I study the cultural history of the American South during the nineteenth and twentieth-century. I am working on a book, The Documentary South, that examines the history of documentary and ethnographic work in the region, particularly during the twentieth-century. The project explores the motivations and methodologies of a wide range of documentarians and shows how their writings, photographs, films, and sound recordings created an enduring regional imaginary I call “The Documentary South.”
I am also working on my own ethnographic and historical project that documents the intertwined histories and cultures of white and African-American Primitive Baptists. I focus on old-line Primitive Baptist associations with churches spread across the South and the urban North. The project includes archival research, oral histories, photography, film and audio recordings of sermons, songs, prayers and hymns.