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  • Friday, September 06, 2019 12:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Southern Labor Studies Association is pleased to announce the results of the 2019 election. The newly elected Officers and Executive Board Members will begin their terms of service on October 1.

    Vice President: Keri Leigh Merritt

    Keri Leigh Merritt works as a historian and writer in Atlanta, Georgia. Her first book, Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South (Cambridge University Press, 2017), won both the Bennett Wall Award from the Southern Historical Association and the President’s Book Award from the Social Science History Association. Merritt is also co-editor, with Matthew Hild, of Reconsidering Southern Labor History: Race, Class, and Power (University Press of Florida, 2018), which won the 2019 Best Book Award from the UALE (United Association for Labor Education). Merritt also writes historical pieces for the public, and has had letters and essays published in a variety of outlets.

    Treasurer: Matthew Hild

    Matthew Hild earned his Ph.D. in the History, Technology, and Society program at Georgia Tech, where he is currently a lecturer.  He also teaches at the University of West Georgia. His books include Greenbackers, Knights of Labor, and Populists: Farmer-Labor Insurgency in the Late-Nineteenth-Century South (University of Georgia Press), Arkansas's Gilded Age: The Rise, Decline, and Legacy of Populism and Working-Class Protest (University of Missouri Press), and, as co-editor with Keri Leigh Merritt, Reconsidering Southern Labor History: Race, Class, and Power (University Press of Florida).

    Executive Board Members (in alphabetical order)

    Mary Frederickson (1-year term)

    Mary Frederickson is currently an affiliated faculty member in the Institute for Liberal Arts at Emory University and Professor Emeritus of History at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where she taught from 1988-2015. At Miami, she was awarded the Distinguished Educator Award from the College of Arts and Science and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Ohio Academy of History. Her research and teaching focus on gender, race, labor studies, and the social impact of disease. In 2010 she was a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. The following year, she published Looking South: Race, Gender, and the Transformation of Labor, a study of the low-wage, anti-union and state-supported industries that marked the creation of the New South and now the Global South. In 2012-13, she was named Senior Mellon Fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University. Since 2013 she has been a Visiting Professor at Emory, in both the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts and the Rollins School of Public Health. She serves as series editor of “Public Health in the US and Global South,” for Southern Spaces. Recent publications include Gendered Resistance: Women, Slavery, and the Legacy of Margaret Garner, 2013, (co-edited with Delores M. Walters); and Global Women’s Work: Perspectives on Gender and Work in the Global Economy, 2018 (with Beth English and Olga Sanmiguel-Valderrama). Her many published articles include works on labor and cultural history, new trajectories in women’s history, and the relationship between historical consciousness and activism. The National Council for Research on Women, Fulbright-Hays, and the National Endowment for the Humanities have funded her research.

    Brian Kelly (2-year term)

    Brian Kelly is a lifelong trade unionist active in the University and College Union (UCU) at Queen’s University Belfast. His early research was on interracial unionism in the New South, but in recent years he has focused on the formative struggles that accompanied slave emancipation. His first book, Race, Class and Power in the Alabama Coalfields, 1908-1921  (Illinois, 2001), won a number of awards, including the Southern Historical Association's H. L. Mitchell Prize for an outstanding book in Southern working-class history, and its Frances Butler Simkins Award for the best first book by an author in Southern history. In the years since he has published widely on the problem of racial antagonism and its impact on working-class politics in the US. Formerly a Walter Hines Page Fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina, he holds non-residential fellowships at the Institute for Southern Studies (University of South Carolina) and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute (Harvard University). He is past director of the After Slavery Project  and is competing a study of black labor in Reconstruction South Carolina. 

