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New Scholarship on the US South: A Wilson Library Fellows Symposium: Program

Symposium Schedule

The keynote and all symposium panels will take place at Wilson Library. The post symposium reception will take place at the historic Love House.

Tuesday, November 7: Keynote

5:00pm – 6:15pm: Keynote Reception

6:15pm – 6:30pm: Welcome Remarks

María R. Estorino
Vice Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian, UNC-Chapel Hill

6:30pm – 7:30pm: Keynote Address

Reshaping the Great Migration and Public Health in the South
Richard McKinley Mizelle, Jr. | Associate Professor of History, University of Houston 

Introduced by Raúl Necochea López
Associate Professor, Department of Social Medicine; Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of History, UNC-Chapel Hill 

Wednesday, November 8: Panels

8:00am – 8:45am: Registration and Morning Reception

8:45am – 9:00am: Welcome Remarks

Matt Turi
Special Collections Manuscripts Research and Instruction Librarian, UNC-Chapel Hill

9:00am – 10:15am: Session 1: More Than the Sum of Their Parts 

Introduction: Matt Turi
Special Collections Manuscripts Research and Instruction Librarian, UNC-Chapel Hill

Discussant: Abena Boakyewa-Ansah
Assistant Research Professor of History and Associate Director of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, Pennsylvania State University

A Dan River Fabric: Race, Community and Revitalization in a Southern City 
Elsabe (Ina) Dixon | Storied Capital 

The Misperception of Black Skill: Tools as Weapons in Slave Revolts
Hampton Smith | Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

“She has many connexions in this place”: Enslaved Women’s Geographic Knowledge and Gendered Credit Networks in the Rural South 
Nicole Viglini | George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, Pennsylvania State University 

10:15am – 10:30am: Break

10:30am – 11:50am: Session 2: Finding Meaning in so much Suffering

Introduction: Chaitra Powell
Sarah Graham Kenan Curator of the Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill

Discussant: Ajamu Amiri Dillahunt-Holloway
Assistant Professor of African American History and Public History, NC State University

“Smellers Offended”: Phosphate Fertilizers and Environmentalism in the South, 1911-1917 
Andrew Craig | University of Georgia 

The Hard Times Disease: Pellagra, Delta Plantations, and the Drought of 1930-31 
Dana Landress | University of Wisconsin 

The Punishing State: Punishment, Social Control, and Social Services in North Carolina
Kaneesha Johnson | UNC-Chapel Hill 

11:50pm – 12:55pm: Lunch

Lunch will be provided for pre-registered participants

12:55pm – 2:15pm: Session 3: Navigating Systems Not Built For You 

Introduction: John Blythe
Assistant Curator of the North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill

Discussant: Hilary Green
James B. Duke Professor of Africana Studies, Davidson College

"I'll tell you about a burglar man": The Sympathetic White Burglar in early 20th Century U.S. Popular Culture
Rebekah Aycock | University of Kansas 

“Camouflage” in Nantahala National Forest, Eric Rudolph and his engagement with white power organizing
Irene Newman | UNC-Chapel Hill

Hired-out and Self-hired Virtual Slaves Interaction with the Law in Antebellum North Carolina
Catherine Stiefel | University of Florida

2:15pm – 2:30pm: Break

2:30pm – 3:50pm: Session 4: Digging Deeper into the Narrative 

Introduction: John Blythe
Assistant Curator of the North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill

Discussant: Cecilia Márquez
Hunt Family Assistant Professor in History, Duke University

Early Black and Latino Coalitions in Durham, North Carolina
Elizabeth Barahona | Northwestern University

Country Music’s Neglect of Latinx Artists and Fans and the Failure of the Hispanic County Music Association
Amanda Marie Martinez | Post-doctoral Fellow, UNC-Chapel Hill

Right-to-work: How WWII Southern Agriculture Shaped 20th-Century U.S. Labor Policy and Citizenship
Jennifer Standish | UNC-Chapel Hill

3:50pm – 4:00pm: Break

4:00pm – 4:30pm: Closing Remarks

Blair L.M. Kelley
Joel R. Williamson Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the American South, UNC-Chapel Hill

Introduced by Elizabeth Ott
Interim Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and Director of Wilson Library Special Collections Library, UNC-Chapel Hill

5:00pm – 6:30pm: Closing Reception

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of the American South (CSAS)

From 5:00-6:30 PM, a reception for conference participants will be held at the Center for the Study of the American South (CSAS), 410 E. Franklin Street, in the historic Love House, a ten-minute walk from Wilson Library.

