tend to go a long way in the popcorn machine.)" She said that she and Dr. Niece believe that movies provide an excellent medium to learn from and produce discussions, and they loved having the students and professors at their home for the event. "Hanging out in our big room allows for students to relax and enjoy the setting and think about what they are seeing. The follow-up discussions have been most interesting, bringing about new insights and points of view, perhaps more easily shared than if they were in a typical classroom setting," she said. The discussion sessions Mrs. Niece refers to are, perhaps, the key to the growing popularity of the movie series. "I think that what we try to do afterwards is ask them questions they haven't thought about," Frank said. "I have to say this…Dr. Oatis is incredible at doing this. He lets the students talk, give their reactions - it's sort of what you might figure from what they just saw. And then he says 'well, let's think about the deeper issues and let's look at historically, what's really happening. Now what do we think about this situation and what kinds of things can you pull out.'" She said that when she leads the discussion, she tries to follow that same approach. "I did that the other night with the movie Amazing Grace," she said. "Somebody brought up the idea that when she gave up sugar, her father went nuts. So I said 'Let's talk about that for a second. Why did she give up sugar? Why was she boycotting it?' Then I led them into a discussion about the deeper implications of the slave trade…that just giving up sugar wasn't going to get you out of it. The clothes she wore, the house she lived in, every part of European society was really connected in some way to it. That's why I think they benefit from having these discussions. First they get exposed to the period, but then we try to help them think about things in terms of deeper implications." Now in its fourth semester, "Historians at the Movies" has grown from just an idea into a popular bi-weekly event on campus. "I think it's become a success," Oatis said, "and I think the more we make it part of the institutional culture, that's going to be even more successful. I think it's already something that people look forward to and take part in." He said that while the events have been well-attended for the most part, he's even more pleased when he considers the potential impact the series has on the people who attend. "I think part of the education here is aimed at helping the students to critically examine anything they come across in life, whether it's a political television ad, or an advertisement of some kind, or a public letter," he said. "We want them to understand that anything they're subjected to needs to be understood critically, and thought about. There's a time for entertainment and escapism. Movies are a great form of escape. I love movies. I don't necessarily go in and try to find what's wrong with them, break them down. But to be able to think about things, from maybe a little different perspective is important." Frank agreed, adding her observations about the value the series has brought to campus. "History is full of violence," she said, "and human beings doing awful things to each other. There are some good things there too, but some awful things. With the ancient stuff, there's a tendency for us to be able to distance ourselves from it emotionally. I don't know if that's good or bad, but it just is. But when we begin talking about things as painful as slavery, it is still very emotional. World War I was an incredibly devastating war, as was the cold war and its effects in Germany. All these things are very recent. One of the things I hope to achieve through this film series is to show there's a link through humanity. There are some pretty brave individuals who are able to stand up to things in society." With five film screenings still remaining this semester, Oatis notes that the remaining films cover a wide array of topics, and encourages members of the campus community - not just students, but faculty and staff as well - to come watch the films and take part in the discussions. Frank points out that several of the upcoming films are set in recent times, and feature events that some faculty or staff may remember living through. She said the perspective these individuals have about the events portrayed in the films would be something she would love to bring into the follow-up discussion. "Historians at the Movies" continues next week, with the film The Molly Maguires (1970). In this film, the struggle between American labor and American capital is on display when a secret society of Irish immigrant coal miners in Pennsylvania use terrorism and sabotage to combat the ruthless and exploitative mine owners. The screening is scheduled for 7:00 pm on Wednesday, February 22 in the film screening room in Walker Hall. For more information about the "Historians at the Movies" series, or to learn more about the Ozarks history major, contact Dr. Oatis by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email Dr. Frank at email@example.com.
Most people who think of the historical American slave trade only know about the trade in African-Americans. What most people don't realize is that at one time there was also a brisk trade in Native American slaves, and the problems this caused in the early frontier period.
Dr. Steven Oatis’ book A Colonial Complex: South Carolina's Frontiers in the Era of the Yamasee War, 1680-1730 covers these issues and others. The real central problem, Oatis says, was the change brought to a large region quickly by the encroachment of European settlers. “One reason for the large number of tribes involved in ‘South Carolina’ at the time was because that area lacked its modern borders,” Oatis says. “South Carolina combined the southeast quadrant of the contemporary United States – Florida, Mississippi, and Georgia. If someone could establish authority in an area, they owned it. Some Indian tribes lived in the mountains, some on the rivers, some close to European groups, some remotely. People think an Indian is an Indian, but these groups were remarkably diverse.”
