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Malinda Maynor Lowery Appointed CSAS Director

We are thrilled to announce Malinda Maynor Lowery as our new director as of July 1, 2017. Extending the University’s historic role as the foremost site for southern studies and inspired regional engagement, the Center for the Study of the American South nurtures rigorous scholarship, critical conversations, and creative expressions to unlock the potential of a diverse and changing South. The Center is home to the Southern Oral History Program and Southern Cultures quarterly.

Lowery is an associate professor in the Department of History. She received NEH funding for her book The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle, forthcoming from UNC Press. A member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Lowery has produced four documentary films about Native American issues, including the award-winning In the Light of Reverence (PBS). Currently she collaborates with Durham-based Markay Media on unique southern-themed documentary film projects, including Private Violence (HBO), A Chef’s Life (PBS), and the forthcoming Road to Race Day (go90). Lowery’s first monograph, Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation (UNC Press, 2010), received the Best First Book award from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, among other honors.

As director of the Southern Oral History Program, Lowery has long worked to advance the Center’s mission. “I am excited to help make CSAS the region’s hub for multidisciplinary, participatory research across the humanities, arts, and social sciences,” said Lowery. “CSAS is an important bridge across the University and between the University and our citizens. As we engage with issues of relevance to the contemporary South, from scholars, artists, and community partners, we will bring the past to bear on the present and future.”

“Collaboration between initiatives and units that address the South in all its complexities is essential to UNC-Chapel Hill’s future,” Lowery observed. “Such collaboration is at the heart of my fields Native American history, southern history, and American Indian and Indigenous Studies. Over the years, working with artists, archivists, librarians, and other researchers in a variety of disciplines has been central to my work. I look forward to bringing that experience to support CSAS’s vision for a more hospitable South, stimulating the growth of a creative and innovative region that becomes more inclusive.”

Lowery holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature from Harvard University, a master’s degree in Documentary Film Production from Stanford University, and a PhD in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her previous teaching appointments include Harvard University, North Carolina State University, Duke University, and San Francisco State University.

“We are delighted to have Professor Lowery take on this new leadership role for the Center and for the College of Arts & Sciences,” said Terry Rhodes, senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities. “A nationally recognized scholar and respected colleague in our Carolina community, she will help us take the Center and southern studies writ large to the next level.”

Lowery succeeds Kenneth Janken, who returns to his home department as professor of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies.

Building a Radical Black Student Movement in North Carolina, Thurs, Nov 3 at 4:30 pm


As a complement to the intensely personal stories chronicled in the Black Pioneers Project, a play which is being staged by the Process Series Nov. 4 and 6, the Center is pleased to sponsor a panel discussion about the building of a radical black student movement on college and high school campuses across North Carolina in the 1960s and 1970s.  We are honored to have Ms. Joyce Johnson and Rev. John Mendez discuss their experiences in organizing this movement at a critical juncture in the African American Freedom Struggle. Among the topics they will explore are the issues that animated the movement for radical change, the connections they made between their local issues and national and international movements for social and economic justice, and the methods they employed to achieve their goals.

This event, to be held at the Love House and Hutchins Forum, is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Tell About the South: John Shelton Reed, Tues, Nov 1 at 12:30 pm


Mark your calendars! The godfather of southern sociology and pitmaster par excellence will join us to discuss “Barbecue and Politics, and Vice Versa.” John Shelton Reed is a co-founder of the Center for the Study of the American South and a founding editor of Southern Cultures. Reed has written or edited twenty books, including 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the South and Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, both written with his wife, Dale Volberg Reed. His most recent publication is Barbecue: A Savor the South Cookbook.

Barbecue will, of course, be served. This event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs to will be greatly appreciated.

October Has Come Again: Sun, Oct 30 at 2:00 pm


In his 1935 novel Of Time and the River, Thomas Wolfe wrote, “October had come again, and he would lie there in his mother’s house at night, and feel the darkness moving softly all about him, and hear the dry leaves scampering on the street outside, and the huge and burly rushes of the wind. And then the wind would rush away with huge caprice, and he could hear it far off roaring with remote demented cries in the embraces of great trees, and he would lie there thinking: October has come again—has come again.”

bookmark_octoberIn honor of Wolfe’s birthday month, this literary symposium will feature a lecture by award-winning novelist and short story author Tony Earley followed by short readings from new works by Minrose Gwin, Randall Kenan, Mesha Maren, Julia Ridley Smith, and Monique Truong. These acclaimed authors will discuss the state of southern literature in the twenty-first century.

The symposium, co-sponsored by the Blythe Family Fund, the North Carolina Collection, the Southern Historical Collection, and Southern Cultures, will be held in the Hill Ballroom at the Carolina Inn from 2:00-4:30 pm. Admission is free and open to the public, but seating may be limited. Please RSVP here

Southern Cultures: 21C Fiction Issue Launch, Sat, Oct 29 at 7:30 pm

fiction-cover-border-newIn a Southern Cultures essay published in 2000, Jerry Leath Mills came up with a “single, simple, litmus-like test [to gauge] the quality of southerness in literature . . . Is there a dead mule in it?” We were curious if Mills’s hypothesis held up, so we brought the question to some of our favorite authors. Join Jill McCorkle, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Jamie Quatro, and others as they continue the conversation started in our pages. Toast that talk and the new 21c Fiction Issue with the Deader Mule, a special cocktail from 21C Museum Hotel.

This issue launch in downtown Durham–one of several events planned for the month of October to honor southern writers and stories, past and present–is free and open to the public.