Building upon a century of scholarship, CSAS is a hub for interdisciplinary research, scholarship, and teaching about the evolving South. It connects campus and the region through public programs, the award-winning quarterly journal Southern Cultures, the Southern Oral History Program, Southern Futures, the Critical Ethnic Studies Collective, and annual research grants and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students. Join us for conversation and refreshments.



Reshaping the Great Migration and Public Health in the South

Richard McKinley Mizelle, Jr.

The Great Migration has generated a groundswell of scholarship in the past forty-years.  From resilient stories of survival in harsh rural and urban landscapes to the art work of Jacob Lawrence, the Great Migration occupies a prominent place in both US southern, urban, and Black thought.  My talk moves the discussion of migration politics into the realm of chronic disease, sickness, and public health.  Among the varied and multi-factorial reasons that Black people left the rural South was the opportunity to access health resources.  At the same time, the Great Migration was often racialized in narratives of "fitness" for urban spaces that attempted to pathologize Black migrants from rural and southern spaces.  Focusing on diabetes, chronic disease, and the politics of health in the South, this talk helps to reshape current trends in US Southern and Great Migration scholarship.

Session 1: More Than the Sum of Their Parts

A Dan River Fabric: Race, Community and Revitalization in a Southern City

Elsabe (Ina) Dixon

My paper invites scholars and the public to reflect on the place of memory in urban revitalization as I explore these themes in real-time in the fall of 2023 in a fellowship with Virginia Humanities creating a public and digital exhibit. Produced to integrate into the interior design of historic rehabilitation projects, these exhibits reckon with a former textile mill village’s legacy of race and place. My paper explores novel methods to exhibit community memory, attempting to showcase a story that elides neither the racial history of a place, nor the memories of those who lived and worked there.

The Misperception of Black Skill: Tools as Weapons in Slave Revolts

Hampton Smith

It is a common truism that enslaved craftspeople played vital roles in slave revolts. In almost every narrative, however, the actual skills of these artisans are elided. To address this lacuna, this paper shows how, and not only that, enslaved craftspeople turned their artisanal techniques into those of insurgency via the process of making tools like hammers, scythes, and cutlasses. By tracing the craft networks necessary to make such tools—from enslaved iron miners in the Chesapeake to skilled sharpeners in Cuba—this paper decenters rebel leaders in favor of a resistant Black collective of makers and therefore overcoming a familiar impasse in early African American art history and studies of slave revolts: the limitations of liberal individualism.

"She has many connexions in this place": Enslaved Women's Geographic Knowledge and Gendered Credit Networks in the Rural South

Nicole Viglini

This paper challenges an enduring historiographic misperception: that enslaved girls and women who lived in the rural antebellum South had very little first-hand knowledge of lands beyond the boundaries of their enslavers’ properties. In fact, enslaved girls and women cultivated a deep and expansive knowledge of local geographies, because their skilled, gendered, and mobile work was instrumental to the southern economy and particularly to white women’s fortunes. Their movement within and across southern communities occasionally enabled them to cultivate connections they sought to leverage to create more secure circumstances for themselves and their families in a violent, expanding slave society. 

Session 2: Finding Meaning in so much Suffering

"Smellers Offended": Phosphate Fertilizers and Environmentalism in the South, 1911-1917

Andrew Craig

This paper explores the ways the continual growth of the fertilizer industry during the late nineteenth century fundamentally changed the way white and Black urban communities in the South understood their local environments. Between 1911-1917, urban and the growing class of suburban Southerners filed nuisance lawsuits against fertilizer producers as the environmental transformations resulting from increased fertilizer use and production became more evident. They claimed that the pollution generated by phosphate fertilizer production killed their gardens, irritated their lungs, and made them sick. Analyzing the nuisance lawsuits filed in cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, and Hattiesburg shows how fertilizer manufacturers used leveraged Jim Crow segregation to silence the local communities who arose in opposition to their factories. This paper argues that fertilizer producers and judges set the stage for a century of environmental injustice by limiting Black residents’ access to legal protection from environmental pollution.

