I’m Charlotte Taylor Fryar, activist for public humanities and public higher education, fervent North Carolinian, soon-to-be Ph.D. graduate from the Department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and current resident of Washington, D.C.
My writing and research interests include public higher education, racial justice activism, oral history, civic landscapes, and digital & public scholarship. To learn how these interests manifest themselves in my day-to-day, you may consult my CV.
My dissertation, Reclaiming the University of the People: Racial Justice Movements at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, examines the histories of racial justice movements at UNC-Chapel Hill from 1951 to the present, with a focus on Black student- and worker-led social movements that challenged the University’s dominant cultural landscape of white supremacy. This history is presented as a documentary website, which advances an alternative history of North Carolina’s flagship public university as determined by the legacy of Black freedom striving in Chapel Hill. This website operates as a public resource for engagement in a counter-narrative of resistance to institutional anti-Blackness and as a potential model for critical public humanities and digital oral history in graduate scholarship.
In this digital space, I do only a small amount of writing on my research process and work as a graduate student. I have mostly used this as a space to write from outside my institutional position. Here, I write on a number of topics that resonate with what I hope is a sustained and self-affirming resistance: public space and politics, nature and wilderness, walking and identity, family and the South.
I am keen to take off my graduate student hat and put on others. My closet is full of them. They include: runner, beginning forager, quilter, Annie Dillard-worshiper, cilantro-fanatic, hiker, and starved reader of modern southern lit, women’s memoir, and natural philosophy.