Grace Elizabeth Hale

Commonwealth Professor of American Studies and History

(434) 924-6413
283 Nau Hall
Office Hours: ON LEAVE

Field & Specialties

20th century US cultural history
history of the US South
popular music
history of photography
documentary studies


B.A. University of Georgia, 1986
M.A. University of Georgia, 1991
Ph.D. Rutgers University, 1995

Click here for a complete C.V. (PDF format)



In the Pines: A Lynching, a Lie, a Reckoning, forthcoming from Little Brown in fall 2023

Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture (Chapel Hill: Ferris and Ferris Trade Imprint, University of North Carolina Press, 2020)

Reviewed in the New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Houston Chronicle, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, the Georgia Review, The Rock and Roll Book Club of Minnesota Public Radio, Please Kill Me: This is What’s Cool, Hooks and Harmony, and many other websites and publications

Best Books of the Year: NPR (2020), Slate (2020), Rolling Stone/ Kirkus Reviews (2020), and Publishers Weekly (2019)

Author interviews with Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Review of Books, Virginia Prescott’s “On Second Thought,” on Georgia Public Broadcasting; Miami Book Festival, VA Book Festival and Virginia Humanities Shelf Life Series, and too many radio stations and podcasts to list.

Featured appearance at the American Bookseller’s Association January 24, 2020. Cancelled national book tour with stops at venues including the Virginia Festival of the Book, the Oxford Book Festival, the Atlanta Book Festival, the Miami Book Festival, the Atlanta History Center, Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington DC, Book People in Austin, Texas, Parnassus in Nashville, Tennessee, Avid in Athens, Georgia. Some of these events took place via Zoom.

A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle-Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011) https://www.amazon.com/Nation-Outsiders-Rebellion-Postwar-America/dp/0199314586

Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940 (New York: Pantheon, 1998) (New York: Vintage, 1999) http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl/9780679776208.html

Selected Recent Articles:

“Take Me to the River: Dave Woody’s Pilgrimage to the James,” Southern Cultures (April 29, 2021), https://www.southerncultures.org/article/take-me-to-the-river/

“The High and Lonesome Art of John Cohen and Roscoe Holcomb,” Southern Cultures (November 2020) https://www.southerncultures.org/article/the-high-and-lonesome-art-of-john-cohen-and-roscoe-halcomb/

“The Birth and Death of Pylon, America’s Best Rock Band,” Slate (July 8, 2020) https://slate.com/culture/2020/07/pylon-band-athens-georgia-history-video-cool-town.html

“Video Alone Can’t Solve the Problem of Policing,” Washington Post (June 18, 2020) https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/06/18/video-alone-cant-solve-problems-policing/

“The Link Between the Video of Ahmaud Arbery’s Death and Lynching Photos,” Washington Post (May 26, 2020) https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/05/26/link-between-video-ahmaud-arberys-death-lynching-photos/

“The Dress Makes the Band: Used Clothes, Drag Acts, and Bohemians in the Athens, Georgia Music Scene,” in Ted Ownby and Becca Walton, editors, Clothing and Fashion in Southern History (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2020).

“Signs of Return: Photography as History in the US South,” Southern Cultures (Spring 2019)

A Thousand Crossings”: A Review of Sally Mann’s exhibition at the National Gallery, March 4-May 28, 2018” Southern Cultures (May 2018)

“Participatory Documentary: Recording the Sound of Equality in the Southern Civil Rights Movement,” in Sara Blair, Joseph Entin, and Franny Nudelman, editors, Remaking Reality: US Documentary Culture After 1945 (University of North Carolina Press, 2018)

“Photography and the Global South: A Review of Emmet Gowin’s exhibition ‘Here on Earth Now: Notes from the Field,’ at Pace/MacGill Gallery, September 28, 2017-January 6, 2018, Southern Cultures (December 2017)

“Acting Out: The Athens Scene Versus Reagan’s America,” in The Bohemian South (Lindsey Freeman, editor) (University of North Carolina Press, 2017)

“Documentary Noise: The Soundscape of Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County, U.S.A.,” Southern Cultures (Spring 2017): 10-32

With co-author Lauren Tilton, “Participatory Archives” Archives Journal (August 2017), online at http://www.archivejournal.net/essays/participatory-archives/

“Port Huron, the New Left and the Romance of Rebellion” Port Huron at 50, Nelson Lichtenstein, editor, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015)

“The Chorus that Cracked the Wall,” The Weekly Wonk (published by the New America Foundation, November 2014) http://weeklywonk.newamerica.net/articles/chorus-cracked-wall/

“Eggleston’s South: ‘Always in Color’” Southern Spaces (June 27, 2013) http://southernspaces.org/2013/egglestons-south-always-color

 “When Jim Crow Drank Coke,” January 28, 2013 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/opinion/when-jim-crow-drank-coke.html

“The Lost Cause and the Meaning of History,” OAH Magazine of History 27:1 (January 2013): 13-17.

“The New Left and the Romance of Rebellion: Once More with Feeling!” accepted for publication in edited volume of essays, Port Huron at 50, forthcoming from University of Pennsylvania Press.

“‘My Political Beliefs Are Songs’: Pete Seeger in Cold War America,” in Kathleen Donohue, ed., Liberty and Justice for All? Rethinking Politics in Cold War America (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012)

"The Complete Oh-OK: Music as Child's Play in Athens, Georgia," Southern Spaces (September 26. 2011) https://southernspaces.org/2011/complete-oh-ok-music-childs-play-athens-georgia/

“Wounds, Vines, Scratches, and Names: Signs of Return in Southern Photography,” Southern Spaces (February 23, 2011) http://www.southernspaces.org/2011/wounds-vines-scratches-and-names-signs-return-southern-photography

“Why are Today’s Rebels Republicans?” Washington Post (February 8, 2011) http://voices.washingtonpost.com/political-bookworm/2011/02/why_are_todays_rebels_republic.html

“Confederate History is About Race,” CNN.com (April 14, 2010), http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/04/14/confederate-history-is-about-race/?iref=allsearch

“‘Hear Me Talking to You’: The Blues and the Romance of Rebellion,” in Fitzhugh Brundage, ed., Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2011)

“A Horrible, Beautiful Beast: Kara Walker’s Art,” Southern Spaces (March 6, 2008), http://southernspaces.org/2008/horrible-beautiful-beast

“Black as Folk: The Folk Music Revival, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Romance of the Outsider,” in Joe Crespino and Matt Lassiter, eds. The End of the South (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Current Research

Digital Humanities:


Participatory Media (co-director, with Lauren Tilton of University of Richmond): a digital public humanities project on collaborative media-making in the 1960s and 1970s supported by NEH public projects grant, http://participatorymediaproject.org/


Athens Music Project :  a collaborator in this University of Georgia research cluster for which she interviews participants in the Athens music and arts scene for an oral history archive based in the Special Collections Library, University of Georgia, https://soundcloud.com/russelllibraryoralhistory/sets/athens-music-project

Photogrammar: Advisory Board member for an NEH supported project based at Yale University that has created a new online digital archive with mapping and data mining capabilities for the FSA-OWI Photography Collections of the Library of Congress, http://photogrammar.yale.edu/

Courses Taught

AMST 2001 Introduction to American Studies

HIUS 3232 The US South in the Twentieth Century

AMST 4500 Participatory Documentary and the Civil Rights Movement

HIUS 7659 Twentieth Century US Cultural History