FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 22, 2009EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081
FEDERAL GRANT FUNDS MTSU PUBLIC HEALTH HISTORY RESEARCH Professor to Study Southern Health Policy, Impact of New Deal and World War II
(MURFREESBORO) – The National Institutes of Health has awarded a two-year grant to Dr. Kris McCusker, associate professor of history at MTSU, to study the nexus of public health issues and political power during a critical period in the American South.
“’Just Enough to Put Him Away Decent’: The Management of Death and the Evolution of Public Health Policy in the South, 1918-1945” is completely supported by federal funds. The book is under option by the University of Illinois Press. “In the South, whether one was black or white, death was a common and important part of the region’s self-conception, its ‘mind,’ in writer W.J. Cash’s words, since the death of young and old alike was ever present,” writes McCusker. “What happened, then, when public health policy, which assumed that dying was bad except in old age or on a battlefield, infiltrated the South? What happened to the centrality of death and the rituals used to manage the chaos associated with it in a region that witnessed a tremendous economic and social transformation during the interwar era?” McCusker says she also will examine the impact of New Deal policies and the mobilization for World War II on the region at a time when it was considered to be “the nation’s number one economic and health problem.” McCusker says her interdisciplinary approach to her research will include history, folklore and cultural anthropology. She intends to explore the application of the lessons the federal government and private foundations learned from the Southern experience to post-World War II nation-building in the emergent Third World. For more information, contact McCusker at 615-898-2544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.