Meet the SOHP
Renée Alexander Craft
Acting Director and Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Curriculum in Global Studies
North Carolina native Renée Alexander Craft earned a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Communication Studies from UNC Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. For the past fifteen years, her research and creative projects have centered on an Afro-Latin community located in the small coastal town of Portobelo, Panama who call themselves and their carnival performance tradition “Congo.” She has completed both a manuscript and digital humanities project, which reflect this focus. The first is an ethnographic monograph titled When the Devil Knocks: The Congo Tradition and the Politics of Blackness in 20th Century Panama (The Ohio State University Press, January 2015). The second project, titled Digital Portobelo: Art + Scholarship + Cultural Preservation, is an interactive online collection of ethnographic interviews, photos, videos, artwork, and archival material that illuminate the rich culture and history of Portobelo, Panama. Digital Portobelo was initiated through an inaugural 2013-2014 UNC Digital Innovations Lab/Institute for the Arts and Humanities Fellowship. Like her broader research and teaching, each project engages the relationship among colorism, nationalism, nationality, language, gender, sexuality, class, history, religion, and region in discourses of black inclusion, exclusion, representation, and belonging. In addition to the Portobelo-focused projects, Professor Alexander Craft received a Durham Arts Council Ella Pratt Emerging Artist Fellowship in 2013 for I Will Love You Everywhere Always, a children’s book dedicated to helping children cope with death and loss. Visit Renée’s website here.
Malinda Maynor Lowery
Director and Associate Professor, Department of History
Professor Lowery is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. Her book, Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation (UNC Press, 2010), received the 2011 Labriola American Indian Center National Book Award, presented by Arizona State University, and Best 2010 First Book from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. She has produced four documentary films about Native American issues, including the award-winning In the Light of Reverence, which aired on PBS in 2001 to over three million people. Two previous films, Real Indian and Sounds of Faith, examine Lumbee identity and culture, and the most recent is an online video for Native survivors of domestic violence featuring the Lumbee and Eastern Band Cherokee tribes (www.survivortosurvivor.org). Her current book project is a history of the Lumbee tribe for a general audience, forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press.
Rachel F. Seidman
Rachel is a U.S. historian specializing in women’s history. With a B.A. from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. from Yale, Seidman is particularly interested in connecting history to current concerns through civic engagement and community-based research. The author of The Civil War: A History in Documents (Oxford University Press) and several scholarly articles about women in the Civil War, Rachel was previously the Associate Director of the History, Public Policy and Social Change program at Duke University. At Duke she founded and co-directed The Moxie Project: Women and Leadership for Social Change, and directed the Poverty, Ethics and Policy Lab. She continues to work on projects related to women’s activism and poverty in North Carolina at the SOHP.
Coordinator of Collections
Jaycie is an archivist specializing in digital projects and oral history collections. While completing her M.S.L.S. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she worked for the SOHP as an archival processor and assisted with outreach efforts and various digital initiatives. Her research focuses on archival description and metadata standards in oral history collections as well as usability and accessibility in digital collections.
Administrative Support Associate
Rachel is a recent UNC graduate (B.A. History and B.S. Psychology, 2013) helping to coordinate administrative, communications, and research tasks at SOHP. She also serves as Assistant Editor of Southern Cultures. Her undergraduate work focused on U.S. History with a minor in Sexuality Studies. She is currently applying to graduate programs in school psychology.
Jacquelyn Dowd Hall
Founder and Senior Research Fellow
Professor Hall’s research interests include U.S. women’s history, southern history, working-class history, oral history, and cultural/intellectual history. She served as president of the Organization of American Historians in 2003-04 and of the Southern Historical Association in 2001-02. She was also the founding president of the Labor and Working Class History Association. She was awarded a National Humanities Medal in 1999 for her efforts to deepen the nation’s understanding of and engagement with the humanities, and in 1997, she received UNC’s Distinguished Teaching Award for graduate teaching. Her publications include Revolt Against Chivalry: Jessie Daniel Ames and the Women’s Campaign Against Lynching (1979, 1993) and Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World (1987, 2000), which she co-authored with James Leloudis, Robert Korstad, Mary Murphy, Lu Ann Jones, and Chris Daly. She is currently working on a collection of her articles and on two book projects: Writing a Way Home, about women writers and intellectuals and the refashioning of regional identity in the twentieth-century South; and a study of the social movements spawned by the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s and of the ideological, political, and structural factors that blunted their force.
