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Dr. Lee Cheek (right), chair of the Social and Behavioral and Social Sciences Division and professor of Political Science at Brewton-Parker College, is interviewed by Dr. Gwen Wright, a professor at Columbia University and co-host for PBS' "History Detectives" for a segment on John C. Calhoun that will air in July. The interview took place at a former plantation site in South Carolina, one burned by Union forces led by Gen. William T. Sherman during the Civil War. (Photo by Lincoln Farr, PBS)
BPC professor Cheek to be featured on PBS
While it may be true that some professors prefer the “Ivory Tower” of the academic world, removed from the challenges of the everyday life, do not count Brewton-Parker College’s Dr. Lee Cheek among such people.
Cheek, the chair of Brewton-Parker’s Social and Behavioral Sciences Division and professor of political science, recently served as the guest expert for a forthcoming episode of the Public Broadcasting Service’s highly acclaimed television series “History Detectives.”
“It is important for academics to help solve real problems or use their God-given ability to help resolve difficult issues,” Cheek said. “Assisting with the ‘History Detectives’ television program is part of a greater calling in life to seek the truth.”
“History Detectives” is devoted to exploring the complexities of historical mysteries, searching out the facts, myths and conundrums that connect local folklore, family legends and interesting objects, Cheek said.
The show uses traditional investigative techniques, modern technologies, and plenty of legwork—and the “History Detectives” team of experts discovers that artifacts, buildings and stories can give us new insights into our national social and political life, he added.
“History Detectives” will return in 2006 for its fourth season on PBS, with 11 exciting new episodes, including the July show in which Cheek is featured. Each episode presents three intriguing mysteries to explore.
The hosts of the program are a high-energy quartet of renowned figures in the world of historical investigations. Cheek was interviewed by one of the hosts, Dr. Gwen Wright, a professor of architecture, planning and preservation and professor of history at Columbia University in New York City.
From the perspective of the show’s producer, “Each investigation of these ‘puzzles from the past’ could follow dozens of different paths. As the detectives work, they provide viewers with reasoned explanations for choosing specific avenues of research. When the detectives use scientific tests, both the purpose and the methods are described in detail.”
The show in which Cheek will be featured concerned the political thinking of John C. Calhoun, who was a member of the House (1811-17), secretary of war (1817-25), vice president (1825-32), Senator (1832-43, 1845-50) and secretary of state (1844-45). Cheek is an internationally respected expert on Calhoun and American political thought.
Cheek’s books include Political Philosophy and Cultural Renewal (Transaction/Rutgers, 2001, with Kathy B. Cheek); Calhoun and Popular Rule, published by the University of Missouri Press (2001; paper edition, 2004); Calhoun: Selected Speeches and Writings (Regnery, 2003); and Order and Legitimacy (Transaction/Rutgers, 2004).
He has also published numerous journal articles in publications like the Journal of Politics, Methodist History, International Social Science Review, and is a regular commentator on American politics. Cheek’s current research includes completing an intellectual biography of Francis Graham Wilson and a study of the American Founding.
He currently serves on the editorial board of Humanitas and The University Bookman, and has served as a Fellow of the Wilbur Foundation, the Center for Judicial Studies, and the Center for International Media Studies.
Cheek lives in Vidalia with his wife, Kathy B. Cheek, an accomplished teacher of dance and the owner of the Savannah Conservatory of Dance.