The Hard Times Disease: Pellagra, Delta Plantations, and the Drought of 1930-31

Dana Landress

In 1930, a severe drought spread slowly across the South, withering cotton and food crops in its wake. National cotton prices sank to all-time lows and the drought became yet another harbinger of impending hard times for sharecroppers. This paper will explore experiences of food scarcity, borne out by the drought, as a vehicle for collective labor action among sharecroppers. In what ways did the material experiences of hunger catalyze sharecropper’s political organizing? How did such contests underscore political tensions over cotton monoculture, federal health programming, and food sovereignty under Jim Crow?

The Punishing State: Punishment, Social Control, and Social Services in North Carolina

Kaneesha Johnson

The United States is excessively punitive. This project gives an historical contextualization of restrictive policies and tells the story of how North Carolina evolved over a century to punish its residents across multiple domains. By relying on archival data, including historical newspapers, personal papers of decision-makers, state-sourced administrative data, and policy manuals, I demonstrate that punitive policies have been ingrained in social services since their inception. In addition to documenting this history, I argue that researchers should be weary of focusing on singular forms of punishment and should instead incorporate frameworks that consider the multiple ways that the state imposes punitive sanctions on its residents.

Session 3: Navigating Systems Not Built For You

“I’ll tell you about a burglar man”: The Sympathetic White Burglar in Early 20th Century U.S. Popular Culture

Rebekah Aycock

This paper analyzes fictional depictions of white burglars in U.S. popular culture during the early 20th century. Turning to a variety of sources including folk songs, serial fiction, and play manuscripts, I explore the complicated racialization of burglary and anxieties surrounding domesticity, gender, and class. By centering ideas about sympathy and vulnerability during a period of rapid industrialization and expansionism, this paper shows how burglar narratives speak to broader anxieties over class relations and national identity.

“Camouflage” in Nantahala National Forest, Eric Rudolph and his Engagement with White Power Organizing 

Irene Newman

Eric Rudolph is widely known as a militant anti-abortion activist turned fugitive who planned and carried out four prominent bombings between 1996 and 1998, including the Atlanta Olympics. Rudolph, who was part of a network of white power activists, intentionally obfuscated his ideology and involvement using a technique white power groups called “camouflage,” where white power activists embedded in other far-right and right-leaning causes that were more palatable to the public and had more representation in the media and government. Hidden in both the anti-abortion movement and the North Carolina mountains, Rudolph represented a new possibility for white power organizers: someone who commits violence and retreats on his own terms.

Hired-out and Self-hired Virtual Slaves Interaction With the Law in Antebellum North Carolina

Catherine Stiefel

Enslaved people in the South have historically been characterized as living in a binary state, either enslaved or free. However, this characterization ignores the amorphous status of virtually free slaves who lived in an intermediate state of qualified freedom. Here their enslavers or trustees essentially acted as agents or supervisors as they lived semi-independently and illegally worked for their own benefit. Variously referred to, in the courts and statutes, as quasi-free, semi-emancipated, or virtually-free slaves legal disputes over their status and hiring-out practices proliferated during the antebellum era in North Carolina and the South broadly. These cases mocked the tenets of institutional slavery that described Black enslaved people as incapable of being self-sufficient or exercising their birthright citizenship. This paper will explore how hired-out and self-hired virtual slaves interacted with North Carolina law and demonstrated their extraordinary capacity to survive and resist the restrictions that law employed against them. 

Session 4: Digging Deeper into the Narrative

Early Black and Latino Coalitions in Durham, North Carolina

Elizabeth Barahona

Southerners for Economic Justice (SEJ) and the United States-Urban Rural Mission (U.S.-URM), Durham, North Carolina-based non-profits, exemplified coalition politics by standing with Latinos across the country. In the 1990s, as more Latinos migrated to Durham, the pressing needs of the burgeoning community in areas like health, education, labor, and housing grew increasingly apparent to activists. The SEJ and U.S.-URM responded to this by broadening their services and allocating resources to support Latino residents. This paper delves into the initial challenges faced by Latinos in Durham and explores the coalition-building endeavors between predominantly Black-led and incoming Latino residents to the city.

