AHA Member Spotlight: Ina Dixon
Ina Dixon is a PhD student in American studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and has been a member since 2014.
Alma mater/s: BA (liberal arts), St. John’s College, 2010; MA (social sciences), University of Chicago, 2013
Fields of interest: memory, labor studies, Southern cultural studies, real estate development, rural revitalization
What do you like the most about where you live and work? Chapel Hill is a great college town, bikeable, and just hipster enough to balance the preeminence of Greek life. My favorite thing about Chapel Hill, however, is its next-door neighbor, Carrboro. The bookstores all around here are amazing, as well—my favorite is So & So Books in Raleigh.
What projects are you currently working on? As a field scholar at the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill, I am working on a project called Stories to Save Lives that explores southerners’ experience with health, illness, and medical care. For my doctoral research, I am looking at the textile industry in the South, using Dan River Mills in Danville, Virginia, as a case study to understand how the industry helped create, practice, and maintain segregation in the South through real estate, and by creating a “family” of textile workers.
What’s the most fascinating thing you’ve ever found at the archives or while doing research? As I explore the history of defunct companies—such as Dan River Mills, a former textile company in Danville, Virginia, I am always surprised by how little of a record remains! At times these companies would often hire an archivist to organize their company files. Once Dan River went out of business, it is as if no one cared to maintain the history, despite its dominance of the local economy for nearly 125 years.
Is there an article, book, movie, blog, etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members? Everyone should see Norma Rae! It is a great film that reminds us about what factory jobs were like in the South.
What do you value most about the history discipline? I love thinking of history as the record of human agency, and appreciate that in this discipline I can give attention to agency and change.
Why is membership in the AHA important to you? I have always benefitted from attending conferences, especially to catch up with colleagues who are otherwise far away. It is wonderful to hear about colleagues’ fantastic work on a regular basis and see them in person!
AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, Perspectives Daily features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.
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