    Sarah McNamara (2-year term)

    Sarah McNamara is Assistant Professor of History and affiliated faculty in the Latina/o, Mexican American Studies Program at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on Latinx, labor, women and gender, and immigration histories in the modern United States. She is at work on her first book, “From Picket Lines to Picket Fences: Latinas and the Remaking of the Jim Crow South, 1930-1964.” McNamara has two forthcoming articles, “Borderland Unionism: Latina Activism in Ybor City and Tampa, Florida,” which will appear in the 2019 summer issue of the Journal of American Ethnic History, and “A Not-So Nuevo Past: Latina Histories in the U.S. South,” in Labor: Studies in Working Class History as well as a special issue of the JAEH that interrogates the long history of multi-ethnic immigration to the U.S. South. In March 2018, her chapter “Settlement of Ybor City, 1885-1930,” was published in 50 Events that Shaped Latino History. Beyond historical work, McNamara is dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration and sharing research on Latinx, immigration, and women and gender with a broad audience. She has written for Public SeminarThe Washington Post and published an ethnopoetic piece about the experience of undocumented activists in the U.S. South with South Writ Large. In addition to scholarship, McNamara is dedicated to student and community activism. At Texas A&M, McNamara acts as the faculty to sponsor to CMSA, previously the DREAMAct Club, which advocates for DACA and undocumented students at Texas A&M through collective action and university administrative change. McNamara’s work has received support from the American Historical Association, the American Libraries Association, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others.

    Susan O'Donovan (2-year term)

    Susan Eva O’Donovan is Associate Professor of History at the University of Memphis and has held appointments with History and African & African American Studies at Harvard University and the Freedmen and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland. A scholar of nineteenth-century race, labor, and politics, she has written extensively on African American experiences in the post emancipation South. Susan is currently at work on a new project, Becoming Citizens: The Political Lives of Slaves. Under contract with Metropolitan Books, Becoming Citizens explores the relationship between what slaves did for their owners and what they came to know and do for themselves in the years leading up to secession. Susan has served on/chaired numerous university and professional committees; she is co-director of the Memphis Massacre Project; a founding member of the After Slavery Project; and the district coordinator for West Tennessee History Day, an affiliate of National History Day.

  • Wednesday, July 31, 2019 9:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA's latest Working History podcast, "Reconciling a Slaveholding Past," Jody Allen discusses the College of William and Mary's slaveholding past and the genesis, research, and community outreach of The Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation. Listen to Working History on Spotify, iTunes, and SoundCloud, and subscribe on these platforms to keep up to date on future episodes. 

    Jody Lynn Allen, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of History at William and Mary, and Director of The Lemon Project. Her research interests cover the U.S. Civil War through the Long Civil Rights Movement focusing on black agency. Her current manuscript, Roses in December: Black Life in Hanover County, Virginia During the Era of Disfranchisement, considers the consequences of and responses to the 1902 Virginia constitution revisions that disfranchised most African American males. She is working with a colleague to produce "The Green Light," a documentary film on the school desegregation case, Charles C. Green v. the School Board of New Kent County, VA. This little-known 1968 Supreme Court decision led to the integration of public schools throughout the South. She co-authored "Recovering a 'Lost' Story Using Oral History: The United States Supreme Court's Historic Green v. New Kent County, Virginia, Decision" which appeared in The Oral History Review. Her article, “Thomas Dew and the Rise of Proslavery Ideology at William & Mary” appears in the Forum on Slavery and Universities in the May 2018 edition of Slavery & Abolition. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Allen was a visiting assistant professor of history at the University of the South at Sewanee, TN, where she taught African American History and consulted with Sewanee’s Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation.

    The Lemon Project is a multifaceted and dynamic attempt to rectify wrongs perpetrated against African Americans by William & Mary through action or inaction. An ongoing endeavor, this program will focus on contributing to and encouraging scholarship on the 300-year relationship between African Americans and W&M, and building bridges between the university and Williamsburg and Greater Tidewater area. The Lemon Project is a member of the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium

  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019 7:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA’s latest Working History podcast, "Beef: Exploitation, Innovation, and How Meat Changed America," Joshua Specht discusses his new book, Red Meat Republic: A Hoof-to-Table History of How Beef Changed America (Princeton University Press 2019), and how the history of beef production tells the story of broad changes in the American economy, society and political landscape during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    Joshua Specht is Lecturer in History at Monash University in Australia. He is a historian of the nineteenth-century United States, and uses approaches from environmental history to study topics that have traditionally been the focus of business or economic history. 

