By Jonathan Rones
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – The History, Philosophy and Political Science Department of Camden County College has received their first grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
The award, a “mini-grant” of up to $3,000, is for the lecture series Museum Diaries: Archeology and Anthropology through the Curator’s Eye. The program and the grant proposal are the brainchild of Dr. Joshua Roberson, professor of Egyptian history and world civilization at the college.
The series is bringing five professors and curators from the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Rutgers University and Rowan University to speak on their research and experiences and is being combined with trips to the museums the lecturers represent. “The point was to have people exposed to high quality research and displays in their own backyard,” Roberson explained. He has organized and spoken for Museum Diaries.
Exposure, awareness and knowledge of history are, Roberson stated, “absolutely critical.” He explained, “If you aren’t aware of your own past, you’re not equipped for the present.”
Because of the importance of his task as a member of Camden County College’s history department, Roberson takes great care when teaching to keep his lectures informative and engaging for his students, saying “(college) might be the only time they learn about the history of the world.”
Keeping his students interested in history is purely a matter of passion, in his experience. “If you’re interested in the material, they will be as well,” Roberson explained. He describes history as a “series of interconnected stories” and uses this view in his classes. Even the history of the far flung corners of the world are, in his words, “the history of all modern humans.”
Roberson was keenly interested in history from a young age, tracing it back to George Lucas’ film Raiders of the Lost Ark. In addition to introducing him to archeology, it inspired him to begin studying ancient cultures and religions. He focused on that of Egypt, earning a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology from the University of North Texas and eventually a doctorate in Egyptology from the University of Pennsylvania. Afterward, he remained affiliated with the university and eventually began teaching at Camden County College, continuing to publish and research at the University of Pennsylvania.