Racecraft and Southern History


Racecraft and Southern History



“Racecraft and the History of the South” will be the subject of a talk by Columbia University historian Barbara Fields, as she gives the inaugural Gilder-Jordan lecture March 8. The lecture, scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Overby Center, brings Fields back to the University of Mississippi, where she was Ford Foundation Visiting Scholar in 1988.

Fields is the author of Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland during the 19th Century. She received her PhD in history at Yale University, where she wrote a dissertation under the direction of C. Vann Woodward. In 1982 she contributed an essay, “Ideology and Race in American History,” to a volume honoring Woodward on his retirement. In that often-assigned and influential essay, along with other work, Fields has analyzed the meanings of race as “a purely ideological notion.” The article continued, “To treat race as an ideology, and to insist upon treating it in connection with surrounding ideologies, is to open up a vast realm of further complications.” Those complications have been the subject of a great deal of scholarship in the past generation. Coauthor or coeditor of Slaves No More, Free at Last, and Freedom: The Documentary History of Emancipation, Fields has also written about the history of emancipation in the U.S. and Brazil.

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Racecraft and Southern History