Virtual Event | "Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power"

Event Details

End: May 1, 2023

This event is part of the Washington History Seminar series. It is sponsored by the AHA and features author Jefferson Cowie and commentators Mia Bay and Alex Lichtenstein. Register here. 

In Freedom’s Dominion, historian Jefferson Cowie traces this complex saga by focusing on a quintessentially American place: Barbour County, Alabama, the ancestral home of political firebrand George Wallace. In a land shaped by settler colonialism and chattel slavery, white people weaponized freedom to seize Native lands, champion secession, overthrow Reconstruction, question the New Deal, and fight against the civil rights movement. 

Jefferson Cowie holds James G. Stahlman Chair in American history at Vanderbilt University. His most recent book is The Great Exception: The New Deal and the Limits of American Politics (Princeton, 2016). He is also the author of Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (The New Press, 2010), which received the Francis Parkman Prize, the Merle Curti Award, and was a finalist for the Anthony Lukas Award for nonfiction, in addition to winning several other national prizes. He is also the author of Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor (The New Press, 2001), which received the Philip Taft Prize for the Best Book in Labor History for 2000. He is also the co-editor of Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization (Cornell University Press). He lives with his family in Ithaca, New York. 

Mia Bay is the Roy F. and Jeanette P. Nichols Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to arriving at Penn, Bay worked at Rutgers University, where she was a Professor of History and the Director of the Rutgers Center for Race and Ethnicity. Professor Bay is a scholar of American and African American intellectual, cultural and social history, whose recent interests include black women’s thought, African American approaches to citizenship, and the history of race and transportation. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil. from Yale University and a B.A. from the University of Toronto.

Alex Lichtenstein is a history professor at Indiana University. His work centers on the intersection of labor history and the struggle for racial justice in societies shaped by white supremacy, particularly the U.S. South (1865-1954) and 20th-century South Africa. His first book, Twice the Work of Free Labor examined the role of convict leasing and chain gangs in the remaking of the American South in the half century after the Civil War. Subsequently, he has written extensively about race relations in the U.S. labor movement, interracial agrarian radicalism, early civil rights struggles, and the impact of anticommunism on the labor and civil rights movements, in both the U.S. and South Africa.