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I’m honored to contribute to the Southern Studies blog. A few weeks ago, I sent the following proposal  to President McConnell; after a few small edits, I’m happy to share the letter with colleagues and anyone else interested in the College’s efforts to tell a fuller, truer story of the region.

Grant Gilmore

As I explained to President McConnell, I write with significant personal history with these subjects.  My father’s family owned a very successful plantation in Appomattox County, Virginia for over 100 years.  At the dawn of the Civil War, they had 78 enslaved people working for them.  My 3rd great-grandfather, Douglas Hancock Marshall, fought with Company A, 44th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment of the Confederate States of America. At the end of that horrible war, my 2nd great-grandfather watched the surrender from a tree outside Appomattox Court House that still stands to this day.  My father’s family also lost everything and rightly so, as their wealth was built upon human bondage.

In contrast, some in my mother’s family arrived in Jamaica as indentured servants from India—to replace the labor lost by British sugar plantation owners upon the emancipation of their enslaved African laborers in the 1830s.

The two sides of my family were united in 1969–the year before the College of Charleston became a state institution.  Eventually one of their sons would go on to excavate slave-related archaeology sites in Virginia, Louisiana, and at many islands in the Caribbean.  My PhD was on slavery in a global context.  Now, I work with all my heart and soul for our students, faculty and our great South Carolina citizens.

I have come to know something deeper about the character of Charleston in this new period of change—we have arrived at a great reckoning in our history as a city, and Charleston’s great College is now in a place very rarely exposed.  A door is open for us to be leaders on a truly righteous path.  I am writing to suggest two changes on our campus that would overtly demonstrate who we are.

12 Bull Street, current marker

12 Bull St

In our Researching Historic Properties courses since I began teaching here, we’ve focused on our many beautiful historic campus buildings.  On many of these buildings are signs explaining their historical significance.  They all state that the buildings “were built by so-and-so” as part of a particular period in Charleston’s history.  However, none recognize the fact that enslaved people actually did the building.  Without a doubt, our beautiful Randolph Hall was built by enslaved laborers with bricks made by enslaved children, women and men.  Additionally, African American contractors contributed significantly to construction and reconstruction across our campus during the post-Civil War period. My first suggestion, then, is that we amend our signs across campus to include these people’s contributions to what is now recognized as the most beautiful campus in America.  For example, the sign at our Cameron House at 12 Bull Street, where the Historic Preservation and Community Planning Program proudly resides, could start with something like this:

Built in 1851

by enslaved Africans and others for
Hugh P. Cameron,
a crockery merchant, as his residence.
In 1892, David Bentschner,
a clothing merchant,
purchased the home and changed
the interior to Colonial Revival.
The front gate, carrying his initials,
was added at that time.

In other cases, we have records of individual names of enslaved people who were hired out by their owners to build our campus buildings.  I propose that we recognize them and their forced labor.  I would be honored to organize a campus-wide committee to reword our campus signs so that this history is overtly recognized in the heart of Charleston.  Some may perceive this as controversial—but there is nothing more harmful than ignoring history, as we are witnessing now in our country.

Second, I propose a change at a campus property that I know is dear to all of our hearts.  The Sottile Theatre was and is one of the most beautiful venues in America.  I know that we would love to have it fully restored somehow, someway, soon. I propose a small and inexpensive addition to the entrance, where all theatre-goers can see it: a historic marker explaining that this theatre once had two entrances—one for blacks and one for whites.  That the entrance for one was up some exterior stairs so that they would never have to meet before, during or after a show.  But that today, people of all backgrounds can gather here and enjoy great performances.

I have been mulling over these thoughts for a couple of years now.  Recent events have finally forced my conscience to share them publicly and call for action. I believe most of our faculty and students will support President McConnell in the actions I suggest.

In this time of great misinformation about our shared past, the College of Charleston can be a leader in honestly portraying the contributions of African Americans (both enslaved and free) to our campus’s beauty and grace.

