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The Department of History will hold a symposium on the historical nature of the 2016 presidential election from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 19.

The event, “Historical Significance of the 2016 Presidential Election,” will feature a panel of UT history graduate students, lecturers, and professors. It will be held in the Lindsay Young Auditorium in Hodges Library. It is free and open to the public.

“As many people have asserted that the 2016 election was one of historic significance, the department found it important for the public to hear the perspective of actual historians on the event,” said the event’s organizer, Max Matherne, a doctoral student specializing in the history of American politics and culture.

Matherne, who also is a panelist, will discuss the way politicians talk about their supporters as real Americans while casting those who do not vote for them as members of fringe groups. He also will address how politicians sometimes imply that people of color are not the right kind of Americans and therefore don’t deserve as much concern from other Americans.

Drawing on some of the themes that surfaced during the presidential election, the experts will reflect on other significant events in American history. Those will include the realities of forced removal, the Reconstruction era, NAFTA, the relationship between the United States and Mexico, and the marginalization of interest groups in American politics. A 30- to 40-minute question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

The panelists and their topics of discussion are:

  • Bradley J. Nichols, a recent UT PhD graduate specializing in the history of Nazi Germany. He will be discussing a particularly violent attempt at forced deportation in early 20th-century Europe.
  • Julie Reed, an assistant professor specializing in Native American history. She will discuss the way that forced deportations of Indians in the Southeast turned violent in Jacksonian America.
  • Joshua Hodge, a doctoral candidate specializing in the history of the late 19th century “New South.” He will be discussing white backlash in the South during the years of post–Civil War Reconstruction, drawing some analogies with the present day.
  • Bob Hutton, a senior lecturer specializing in the history of American politics and labor. He will discuss the evolution of the Republican Party throughout the 20th century and to the present day.
  • Tore Olsson, an assistant professor who studies America in transnational perspective. He will discuss the intertwining of US and Mexican history in the 20th century and the implications of that shared history for modern-day politics.

Visit the event’s Facebook page for more information.


Max Matherne (865-974-5421,

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,