2020 Rhodes Institute Faculty & Staff

Charles McKinney
Director, Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies
Associate Professor of History and Director of the Africana Studies Program
Office: Buckman Hall 213
Phone: (901) 843-3525
Email: mckinneyc@rhodes.edu

Charles McKinney, Associate Professor of History, Chair of Africana Studies, and Director of the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies is a specialist in African-American history and twentieth century U.S. social history, particularly the history of the Civil Rights Movement. He is the author of Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina, which chronicles a movement from the 1930s to the 1970’s. His current research focuses on the impact of local leadership on civil rights activity in Memphis, and his regional interests include the history of segregation, civil rights, and social justice movements in Memphis. Previous Institute mentorship projects have included historical research on Civil Rights activity in Memphis and surrounding communities; research on African American political activity in Memphis; and gender dynamics within the Civil Rights movement.

John Bass
Director, Mike Curb Institute for Music
Office: Harris Lodge
Phone: (901) 843-3786
Email: bassj@rhodes.edu

John Bass serves as Director of the Mike Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes College, an endowed program founded by legendary music executive Mike Curb, whose mission is to foster understanding and awareness of the musical traditions of Memphis and the South. Through the Curb Institute, Dr. Bass has developed and led courses, student fellowships, original research, and community engagement initiatives in Memphis. He has also produced pioneering concerts and events for the campus and city—including a student-produced house concert series filmed at the first house purchased by Elvis Presley (www.audubonsessions.org)--and teaches classes in the Music Department and Urban Studies Program. He is a researcher of the musical traditions of Memphis and is an active professional guitarist in the region. Dr. Bass is also involved throughout Memphis on a civic level. He serves on the Levitt Shell Preservation Board, is a member of the Beale Street Walk of Fame Committee, and is a graduate of the New Memphis Institute Fellows Program.  

Dr. Bass welcomes proposals from students interested in exploring the musical traditions of Memphis and the region through research and creative activity.

Ariel (Ari) Eisenberg
Assistant Professor, History
Pronouns: They/them/their
Office: Buckman Hall 206
Phone: 901-843-3503
Email: eisenberga@rhodes.edu

Ari Eisenberg is Assistant Professor of History and teaches and researches broadly on histories of gender and sexuality, cities, medicine, and disability. Their first book, "Save Our Streets and Shelter Our Homeless": The Origins of the Homeless Crisis in Urban America, is forthcoming on the University of North Carolina Press. Their current research focuses on HIV/AIDS in the U.S. South, examining Southern spaces and populations long neglected in the national narrative of the AIDS epidemic that is primarily focused on white, gay, northern, urban communities. Their courses at Rhodes include "The History of Human Reproduction," "The History of HIV/AIDS," "Queer Histories," and "The U.S. in the 20th Century," as well as a directed inquiry on the history of midwifery in Memphis.

Joy Fairfield
Assistant Professor of Theater
Office: McCoy Theatre 131
Phone: 901-843-3937
Email: fairfieldj@rhodes.edu

Joy Brooke Fairfield joins the Department of Theatre as Assistant Professor. Dr. Fairfield just received her Ph.D. in the department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Stanford University where she won the Charles M. Lyons award for outstanding dissertation for her manuscript "Fugitive Intimacies: The Unsettling Vows of Queer Wedlock Performance." She received her MA from New York University and her BA from Harvard University and her teaching interests include Performance Studies, Queer and Trans Theory, Feminist Theories and Methods, History of Theatre and Performance, Political and Protest Performance, Playwriting/Screenwriting, Acting, and Directing.

Charles Hughes
Director, Lynne & Henry Turley Memphis Center
Office:  West Campus Education Building 206
Phone: (901) 843-3379
Email: hughesc@rhodes.edu

Dr. Charles L. Hughes is the Director of the Lynne & Henry Turley Memphis Center at Rhodes College, where he designs courses, programs and partnerships. Dr. Hughes received his Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012. His recent course offerings include The History of Memphis; Beale Street: The Past, Present and Future; Elvis Presley and America; Introduction to Urban Studies; and The Music of the American South. His acclaimed first book, Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2015. He has published essays and delivered presentations on a wide variety of topics. He is currently working on a book about the history of African-Americans and professional wrestling in the United States, as well as several articles.

Kijan Bloomfield
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Office: Clough 403
Phone: (901) 843-3719
Email: bloomfieldk@rhodes.edu

Dr. Kijan Bloomfield is an Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department. Dr. Bloomfield received her Ph.D. from Princeton University and holds an M.A. in International and Transcultural Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research centers questions of meaning-making and identity for faith communities across the African Diaspora. She has taught courses on gender and international development, Black Pentecostalism, religion and migration, and African Diasporic Religions. Her current book project is an ethnographic and historical study of Christianity, politics, and social change in Jamaica from the late 19th century to the present.

Tait Keller
Associate Professor of History
Office: Buckman Hall 212
Phone: (901) 843-3655
Email: kellert@rhodes.edu

Dr. Tait Keller is an Associate Professor of History and former Chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences. His first book, Apostles of the Alps: Mountaineering, Nature, and Nationhood in Germany and Austria examines various political, social, and cultural values that outdoor enthusiasts and recreational clubs project onto landscapes. His current research focuses on energy production, distribution, and consumption in times of war and how those processes impact marginalized people, particularly communities of color and indigenous populations. With his interdisciplinary background in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, he teaches classes on disease and epidemics, war and the environment, energy, environment and society, natural resource conservation, and environmental justice.

Shaolu Yu
Assistant Professor of Urban Studies
Office: Education Building, West Campus
Phone: (901) 843-3340
Email: yus@rhodes.edu

Dr. Shaolu Yu is an urban geographer. Her current research interests include: Urban Space and Place-making, Transportation Geography and Mobility, Transnational migration and cities, Race and Ethnicity, Urban Segregation, and Asian Urbanism. She is also interested in applying cartography and GIS in visualizing and analyzing spatial data. Her ongoing research projects include "Triangulated Between White and Black: Chinese in the Mid-South" and "Sexuality and Urban Space in the South." She also continues her research interest in Asian Urbanization, particularly the social, cultural, and spatial changes in Asian cities under the impacts of globalization and neoliberalism. Her papers have been published in the journals The Professional Geographer, Urban Geography, Geographical Review, and the Journal of Transport Geography.