Perseveranti dabitur.

R. Grant Gilmore, III

 September 23, 2017

Dr. Gilmore is Addlestone Chair in Historic Preservation, Director of the BA Program in Historic Preservation and Community Planning, and Co-Director of the MA Program in Community Planning, Policy and Design.



under: C of C Program in Southern Studies, Charleston, Charleston History, Markers

Charleston’s Monumental Task

Posted by: Julia Eichelberger | September 19, 2017 | No Comment |

By Bernard Powers, September 19, 2017. This post is part of our series Narratives of the South: Traditions, Transformations, Intersections

Bernard Powers

The 2015 racially motivated murders in Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church and the subsequent removal of the Confederate flag from our Statehouse grounds intensified the already simmering debate over the place of Confederate statues, images and names in the public square.  The events in New Orleans and especially Charlottesville have roused passions even further, especially in the South, forcing communities to reconcile their stated values of the present, with a built environment deeply rooted in values of an oppressive past.  In Charleston, Mayor Tecklenburg recently charged the city History Commission with changing the signage at Confederate-era and other historic monuments, so that they are “complete and truthful about our history and add context.”  He also indicated that additional monuments should be erected to recognize African Americans’ contributions to the city and state. Although these are moderate proposals, it is amazing how threatening they are to many white southerners and how deeply invested these people are in maintaining a racist status quo.

In a recent letter to the editor published by the Charleston Post and Courier under the heading of “Leave statues alone,” the writer criticized the Mayor for seeking to reexamine the messages Confederate-era statues convey, to “create a more balanced narrative.”  The writer insisted the real goal was to denigrate the Confederate heritage, while “restricting historic interpretation to a prescribed way of thinking” that favors one group of people.  The evidence offered was the city’s Denmark Vesey statue that depicts him as a hero, rather than the “hateful man [he was] who planned widespread murder of Charleston’s white population. . . .[including] ancestors of many of us who live here today.”  In several important ways this letter is a case study of how personal feelings and prejudices combine to distort and misrepresent what ought to be our shared history.

As a professional historian who was involved in the Vesey Monument Project, I know there is no credible evidence that Denmark Vesey hated whites or that this was a factor in his conspiracy.  Even if true, this assertion would be irrelevant. The writer assumes that enslaved people could have achieved freedom in some non-violent way in 1820s Charleston.   Even as a free man Vesey had few rights, and slaves were considered property.  Could they have voted their way to freedom? Of course not.  Maybe a sit-in or a boycott?  We know the white violence those strategies elicited during the later civil rights era.  The harsh truth of American history that so many refuse to face today was pronounced by the Supreme Court in 1857.  In the Dred Scott Decision, Chief Justice Roger Taney declared that even if free, black people could not be citizens of the United States and were not entitled to its protections; they “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”  Years later, speaking about how societal change occurs, and describing groups far less oppressed than American slaves, President Kennedy presciently observed: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”  This is precisely what white Carolinians had done.  The text of the Vesey statue implies violence on the part of the conspirators, making it more honest than most Confederate-era monuments.  The slave rebels expected to resort to violence because whites would certainly have acted ruthlessly to prevent black people from becoming free.  Violence as a tool of liberation was legitimately wielded by Anglo-American colonists against Britain’s attempt to crush the American Revolution and, during World War II, by Jews in Warsaw and other ghettoes, against the Nazis’ planned genocide.   Denmark Vesey wanted all people to be free; his monument states he was motivated by the “universality of men and women’s desire for freedom and justice, irrespective of race, creed, condition, or color.”

