My first project details the interconnection between tourism, race, labor, and land use from the late-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth-century, particularly in the Red Hills region, a forty-mile stretch of land between Thomas County, in southern Georgia, and Tallahassee, Florida. The area became a destination for northern hunters in the decades after Reconstruction, and thus prospered from a kind of regional tourism. These sportsmen built a winter hunting colony that became a divisive force in the region—they privatized the best farming lands for hunting, lobbied for changes in state game law, and employed black men and women in better-paid positions, all of which drew resistance from local white smallholders. My study engages major themes of southern historiography: the importance of tourism in the postwar economy and in national reconciliation after the war, political contestation and the centrality of land usage, the gendered dimensions of conservation, and the formation of a rural black middle class. The work has resulted in an edited collection, Leisure, Plantations, and the Making of a New South: The Sporting Plantations of the South Carolina Lowcountry and Red Hills Region, 1900-1940 (Lexington Press, 2015), with Daniel J. Vivian of the University of Kentucky.
My next project will continue to explore the politics of land ownership and loss in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Beginning with current-day efforts to create policy that protects heir property owners in Georgia, I am exploring (through oral history, tax data, newspaper reports, and related government documents) how the extension agency and nonprofits have joined together with activist landowners to mitigate the effects of land loss in rural counties around the state.
In addition, public history work has resulted in collaborative scholarship:
I co-edited Beyond Rosie: A Documentary History of Women in World War II (University of Arkansas Press, 2015) with colleagues from the Museum of History and Holocaust Education, Kennesaw State University, as a companion to a traveling exhibit;
I co-authored “Framing the Collaborative Process,” in Art and Public History: Approaches, Opportunities, and Challenges (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017), with Teresa Bramlette Reeves and Kirstie Tepper, as part of our work as the Selvage Collective.