Dr. Peter H. Wood on Rice and the Reshaping of South Carolina
How did rice become a very commonly grown, rock-star grain in many parts of the world? What is the legacy of rice-growing in South Carolina, specifically? How has rice reshaped wetlands—and cultures? Following up on our conversation with Dr. Edda Fields-Black regarding the rice and the West African diaspora, we speak with another historian of rice: Peter H. Wood, Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Colorado–Boulder. Dr. Wood has been researching the transfer of knowledge regarding rice between West Africa and the Southern United States, including the legacy of the enslavement of Africans on the lands of the United States today. We talk about the history of rice-growing around the world, how it was grown in South Carolina hundreds of years ago and today, and the present and likely future impacts of climate disruption on the state’s coastal wetlands. (If you haven’t already listened to our conversation with Dr. Edda Fields-Black, check it out.) Dr. Wood is the author of Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion (1974), Strange New Land: Africans in Colonial America (2002), and Created Equal: A Social and Political History of the United States (2004). Follow Fields for more explorations of the intersections of urban and rural agriculture, and more discussions of how farming’s history shapes our present food systems.
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