The letter-writer expressed concerns about his ancestors who might have died if Vesey’s conspiracy was actualized.  Well, none of them did, because the plans were never fulfilled.  However, in Charleston with its high incidence of slaveholding, whites generally endorsed and in multiple ways profited from a system that actually extorted labor by force, destroyed black families and kept people in inhumane and even deadly conditions.  In fact, South Carolina was the last state to end the barbaric Atlantic slave trade; when black bodies were consumed they were replaced by new ones from across the Atlantic.   Throughout the eighteenth century and as late as the early nineteenth, many whites had such little regard for slaves who died here, that they disposed of black corpses in the waters off the peninsula, eliciting condemnation from local officials.   John C. Calhoun, whose statue sits on a high pedestal in Charleston’s Marion Square, provided political and intellectual support for this system, and the Confederate Defenders of Charleston Monument is dedicated to those who shed their blood for it.  Black lives did not matter to them; only white lives did.

In June 2015 some relatives of the Emanuel Nine murder victims captured the world’s attention by extending forgiveness to the neo-Confederate murderer of their family members. This was at once an act of Christian charity and self-healing, which won the admiration of many.  When black people are forgiving, they always win the plaudits of whites.  On the other hand, when they vow, as Denmark Vesey did, to become free “by any means necessary,” even when pushed to the brink by racial proscription and oppression, white critics emerge.  We must recognize that Vesey’s decision to fight for freedom was as worthy of emulation as that of George Washington and Patrick Henry and as legitimate as that of the Emanuel Nine family members.  We must also cut through the comfortable preoccupation so many have with the “Lost Cause,” emphasizing the valor of Confederates on the battlefield; we should forthrightly consider what kind of society a Confederate victory would have perpetuated and even expanded.  Until we can examine these issues and their implications honestly, we cannot have a shared history, nor will we agree on how it should be depicted in the landscape.

Bernard Powers, Department of History

A shorter version of this essay appeared in the Charleston Post & Courier on September 15, 2017.

Video: Attendees applaud the unveiling of the Denmark Vesey statue in Hampton Park, February 2014.

under: Uncategorized

A new series from our program faculty.

Studying the South & Why it Matters

by Julia Eichelberger and Tammy Ingram          August 30 2017 

Many people inside and outside of the South misunderstand the region, falling back upon stereotypes and generalizations to characterize it.  The College of Charleston’s Program in Southern Studies combats these incomplete and inaccurate views through research and teaching that attest to the region’s complexity and diversity. Together with our students, we work to understand the region more fully and to interpret its significance for the 21st century.

We reject factually unfounded narratives that glorify the Confederacy, which existed in order to sustain slavery.  Instead, our duty is to study and teach the full range of experiences of all Southerners, many of whom suffered generations of enslavement and were terrorized by white supremacists who regained control of the region after losing the Civil War. Such terror continues today, to our collective shame. We will not stop calling it by its name. We cannot afford to.

In our classrooms and in our scholarship, we tell the stories of Southerners who committed racist violence and of Southerners who bravely resisted it; we tell stories of women and men oppressed because of their gender or sexual orientation, and stories of Southerners who’ve worked to expand the region’s understanding of humanity and human rights. We study the region’s rising seas and troubled infrastructures, its governments and economies, its religious communities, its educational institutions, and its vibrant cultural traditions. We tell stories of genocide and of generosity. We tell stories of polluted landscapes and stories of Southerners who protect and restore them. We ask why so many Southerners have been trapped in poverty; we analyze individuals and institutions who transform Southerners’ lives for the better. In short, we study the region in all its complexity and include the voices of all of its citizens, past and present.

We stand with people in Charlottesville and throughout the country who resist white supremacist rhetoric and violence, and with all our allies who work for a more just, more inclusive, more sustainable region.

In the coming weeks, Southern Studies faculty will delve more deeply into topics that affect this region. We look forward to the following blog posts, with more to be added:

—Remembering Enslaved Labor and Jim Crow in C of C’s Historic Buildings—Grant Gilmore

—Monuments and African American Southerners—Bernard Powers

–Resistance/Activism/Racial Uplift at Avery Institute—Barrye Brown

–Archives and Power—Harlan Greene

–Southern Jews: Privilege and Vulnerability—Shari Rabin

–Who Identifies as “Southern” and Why?—Gibbs Knotts

–The Whiteness of Southern History/Southern Studies—Tammy Ingram

–Karenne Wood’s Poetry: Native American Histories in the South—Julia Eichelberger

under: Uncategorized

Professor Rénard Harris on blues harmonica

Posted by: Julia Eichelberger | August 9, 2017 | No Comment |
Dr. Harris sitting at his desk playing blues harmonica.

