Dear Friends of the Department of American Studies:
I am honored and humbled to lead this extraordinary department, especially in these challenging times. As a department focused on the history and culture of this nation and its constituencies, we have an obligation to speak to this moment, find a way forward, and reassert our commitment to and for the public good.
I am proudest of how this department serves the people of the state of North Carolina and beyond through community engagement combined with rigorous research. From contributing to our state’s sustainability through a campus edible garden, to producing a podcast about LGBTQ people living in rural spaces, to dedicating time in and out of the classroom to the survival of indigenous language, our students and faculty are an eclectic group – not short on talent or compassion.
The Department of American Studies matters at Carolina because we are one of the most diverse departments in the College. I am very proud that BIPOC faculty feel nurtured and supported at our collective table. The focus of our work – American Studies – often brings us in contact with some of the thorniest issues of our time. We have a sustained and robust practice of open engagement and we have the research accolades to prove it. We learn from one another and are a model of this kind of work at Carolina – work that this moment in our nation’s history calls for and needs.
I have committed our department to using $20K of our gift and endowment funds for three fellowships in the coming year. Nothing would make me happier than being able to extend this support beyond single year awards. The sky is truly the limit. In these dire times, decisive action, clear thinking and most of all, a vision for what the future will look like are needed. I think American Studies is most certainly the place to be. Right here. Right now. Please join us by supporting our efforts to build and to grow.
Sharon P. Holland
Townsend Ludington Distinguished Professor
Department of American Studies