Head over to the North Carolina Museum of History’s Bits of History podcast, and listen to historian and UPK author Charles Holden discuss The New Southern University: Academic Freedom and Liberalism at UNC (currently available at 20% off as part of our Holiday Sale!) His book is about how the changes at UNC–Chapel Hill during the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s transformed UNC into one of the South’s premiere universities and fostered a progressive and liberal orientation within a conservative region.
About the Book:
Established in 1789, the University of North Carolina is the oldest public university in the nation. UNC’s reputation as one of the South’s leading institutions has drawn some of the nation’s leading educators and helped it become a model of the modern American university. However, the school’s location in the country’s most conservative region presented certain challenges during the early 1900s, as new ideas of academic freedom and liberalism began to pervade its educational philosophy. This innovative generation of professors defined themselves as truth-seekers whose work had the potential to enact positive social change; they believed it was their right to choose and cultivate their own curriculum and research in their efforts to cultivate intellectual and social advancement. In To Carry the Truth: Academic Freedom at UNC, 1920–1941, Charles J. Holden examines the growth of UNC during the formative years between the World Wars, focusing on how the principle of academic freedom led to UNC’s role as an advocate for change in the South.
Charles J. Holden, professor of history at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, is the author of In the Great Maelstrom: Conservatives in Post–Civil War South Carolina. He lives in Solomons, Maryland.