Country Music’s Neglect of Latinx Artists and Fans and the Failure of the Hispanic County Music Association

Amanda Martinez

Country music sounds and lyrics have long borrowed from Latinx culture, from influences in Western Swing, to recent songs like Jon Pardi’s “Tequila Little Time” (which includes sonic references to mariachi music with the use of horns), and Luke Bryan’s “One Margarita.” But what’s absent from country music’s long history of singing about Latinx culture is striking: actual Latinxs. This presentation looks beyond the Black/white binary of understanding country music’s racial and ethnic foundations and analyzes the overlooked presence of Latinx artists and fans in country music. It also pays special attention to the short-lived and ill-fated Hispanic Country Music Association, which was founded in 2006 and disbanded within a year.

Right-to-work: How WWII Southern Agriculture Shaped 20th-Century U.S. Labor Policy and Citizenship

Jennifer Standish

My dissertation argues that WWII farm employers, organized under the powerful American Farm Bureau Federation, shaped national U.S. labor law and relations for the remainder of the 20th century. In this presentation, I will share how my research in the Wilson Library archives suggested that the earliest state-level right-to-work laws attacking union security were initially developed as a backlash to World War II-era farmworker—rather than industrial— unionization. Given the overlap of farm labor, immigration, and segregation during the WWII era, I also explore how the history of farmworker organizing during WWII intersects with the evolving parameters of citizenship.


Meet the Keynote

Headshot of Rick MizelleRichard McKinley Mizelle, Jr.

University of Houston

Richard McKinley Mizelle, Jr. is Associate Professor of History at the University of Houston. His research, writing, and lecturing focuses on the history of race and healthcare politics, chronic disease, environmental health, and the historical connections between gender, identity, and ethnicity in medicine.

Mizelle is the author of Backwater Blues: The Mississippi Flood of 1927 in the African American Imagination and co-editor of Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita. His work has appeared in a wide range of academic journals and publications, including The Lancet, ISIS, The New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of African American History, History Compass, Open Rivers Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, and the American Historian Magazine. His research has also been quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times, New Yorker Magazine, and he has appeared and consulted on numerous local and national podcasts, including NPR Throughline and the Atlantic’s Floodlines.  He is currently completing a book on the history of race and diabetes.

Mizelle performs public history work on the long history of lead poisoning as an environmental metal that has sickened vulnerable people for well over a century. He is the curator of This Lead is Killing Us: A History of Citizens Fighting Lead Poisoning in Their Communities for the National Library of Medicine Traveling Exhibition Program.

Meet the Speakers

Rebekah AycockHeadshot of Rebekah Aycock

University of Kansas

Rebekah Aycock (she/her) is a PhD Candidate in American Studies at the University of Kansas. Her research interests include crime, fear, affect, and legal culture. Her dissertation is a study of burglary's affective life in U.S. law and culture in the wake of the Civil War through the turn of the 20th century.

Elizabeth BarahonaHeadshot of Elizabeth Barahona

Northwestern University

Elizabeth Barahona is a PhD Candidate in history at Northwestern University. She conducts research at the Chicago History Museum and teaches labor history to low-income Chicago adults through the Odyssey Project at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at the Cook County Jail. Currently, her research looks at African American and Latino coalition building in the U.S. South, specifically Durham, North Carolina, in the 1980s and 1990s. Her work has been published in the Journal of American Ethnic History, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books, Intervenxions at New York University, and at Northwestern University. Elizabeth was awarded the dissertation research fellowship at the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 2022-2023.

Headshot of  Abena Boakyewa-AnsahAbena Boakyewa-Ansah (Discussant)

Pennsylvania State Univesity

Dr. Abena Boakyewa-Ansah is a historian of US history with a specialized interest in Black women’s worlds, lives, and ideas of freedom in the Civil War era. A first-generation Afro-Caribbean and Black British scholar, she began her work at the University of Edinburgh, studying with Civil War historian David Silkenat. Her undergraduate thesis became her first publication in 2017, “Crafted ‘By Their Own Hands:’ The African American Religious Experience in Union-Occupied North Carolina, 1862-1865,” in The North Carolina Historical Review. Abena then attended Vanderbilt University, where she completed her doctorate in history as the last student of Professor Richard Blackett in 2022. Her first manuscript, “Freedom Was Their North Star: Formerly Enslaved Women’s Efforts to Secure and Define Freedom During the American Civil War,” places enslaved women at the forefront of the battle for Black freedom, seeking to recast them as freedom makers rather than passive recipients of freedom. Specializing in Civil War history, Abena developed her research interests in African-American religious history, Black women’s intellectual landscape and feminist ideas, and innovative research methods for diving deeper into the interiority of the enslaved.

