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Award-Winning Southern Historian to Speak About Capitalist Agriculture
 Melissa Walker web
Dr. Melissa Walker

Dr. Melissa Walker, an award-winning scholar and instructor of history, will speak at Limestone College on Monday, April 15, at 7:00 p.m. in Fullerton Auditorium.

Her presentation, which is free and open to the public, is entitled "Rural Southern Women, The Family Economy, and Economic Change."

Dr. Walker's visit is made possible by Limestone's Renewing a Dream, Revisiting the South Series which is funded by a grant from Wells Fargo. The series is designed to provide the local community and Limestone students free access to programs and exhibits from a wide array of historians, art collections, and performing artists with an emphasis on Southern history and culture.

Dr. Walker is the George Dean Johnson, Jr. Professor of History at Converse College. She also chairs Converse's History Department. She teaches a wide variety of courses in US History including The New South, The American Revolution in the Southern Backcountry, US Women's History, African American History, and others.

Capitalist Agriculture
"The understanding of making a living to some degree describes the market-oriented, specialized commercial agriculture that scholars have come to call 'capitalist agriculture,'" explains Dr. Walker.

"Capitalist agriculture became the dominant model for the agricultural economy in the late twentieth century. However, the transition to capitalist agriculture was a protracted and complicated process, especially in the South. Along the way to specialized commercial agriculture, farm families combined subsistence and market-oriented economic activities in ways that were calculated to meet their own goals of independence, well-being, and family persistence on the land."

In 2007, the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named Dr. Walker the South Carolina Professor of the Year.

Dr. Walker is also an active scholar. She edited the agriculture volume of The New Encyclopedia for Southern Culture. In 2007, her book Southern Farmers and Their Stories was awarded a prestigious Outstanding Academic Title Award from Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries for its overall excellence in scholarship and its value to undergraduate students. Her first book, All We Knew Was to Farm: Rural Women in the Upcountry South, 1919-1941, was published in 2000. The Southern Association for Women Historians awarded the book the Willie Lee Rose Prize for the best book in Southern history authored by a woman. She is co-editor of Southern Women at the Millennium, an edited collection of essays drawn from a 2001 conference she helped organize at Converse.

Additionally, Dr. Walker edited a collection of oral histories entitled Country Women Cope with Hard Times and co-edited Work Family and Faith: Rural Southern Women in the Twentieth Century with Dr. Rebecca Sharpless of Texas Christian University. Her latest book is entitled The Battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens: The American Revolution in the Southern Backcountry.