Dr. Rénard Harris

In honor of last week’s International Blues Day (August 5), y’all should watch this short video of C of C’s Dr. Rénard Harris–Mississippi native, Teacher Education professor, and C of C Chief Diversity Officer–who is also a skilled blues harmonica player. Plus, did you realize that harmonica, blues, and storytelling can enhance a teacher’s effectiveness? Now you know.



under: Uncategorized

Crossing Faith & Color Lines in the South

Posted by: Julia Eichelberger | July 30, 2017 | No Comment |

This post comes from Dr. Matthew Cressler, an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies.

Dr. Cressler with students Julia, Mona, Tanner, Kristen, and Iman at the Center for Civil and Human Rights

This May I had the opportunity to teach a course unlike any I’ve taught before: Interfaith Atlanta Across the Color Line (RELS 298), designed to explore the intersection of religion and race in and around Atlanta, GA. Intense study on a Maymester schedule was followed by travel to Atlanta with an incredible group of com/passionate and hilarious students, making this class one of the best teaching experiences of my life.

This course was partly inspired by a grant the Religious Studies department received two years ago from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, but also by a conversation I had with Haley Hart, a CofC RELS grad who works as the sponsorship coordinator for Atlanta’s Habitat for Humanity. Haley introduced me to the history of interfaith in Atlanta, which had its origins in an interracial evangelical Christian commune founded in the middle of Jim Crow Georgia in 1942 called Koinonia Farm. It turns out interfaith Atlanta was born of an experiment in interracial living. As a religious studies prof with one foot in African American studies, I was hooked!

With the support of a course development grant from Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), I constructed a course that explored different ways of living in the world (religious, racial difference) and different models for social change. W.E.B. Du Bois’s concept of “the color line” and IFYC founder Eboo Patel’s “faith line” served as starting points for the class, but the hook, so to speak, was an exploration of contrasting approaches to social change. Interfaith work is often conceived as bridge-building work that unites people from diverse backgrounds around a common goal. Racial justice work, on the other hand, confronts systems of power and disrupts the status quo. Over the course of the Maymester, my students and I wrestled with the question: Do struggles for racial justice conflict with the movement to build bridges across lines of faith (and vice versa)? Are they necessary for each other or necessarily in conflict?

Our examination began in the classroom where we explored the religious and racial landscapes of the twenty-first century United States, different conceptual models for social change, and the faith and color lines that define 2017 Atlanta. Then we hopped in our sweetass minivan and headed to Americus, GA for our first stop: Koinonia Farm. There are far too many stories to tell in one short blog post, so I’ll highlight the three kinds of experiences we had throughout the week.

Thumbs up from Mona–Atlanta Habitat

Service learning: Manual labor in service to Koinonia and an interfaith build for the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. Once we arrived at Koinonia Farm we jumped out of the van and into painting projects, weeding (and weed-whacking), and other farm maintenance. We joined a communal worship organized around a potluck dinner and featuring a minister-less service with a shared sermon. This would be the first of many times people’s preconceived notions would be challenged (this time around what “evangelical Christianity” looks and sounds like). Our group had its own in-built religious diversity – with backgrounds in varying shades of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim – so, needless to say, there were plenty of myths to bust.

Public historical pilgrimage: We visited Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth place and final resting place, having already read his “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” and watched Ava DuVernay’s Selma. We followed this up with a visit to the Center for Civil and Human Rights, a museum designed to have a visceral emotional impact on visitors, immersing them in the sights and sounds of the civil rights era and informing them of ongoing civil and human rights crises around the world.

