Meet the SOHP
Rachel F. Seidman | Director and Adjunct Assistant Professor of History, American Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies
Rachel F. Seidman is a U.S. historian specializing in women’s history. She holds a BA from Oberlin College and a PhD from Yale, and was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Turku, Finland, in spring 2019. Seidman’s newest book is Speaking of Feminism: Today’s Activists on the Past, Present and Future of the U.S. Women’s Movement (UNC Press, 2019). She is also author of The Civil War: A History in Documents (Oxford University Press) and co-editor of Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents from the National Archives. Seidman served as the Associate Director of the SOHP from 2011-2017, and before that was Associate Director of the History, Public Policy and Social Change program at Duke University. Curriculum Vitae.
Sara Wood | Project Manager
Prior to joining SOHP in 2017, Sara Wood traveled the American South collecting stories of the region’s diverse cultures as the oral historian for the Southern Foodways Alliance, based at the University of Mississippi. She’s produced stories for National Public Radio, and sound walks and installations for museums and cultural sites such as the Whitney, the New York Public Library, and the National Park Service. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and she attended the radio program at The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.
Emily Chilton | Collections and Editorial Assistant
Emily Chilton received her BA in English and history from Meredith College in 2018 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in English literature at North Carolina State University. Her research interests include interdisciplinary studies and transatlantic Romanticism. At SOHP, Emily works with the print materials for each oral history interview, finalizing and depositing them with the Southern Historical Collection at Wilson Library. She enjoys the detail of this work as well as the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of interviews and narrators’ stories, which are endlessly surprising and educational.
Jacquelyn Dowd Hall | Founder and Julia Cherry Spruill Professor Emerita of History
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. Her most recent publication is “The Good Fight,” in Mothers and Strangers: Essays on Motherhood from the New South, edited by Samia Serageldin and Lee Smith (UNC Press, 2019). Her next book, Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle of the Soul of America, which is forthcoming from W. W. Norton in May 2019, grew out of some of the earliest interviews she did for the Southern Oral History Program.
2019-2020 Field Scholars
David Dry is a second-year PhD student in the department of history and an enrolled member of the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma. His research examines the 20th century history of the Ottawa Tribe and the impact of the termination and restoration of federal recognition on Ottawa identity and tribal sovereignty. He previously worked as a history instructor at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, and for the 2016-17 academic year, he taught at the International University of Kyrgyzstan as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar. David’s oral history fieldwork has been supported by the Jacquelyn Dowd Hall Summer Research Fellowship from the SOHP.
Caroline Efird is a PhD student in the department of health behavior at Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her research centers on health equity, social determinants of health, and anti-racism praxis. She works on Stories to Save Lives: Health, Illness and Medical Care in the South, and has a special interest in exploring the social and structural factors that influence health for North Carolinians in rural communities. Prior to her graduate studies, Caroline was an elementary school teacher in North Carolina and southern California.
Lauren Frey is pursuing her Master of Public Health degree in Health Behavior at Gillings School of Global Public Health. She partnered with Naeema Muhammad, the co-director of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network and long-time resident of Rocky Mount, to collect oral histories for Stories to Save Lives in southeast Rocky Mount during the summer of 2019. Prior to graduate school, she worked at the Mississippi State Department of Health as a Public Health Associate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jennifer Standish is a PhD student in the history department at UNC Chapel Hill working under Dr. William Sturkey. Her master’s thesis, called GROW: Grassroots Organizing Work, was completed in the spring of 2018. Her thesis examined an interracial labor organizing project in Mississippi in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, led by white former members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Her dissertation project is on the passage of Right to Work laws in the South, and their impact on working-class social movements. At the SOHP, Jennifer teaches the undergraduate oral history internship, guiding students through a project interviewing womxn involved in the commemoration of the centennial of the 19th (women’s suffrage) amendment. She has also spent two summers working with the SOHP to support the Carolina Oral History Teaching Fellowship, which brings K-12 teachers from across the state to UNC to explore ways to incorporate oral history into their classroom teaching.
Sophia Hutchens (she/they) is a fourth year undergraduate student double majoring in communication studies and anthropology with a concentration in interpersonal and organizational communication. Through her independent research and her work with the SOHP, Sophia is able to explore their interests in social movements, community organizing, and queer studies. Sophia is also a Humanities Futures fellow and serves on the Executive Board of the Campus Y. This is Sophia’s second year working with the Southern Oral History Program.
Emma Miller | Research Assistant
Emma Miller is a senior undergraduate student from Sylva, North Carolina double majoring in Public Policy and History, with a minor in Education. Emma’s interests are in Southern Appalachian history, public education disparities in the state of North Carolina, and the intersections between policy and history. Emma’s interests in oral history began when she was in high school, where she had the opportunity to work with the Appalachian Oral History Program through Western Carolina University. Emma is interested in oral history because it is one of the only opportunities for people who have been traditionally been forgotten by history to share their story. This is Emma’s third year working with the Southern Oral History Program. In addition to being a research assistant, Emma also worked as a field scholar for the Stories to Save Lives: Health, Illness and Medical Care in the South project.
Spring 2020 Interns
Cate Goodman is a freshman from Pinehurst North Carolina majoring in history and business. She has previously researched how the end of golden age of American capitalism in the 1970s caused a major shift in political discourse especially regarding social welfare programs. She believes that studding both history and business will help her understand and find solutions to economic decline in rural communities. She is a member of the Kappa Gamma sorority and always looks forward to time with her sorority sisters. She love loves to find new running routes, recipes, and books.
Abbas Hasan is a sophomore undergraduate student from Plano, Texas double majoring in American Studies and Political Science. Abbas’ interests are in Asian-American cultures and history as well as educational and legal history. Abbas has been exposed to oral history from a young age as children of Pakistani immigrants and hopes to collect and preserve oral histories from South Asian immigrants in the United States. Outside the classroom Abbas writes for the Daily Tar Heel and serves on the Executive Board of the Campus Y. Abbas is excited and eager to learn more about oral history and be a part of the SOHP this semester.
Alaina Plauche (she/her/hers) is a junior undergraduate from Wilmington, North Carolina studying public policy, city and regional planning, and sustainability. She works as a barista at the Meantime Coffee Co. and a tour guide at the UNC Visitors Center. Alaina has grown up in the American South in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina constantly surrounded by the oral history of her family and those in her community. Alaina is very interested in environmentalism, city planning based upon community building, women’s involvement in government (particularly at the most local levels), and traveling around the world meeting new people and learning about their life stories. As someone who is new to working in the field, Alaina is very excited to learn more about oral history through her work with the SOHP this semester.
Skyler Singleton (she/her/hers) is a junior from Sylva, NC double majoring in political science and history. Skyler’s interests lie in the history of political and social movements in the South, environmental conservation efforts, and women in the outdoor industry. Her previous experience includes working with an oral history program based out Western Carolina University in high school. Skyler has also worked for the National Park Service, American Whitewater, and the Transatlantic Forum for Education and Diplomacy. She is excited to work with the SOHP because she believes that everyone has a part to play in history and everyone’s voice deserves to be heard.