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.