LMU’s history department and the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts held a virtual teach-in last week, where professors explained different transitions of power throughout history and around the world. Coups, Coronations, and Crowds: Transitions of Power was a valuable opportunity for LMU students and professors to discuss transitions of power under various governmental structures and connect them to the United States' current transition. Five professors took the time to speak.
Associate professor Anthony Perron, a historian of medieval Europe, discussed the transition of power between the Merovingian dynasty and the Carolingian dynasty during the Middle Ages in Europe. Perron chose to highlight this specific transition because it displays a non-violent and merciful shift in powers, compared to other transitions that occurred in the medieval era. The lecture allowed listeners to learn about a transition of leadership from a different perspective. By looking at various countries, government powers and eras, the event helped to shed light on different types of transitions.
Associate professor Kevin P. McDonald, a historian of the Atlantic world, then explained the Atlantic revolutions of the eighteenth century, which include the American Revolution and the Haitian Revolution. McDonald’s lecture connected the history of the American Revolution to the way we view power in the United States today. The connections McDonald made provided students with a refresher on U.S. history in order to aid in understanding the current political state and transition of leadership.
Once each of the professors gave their brief informal lecture, space was opened up for students and professors to ask any questions they had about the lectures and their comparison to the United States' current transition of power.
One question asked by Miranda Banks, an associate professor under LMU’s department of film, television, and media studies, asked “What stands out to the panelists about the role of television or social media in this insurrection?” Discussing the insurrection on Jan. 6 during this teach-in was an advantageous choice because the viewers and speakers were able to learn and reflect on current events while simultaneously preparing for the inauguration.
Amy Woodson-Boulton, an associate professor of history at LMU, expressed, “I am so excited to see so many people coming to get a historical perspective on this.” While moderating this teach-in, Woodson-Boulton acknowledged that it is great to witness students taking advantage of virtual events like these. It is important to participate in these historical discussions, so we, as students, can make educated interpretations of what is occurring in the present.
Concluding the virtual event, the organizers expressed their gratitude for everyone who attended and provided resources to stay connected with the history department. For those who may be interested in attending informal sessions like these, the history department is currently making plans to host another virtual forum. To view and participate in more similar discussions, continue to check in on the history department’s event page or check out the history department’s Viral Histories series online.