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Baptist, Edward E. 1970-

BAPTIST, Edward E. 1970-

PERSONAL: Born January 3, 1970, in Cambridge, MA. Education: Georgetown University, B.S.F.S. (magna cum laude), 1992; University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D., 1997.


ADDRESSES: Offıce—Department of History, Cornell University, 450 McGraw Hall, Ithaca, NY 14850. E-mail—[email protected]


CAREER: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, lecturer, 1997-98; University of Miami, Miami, FL, Charlton W. Tebeau Assistant Professor, 1998-2003; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, assistant professor of history, 2003—. Member of editorial board for Florida Historical Quarterly and H-Carib (online discussion network).


AWARDS, HONORS: Annenberg research awards, 1996, 1997; Orovitz Research Award, University of Miami, 1999, 2000; John Hope Franklin Center Research Award, Duke University, 2000; National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, 2000-01; Southern Studies fellowship, University of North Carolina libraries, 2002; Remebert Patrick Award, Best Book in Florida history, Florida Historical Society, 2002.


WRITINGS:

Creating an Old South: Middle Florida's Plantation Frontier before the Civil War, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2002.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Editing a book with Stephanie Camp titled New Studies in American Slavery, for University of Georgia Press.


SIDELIGHTS: Historian Edward E. Baptist specializes in the study of the antebellum Deep South and focuses particularly on the ways in which the plantation culture penetrated Florida. In Creating an Old South: Middle Florida's Plantation Frontier before the Civil War, Baptist shows that when plantation owners moved into middle Florida in the early nineteenth century, they brought with them a culture that discriminated, at first, against small yeoman farmers. They created institutions to help them separate themselves from local, poorer white yeomen, including a state bank. "According to Baptist," wrote Christopher Waldrep in the Journal of American History, the "transition [from opposition to yeomen farmers to an alliance with them] occurred after planters bungled their way into the Second Seminole War. After 1837 guerilla raids exposed the planters 'manly invulnerability' as a fraud; they suddenly seemed 'emasculated, submissive, unable to assert their invulnerability.'" The fact that a bank the planters had created crashed at this time also contributed to their social collapse.

By the mid-1800s the Florida planting class had incorporated the yeoman class into a new racial elite. The new social group, Baptist argued, rewrote the violent, conflict-ridden history of Middle Florida, presenting it as a story of "a mythological 'Old South,' . . . an extension of an old, stable Virginia society, made up of slaveholding squires, deferential yeomen, and grateful slaves," explained Journal of the Early Republic contributor J. William Harris. "This myth, Baptist concludes, helped Floridas white men convince themselves that their society was worthy of independence and sufficiently united to win it."

"This is essentially a story of how frontier conditions start out wild and unruly," stated Mary Waalkas in a review of Creating an Old South for the Journal of Social History, "and how various pressures work to alter class relationships." "Through impressive research," concluded Bradley G. Bond in the Journal of Southern History, "[Baptist] . . . has opened antebellum Florida to historians as never before."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Civil War History, June, 2003, A. James Fuller, review of Creating an Old South: Middle Florida's Plantation Frontier before the Civil War, p. 191.

Journal of American History, March, 2003, Christopher Waldrep, review of Creating an Old South, p. 1523.

Journal of Social History, winter, 2003, Mary Waalkes, review of Creating an Old South, p. 529.

Journal of Southern History, November, 2003, Bradley G. Bond, review of Creating an Old South, p. 906.

Journal of the Early Republic, fall, 2003, J. William Harris, review of Creating an Old South, p. 459.

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