Dr. Steven Oatis' book "A Colonial Complex: South Carolina's Frontiers in the Era of the Yamasee War, 1680-1730" examines the impact of the Native American slave trade.
Oatis says the incursion of Europeans into the area led to rapid change and inequality among the tribes of the region. “This was in a pre-plantation time period. Immigrants came from the Indies, places like Barbados, squeezed out of there by competition. They found they couldn’t grow sugar cane up here, or lemons, limes, or silkworms. But there were lots of deer skins, as opposed to beaver, which was further north, and so they turned their attention there. The large supply of ready deerskins gave them an income source in the leather industry abroad.”
Indian slaves, Oatis says, were supplied to the whites by other Indian tribes. “Sometimes the settlers in South Carolina would enslave directly, but more often they’d buy Indian prisoners of war in exchange for guns, alcohol, beads, and so forth. For awhile it was an easy and profitable market.”
Oatis says the settlers disturbed the balances of power in the region. “They would supply guns to tribes locally, who then in turn could war against tribes further away, who lacked access to such weapons,” he says. “This provided new motives for war among the clans, new weapons of war. These imbalances existed for several years. For example the Chickasaws, who lived far away in North Mississippi, had access to English trade. Slaves were easier to trade in than deerskins because the slaves would walk to where you needed to sell them. You didn’t have to carry them. So the Chickasaws warred with faraway tribes, among which were the Quapaw in Arkansas. They took slaves from as far away as Kansas. There are records of Pawnee Indians sold in slave markets of South Carolina, and the Pawnee were a Caddoan-language Native American tribe that historically lived along outlying tributaries of the Missouri River: the Platte, Loup and Republican Rivers in present-day Nebraska and in Northern Kansas. So you had these Indian groups going far and wide to supply slaves to the white traders in exchange for what they wanted. Eventually the slave population – and the deer population, for that matter – began to decline. Eventually the debt imbalance grew too great, and it occurred to the Indians that wiping out the whites might be a quick way to balance the books. Which is what happened.”
Tensions mounted. When English officials went to visit the Yamasee, a local ally tribe, to address rumors of a suspected uprising, Oatis says, the Indians decided to kill them. After that the Yamasee raided several plantations. There was tremendous carnage. Ninety percent of white traders in the field were killed immediately. Everyone assumed the entire Indian population of the region had risen against them, which turned out not to be true. Nonetheless, martial law was declared. The whites temporarily raised a professional army of about 300 men. So desperate was their need that slaves were armed and put on the payroll – though of course their masters got the money.
“I was in grad school at Emory when I began the project that became this book,” Oatis says. “I had thought I’d go into 19th century immigration history, but I kept hearing the phrase ‘after the Yamasee war,’ and I finally asked a professor about it. He replied, ‘Your guess is as good as mine.’ So not a lot of research had been done. He did show me Vernor Crane’s The Southern Frontier 1670-1732, which contained a chapter on Yamasee, but for 65 years that was the only source of information on the war. Anyway, that was my departure point. I wrote a seminar paper on it and found so much more information. It was very exciting to be covering new territory. In a way, my books sort of revises Crane’s book. Ethno-history, you might say.”
Oatis says the material constituted his scholarly life for six or seven years. “I was really into it and still follow the field,” he says, “but now, being here and teaching, I’ve been looking for subject matter closer to home. The history of the Arkansas Federal Highway System is interesting to me. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll take a sabbatical. There’s an article or even maybe a book in that.”
Dr. Oatis' book, A Colonial Complex: South Carolina's Frontiers in the Era of the Yamasee War, 1680-1730 is available for purchase at Amazon.com.
Clarksville, Ark. --- University of the Ozarks Associate Professor of History Dr. Steven Oatis has been invited to participate in a seminar on American slave narratives at Yale University this summer.
The seminar is sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges and the Glider Lehman Institute of American History and will be led by Professor David W. Blight, professor of American history at Yale.
Oatis was one of 30 professors from around the country who were selected from a pool of more than 120 applicants.
“I’ve done a lot of work with literary sources in my history classes, and I’ve even taught some early American literature courses, so I think that may have done a lot for my application,” Oatis said. “I am hopeful that this seminar will teach me a lot for a course on American slavery that I’m planning to teach at Ozarks within the next few years.”
Oatis has taught at U of O since 1999. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Emory University.