  • Thursday, May 23, 2019 10:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA’s latest Working History podcast, "Appalachia: A Regional Reckoning," Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll discuss their edited volume Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy (West Virginia University Press, 2019), the complexities of the region known as Appalachia, and challenging popular stereotypes of the region and the people who live there.

    Anthony Harkins is Associate Professor of History at Western Kentucky University. His book Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon (Oxford University Press, 2004) won the 2005 Susanne M. Glasscock Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Humanities Scholarship from Texas A&M University. His new project explores the origins, development and potential consequences of envisioning the great center of the nation as "the middle of nowhere" from the perspectives of both coastal commentators and self-defined "Flyover People." In particular, he is investigating the impact of central transportation and communication developments (especially transcontinental passenger air travel, the interstate highway system, and television) on the changing ways Americans envisioned the cultural and geographic boundaries and intersections of the nation.

    Harkins has published in Studies in American HumorAppalachian JournalThe Journal of Appalachian Studies and Historically Speaking. He is the Co-Editor of the Media section of the Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2006) and serves as a historical consultant on several film documentaries.

    Meredith McCarroll is the director of writing and rhetoric at Bowdoin College. She was born and raised in Western North Carolina and earned her PhD at the University of Tennessee. She is the author of Unwhite: Appalachia, Race, and Film. Her work has also been published in Southern Cultures, South Carolina Review, and Pluck.

    Listen to Working History on Spotify, iTunes, and  SoundCloud, and subscribe on these platforms to keep up to date on future episodes.

  • Thursday, March 14, 2019 11:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA’s latest Working History podcastJessica Wilkerson, Assistant Professor of History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, discusses her book, To Live Here You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice, and the recent history of feminist social justice activism in Appalachia.

    Jessica Wilkerson is Assistant Professor of History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. Born and raised in East Tennessee, she earned her MA in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College and PhD in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her first book, To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice (University of Illinois Press, 2019), traces the alliances forged and the grassroots movements led by women in the Appalachian South in the 1960s and 1970s. The project, based on her dissertation, received the OAH Lerner-Scott Prize and the Labor and Working-Class History’s Herbert Gutman Prize. 

    Wilkerson’s article “The Company Owns the Mine But They Don’t Own Us: Feminist Critiques of Capitalism in the Coalfields of Kentucky,” was published in April 2016 in Gender & History and received the A. Elizabeth Taylor Prize for the best article in women’s history from the Southern Association for Women Historians. She has also published in Southern Cultures and Working U.S.A.: The Journal of Labor and Society, and she contributed to North Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times—Volume 2(University of Georgia Press). She has contributed to oral history projects at the Southern Oral History Program (UNC), including the “Long Women’s Movement in the American South.” You can hear more about that project here. In the spring 2017, she began a collaboration with her students on an oral history project documenting LGTBQ life and history in Mississippi. She has also written for 100 Days in Appalachia, SalonRewire News, Washington Post, and Longreads. Her research interests include women’s and gender history, working-class history, U.S. social movements, Appalachian history, and oral history.

    Professor Wilkerson teaches classes in southern history, women’s and gender history, contemporary U.S. history, and oral history.

  • Thursday, February 14, 2019 2:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On SLSA’s latest Working History podcast, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash discusses his novel, The Last Ballad, writing fiction inspired by the South, and exploring the complexities of southern class, race, and gender relations against the backdrop of the 1929 Loray Mill strike.