Interfaith immersion: We spent two days in meetings organized by Interfaith Community Initiatives and led by Jan Swanson, affectionately known as the “godmother of interfaith in Atlanta,” experiencing the religious and racial diversity of the city firsthand. We witnessed worship, shared in meals, and engaged in conversation with Black Catholics, white and South Asian Hindus, Turkish and African American Muslims, white Buddhists, and Reformed Jews. And after our long days trekking from church to masjid to synagogue, the students willingly (excitedly even) gathered to decompress and analyze our experiences. Did I mention they’re the best students a professor could ask for?!!!

Each day ended with the class in conversation. How did the particular organization (or community or institution) we’d visited that day approach social change? Does this organization suggest that racial justice and interfaith work can coexist? I am happy to report that students’ final essays testified to two things: 1) they are not unanimous in their answers to that question (the debate continues), yet 2) they remain all the more invested in changing the world for the better.

You can read a longer version of this post on Dr. Cressler’s own blog.

And, need we add: this course counts towards the minor in Southern Studies!


under: African American Studies, Atlanta, C of C Program in Southern Studies, Courses, Religion in the South, Social Activism in the South, Students, Uncategorized

Summer & Fall 2017 courses: lots of ways to study the South

Posted by: Julia Eichelberger | May 1, 2017 | No Comment |

Want to take a course focused on the South? There’s a wide range of upcoming course offerings to choose from. (Here’s more info about each course, including pre-requisites and meeting times.)

Students in SOST 200 learn about piazzas from Dr. Nathaniel Walker

For an interdisciplinary look at the region’s history and culture and a chance to do your own research on a topic of your choice, consider taking Intro to Southern Studies. This interdisciplinary course counts toward the Humanties General Education requirement and is a requirement for the Southern Studies minor, but open to all interested students (prereq=ENGL 110).

Plenty of upcoming courses focus on the region and the Lowcountry:  Society and Culture of Early Charleston (History)  ~  History—Civil War and Reconstruction (History) ~ Southern Politics  (Political Science) ~ Traditional Design and Preservation in Charleston (Art History) ~ Sport in the South  (Communication) ~ Charleston Writers (English) ~ Reading the Lowcountry Landscape (Geography) ~ A People’s History of Charleston and the Civil Rights Movement (Honors) ~ Interfaith Atlanta Across the Color Line (Religious Studies)

You can also learn about the region in courses that don’t have “Southern” or “Charleston” in the title, but that still count towards the Southern Studies minor: Foundations of Education (Education) ~  American Vernacular Art and Material Culture (Art History) ~ African American Literature (English) ~ African American History to 1865 (History) ~ Comparative Slavery in the Americas (History) ~ Marine Geology (Geology) ~ African American Religions (Religious Studies)~ Preservation Planning Studio (Historic Preservation and Community Planning)

Interested in hands-on courses? You might enjoy Gospel Choir or Drawing Charleston.

To declare a minor in Southern Studies, go to the Academic Services tab in My Charleston.

Use the What-If function on DegreeWorks to see how your prior coursework could count towards the minor.

More questions? Want to find out how a minor in Southern Studies could complement your major? Contact the Program Director, Julia Eichelberger, at eichelbergerj@cofc.edu.

Slide from a student research presentation given in Intro to Southern Studies


under: C of C Program in Southern Studies, Courses, Students, Uncategorized

This month the African American Studies Book Club is reading and discussing Kindred, by Octavia Butler, a novel that explores life in pre-Civil War Maryland. The program in Southern Studies is happy to be a co-sponsor of this endeavor along with the department of English. Please join us!

The first discussion is Wednesday, February 1, at 6 PM in 9 College Way. On this date, participants will discuss the first 107 pages of the book. On Wednesday, February 22, participants will discuss the remainder of the book (pages 108-264). All interested students and faculty are welcome to attend either or both of these discussions.

