The Misunderstood Bible Project
On Writing about the Good Book’s Oddities The Bible is a really weird book, no matter what a person believes or doesn’t, according to biblical scholar Kristin Swenson. Author of Bible Babel: Making Sense of the Most Talked About Book of All Time, Dr. Swenson will discuss the challenges, pitfalls, and promise of writing a forthcoming book […]
Illustration of Joseph F. Smith giving testimony during the Reed Smoot hearings.
The End of Mormon Polygamy
Jane Barnes is an independent scholar in residence at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. In 2007 she was the writer for the Frontline/American Experience documentary The Mormons and in 2012 she published the book Falling in Love with Joseph Smith – My Search for the Real Prophet. This summer, during her stay at VFH, she’s working […]
Ingredients for making hot water cornbread.
At the Common Table
VFH Fellow Jamie S. Ross explores the history of southern foodways
Jamie S. Ross is the director of Red Dirt Productions and a non-residential Fellow at VFH. She’s working on a film, At the Common Table, that traces the history of southern food. By delving deeply into the core cuisine of the South, At the Common Table explores the creativity and ingenuity of those responsible for […]
Mae Mallory, The Monroe Defense Committee & World Revolutions (1955-1987)
VFH Fellow and Africana Studies professor at Virginia Tech, Paula M. Seniors is writing on the lives of African American working class communist women Mae Mallory, Ethel Azalea Johnson, Audrey Seniors, and Pat Mallory of the Negroes With Guns Movement and the Monroe Defense Committee. Her overarching question asks why they chose socialism and self-defense […]
Higher Aim: Guns, Safety, and Healing in the Era of Mass Shootings
Join journalist Thomas Kapsidelis, Richmond resident and VFH Fellow, as he presents his research in preparation for a book-length treatment of the unresolved issues in the aftermath of the April 16, 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech. The book will follow survivors and others deeply affected by the tragedy as they work to shape laws, policies and […]
A self portrait of Camille Pissaro - 1873 - via Wikimedia Commons
The Art of Emancipation
Throughout the mid to late 19th century, Europe was in a state of social upheaval. Political changes, from the Revolutions of 1848 to the Franco Prussian war of 1871, swept the landscape while a wave of abolitionist movements emancipated slaves throughout the European colonies in America. VFH Fellow, Jon Sensbach, professor of history of the […]
At the Common Table: Food, People and Place in the American South
Join longtime VFH Fellow and director of Red Dirt Productions, Jamie S. Ross, as she talks about her upcoming film, At the Common Table, tracing the path of Southern foods across miles and centuries of history and cultures. By delving deeply into the core cuisine of the South, At the Common Table explores the creativity […]
A Groundskeeper at Sweet Briar House, c. 1910s. Sweet Briar College Library
Sweet Briar’s Invisible Founders: Two Centuries of African American Labor
Join VFH Fellow Lynn Rainville for a public talk on her upcoming book about how two centuries of African American labor transformed a plantation into a college. Due out in 2018 with Berghahn Press, her book will be an in-depth study of an enslaved community and the many unrecognized contributions they made to create an […]
Marion Post Wolcott, “Tobacco Barns and Cigarette Advertisements,” 1940.
Growing the Cigarette
Growing the Cigarette is a revisionist history of tobacco in the twentieth century that takes farmers, government officials and citizen-activists as its main characters. By looking beyond “Big Tobacco,” Sarah Milov demonstrates that, paradoxically, smoking was a product of an expanded vision of the state, and that the politics of anti-smoking were born of an […]
African American photojournalist Ernest Withers at the King Memorial March in Memphis 1968 - Photo by Jack Hurley, Courtesy Univ Memphis Special Collections
Telling Untold Stories
VFH Fellows Investigate the Lives of African American Trailblazers
These three fellows—of the dozen typically in residence at VFH during an academic year—are each at work on a biography of a relatively unknown figure whose story illuminates an era.
Camille Pissarro, "Women Chatting by the Sea," 1856
Impressionism and the Black Atlantic
French Impressionist innovations in color, light and subject matter revolutionized western art. Those advances took place in an age of political upheaval—and of slave emancipation in the Americas. To a surprising extent, Impressionist-era artists were fascinated with African-American and Caribbean subjects. Join VFH Fellow Jon Sensbach as he explores the little-known influence of black freedom on […]
Image courtesy Richmond Times Dispatch
The Legacy of Kepone
Uncovering the history of one of Virginia's first public environmental disasters.
Gregory Wilson, professor of history at the University of Akron, is researching the history of the Kepone disaster that took place in Hopewell, VA in the 1970s. Wilson recently sat down to talk with us about what he’s learned during his fellowship at VFH.