Saturday, February 9, 2013

Dr. Jeannie Whayne Speaks on Agricultural History in the Delta

Agricultural History Professor and noted author Jeannie Whayne visited the LL.M. Class on Friday to discuss her recent book on the Lee Wilson plantation in northeastern Arkansas, Delta Empire: Lee Wilson and the Transformation of Southern Agriculture.

Delta Empire is a social, economic, and environmental history that traces the Wilson family plantation through distinct phases in the post Civil War period and analyzes how it intersected with trends in plantation agriculture, race relations, and environmental changes. It won the 2012 John G. Ragsdale prize from the Arkansas Historical Association.

Professor Whayne has published over a dozen articles and essays on Arkansas, African American, and Southern history. She has edited, authored, and co-authored nine books, including A Whole Country in Commotion, edited with Patrick Williams and S. Charles Bolton, and The Clinton Riddle: Essays on the 42nd President, edited with Todd Shields and Donald Kelley. Two of her books won the Arkansas Library Association's Arkansiana Award: Arkansas: A Narrative History, co-authored with Thomas DeBlack, George Sabo, and Morris Arnold, and her 1996 book, A New Plantation South: Land, Labor, and Federal Favor in Twentieth Century, Arkansas.  She is a frequent speaker at historical conferences and is the Vice -President and President-Elect of the Agricultural History Society.  She is currently working on a book on Memphis as "Cotton's Metropolis."  Professor Whayne teaches in the History Department at the University of Arkansas and serves as co-director of the University’s Teaching and Faculty Support Center.

A chapter from Professor Whayne's book A New Plantation South has been a regular assigned reading in our Agricultural Perspectives class in recent years. Agricultural Perspectives examines agricultural history through a series of documentaries and readings and considers how these historical events have shaped agricultural policies today. Readings and discussion seek to link the past to the present to the future, recognizing that today's issues are often best understood in the context of this history.

Professor Whayne's work illustrates our study of race relations in the post Civil War period and accompanied our viewing of the California Newsreel Documentary, Oh, Freedom After While.

We were delighted to have Professor Whayne as our guest speaker, and she delivered a fascinating presentation.


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