Each semester, students have several opportunities to travel back into history and experience the past through the History and Film series.Dr. Judy Walden, a film fanatic and associate professor of history, started the History and Film series in the spring of 2000 as a way to show students that history can be fun and encourage historical discussion and analysis outside the classroom. Since the event began, Walden has shown nearly 40 films, including All Quiet on the Western Front, Les Mis?rables, Kingdom of Heaven, and Gladiator. The series began as an extra credit incentive for Walden’s World Civilization class, and has since grown to 20 to 45 students attending each event held every three to four weeks. When selecting which films to show, Walden said they must meet several criteria. “The film has to have some historical relevance, and I try to select films that will match up in some way with what we’re discussing in my World Civ. classes,” said Walden. “For example, one of the topics we cover in World Civ. II is how Japan and China responded to increasing western dominance in the nineteenth century?this theme works very well with The Last Samurai. To provide variety, Walden will look for at least one “crowd-pleaser” film that would be popular among students, plus one foreign film, such as this semester’s Joyeux Noel and other older films students might not have seen or that had only limited theatrical releases. Walden, who found her love for history in her first college history class, said one of her favorite films she has shown is Rabbit-Proof Fence. “It’s a fascinating story with great acting, beautiful stark cinematography (a lot of it takes place in the Australian outback), and a great score by Peter Gabriel, one of my favorite musicians,” said Walden. “Some of my other favorites are movies that, for different reasons, made a big impact on the students. One of the surprise hits was To Live, a Chinese movie that focuses on one family’s experience during a very turbulent period of recent Chinese history.” Not only do students get to watch historical films, but Dr. Walden also likes to engage the audience in thought-provoking discussions afterwards, ranging from general reactions to the film to filmmaking techniques. “Some films raise ethical questions (e.g., examining the behavior of the missionaries in Black Robe), some films invite comparisons to issues in American history (e.g., the forced assimilation of aboriginal children in Rabbit-Proof Fence), and sometimes we discuss the overall historical accuracy of a movie,” said Walden. Senior art major Susan Walker from Fort Smith, Ark. said she enjoys seeing how others around her interpret certain films. “It always surprises me to see how other people read into the symbolism of films, which is usually reflective of their personal views,” said Walker. “By attending the events, I get the opportunity to view films that would not have otherwise been brought to my attention.” Students interested in learning more about history and film will have the opportunity to enroll in upcoming classes. Dr. Steve Oatis will be teaching a summer course on film called World War II, and next fall, Dr. Walden will teach Medieval History on Film.
History and sociology courses give students the opportunity to connect sports to larger forces.CLARKSVILLE, ARK. (Feb. 3, 2006) - Two University of the Ozarks professors are offering courses on sports in America, taking students on a tour de force in the classroom through some of the most exciting games and fascinating sports figures. On a recent Tuesday afternoon, history professor Steve Oatis’ students engaged in a spirited discussion that wound its way from the early development of college football at Ivy League universities and the University of Chicago through the debate over special treatment accorded college athletes. “(People) act like it’s a new thing. ,but it was even worse back then,” said Lee Short, an Ozarks junior from Little Rock. Oatis pointed out that the universities that laid the framework for modern college football have abandoned big-time competition, and challenged the students to answer the question as to whether today’s college sports powerhouses would always be so. “What if the president of the University of Arkansas decided to shut down the football program?” said Oatis. The discussion moved on to sports as spectacle and the creation of athletes as celebrities, as the class examined a reading on the 1892 heavyweight boxing match between John Sullivan and Jim Corbett, two of the first larger-than-life sports stars. “Nobody remembers (President) Grover Cleveland,” said Oatis, “But they remember the Sullivan-Corbett fight.” Sociology professor Jesse Weiss sounded the same theme in a more contemporary tone, telling his students that Michael Jordan, arguably the biggest sports figure of their youths, was the equivalent of Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth. “You never saw them play,” said Weiss, “But you know who they are.” A lively argument soon broke out over sports and technology, after Weiss brought up special contact lenses used by some professional baseball players that supposedly allow them to focus more sharply on a pitched ball. Some students said using such lenses would constitute cheating. “What about knee braces?” said Weiss, pointing out that such support devices were once considered high-tech. “Knee braces are okay, but contact lenses aren’t?” He asked students to consider the issue of steroids in sports, which he predicted will be the biggest issue in sports in coming years. “(Steroids) will change sports just like Jackie Robinson changed sports,” said Weiss. “Fifty years from now, people will be talking about (steroids) and how they changed sports.” Oatis and Weiss are each including in their courses the book and movie, respectively, “Friday Night Lights,” which examines the phenomenon of high school football by focusing on the 1988 season of the Permian High School Panthers football team in Odessa, Texas. “The reason (“Friday Night Lights”) is such a great book is, it places sports in such a political and historical context,” said Oatis, pointing out that H.G. Bissinger’s book unfolds against a backdrop of cold war politics and the economic situation of small towns in the 1980s.