Modeling our spotlight this time on the new AHA blog’s “Member Spotlight” features, we thought we’d ask questions of our KATH Member-in-the-Spotlight this time. (See past KATH Spotlight articles by clicking here.)
Today’s KATH Spotlight focuses on our current KATH President-Elect, Dr. Patricia Dillon. Dr. Dillon is Associate Professor of History at Spalding University and is currently serving as the Interim Chair of the School of Liberal Studies.
Current school and alma maters: faculty member at Spalding University since 2003; PhD, Mississippi State University; MA, University of Central Florida; BA, University of Florida
Fields of interest: Civil War and Reconstruction; Jim Crow era; 1960s America; gender in American history; oral history.
When did you first develop an interest in history? As an undergraduate sociology major, my interest in history did not really develop until I started graduate school (where I planned on majoring in education) and enrolled in a Western History class with Dr. Shirley Leckie. Her ability to breathe life into historical figures, to enliven the past and illustrate how historical events shape the present ignited my passion for historical research and teaching.
How have your interests changed since graduate school? While I still treasure spending solitary time in archives, losing myself in the past researching letters, diaries, and other primary sources, since graduate school I’ve focused more on exploring the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) and Interdisciplinary studies. SOTL research has improved my pedagogy and connection to my students, helping me to ignite their passion for history, while Interdisciplinary studies has enhanced my ability to weave together past and present by exploring historical events through myriad disciplinary lenses.
What projects are you working on currently? With my colleagues in the School of Liberal Studies at Spalding, I continue to explore interdisciplinary teaching and research methods. I also hope to start an oral history project in the next few years, working with the homeless population in Louisville’s downtown area.
Is there an article, book, movie, blog, etc., that you could recommend to fellow KATH members? I recommend Helen Fox’s revised edition, “When Race Breaks Out”: Conversations about Race and Racism in College Classrooms. With its insightful historical and contemporary analysis of racial issues, coupled with concrete classroom examples, I’ve relied on this text numerous times as I’ve prepared lectures and navigated important, yet oftentimes difficult, classroom discussions.
What do you value most about the history profession? I value history as the thread that weaves the fabric of our collective consciousness. It helps us to explore our humanity and interconnectedness.
Other than history, what are you passionate about? Animal rescue. I believe the way a community cares for neglected and abandoned animals influences how they care for each other.