One blogger noted that Kindred makes “every other time travel book in the world look as if it’s wimping out.” In it, a character living in California in the 1970s finds herself unwillingly time-traveling back to Maryland in the early 1800s.  The main character, Dana, is a young African American writer who experiences firsthand some of the horrific realities of slavery, all while realizing that the slaveholders and enslaved people she encounters in Maryland are connected to her own family.

Through this novel, Butler informs readers of the realities of American slavery while meditating on how human beings in terrible conditions manage to survive and the choices they must make to do so. It’s both a history lesson and a chance to contemplate what it means to be human and how the past affects the present.

Dr. Conseula Francis

When AAST professor Dr. Mari Crabtree, director of the AAST Book Club, originally selected this month’s book, she had hoped that our discussion would include another AAST colleague, the late, great Professor Conseula Francis, who was the director of the program in African American Studies as well as a member of the English department. Dr. Francis was an Associate Provost from 2015 until she passed away in May 2016 after a brief illness. One of her scholarly publications was a collection of interviews with one of her favorite writers, Octavia Butler. This month as we discuss this book without her, we’ll be thinking of Conseula with sadness, and with much admiration and love.

under: African American Studies, C of C Program in Southern Studies, Events, Faculty, Students
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Writing a Book on Teaching Eudora Welty

Posted by: Julia Eichelberger | December 30, 2016 | No Comment |

By C of C English major Matt Woodward ’17.

matt-woodwardDuring the summer of 2016, I worked with Dr. Julia Eichelberger on a forthcoming book entitled Teaching the Works of Eudora Welty: Twenty-First Century Approaches. In this collection of thirty-one essays, Dr. Eichelberger and her co-editor, Dr. Mae Miller Claxton, provide a place for the discussion of approaches to understanding and teaching one of America’s greatest writers: Eudora Welty.

spines-library-of-americaOver the course of the project, I was tasked with assisting Dr. Eichelberger compile resources for the book. I also proofread citations in the manuscript and offered feedback on the book’s introduction and its overall organization.  Of course, this work necessitated a thorough review and discussion of Welty’s works, including a close examination of the interconnectedness of her short stories and novels. In addition, through reviewing the pieces submitted for publication in the book, I gained fascinating new perspectives on how to place Welty’s engrossing narrative voice in a truly modern context.

Among all of the essays reviewed for the project, I was particularly struck by the work of critic Keith Cartwright. Cartwright’s essay, “We Must Have Your History, You Know: African/Soul Survivals, Swallowed Lye, and the Medicine-Journey of ‘A Worn Path,’” offers a fascinating examination of one of Welty’s most vexing and favorite short stories, “A Worn Path.” Cartwright offers a teaching approach to the story that positions a walk down Mississippi’s Natchez Trace as a “medicine story,” akin to the canonized works of Dante and Chaucer. The path of Old Phoenix from her Mississippi home to the city bursts with the vitality of preserved cultural experiences and close attention to the ecological diversity of the region.  Calling attention to Welty’s considerations of African-American traditions, Cartwright’s work offers just one example of the project’s re-envisioning of Welty’s work.pages-of-a-worn-path

Already somewhat of an avid Welty reader before working with Dr. Eichelberger, reviewing and discussing source material with her only enhanced my appreciation for Eudora Welty and Southern Literature more. The essays included in the final version of the project all illuminate Welty’s work as firmly connected to “modern” struggles of regional, racial, gender and political identities. After working with Dr. Eichelberger, any of Welty’s marvelous works, from The Golden Apples series to The Optimist’s Daughter ring with new relevance and power.

As a lifelong resident of the South, I have always tried to be attuned to the ways my home region is depicted in media and especially literature. In the context of the ever-expanding field of Southern Studies, Welty, with the help of critics like Keith Cartwright, can be seen as firmly resisting the bland stereotypes of the fetishized South. Carefully turning her eye towards the internality and, above all, the interconnectedness of Southern life, Welty demands that her readers, Southern or otherwise, leave their preconceptions behind.

