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Posts from the ‘Research & Scholarship’ Category

Tell About the South: Pavithra Vasudevan, Tues, May 9 at 12:30 pm

“Producing An Intimate Inventory: Race and Waste in an Aluminum Town”

This dissertation project focuses on Badin, North Carolina, a segregated company town for workers at the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), from its establishment in 1915 to present-day issues of environmental injustice.AluminumTown Vasudevan has developed a play, “Race and Waste in an Aluminum Town,” narrating the story of predominantly black West Badin with excerpts from oral histories and observation from community meetings. This talk will focus on the intimacy of racial capitalism. Industrial toxicity intimately binds race to waste, as manifested in disconcertingly familial relations in the factory, in quotidian practices of caregiving, and in affectively charged natural landscapes.

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A PhD candidate in Geography at UNC-Chapel Hill, Pavithra Vasudevan studies the stuff of environmental justice: toxicity, racism, and social movements. She supports the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network as a member of the Planning Committee. Artistic research projects include a short film, “Remembering Kearneytown,” and “Race and Waste in an Aluminum Town,” a play illustrating 20th century racial capitalism. She is the founding co-president of the Hurston Collective for Critical Performance Ethnography at UNC-Chapel Hill and the 2016-17 McColl Fellow at the Center for the Study of the American South.

This discussion is free and open to the public, but RSVPs to pathorn@unc.edu are appreciated. Light refreshments will be served.

Appalachia Issue Launch Party, Thursday, May 4 at 5:30 pm

Join Appalachia_coverus at the Center to celebrate a very special issue of Southern Cultures. We’ll enjoy music by Sam Gleaves, readings by Silas House, and a mountain menu by Sherri Castle. Attendance is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for food and the issue: click here!

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Born and raised in Wythe County in southwest Virginia, Sam Gleaves performs innovative mountain music with a sense of history. Sam’s performances combine traditional Appalachian ballads, dance tunes, original songs, and the stories that surround them. His debut album Ain’t We Brothers has been reviewed by National Public Radio, No Depression, and The Bluegrass Situation. Lee Smith has called the album “courageous as hell and country to the bone.”

Silas House by C. Williams

Silas House is a critically acclaimed novelist and playwright who describes the main goal of his writing as “looking into the lives of rural Americans who so often get overlooked by the media.” He currently serves as the NEH Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College. House writes that “Sam and I are passionate about giving voice to rural people, about place, and about the power of art to empower and transform. Both of us are very concerned with the rural Other, people who have a deep love for these rural places yet don’t fit in there, due to orientation, race, or other issues.”

Guest edited by Elizabeth S.D. Engelhardt, the Appalachia Issue includes Harlan County U.S.A. soundscapes, a break-up with Pearl S. Buck, musings on Dollywood & hillbilly consumerism, interviews with Appalachian “Country Queers,” and lost photos of black Asheville. Click here to subscribe or view the issue at Project Muse.

SOHP Intern Performance, Thurs, April 27, 2017 at 5:00 pm

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Follow Along on our Literary Tar Heel Tour!

Click here to access the virtual tour. 

Tell About the South: Darius Scott & Rachel Cotterman, Tues, March 28 at 12:30 pm

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Back Ways and “Good Roads”

Southern Oral History Program field scholars Darius Scott and Rachel Cotterman explore recent findings from Back Ways, an SOHP project that examines the relationship between infrastructure development and experiences of racial segregation in the rural American South. Their talk will focus on the activities of the North Carolina “Good Roads Movement,” Good_Roadsan influential Progressive Era (1890s-1920s) reform project that worked to improve rural roads. The movement was shaped by both appeals to historic agrarian racism and commitments to scientific objectivity. The result was a supposedly unbiased plan that effectively institutionalized inequitable road development. This talk will address the challenges and possibilities of combining archival research and oral history in exploring the rural South as shaped by public policy and lived experience. You can read more here and listen to a “Press Record” podcast about this project via SoundCloud or iTunes.

This talk is free and open to the public, but RSVPs to pathorn@unc.edu are appreciated. Light refreshments will be provided.