“3-D Genealogy: Tools for Uncovering the Roots of Wealth and Privilege”
Robert G. Williams conducted research at the Brookings Institution before moving to Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he has taught as an economics professor since 1978. Taking traditional genealogy as a starting point, Williams digs deeper into the social and economic context of his Deep South roots, subjecting family narratives to empirical tests. Taking from the official family tree the two-dimensional lists of ancestors as well as their life accomplishments, dates of birth, marriages, and deaths, Williams fills in the gaps using a combination of easily searchable digitized records (federal land patents, population censuses, and slave schedules) and harder-to-locate county probate and deed book archives.
To visualize in 3-dimensional space the process of his ancestor’s land acquisition, Williams uses Earthpoint software to project land patent data onto recent satellite images via Google Earth. By excavating the fuller historical record of his Alabama and Mississippi ancestors, Williams has discovered the suppressed truths of his own privilege. The accounts reveal how lands taken from Choctaw and Chickasaw peoples and labor taken from enslaved African-Americans produced the wealth his ancestors used to ensure their children’s prosperity from 1817 to 1865. Williams concludes, “I am the fortunate (6th generation) recipient of this tradition, along with all my siblings and practically every white person I knew growing up.”
This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP via this Google form.
Sam Hilliard, Atlas of Antebellum Agriculture (LSU Press, 1984)
In the Southeastern United States, indigenous communities are often omitted from discussions about environmental justice. These omissions permeate public policy and have serious implications for Native American tribes living in the region today. A case in point is the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile long fossil fuel pipeline that would impact several Native American tribes in the southeastern US. This talk focuses on the efforts of tribes, organizations, and individuals currently working to voice indigenous concerns about environmental justice and other topics related to this major infrastructure project.
Ryan Emanuel is Associate Professor and University Faculty Scholar in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State University. His recent article “Flawed Environment Justice Analyses” appeared in the journal Science in July 2017. This event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs to firstname.lastname@example.org will be appreciated. Light refreshments will be served.
The American Studies Speaker Series presents “Empire’s Dead: Incivility, Indigeneity, and the Cultural Politics of Settling,” a public lecture by Dr. Jodi A. Byrd. Byrd is a Faculty Affiliate for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and an Associate Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Byrd’s talk explores the temporalization of Indigenous peoples as part of a long lost and undead past that continues to unsettle the speculative genres of horror and science fiction, and considers how the uncivil, the savage, and the zombie inflect how we imagine possible decolonial futures. Co-sponsored by the Department of English and Comparative Literature, the Department of History, and the Center for the Study of the American South.