University Park, Pa. -- Anthony Kaye, assistant professor of history at Penn State, has been awarded a 2009 fellowship of approximately $50,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to write a book on Nat Turner's rebellion of 1831.
A faculty member in the College of the Liberal Arts, he also is affiliated with the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center. Kaye's book will reinterpret Turner's famous revolt from the standpoint of neighborhoods. "Nat Turner's Confessions" is one of the most widely read documents in the history of slavery, yet historians have missed its neighborhood motif. Turner's stature as a prophet was wrought in delicate negotiation with his neighborhood. The revolt proceeded swiftly as long it remained in Turner's neighborhood but came apart when he and his comrades left there. When he decided to regroup to march again, he repaired to his neighborhood.
The book, tentatively titled "Alarm in the Neighborhood," will use the Turner insurrection to introduce neighborhoods as a new perspective on slavery to a general audience. The publisher will be Hill & Wang.
The Penn State historian's recent book, "Joining Places: Slave Neighborhoods in the Old South," described slave neighborhoods at length in Mississippi, where the neighborhood terrain comprised adjoining places, and sketched neighborhoods across the South. His work was the first book to use a vast source of rich testimony about slavery, the pension files of former soldiers in the Union army, and reformulated ideas about slave marriage, resistance and the slave community.
The book was a finalist for the 2008 Frederick Douglass Book Prize, given by Yale University's Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.
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