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Jennifer Whitmer Taylor

Assistant Professor of Public History
Liberal Arts
History

607 College Hall
Phone: 412.396.6479
taylorj8@duq.edu
https://reconstructingreconstruction.wordpress.com

Education:

Ph.D., U.S. History since 1789, Public History, and Women and Gender Studies, University of South Carolina (USC), 2017
M.A., U.S. History, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 2006
B.A, History, Murray State University, 2001
Biography

Before arriving at Duquesne, Jennifer spent a decade at Coastal Carolina University and the University of South Carolina teaching courses in history and Southern studies. However, she began her career as a public historian working in museum education, which taught her the art of crafting tours and developing public and educational programs. Most recently, Jennifer developed the semi-guided tour, trained and evaluated docents, and processed visitor evaluations for the reopening of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home (WWFH) as it transformed from an eighty-year-old presidential shrine into the nation's first museum of Reconstruction. In 2015, the museum received South Carolina's Preservation Award for Tourism and the American Association of State and Local History's national merit award.

Jennifer specializes in public history and the tensions involved in public history commemorations and interpretation. Her recent scholarship explores the ways in which Reconstruction history has been contested and commemorated in South Carolina. Her current project traces the rebirth of the WWFH as a modern historic house museum, using it, along with docent oral histories, as a lens to analyze inclusivity, white supremacy, and contested history in museums and other public spaces.

As a historian, Jennifer has always conducted oral history projects and relied on oral history in her scholarship. Similarly, she continues to employ film as a means of dissemination and source material for my work. She has written, produced and/or directed documentaries as well as exhibit and promotional materials for museums. These experiences and an internship with the Moving Image Research Collection at USC inspired new questions for her about the role of film, moving image archives, and digital humanities as public history. Jennifer is especially drawn to the history and design of exhibit film in public history settings. She explores this topic via the WWFH's exhibit films, which incorporate the Birth of a Nation (D.W. Griffith, 1915), artistic responses to it, and locally archived moving images and photographs to discuss white supremacy and citizenship.

Presentations

The Reconstruction Era: History and Public Memory symposium panel "Interpreting Reconstruction: Challenges and Opportunities" (April 2016)

Southern Historical Association annual meeting panel paper: "Tommy" Wilson's World: a Southern President, Reconstruction, and the Historic House Museum" (November 2015)

The Institute for African American Research fellow presentation: "A Banked Fire: Public History and the Challenges and Potential of Interpreting Reconstruction in Beaufort, South Carolina" (November 2015)

Southern Association for Women Historians Conference panel paper: "A Presidential Shrine: Gender and the Origins of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home" (June 2015)

National Council on Public History panel The National Park Service: Hedging and Edging Around Inclusivity: "Reconstruction History on the Edge: The Failed Attempt to Construct a Reconstruction National Park Service Site in Beaufort, South Carolina" (April 2015)

American Historical Association annual meeting, poster session: "Born in Columbia: The Birth of a Nation and Nationalizing a City's Reconstruction Memory" (January 2015)

South Carolina Council for the Social Studies: "Woodrow Wilson, Columbia, and Reconstruction" workshop and panel discussion (October 2, 2014) and "Reconstruction: Myths and Reality" Presentation (October 3, 2014)

"Reconstruction and Destruction: Understanding the Intersection of Historic and Visual Representations of the Southern Lady and Mammy in Django Unchained" (USC, April 2014)

UNCW Department of History and Upperman African-American Center screening of my documentary American Coup: The Wilmington Election, Riot and Coup of 1898 (September 2004)

Course Work

HIST 151 Shaping the Modern World

HIST 526 Speaking to the Past: Oral History in Methodology and Practice

Honors/Awards

Office of Service-Learning and Community Engagement's Excellence in Service-Learning Award for work with the Woodrow Wilson Family Home (USC, 2016)

Yale Public History Institute hosted by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition (2015)

Institute for African American Research Fellow (USC, 2014-2015)

Lakes at Litchfield Oral History Project (2009-2010): Waccamaw Center for Cultural and Historical Studies Fellow and Grant Recipient; Humanities Council SC Mini-grant

Tennessee Association of Museums Award: Best New Public Program (2004)

Community Foundation Discretionary Grant (2003-2004)

Publications/Projects

"Reconstructing Memory: The Attempt to Designate Beaufort, South Carolina the National Park Service's First Reconstruction Unit," Journal of the Civil War Era, co-author Page Putnam Miller, special issue on the era of Reconstruction, March 2017

The Nashville Way: Racial Etiquette and the Struggle for Social Justice in a Southern City, by Benjamin Houston, University of Georgia Press, 2012. Review in Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Vol. LXXII, No. 4, Winter 2013.

"The Ties That Bind: James H. Richmond and Murray Teachers College during World War II," Ohio Valley History, Winter 2004.

Postscript to "Reconstruction Memory" in Muster from the Journal of the Civil War Era.

"Inclusive training at Historic Columbia" from NCPH's blog History@Work 

Film and Video Production

The Legacy of Woodrow Wilson and Reconstruction (Historic Columbia, Director Lee Ann Kornegay 2014)

Protest in the Port City: The Story of the Wilmington Ten (2006) American Coup: The Wilmington Election, Riot and Coup of 1898 (2005)

Belle Meade Plantation Marketing Video (2004)

Belle Meade Plantation Education Video (2003)

For digital humanities projects, see my public history blog Reconstructing Reconstruction and Walter Edgar's South Carolina Encyclopedia, digitized by USC's Institute for Southern Studies U.S. Digital South Initiative.