Andrew Craig

University of Georgia

Andrew Craig is a third year PhD student in the History Department at the University of Georgia. Originally from Asheville, North Carolina he received his BA in history from UNC Chapel Hill and his MA from UNC Wilmington.  He wrote his master’s thesis on the development of vertically integrated hog farms and the environmental crisis they created during the twentieth century in Eastern North Carolina. His current project focuses on chemical fertilizers in post-Civil War Southern agriculture and environmental racism in the early twentieth century.

Headshot of Dillahunt-HollowayAjamu Amiri Dillahunt-Holloway (Discussant)

North Carolina State University

Born and raised in Southeast Raleigh, Ajamu Dillahunt-Holloway is proud to be an Assistant Professor of African American History and Public History at NC State University. His research is on twentieth century African American history with a focus on the U.S. South, labor, environmental justice, and the Black Freedom Struggle. At present, he is the co-leader of The Communiversity, a community based archive and educational institution that houses the records of Black Workers for Justice. He is also a board member of the Interreligious Foundation of Community Organizations (IFCO), the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), and Democracy North Carolina. In 2023, Dillahunt-Holloway was appointed to the City of Raleigh’s Historic Resources and Museums Advisory Board. 

Headshot of Ina DixonElsabe (Ina) Dixon

Storied Capital

Dr. Ina Dixon is a public scholar dedicated to revitalizing historic communities through a reckoning with the past. Ina’s graduate studies (PhD, UNC Chapel Hill, 2021) were directed by her work leading a public initiative in Danville, Virginia from 2014-2017. In 2019, Ina created an historical consultant company, Storied Capital, that works in partnership with the City of Danville and local developers. Through Storied Capital, Ina has listed the Schoolfield Historic District in Danville on the National Register of Historic Places. She now guides historic tax credit processes for several rehabilitation projects within the City, wielding traditional academic research along with community-engaged methods to strengthen historic communities.

Headshot of Abena Boakyewa-AnsahHilary Green (Discussant)

Davidson College

Dr. Hillary Green is the James B. Duke Professor of Africana Studies at Davidson College. Her work explores the intersections of race, class, and gender in pre-1920 African American history, Reconstruction Studies, and Civil War Memory. Her first book, "Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South, 1865-1890" (Fordham University Press, 2016), explored how African Americans and their white allies created, developed, and sustained a system of African American education schools during the transition from slavery to freedom in Richmond, Virginia and Mobile, Alabama. Her in-progress second book focuses on how African Americans remembered and commemorated the American Civil War and its legacy. In addition to these projects, she has published an array of journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, encyclopedia entries, and public history publications. In January 2015, she created the Hallowed Grounds Project for exploring the history of race, slavery, and memory at the University of Alabama and the post-emancipation developments in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Headshot of Kaneesha JohnsonKaneesha Johnson

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kaneesha Johnson is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity. Kaneesha earned her B.A. in Political Science from UNC Chapel Hill, her MLS from the University of Chicago Law School, and her Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University. Her research focuses on the ways in which the state designs systems of punishment as a form of social control and how people who are subjected to those forms of control respond at the local level. 

Headshot of Blair KelleyBlair LM Kelley (Closing Remarks)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Blair LM Kelley, Ph.D. is the Joel R. Williamson Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the director of the Center for the Study of the American South, the first Black woman to serve in that role in the center’s thirty-year history. Kelley is the author of two books. The first, Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship (UNC Press), was awarded the 2010 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians. Kelley’s newest book, Black Folk: The Roots the Black Working Class (Liveright), was awarded a 2020 Creative Nonfiction Grant by the Whiting Foundation, and the 2022-23 John Hope Franklin/NEH Fellowship by National Humanities Center.   

Dana Landress

University of Wisconson-Madison

Dana Landress is an assistant professor in the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health. Her research examines the relationship between nutritional disease, community health work, and the political economy of capitalism in the South. She is especially interested in histories of structural racism, economic inequality, and community health activism as they pertain to patient encounters with medicine and public health. She is currently writing a book on the history of pellagra in the U.S. South, which features manuscript collections held at UNC Chapel Hill's Southern Historical Collection. 

