Daniel Thomas, a senior double major in history and international studies, recently wrote a piece about his research on separatism in Eastern Ukraine for the blog of the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory. Thomas is a 2019-’20 Fox Center Humanities Honors Fellow, completing his honors thesis with a regional focus on the Donbas in Eastern Ukraine. The thesis draws on archival research and interviews that Thomas conducted in Kyiv in 2019. Associate Professor Matthew Payne is Thomas’ adviser. Read an excerpt from the post on the Fox Center’s blog below along with the full piece: “Neighbors against Neighbors: A historical study of separatist groups and rhetoric in Eastern Ukraine.”
The Fox Center’s generous grant has afforded me both the privilege of working in a tightly-knit epistemic community and the ability to conduct further research into my topic. The lump sum that I received as a part of my fellowship helped fund my interview-collecting over the Winter Break in Kyiv. Hearing the lived experiences of the Donbas’ denizens contributed a great deal to this project. I spoke with refugees and former separatist affiliates who dealt first-hand with the destructive repercussions of Donbasian separatism. Their accounts and lives illustrated that identity is more of a practice in subjectivity than it is an objective truth. Although my interviewees admitted that the separatist cause was rooted in a real problem (the callousness many politicians, both in Eastern and Western Ukraine, had towards the poor), they also admit that the separatists’ cause did little to ameliorate the Donbas’ desperate situation. Instead, it amplified it, displacing millions upon millions of Donbasians from their homeland. Without their insight, this thesis would have been at best a clueless meditation on a “forgotten” conflict…
Thomas D. Rogers, Arthur Blank/NEH Chair in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences and Associate Professor of History, recently published an opinion editorial with his collaborator Jeffrey T. Manuel in The Brazilian Report. The piece, titled “U.S. ethanol industry should take a leaf out of São Paulo’s book,” explores how ethanol policy and programs in São Paulo, Brazil, could inform energy administration in the United States. Rogers and Manuel are writing a transnational study of ethanol policy in Brazil and the U.S. Read the full article (paywall protected): “U.S. ethanol industry should take a leaf out of São Paulo’s book.”
Dr. Joseph Crespino, History Department Chair and Jimmy Carter Professor of History, recently published a review article in the Wall Street Journal. Crespino’s article centers on the new book by journalist Jerry Mitchell, who, beginning in the late 1980s, launched a series of investigations that would re-open four of the most infamous acts of Southern racist violence from the 1960s. Mitchell published the book, Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era, with Simon & Schuster in early February 2020. Read an excerpt from Crespino’s review below, along with the full piece (paywall restricted): “‘Race Against Time’ Review: A Reporter for Justice.”
“Race Against Time” provides a sobering view of white-supremacist politics. The power that social media now provides white-nationalist groups to spread their hatred makes the tactics of earlier generations look quaint. Weeks before Beckwith’s final retrial was scheduled to begin, fliers appeared in the driveways of hundreds of Mississippi homes describing him as a political prisoner. Mr. Mitchell traced the fliers back to Beckwith himself, who had paid some $1,000 to have them printed and distributed. Imagine by comparison the scale of disinformation and intimidation that far-right groups spread today via social media.
Dr. Jason Morgan Ward, Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies, recently contributed to a panel on C-SPAN about new approaches to understanding the history of the South. The panel, which took place at the 2019 Southern Historical Association annual meeting, included Ward along with other authors from the upcoming edited volume Reinterpreting Southern Histories: Essays in Historiography (LSU Press, 2020). Find video of the full panel at “Reinterpreting Southern History.”
Associate Professor Thomas D. Rogers recently co-authored an opinion piece in The Hill with collaborator Jeffrey T. Manuel, Associate Professor of History at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The article examines ethanol policy in the United States and Brazil, the two largest ethanol-producing countries in the world, with a focus on the powerful multiparty blocs of legislators that steer policy in both countries. Rogers and Manuel are writing a transnational history of biofuels in the United States and Brazil. Read an excerpt from the piece below along with the full article: “Who is driving our ethanol policy? And why does it matter?”
“When a government treats energy sources and fuels individually, organized groups like the rural blocs can capture policymaking. Instead, the United States and Brazil should pursue comprehensive national energy policies that prioritize decarbonization. This would diminish agribusiness’s influence over policymaking and move us toward a distributed and diverse energy system.”
Dr. Elizabeth Stice, a 2012 PhD alumna and Associate Professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University, recently authored an article in Inside Higher Ed on taking a different approach to assigned readings in her courses. In a humanities course that typically covers from 1700 through the present, Stice opted to use only one text for the entire semester: Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Read about the mostly positive results of the experiment in Stice’s Inside Higher Ed article: “When Less Is More in the Classroom.” Stice completed her dissertation, “Empire Between the Lines: Constructions of Empire in British and French Trench Newspapers of the Great War,” under the advisement of Associate Professor of History Kathryn E. Amdur.
Dr. Joseph Crespino, Department Chair and Jimmy Carter Professor of History, authored an opinion piece in The New York Times last month on the day of the democratic presidential primary debate held here in Atlanta. In the article, “The Democrats Are in Georgia. The Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher,” Crespino provides historical context for democratic optimism that Georgia could turn blue in the 2020 election. Crespino’s most recent book is Atticus Finch: The Biography (Basic Books, 2018). Read an excerpt of The New York Times article below along with the full piece: “The Democrats Are in Georgia. The Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher.”
“In many ways, American politics today resemble an earlier era in Southern history, when candidates who only a few years before their election had been dismissed as jokes or nobodies stoked reactionary impulses to win the highest office in the state. That’s what happened in Georgia in 1966 when Lester Maddox, a folksy restaurateur and longtime failed candidate, was elected governor. After Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, forcing the desegregation of public accommodations in the South, Maddox leapt to public prominence by wielding an ax handle to chase away African-Americans who attempted to eat at his restaurant. He attracted the same voters that George Wallace won in neighboring Alabama — white Southerners embittered by social and political changes that they felt were being forced upon them by sanctimonious, out-of-touch elites.”