Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Tammy Ingram

Dr. Tammy Ingram, Assistant Professor of History at the College of Charleston and author of Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900-1930, will be one of our acclaimed scholars for the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium taking place October 27th-28th. In addition to her many scholarly achievements and accolades, she is also a University of Georgia alumna (class of 1998).

Ingram received her PhD from Yale University in 2007. Before coming to the College of Charleston in 2011, she served as the Kirk Visiting Scholar at Agnes Scott College and as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Southern Studies at the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900-1930, Ingram’s first book, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in March 2014. The book uses the Dixie Highway, a largely forgotten 6000-mile network of roads that looped from Lake Michigan to Miami Beach and back up again, as a lens for examining local, regional, and national politics during the Progressive Era Good Roads Movement. The work is one of the few books about the social and political implications of modern transportation policy that does not focus on the Eisenhower interstate highways.

So, why roads? Ingram says her love of and curiosity about roads began during childhood. Her father taught her to drive at a young age and she always loved exploring the back roads near her Georgia home. While researching migration patterns during the early 20th century in the South, Ingram discovered farmers’ constant talk about roads and went on to find that there was little research on early road building. Though some may still question her decision to write on the topic, Ingram has responded simply that, “Ordinary things are interesting if you have enough curiosity to ask questions about them.”

Ingram is currently working on a second book project tentatively titled Dixie Mafia: Sex, Race, and Organized Crime in the South, which offers a broad view of organized crime networks in the postwar U.S. but focuses on the so-called Dixie Mafia. The book examines a series of high profile cases between 1954 and 1987 in order to understand the ways in which fears about crime shaped postwar politics in the South and nation.

In addition to her scholarly work, Dr. Ingram has contributed essays and op-eds to publications such as the Huffington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Like the Dew.

Don’t miss Dr. Ingram’s appearance at the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium happening Oct. 27-28, 2014 at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. She’ll speak at the opening session, Politics of Public Good, from 9:00-10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28. And stay tuned to the blog for more speaker spotlights in the weeks leading up to the event!

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