New issue: JSH February 2019

The Journal editorial office is pleased to announce the publication of the February 2019 issue, the first of Volume 85. The February issue opens with the 2018 Southern Historical Association presidential address by Jane Turner Censer of George Mason University. Professor Censer delivered this address at the SHA annual meeting (#2018SHA) in Birmingham last November. “The Southern Lady and the Northern Publishers: A Tumultuous Relationship” explores the literary life of writer Amélie Rives as “a vantage point on southern literature” and the “changing world for white women, especially southern female authors.” Many thanks to Professor Censer for her leadership of the Association in 2018.

Rebecca Anne Goetz, an associate professor of history at New York University, contributes “The Nanziatticos and the Violence of the Archive: Land and Native Enslavement in Colonial Virginia.” In this study of Native dispossession, enslavement, imperialism, and the settler archive, Goetz analyzes the violence committed against the Nanziatticos, a tributary people along the Rappahannock River, who in 1704–5 were punished in totality by colonial authorities for resisting the encroachment of land-hungry English settlers. Several Nanziattico men were executed; all the children were seized and bound to English planters in Virginia; and the remaining surviving adults were sold to Antigua. This profound act of destruction, however, is “seen only with difficulty in the archive.” As Goetz argues, “The English produced sources that elided their destruction of the Nanziatticos, saved those sources in an archive dedicated to bolstering English claims to land, authority, and domination, and created narratives of Native perfidy and vanishing that celebrated the English remaking of the landscape.”

In “The First Wall of Separation between Church and State: Slavery and Disestablishment in Late-Eighteenth-Century Virginia,” Sarah Barringer Gordon, the Arlin M. Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, turns to the work of two late-eighteenth-century clerics, the Methodist Thomas Coke and the Presbyterian William Graham, to explore “the convergence of proslavery attitudes and support for disestablishment.” Through a close reading of petitions to the Virginia legislature, Gordon examines the “wall of separation between church and state” and its “theory of what belonged on each side.” “By dividing religious and political life,” Gordon argues, “white Virginians protected spiritual freedom and safeguarded physical bondage.”

Finally, in “Criminal Amnesty, State Courts, and the Reach of Reconstruction,” David C. Williard, an associate professor of history at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, turns to the immediate post–Civil War period to analyze the legal and social issues of the transition from wartime to peace in a divided state. The North Carolina Supreme Court, he argues, used the state’s Amnesty Act of 1866, which offered blanket criminal amnesty for acts arising in wartime, to advance “a vision of postwar governance that empowered the judiciary to act as a bulwark against the expansion of right-based citizenship that both Congress and broad swaths of the North Carolina populace demanded.” As a result, the judiciary “placed powerful restraints on what a reconstructed citizenry might do to revisit past wrongs.”

The issue also contains seventy-five book reviews as well as the “Historical News and Notices” section, which announces the election of new SHA officers for 2019 and recaps the book, article, and dissertation prizes awarded at the annual meeting in Birmingham.

This first issue of 2019 has been mailed to SHA members and is also now available digitally through our partnership with Project MUSE.

About the Author

Bethany L. Johnson is the Managing Editor of the Journal of Southern History.