This project has granted me a new understanding of the ways Welty, like other more celebrated Southern writers, offers her readers alternative visions and understandings of a region and its people. Through Welty’s fiction, I have arrived at an understanding of the place I call home. A region bursting with complexity, natural beauty, and contradictions. A region maimed by the legacy of history and enlivened by the opportunity for reparation. The South, as proven in Welty’s fiction, exists not as a static backwater, but as a vibrant crossroad of culture.

under: C of C Program in Southern Studies, Research Projects, Students

Meet the Southern Studies Faculty Advisory Board

Posted by: Julia Eichelberger | December 30, 2016 | No Comment |
Advisory Board for C of C’s Program in Southern Studies:  Karen Chandler, Mari Crabtree, Adam Domby, Julia Eichelberger (Program Director),  Tammy Ingram, Gibbs Knotts, Simon Lewis, Scott Peeples


Arts Management professor Karen Chandler has immersed herself in the jazz tradition in Charleston and South Carolina through her work as Co-Founder of The Charleston Jazz Initiative (CJI) and has collaborated extensively with Charleston’s leading jazz performers.

karenchandler2 Some of her publications trace Charleston’s early jazz musicians, including the Jenkins Orphanage Bands, and she has produced Legends, a CD recording of live and studio jazz music with a 22-piece big band. In the past, Dr. Chandler has served as director of the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture and Director of the University of Virginia’s African-American Cultural Center, among other appointments. Her expertise in arts management is further reflected on service to numerous editorial and advisory boards from Charleston to Columbia to New York City. As the director of the College’s Arts Management program, she is eager for Arts Management students to take advantage of Southern Studies offerings.


mari crabtreeDr. Mari Crabtree, Department of  African American Studies, teaches courses on major debates in African American Studies, African American music, mass incarceration, and collective memories of racial violence. Her Spring 2016 AAST 340 course, “Race, Violence, and Memory in American History,” counts toward the Southern Studies minor.  In Fall 2016, semester, Dr. Crabtree was featured in an article in Mother Jones and organized a teach-in on campus, “Tools for Navigating Post-Election America.”  Her research includes a book manuscript entitled, “My Soul is a Witness: Lynching and Southern Memory, 1940–1970,” an article on the cultural meaning of ghosts in African American folklore, and a book of intellectual history on critiques of white supremacy.


Dr. Adam Domby is a historian of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the American South.  adamdomby2Among his research interests are Civil War and Reconstruction, Historical Memory, Southern History, and Military History.  Using his expertise on Reconstruction, Dr. Domby is working with a group of faculty and public historians to create a public historical marker for the South Carolina constitutional convention that was held in Charleston in 1868. His current book project focuses on how southerners fought their neighbors in three divided southern communities during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Close examination of the social dynamics of these southern communities reveals new insights into why the Confederacy lost, why Reconstruction failed, and the distinctiveness of southern society, culture, and politics.


Dr. Julia Eichelberger, Professor of English and director of the program in Southern Studies, teaches courses on Southern literature (Spring 2017), postwar American poetry, African American literature, and Charleston writers (Fall 2017). In 2015 she and History professor Tammy Ingram developed the College’s program in Southern Studies and an interdisciplinary course, Introduction to Southern Studies, which she’ll be teaching in 2017. eichelberger-ms-book-festival-booktvHer publications include essays on African American and Southern literature; in 2013 she selected and edited Welty’s unpublished letters in Tell About Night Flowers: Eudora Welty’s Gardening Letters, 1940-1949 (UP of Mississippi) and contributed a chapter to Eudora Welty, Whiteness, and Race (U of Georgia P). She is completing a co-edited volume, Teaching the Works of Eudora Welty: Twenty-First Century Approaches and continues to do research on Welty and on Charleston writers.


