Karida Brown. Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia

Blumer Room - 402 Barrows Hall

Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia

In this talk, Brown will introduce her forthcoming book, Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia. Brown brings together major debates at the intersections of race, migration, and cultural sociology to rethink the most dramatic population redistribution of the 20th century—the African American Great Migration. Theoretically, her research engages the relationship between macro-structural transformations and the racial self by examining the conditions under which the African American Great Migration emerged, and the ways in which this historic process has impacted African American identity, culture, and subjectivity. Employing primary data collected from 30 months of ethnographic fieldwork and 153 oral history interviews conducted with African American migrants from central Appalachia, Brown reframes the African American Great Migration as a cultural and demographic process, to be understood alongside its historical contingencies within racial slavery. She will also discuss the development of the Eastern Kentucky African American Migration Project (EKAAMP)—a formal community driven archive that emerged out of her field research for this project. 

Karida Brownis an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at UCLA. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from Brown University in 2016. Her current research focuses on the relationship between race, social transformations, and communal memory. Her forthcoming book, “Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia” (UNC Press), reconstructs the life histories of a cohort of African Americans who migrated throughout the Appalachian region during the African American Great Migration. This project stems from her dissertation, which earned the 2017 Dissertation Award from the American Sociological Association. In 2013, Brown founded the Eastern Kentucky African American Migration Project (EKAAMP)in partnership with the Southern Historical Collection(SHC) at UNC Chapel Hill. EKAAMP is a community-driven archival project aimed at documenting and preserving the history of the generations of African American coal mining families in her study. EKAAMP also promotes civic engagement through collaborative research. The EKAAMP archive has been commissioned for the exhibitions, featured on public radio, and incorporated into K-12 educational programs. In March 2017, Brown and her colleagues at the SHC were awarded $877,000 by the Andrew Mellon Foundation to scale-up this community-driven archives model. She is currently on leave at UNC Chapel Hill for the 2017-18 academic year as a Visiting Research Assistant Professor.