Natalie J. Ring, associate professor of historical studies at UT Dallas, has been named as an Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer.
The OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program is a speakers’ bureau comprised of American historians who have made major contributions to the field. Distinguished lecturers are invited to speak around the country at universities, museums, libraries, historical societies, humanities councils and teacher seminars. Members agree to give at least one lecture each year and donate their honorarium to the OAH to help it fulfill its goal in promoting excellence in scholarship, teaching and the presentation of American history.
“Since 1981, OAH presidents have appointed their most illustrious and dynamic colleagues to our program, making it one of the longest running and most successful efforts of its kind among scholarly associations,” said Katherine M. Finley, executive director of the OAH.
Ring’s selection stems from her distinguished presence in the field of southern history. Last summer, she was one of three historians invited to give a keynote address at the 41st Annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference on the theme “Faulkner and History” at the University of Mississippi.
She is the author of The Problem South: Region, Empire and the New Liberal State, 1880-1930, which was a finalist for the Best First Book Award from the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians and one of three finalists for Texas Institute of Letters Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book. She also is the co-editor of The Folly of Jim Crow: Rethinking the Segregated South as well as the author of several articles and chapters in journals and edited collections.
“I am very honored that the OAH has recognized my research and teaching in southern history and included me in this group of distinguished historians,” said Ring. “I’m excited about the opportunity to lecture to a wider audience around the country on a number of topics including how Americans have struggled with the idea of the South as a national problem, the connections between the Rockefeller philanthropies public health work in the South and foreign countries around the world, and the role Angola Prison played in the development of the southern penal system in the early years of Jim Crow.”
Ring’s research has been funded by the Smithsonian Institution, the American Historical Association, the Rockefeller Archive Center, the UNC Chapel Hill Manuscripts Division and the Copeland Fellow program at Amherst College.
Ring teaches courses on the intellectual and cultural history of the American South, the origins of Jim Crow and the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Before coming to the University of Texas at Dallas, she taught at Tulane University.
Currently, she is working on a research monograph on the history of Louisiana State penitentiary at Angola and a co-edited collection on crime and punishment in the Jim Crow South.