tammyingramDr. Tammy Ingram, a History professor, teaches courses on the South since 1865 and on other topics in American history: gender and sexuality, history and film, “The History of Crime in America, “Race and Rebellion,” and more. During 2016-17 she’s at Yale University on a fellowship at the Gilda Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. In 2015 Dr. Ingram partnered with Julia Eichelberger to develop the College’s minor in Southern Studies and its new introductory course, Southern Studies 200, which she is looking forward to teaching when she returns to C of C. tammyingramdixiehighwayDr. Ingram’s award-winning book Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900-1930 (UNC Press, 2014) explores the construction of the nation’s first interstate highway system. Her new book project is The Wickedest City in America: Sex, Race, and Organized Crime in the Jim Crow South, examining intersections among criminal enterprise, government corruption, challenges to the sexual and racial order, and ideas about modernization and urbanization in the New South. Dr. Ingram has contributed essays and op-eds to publications such as H-Net, Like the Dew, the Huffington Post, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.



Gibbs Knotts joined the Department of Political Science as Department Chair in 2012. He teaches undergraduate courses in American politics, including one on Southern politics, and graduate courses in the public administration program. gibbsknottsbookcoverHe’s published scholarly essays on southern politics and co-edited The New Politics of North Carolina (University of North Carolina Press, 2008). His new co-authored book is The Resilience of Southern Identity: Why the South Still Matters in the Minds of Its People (University of North Carolina Press, 2017). He also comments on politics for local, regional, and national media such as CNN and the Huffington Post.


lewis-bannerProfessor Simon Lewis has been teaching courses in African and Third World Literature at the College of Charleston since 1996. He is director of the African Studies program, interim director of the African American Studies program, an associate director of the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) program, and editor of the literary journal Illuminations: An International Magazine of Contemporary Writing.


He’s written and edited several books, including British and African Literature in Transnational Context (UP of Florida, 2011). In 2013 he convened the 39th annual conference of the African Literature Association with the theme “Literature, Liberation, and the Law”  and co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, devoted to 21st-century African literature.


scottpeeplespoeinlowcountry2sp3Scott Peeples, Professor of English, teaches courses in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature, including a recent course on American Gothic literature. He looks forward to teaching Southern Studies 200 after completing his term of service as English Department Chair. The former editor of the journal Poe Studies, Dr. Peeples has published two books on Edgar Allan Poe and many essays on nineteenth-century American literature.  Two essays focused on Lowcountry figures are “Love and Theft in the Carolina Lowcountry” (Arizona Quarterly 60.2) and “Unburied Treasure: Edgar Allan Poe in the South Carolina Lowcountry,” with photographs by Michelle Van Parys, in Southern Cultures 22.2 (2016): 5-22.

under: C of C Program in Southern Studies, Faculty


Posted by: Julia Eichelberger | December 30, 2016 | No Comment |

Study (v.)  1. 
To apply oneself to the acquisition of knowledge. 2. To take under consideration; to think about. 3. To have any interest in or concern for. Often used in negative constructions: I ain’t studying you = I’m not paying attention to you, I don’t care about you; I ain’t gonna study war no more = I will not practice warfare any more. [According to the Dictionary of American Regional English, this usage has occurred often in the South.]


Lots of us at the College of Charleston are studying the South.  We care about the region. We’re paying close attention to what it has been and what it may become. Our study takes us beyond simplistic stereotypes–both positive and negative–and allows us to explore the region in all its complexity and diversity.

Our courses and research projects analyze the stories Southerners tell about themselves and the stories that others tell about the South. We’re concerned about Southern ecosystems, about the region’s persistent poverty and systemic racism, its industries and infrastructure. We’re paying attention to what this region shares with other parts of the world that scholars are calling “the global south.”

We’re digging deep into Southern literature, history, politics, religious traditions; we’re studying Southern art and architecture, drama, film, newspapers and magazines, musical traditions; we’re analyzing Southern racial and ethnic identities, gender and sexuality, families and community rituals, tourism, foodways, and more.

There’s lots of studying to do around here.

Peacock studying the roofline, Middleton Gardens

Peacock studying the roofline, Middleton Gardens

The Program in Southern Studies resides in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

under: C of C Program in Southern Studies


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