Our first Hutchins lecture of the 2014-15 academic year, titled “Romance and Reality in the Deep South’s Mythical Mission Past,” will address the nostalgia and romance that has long surrounded the Franciscan and Jesuit missions across America. From San Francisco through the Southwest to the American South, mainstream American history has constructed and perpetuated an idealized, romanticized version of the Spanish mission – complete with Mission Revival architectural styles and reconstructed archaeological sites that sometimes resemble Hollywood stage sets. This illustrated talk draws upon recent archaeological evidence from St. Catherines Island (Georgia) and suggests more historically appropriate perspectives on the mission heritage of the Deep South. The discovery of Mission Santa Catalina de Guale has contributed significantly to knowledge about early inhabitants of the island and about the Spanish presence in Georgia, nearly two centuries before the arrival of British colonists.
David Hurst Thomas has served since 1972 as Curator of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History. He has organized and directed more than 100 archaeological excavations, including the discovery of Gatecliff Shelter in Nevada, the deepest archaeological rockshelter in the Americas. He has also taught at Columbia University, New York University, University of California (Davis), University of Florida, University of Nevada, and the City College of New York. Thomas is the author of over 30 books, including St. Catherines: An Island in Time (University of Georgia Press, 2010) and Skull Wars (Basic Books, 2001).
In her Hutchins Lecture, titled “Tracing Atlantic Revolutions: One Family’s Itinerary,” Professor Scott will talk about the research that went into the writing of her recent book (coauthored with Jean M. Hébrard) Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation (Harvard UP, 2012; paperback, August 2014), which traces one family’s interaction with law and official documents across five generations. The story begins in West Africa with the enslavement of a woman named Rosalie, then follows her to the French Caribbean at the time of the Haitian Revolution. Rosalie’s daughter Elisabeth later settled in Louisiana, but in the face of hostility to free persons of color, the family migrated to France. Two of Elisabeth’s sons then returned to Louisiana to become equal-rights activists during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Piecing together this family’s history helps to place Reconstruction in the southern United States into a transnational perspective, with threads continuing into 20th-century Europe.
Rebecca J. Scott is the Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. At the Law School, she teaches a course on civil rights and the boundaries of citizenship in historical perspective, as well as a seminar on the law in slavery and freedom. Freedom Papers has been awarded the 2012 Albert Beveridge Book Award in American History and the James Rawley Book Prize in Atlantic History, both from the American Historical Association. The book also has been awarded the 2013 Chinard Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies and the Institut Français d’Amerique. Scott received an AB from Radcliffe College, an MPhil in economic history from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in history from Princeton University. She has held the Guggenheim Fellowship and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Please join us for Murphy Hicks Henry’s lecture on “Steel-String Magnolias: Women in Bluegrass,” at 4:30 in the Pleasants Family Room, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill. This lecture will focus on women’s historical contributions to the development of bluegrass, which have often been overlooked in favor of male musicians and headliners.
Murphy Hicks Henry is the author of Pretty Good For A Girl: Women in Bluegrass (University of Illinois Press, 2013). She wrote a monthly column titled “On the Road” for Banjo Newsletter for over twenty years before turning it over to her daughter, Casey. She is the cofounder (with her husband, Red) of the Murphy Method, a forty-plus video series offering instruction on the banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and ukulele. Henry and her husband also perform as “Red and Murphy.” They have recorded six LPs and numerous CDs featuring many of Henry’s original songs, including the feminist number “I Ain’t Domesticated Yet.”
Murphey Henry from CSAS on Vimeo.
Jessica B. Harris, Professor of English and Culinary History at Queens College/CUNY, will deliver her address, “Links in the Chains: Culinary Connectedness in the Atlantic World.” Co-sponsored by the The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, the Institute of African American Research, and the Department of American Studies, this lecture will examine the cultural and culinary connections shared by the foodways of the African Atlantic World. This event will be held in the Kresge Foundation Room, 039 Graham Memorial Hall.
Jessica B. Harris is the author of twelve cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. Her most recent, High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America, won the International Association of Culinary Professionals 2012 cookbook award for culinary history. Her other books include guidebooks to France and Paris and a book documenting the beauty secrets of women of color. An award-winning journalist, Dr. Harris has contributed to popular publications ranging from Essence to Saveur to German Vogue. Dr. Harris holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Queens College, The Université de Nancy, and New York University.
Dr. Harris was the inaugural scholar in residence in the Ray Charles Chair in African-American Material Culture at Dillard University in New Orleans, where she established an Institute for the Study of Culinary Cultures. Dr. Harris is currently a professor at Queens College/C.U.N.Y. and is at work establishing an Institute for connecting culinary cultures. In 2012, she was asked by the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture to consult on the development of their new cafeteria.
Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, Associate Professor of History at Indiana University, will deliver her address, “Making a Way out of No Way: Black Women in the Old South,” in the Kresge Foundation Room in Graham Memorial Hall. This lecture is co-sponsored by UNC’s Department of History.
Examining life, liberty, and ideas about civil rights from the perspective of those invested with the least formal power in the Old South, this lecture will show how black women in Charleston, South Carolina used all the resources at their disposal to enjoy a freedom of their own design. Drawing on family papers, legislative documents, probate records, parish registers, census data, tax lists, and city directories, Myers will argue that many black women served as self-directed social, economic, and political actors in the antebellum South. She will also share her recent research on Richard Mentor Johnson, a Kentucky statesman who served as Vice President under Martin Van Buren, and Julia Chinn, a black woman who became Johnson’s common-law spouse for twenty years.
Amrita Chakrabarti Myers is a historian of the black female experience in the Old South. Her first book, Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston, (UNC Press, 2011) has received numerous awards, including the 2012 Phillis Wheatley Book Prize from the Northeast Black Studies Association and the 2012 Julia Cherry Spruill Book Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians. Myers’ work has been supported by a Scholarly Research Fellowship from the Kentucky Historical Society, a Mellon Fellowship from the Library Company of Philadelphia, and a Research Fellowship from the University of South Carolina.