In this talk, Edward L. Ayers narrates the evolution of southern history from the founding of the nation to the present day by focusing on the settling, unsettling, and resettling of the South. Using migration as the dominant theme of southern history and including Indigenous, white, Black, and immigrant people in the story, Ayers cuts across the usual geographic, thematic, and chronological boundaries that subdivide southern history.
Ayers explains the major contours and events of the southern past from a fresh perspective, weaving geography with history in innovative ways. He uses unique color maps created with sophisticated tools to interpret massive data sets from a humanistic perspective, providing a view of movement within the South with a clarity, detail, and continuity we have not seen before. The South has never stood still; it is—and always has been—changing in deep, radical, sometimes contradictory ways, often in divergent directions. Ayers will be in conversation with Ted Ownby, professor of history and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi.
Edward L. Ayers has been named National Professor of the Year, received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama at the White House, won the Bancroft, Beveridge, and Lincolns Prizes in American history, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, served as president of the Organization of American Historians, and worked as the founding chair of the board of the American Civil War Museum. He is executive director of New American, dedicated to sharing innovative work in words, maps, audio, and video with broad audiences and the nation’s schools. He is Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus at the University of Richmond, as well as a former dean of arts and sciences at the University of Virginia.
Ted Ownby is William F. Winter Professor of History and Southern Studies, coeditor of The Mississippi Encyclopedia, and author of Hurtin’ Words: Debating Family Problems in the Twentieth-Century South and other works.
SouthTalks is a series of events (including lectures, performances, film screenings, and panel discussions) that explores the interdisciplinary nature of Southern Studies. This series is free and open to the public, and typically takes place in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory unless otherwise noted. However, as a result of the current health crisis, all events will be virtual, free, and accessible on the Center’s YouTube channel after each live event. Visit the Center’s website for up-to-date-information about all Center events. Registration will be required for all events in order to receive the webinar link.