James C. Cobb

Author of C. Vann Woodward: America’s Historian

Author Talk

Wednesday, Jan 18 @ 7pm - 9pm

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General Admission Tickets (book not included)

–Not Yet Members: $10
–Members: $5
–Insiders: Free

Woodruff Auditorium is located inside McElreath Hall.


With an epic career that spanned two-thirds of the twentieth century, C. Vann Woodward (1908–1999) was a historian of singular importance. A brilliant writer, his work captivated both academic and public audiences. He also figured prominently in the major intellectual conflicts between left and right during the last half of the twentieth century, although his unwavering commitment to free speech and racial integration that affirmed his liberalism in the 1950s struck some as emblematic of his growing conservatism by the 1990s. Woodward's vision still permeates our understandings of the American South and of the history of race relations in the United States. Indeed, as this fresh and revealing biography shows, he displayed a rare genius and enthusiasm for crafting lessons from the past that seemed directly applicable to the concerns of the present—a practice that more than once cast doubt on his scholarship.

James C. Cobb offers many original insights into Woodward's early years and private life, his long career, and his almost mythic public persona. In a time where the study and substance of American history are profoundly contested, Woodward's career is replete with lessons in how myths about the past, some created by historians themselves, come to be enshrined as historical truth.

A former president of the Southern Historical Association, Cobb has written widely on the interaction between economy, society and culture in the American South. His books include The Selling of The South: The Southern Crusade for Industrial Development, 1936-1990 (Illinois, 1993), The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity (Oxford, 1992), Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity (Oxford, 2005), and The South and America Since World War II (Oxford, 2010.)  James C. Cobb is a recipient of such prestigious awards as Georgia Author of the Year – History (Georgia Writers Association, 2005), the Woodward-Franklin Award for Excellence in Historical Writing (Fellowship of Southern Writers, 2015), and the Governor’s Award for the Humanities (2015), and he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Washington and Lee University (2015).  Cobb is currently a B. Phinizy Spalding Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Georgia. 

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