Brook Thomas, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of English, has won the 2018 C. Hugh Holman Award from the Society for the Study of Southern Literature. His book, The Literature of the Reconstruction: Not in Plain Black and White (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), was described as “the go-to book on Reconstruction for at least a generation” by the SSSL committee. Drawing on 19th-century histographies and recent scholarship, Thomas revisits the period and traces the complicated relationships among its contested forces, recreating arguments still unresolved today, including state versus federal authority, the government’s role in education, and the growing power of banks and corporations. The award is named for C. Hugh Holman, who taught Southern literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for three decades and helped establish the National Humanities Center. It is presented annually to the author of the best book of literary scholarship or criticism in the field of Southern literature and comes with $1,000 and a plaque.
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