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).
Please join us at the Center for a lunchtime discussion with Kathleen DuVal, Associate Professor of History at UNC-Chapel Hill. DuVal’s talk, titled “Independence Lost: The Gulf Coast in the American Revolution,” focuses on the Revolutionary War on the Gulf Coast. There, Spaniards, Britons, Creeks, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Acadians, enslaved and free African Americans, and others—but not American revolutionaries—took advantage of the war to forward their own ambitions. Based on her research for a forthcoming book by the same title, “Independence Lost” tells an alternative story of the American Revolution with unexpected actors, forgotten events, and surprising consequences, including incorporation into a rising American republic.
A light lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join us at the Center for a lunchtime discussion with Frank R. Baumgartner, the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. Baumgartner is co-author of The Decline of the Death Penalty and the Discovery of Innocence, and since coming to Carolina he has researched the death penalty’s demise nationally as well as in North Carolina. With colleagues Isaac Unah (Political Science) and Seth Kotch (American Studies), he is working on a book tentatively titled A Deadly Symbol: Race and Capital Punishment in North Carolina. Baumgartner also teaches a course on Race, Innocence, and the End of the Death Penalty (POLI 203) which currently has 240 students enrolled. Associated with that is a speakers series on the death penalty with eight speakers including the family of Troy Davis, several exonerated inmates from North Carolina and their attorneys, and others; these events are open to the public throughout the fall semester.
Baumgartner will speak about the racial aspects of North Carolina’s death penalty and the relevance of the Racial Justice Act’s passage (2009), revision (2011) and demise (2013). These events make clear that the politics of race, innocence, and the death penalty remain fundamental in our state. At the same time, use of the punishment has never been very common and in recent years has declined so much that it has become almost entirely symbolic (no one has been executed since 2006, and only 1 death sentence has been handed down, state-wide, since 2011). But what a powerful symbol it is.
A light lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
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.
Our summer issue is hot off the presses! Read it in print, online through Project Muse, and in various e-book formats.
In this issue, Lindsay Byron tells the story of a northern bride, forcibly institutionalized in the Alabama State Hospital for the Insane by her physician husband because she was “unwilling or unable to perform the brand of femininity compulsory for a woman of her class and race.” You can read Scott Huffard’s account of North Carolina train wrecks, ghost trains, and the capitalist gospel of the New South. Natalie Minik’s photo essay “Teenage Pastime” documents Georgia Piedmont adolescents’ “enthusiastic confirmation” of the culture they come from, or their “bold rejection of the culture they grew out of.” Mark A. Johnson explains how the 1909 Memphis mayoral election demonstrates W. C. Handy’s line that “the best notes made the most votes,” even though political music often continued the tradition of exploited black labor.
Bill Koon commemorates the “rituals of surreptitious drinking” made necessary by dry counties, blue laws, and other alcohol restrictions in the South. Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts chronicle how the once-Democratic South experienced a gradual “partisan realignment” into a Republican stronghold, revealed most extensively through representation in state legislatures. And Donna Tolley Corriher shares some fascinating “snippets” from her research into the history of her West Virginia coal mining family.
You can also enjoy poetry by Todd Boss; book reviews by Fred Hobson, Michael McCollum, and Brian Grabbatin; and a short recollection by JL Strickland on the southern custom of “sitting up with the dead.” Happy reading!