The Diane D. Blair Center







                              UA student Susan Dollar was selected as the first University of Arkansas Diane D. Blair Graduate Fellow for her outstanding performance in the classroom and written work. The fellowship will support Dollar's graduate program, including the researching and writing of her dissertation. The Diane D. Blair Center for the Study of Southern Politics and Society was founded last year, and the graduate fellowship program was introduced for the first time by the history and English departments. The Blair fellowship is a three-year scholarship that will add $6,000 to the candidate's existing graduate fellowship. The faculty makes the nominations and the Departmental Awards Committee examines the candidate's file and votes on to whom to give the fellowship. The dean's approval then makes the selection official. Jeannie M. Whayne, department of history chairperson, said one letter written in Dollar's behalf referred to her as "not only one of the very best doctoral candidates currently in our program but one of the finest we have ever had."  "We are particularly pleased that she was selected as the first Diane D. Blair fellow," Whayne said. "She has been a graduate student in our program for a couple of years. The fellowship should allow her to complete her course work (which is almost done anyway), take her qualifying exams and then write her dissertation."  Dollar is planning to write the dissertation on Creoles in the Catholic Church in Louisiana in the antebellum period.  "I plan to research the Catholic Church and its role in the lives of Creoles of color in Louisiana ," Dollar said. "A main Creole community that I plan to study is Isle Brevelle , on the Cane River in north Louisiana ."  Dollar said the community is largely composed of descendents of a slave woman named Marie Therese Coin-Coin and a French soldier, Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer. Metoyer freed Marie Therese and their children from slavery. The descendents were free people of color who owned slaves and plantations along the Cane River , dating back to the eighteenth century.  St. Augustine Catholic Church is at the heart of this community and has been since it was founded in 1803. It is the first Catholic Church established in the United States by people of color for people of color.   "I plan to research its work in Isle Brevelle as it provided schools and organizations that helped define the community and its people," Dollar said.  Dollar is the assistant director of the Arkansas Center for Oral and Visual History in Fayetteville and a native of Natchitoches , La. She received her master's degree in English at Texas A & M and received a master's degree in history at Northwestern State University of Louisiana.  She published the book The Freedmen's Bureau Schools of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, 1865-1868 with the NSU Press in 1998, and she published an article in the Ozark Historical Review in Spring 2000 entitled "Viney Grove Methodist Church: A View into the Frontier Ministry of Western Washington County, Arkansas."









                               UA student James Anthony Anderson was selected to receive the University of Arkansas Blair Fellowship for Southern Literature.  The fellowship is given through the Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society in the Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences and is dedicated to the study of Southern politics, culture, history, and literature.  The Blair fellowships are given in memory of Diane D. Blair (1938-2000), political scientist and activist.  Blair, who maintained more than thirty years of commitment to the university and the state of Arkansas , continues to influence UA through her important legacy.  With substantial support from the Blair fellowship, James A. Anderson has begun (Fall 2004) his Ph.D. work in Southern Literature through the English Department.  Anderson’s interests include Southern Agrarian thought and cultural studies, traditional American music, travel narratives, and nature/conservation writing. Anderson also plans to study closely under the renowned Southern Literature faculty in English, which includes Department Chair Robert Brinkmeyer, and with other programs such as Creative Writing and History, along with the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies.  “I am extremely honored to receive this fellowship and am excited about the possibilities to shed some light on the traditional culture of Arkansas and the South at large,” says Anderson.  For the next three years, Anderson will complete his course work and dissertation, while teaching composition. Anderson received his B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his M.A. in English from East Carolina University. “Through the aid of this fellowship I hope to continue the goals of the Blair Foundation and do all I can to help support its community-based and regional endeavors,” Anderson adds.    




Matthew A Byron (bio)

Born and raised in Massachusetts .  He received his BA in history from the University of Massachusetts @ Amherst in 1999.  He received his MA in history from Clemson University in South Carolina in 2002.  Where he completed his thesis entitled: “Beyond the Traditional Code of Honor.”  This was a study of several key aspects to Southern honor which have been traditionally ignored.  Finally he began his work on a PhD at the University of Arkansas in 2002.  While here, he has had the opportunity to teach both US I and II surveys in American history.  While being a Blair Fellow, he has begun research into various aspects in southern honor and culture.  His most recent focus of research has centered on the use of body history, such as gestures and walking styles, to interpret affairs of honor.




The Blair Center
of Southern Politics and Society
428 Old Main
Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
Todd Shields, Director