    Wiley Cash is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Last BalladA Land More Kind than Home, and This Dark Road to Mercy. The founder of the Open Canon Book Club and co-founder of the Land More Kind Appalachian Artists Residency, he has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Weymouth Center. He serves as the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and their two young daughters.

    Follow Working History on SoundCloud and subscribe on iTunes to check out past episodes and keep up to date on future episodes.

  • Thursday, February 14, 2019 10:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SLSA Board Member Jessie Wilkerson's book, To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice, is now available from the University of Illinois Press.  Described as, "Inspiring yet sobering," To Live Here, You Have to Fight "reveals Appalachian women as the indomitable caregivers of a region--and overlooked actors in the movements that defined their time." Read a recent review of the book in the Pacific Standard, listen to an interview with Jessie on BYY Radio's Top of the Mind, and stay tuned to Working History for a forthcoming episode about the book.

  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019 1:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SLSA Board Member Keri Leigh Merritt recently discussed with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution how her family history informs her scholarly work, and the many intersections of poverty, racism, and policy in the South. "Poverty informs everything that’s currently happening politically," Merritt notes, "and studying poverty gives us clear answers about how to move forward and make America a more equitable society, particularly in the South." The full interview is available on ACJ.com.

  • Wednesday, December 19, 2018 7:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On the latest episode of Working History, Matthew Hild and Keri Leigh Merritt discuss their new edited volume, Reconsidering Southern Labor History, the nexus of race, class and power in the history of labor in the South, and how a new generation of southern labor scholars are changing our understanding of labor's past, present and future in the region.

    Keri Leigh Merritt works as an independent scholar in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her B.A. in History and Political Science from Emory University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. (2014) in History from the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on race and class in U.S. history. Merritt’s work on poverty and inequality has garnered multiple awards. Her first book, Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. With Matthew Hild she is the co-editor of Reconsidering Southern Labor History: Race, Class, and Power. She is currently conducting research for books on radical black resistance during Reconstruction, and on the role of sheriffs and police in the nineteenth century South.

    Matthew Hild is an instructor of history, specializing in southern history and American labor history and agricultural history at Georgia Tech. He earned his Ph.D. from Georgia Tech’s School of History and Sociology in 2003. He has taught intermittently at Georgia Tech since 2002, and has also taught at Auburn University, Georgia State University, Rhodes College, and the University of West Georgia. He is the author of Greenbackers, Knights of Labor, and Populists: Farmer-Labor Insurgency in the Late–Nineteenth Century South (University of Georgia Press, 2007) and a contributing author to Populism in the South Revisited: New Interpretations and New Departures (University Press of Mississippi, 2012).  He is currently writing Arkansas's Gilded Age: The Rise, Decline, and Legacy of Populism and Working-Class Protest, which is under contract with the University of Missouri Press. Courses that he has taught at Georgia Tech include U.S. History to 1877, U.S. History since 1877, History of the New South, U.S. Labor History, America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and Technology and Science in the Industrial Age.

    Follow Working History on SoundCloud and subscribe oiTunes to check out past episodes and keep up to date on future episodes.

  • Wednesday, December 19, 2018 7:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The Southern Labor Studies Association stands in solidarity with the September 6, 2018 statement of the UNC Black Faculty in regards to the Confederate monument Silent Sam. We also stand with graduate student workers, who, in recent days and months, have done the vital work of connecting labor and racial injustice at UNC-Chapel Hill. As an organization that encourages dialogue and discussion about key issues and events relevant to the past and present of labor in the U.S. South and seeks to enhance connections between academics and labor activists in the U.S. South, a monument to a regime dedicated to the subjugation of labor has no place on any campus. We encourage other academic organizations and university departments to take a public stand on this issue.

    The Officers and Board of the Southern Labor Studies Association
    December 2018

CONTACT Southern Labor Studies Association 

c/o Erik Gellman, SLSA/UNC Liaison

Department of History

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

102 Emerson Drive, CB #3195

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3195

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