University history professors recognized for published works

Christopher Church and Greta de Jong earn recognition for work on Charlottesville and southern history

Left: University History Professor Christopher Church’s letter to students about Charlottesville published in the Reno Gazette-Journal. Right: You Can’t Eat Freedom: Southerners and Social Justice after the Civil Rights Movement, written by University History Professor Greta de Jong.

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9/12/2017 | By: Bailey MeCey |

Two Department of History professors at the University of Nevada, Reno earned accolades for their work regarding the recent events in Charlottesville and on the topic of southern history.

Christopher Church, assistant professor of history, recently wrote a letter to his students on the events of Charlottesville which was accepted as a resource to the American Historical Association on the topic of confederate monuments. His letter encouraged students to think critically on the events of Charlottesville and examine the past struggles for human rights to empower them towards making change in the future.   

"It is good to know that students may find my letter helpful as they research the racism and violence behind Charlottesville," Church said. "I hope that my letter and all the other resources there help students draw sound conclusions using reliable evidence and sources."  

Dean of the University's College of Liberal Arts Debra Moddelmog was proud to see Church's work recognized in this way.   

"I'm so glad to see this recognition of his excellent letter," she said. "It's good to know that it will circulate widely so that many people can benefit from his insights, compassion and thoughtfulness."  

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Greta de Jong, professor of history, won the 2017 Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Award for her book You Can't Eat Freedom: Southerners and Social Justice after the Civil Rights Movement

de Jong's book examines struggles for racial and economic justice in southern plantation communities after the 1960s. In selecting her book, the committee at the Southern Historical Association found Jong's book to be not only "deeply insightful but deeply compelling."  

This recognition comes from one of the nation's oldest historical associations, which was formed in 1934 to encourage the study of southern history.   

"I feel elated and honored by this award, especially because past winners of the prize include several historians whose work I have idolized since I was a graduate student," de Jong said.  

de Jong is currently on sabbatical conducting research for her next book, which examines the tensions that emerged around notions of family, community and justice in the era of school segregation.  She will be visiting archives in Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., to gather material for the book.  

A digital subscription is necessary to view the Reno Gazette-Journal letter.

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