New Voyages to Carolina: Reinterpreting North Carolina History

New Voyages to Carolina: Reinterpreting North Carolina History

New Voyages to Carolina: Reinterpreting North Carolina History

New Voyages to Carolina: Reinterpreting North Carolina History

Synopsis

New Voyages to Carolina offers a bold new approach for understanding and telling North Carolina's history. Recognizing the need for such a fresh approach and reflecting a generation of recent scholarship, eighteen distinguished authors have sculpted a broad, inclusive narrative of the state's evolution over more than four centuries. The volume provides new lenses and provocative possibilities for reimagining the state's past. Transcending traditional markers of wars and elections, the contributors map out a new chronology encompassing geological realities; the unappreciated presence of Indians, blacks, and women; religious and cultural influences; and abiding preferences for industrial development within the limits of "progressive" politics. While challenging traditional story lines, the authors frame a candid tale of the state's development.

Excerpt

The inception of the book began in 2010 as a valedictory testimony of three historians who had served as directors of the then Division of Archives and History in the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources for nearly four decades: Larry E. Tise (1975–81), William S. Price Jr. (1981–95), and Jeffrey J. Crow (1995–2012). Over the years they had collaborated on numerous conferences and symposiums charting North Carolina’s vast history. in 1979 Crow and Tise coedited essays from one of those conferences titled Writing North Carolina History (University of North Carolina Press). That book provided the first comprehensive view of North Carolina’s historical literature. in the intervening years, however, the growth and expansion of works on the state’s history have gone far beyond the benchmark established in 1979. the three colleagues believed it was time for a new assessment that reflected the diverse studies appearing annually in books, journals, and increasingly on the Internet.

One symposium could not encompass the broad new historical literature that has appeared since the 1970s. the three collaborators determined to hold four conferences across the state to attract as many participants as possible. With a small planning grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, the three collaborators invited six other scholars of North Carolina history to meet in the fall of 2010 and to help identify principal themes and subjects for consideration.

The historical community in North Carolina and across the nation responded enthusiastically to the plans for the conferences. Many historians living and working outside the state had used North Carolina’s extraordinary research facilities to research and write books, articles, and essays that focused on North Carolina’s experience as the locus for their explorations. Despite limited budgets, six state universities stepped forward to host and underwrite the conferences. the inaugural conference, titled “The First North Carolina,” took place at East Carolina University in February 2012. the second conference, titled “The Old North State,” was held on the campuses of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University in October 2012. the University of North Carolina at Asheville and Western Carolina University jointly hosted the third conference, titled “The Cultural Roots of North Carolina,” which met in Asheville in November 2012. the fourth and final conference, “The Tar Heel State,” re-

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