Harry L. Watson

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Watson photo smallAtlanta Distinguished Professor of Southern Culture

568 Hamilton Hall
CB# 3195
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599

AB Brown University, 1971
PhD Northwestern University, 1976

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Harry Watson’s research interests lie in the political, social, cultural, and intellectual history of the United States between the Revolution and the Civil War, with special attention to the antebellum South and Jacksonian America. His work has explored the intersection of social, economic, and political change in this period, the formation of political parties, the influence of market development on political mobilization, reform movements, uses of the environment, and the relationship between race and class under slavery. He directed the UNC Center for the Study of the American South from 1999 to 2012, and has edited its quarterly journal, Southern Cultures, since 1993.  He served as president of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic in 2010–2011.

Some Notable Publications

  • Building the American Republic: Volume One, A narrative History to 1877 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018)
  • “The Man with the Dirty Black Beard: Race, Class, and Schools in the Antebellum South,” Journal of the Early Republic 32, 1 (Spring 2012), 1–26
  • Liberty and Power: The Politics of Jacksonian America. 2nd rev. ed., with new Preface and Afterword (Hill & Wang, Inc., 2006)
  • “The Common Rights of Mankind: Subsistence, Shad, and Commerce in the Early Republican South,” The Journal of American History, vol. 83, no. 1 (June 1996), 13–43
  • An Independent People: The Way We Lived in North Carolina, 1770–1820 (University of North Carolina Press, 1983)
  • Jacksonian Politics and Community Conflict: The Emergence of the Second American Party System in Cumberland County, North Carolina (Louisiana State University Press, 1981)

Graduate Students Advised by Harry Watson

Courses Offered (as schedules allow)

For current course listings, consult the Registrar’s Schedule of Classes.

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