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Michael T. Bernath
University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL 33146-2926)
In a Land of Strangers: Northern Teachers in the Old South, 1790-1865

A book-length study on northerners who served as teachers, tutors, and governesses in the antebellum South, their employers, and the growth of sectional differences.

My book project focuses on the thousands of northerners who worked as teachers, tutors, and governesses in the southern states from 1790 to 1865. It analyzes what their experiences, observations, and reception reveal about life and culture in the Old South, paying particular attention to evidence of emerging northern and southern identities during the antebellum period. The presence of these teachers represents the most widespread, sustained, and intimate contact point between northerners and southerners at a time when sectional tensions emerged and then escalated. Uniquely, if sometimes uncomfortably, positioned within southern society, these northern teachers provide the ideal vantage point from which to explore perceptions of sectional difference and distinctiveness and to chart the emergence and contours of American identity.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
U.S. History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 7/31/2018