When Is Three Four?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

For more than a decade, MSU history has organized its graduate work around three Nodes of Excellence—History of Science, Technology and Medicine (HOST); Agricultural, Rural and Environmental History (ARE); and Empire, Power, Identity and Conflict (EPIC) --and several traditional areas of interest—race, gender, and the south. These subject areas have served the department and its faculty well. But times change. It an effort to improve what we do, it makes sense to make some modifications and to organize what had been traditional subject areas into a fourth free standing node.

HOST and ARE well defined subject areas. Each has clearly drawn professional societies. The EPIC node has been a less well defined subject cluster than HOST or ARE. To improve clarity, we are streamlining it to focus on foreign and internal affairs, strategic studies, military history, policing generally, and geopolitics. It now will be known as War, Politics and International Affairs (WPIA-pronounced Whoopie I A).

Our new fourth node revolves around the study of identity, especially gender. race and region. Those three subjects are and have been crucial types of identity. This fourth node (known by the acronym RIGR pronounced Rigor) incorporates faculty on staff and courses we have been teaching, enables us to use the synergy we already have generated in these well aligned areas and adds to it. Capturing identity in a single node raises it in prominence within our program and promises to cement further our already strong reputation in what had been important traditional subject areas.

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