Headshot of Cecilia MarquezCecilia Márquez (Discussant)

Duke University

Cecilia Márquez is the Hunt Family Assistant Professor in History at Duke University and previously taught Latino/a Studies at New York University. Her research focuses on the history of Latinxs in the US South from 1940-Present. Dr. Márquez writes and teaches about the formation of Latinx identity, Latinx social movements, and the importance of region in shaping Latinx identity. Her work has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Her new book, "Making the Latino South: A History of Racial Formation" was released September 2023.

Amanda Marie Martínez

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Amanda Marie Martínez received her PhD in history at UCLA. Her writing has appeared in California History and the Journal of Popular Music Studies, as well as NPR, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Her book project analyzes the role of race and class in the marketing practices of the country music business between Nixon and 9/11.

Headshot of Raúl Necochea LópezRaúl Necochea López (Keynote Introduction)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Raúl Necochea obtained his Ph.D. in History from McGill University and held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health before joining UNC. He is broadly interested in the history of medicine and science, sexual and reproductive health, and Latin America. He is committed to continue bringing non-U.S. voices and sources to bear on health and medical research in the U.S., to enrich and challenge the stories we tell about change and continuity in this country. By the same token, he is part of several networks of Latin American scholars endeavoring to place health and medicine at the forefront of public attention, especially as President of the Peruvian Society for History of Science, Technology and Health. He wrote A History of Family Planning in Twentieth Century Peru (UNC Press, 2014), and La Planificación Familiar en el Perú del Siglo XX (IEP and United Nations Fund for Population Activities, 2016). He also co-edited Peripheral Nerve: Health and Medicine in Cold War Latin America (Duke, 2020). Presently, Raúl is writing a book about the history of cancer care in the Andean region and he directs and teaches the Social and Health Systems course for first year medical students at the UNC School of Medicine.

Irene NewmanHeadshot of Irene Newman

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Irene Newman is a PhD candidate in American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She studies white power organizing in the late 20th century.

Headshot of Hampton SmithHampton Smith

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Hampton Smith is a Doctoral Candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture program. Their research focuses on the art, material culture, and architecture of the transatlantic world from 1600-present. They are working on a dissertation tentatively titled, “Making under Slavery in the Black Atlantic World.” They have forthcoming articles in American Art, History of Design Journal, and recently published Thresholds 51: Heat, MIT Architecture’s peer-reviewed journal.

Headshot of Jennifer StandishJennifer Standish

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Jennifer Standish studies the social, legal, and political history of labor unions in the 20th century U.S. South. Her dissertation focuses on the history of “Right-to-Work” laws and union security agreements. Union organizers argue that these laws create a “free rider” problem, disincentivizing union participation and draining unions of their members, finances, and potential to strike. She is currently exploring how early iterations of these laws were rooted in agricultural industries and WWII labor coordination and management. Her research has been supported by the Wilson Library Research Fellowship, the Center for the Study of the American South Summer Research Fellowship, the Archie Green Summer Research Fellowship, the Center for Engaged Scholarship Dissertation Fellowship 2022-2023, and this year, the UNC Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship 2023-2024.

Headshot of Catherine J. StiefelCatherine J. Stiefel

University of Florida

Catherine J. Stiefel graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in United States history. She received a Master of Arts from the University of North Florida in United States history with a concentration in early American legal and constitutional history. She was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in United States history from the University of Florida in August 2023. Her research interests include American legal history, socio-legal history of slavery, Southern history, and Atlantic history. Her work specifically investigates the variegated nature of slavery in the South and the interactions of enslaved people with the law and legal culture of North Carolina. 

Headshot of Nicole VigliniNicole Viglini

The Pennsylvania State University

Nicole Viglini is a postdoctoral scholar at the Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State, specializing in nineteenth-century U.S. histories of slavery, capitalism, gender, and legal cultural histories. Nicole’s current research examines how enslaved and free Black women’s claims to property and credit afforded them conditional but significant avenues to assert claims to place and belonging in the antebellum South. At the Richards Center, Nicole is focusing on turning her dissertation into a book manuscript and is crafting a digital project that highlights Black women’s economic contributions to the United States’ war effort during the American Civil War.

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