- Gabrielle A. Berlinger, Assistant Professor of American Studies, UNC Chapel Hill
- Charles Bolton, Head, Department of History, UNC Greensboro
- William Chafe, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History, Emeritus Duke University
- Kat Mellen Charron, Associate Professor of History, North Carolina State University
- Claude Clegg, Lyle V. Jones Distinguished Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies with a joint appointment in the Department of History, UNC Chapel Hill
- Julie Davis, Postdoctoral Scholar in American Studies and Digital Innovation Lab Project Director, UNC Chapel Hill
- Marcie Cohen Ferris, Associate Professor of American Studies, UNC Chapel Hill
- Benjamin Filene, Director and Associate Professor of Public History, UNC Greensboro
- Bryan Giemza, Director of the Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill
- Seth Kotch, Assistant Professor of American Studies, UNC Chapel Hill
- Michelle Lanier, Director of North Carolina’s African American Heritage Commission and Instructor at the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University
- Lisa Levenstein, Associate Professor of History, UNC Greensboro
- Raúl Necochea, Assistant Professor of Social Medicine, UNC Chapel Hill
- Louis A. Pérez, Jr., J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History, UNC Chapel Hill
- Ryan Shaw, Assistant Professor, School of Information and Library Science, UNC Chapel Hill
For more information about our Faculty Affiliate program, click here.
Taylor is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UNC. She received her BS in Anthropology from the College of Charleston. Her dissertation research examines the intersections of race, class, and gender in the South through the lens of motherhood. Specifically, she researches why and how African American women choose (or choose not) to breastfeed, with particular interest to if and how southern history influences a woman’s infant feeding decisions and practices. Currently at the SOHP, Taylor coordinates the undergraduate intern program.
Evan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at UNC Chapel Hill. His research focuses on the role of philanthropy in the southern civil rights movement during the 1960s and 1970s. At the SOHP, Evan leads workshops on oral history methodology. He also interviews conservative women about their various forms of activism as part of the SOHP’s ongoing project on the Long Women’s Movement.
Kimber Thomas is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Alcorn State University and her master’s degree in Afro-American Studies from UCLA. She previously worked as an oral historian for Jackson State University’s Margaret Walker Center, where she documented the Farish Street historic district, and for the Southern Foodways Alliance, where she documented black-owned restaurants in Jackson, MS. Her research interests include southern black material culture and oral history. At the SOHP, Kimber conducts interviews for the Back Ways project, which seeks to foster better understandings of race and segregation in rural parts of the American South.
Charlotte is a senior with a double major in Women’s and Gender Studies and Communication Studies. She is a nontraditional student who has lived and worked throughout the US but considers North Carolina home. As a writer and artist with a passionate commitment to social justice, Charlotte is excited to contribute to the mission of the SOHP and is looking forward to expanding her understanding of the histories of the American South.
MaKayla is a junior from Thomasville, North Carolina. She is an Exercise and Sport Science and Anthropology double major. MaKayla is passionate about the history of the American South and is excited to learn more about the Black Pioneers and how they helped to shape Carolina forevermore.
Kadejah is a junior from Fayetteville, North Carolina. She is pursuing a double major in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. Working as an intern at the Pauli Murray Project, Kadejah discovered the many unknown accomplishments that African American women have achieved throughout history. She hopes to use oral history as a tool to increase understanding of African American women’s contributions to history.
Ellen Saunders Duncan
Ellen is a senior majoring in American Studies, with academic interests in foodways, material culture, and liberal religion in the South. Outside of school, she is a beekeeper and volunteer bike mechanic at the Recyclery. Ellen is on the Board of Trustees for the Universalist Convention of North Carolina, co-chair for the Unitarian Universalist Campus Fellowship at UNC, and co-director of the Shelter Neck Youth Camp. She is interested in oral history as a way of complicating how we understand the American South.