Dr. Tom Okie ’02 to Lecture on The Georgia Peach: Culture, Agriculture, and Environment in the American South

The Covenant College Department of History is pleased to welcome alumnus Dr. Tom Okie ’02, assistant professor of history education at Kennesaw State University, to campus. Okie will speak on his new book, The Georgia Peach: Culture, Agriculture, and Environment in the American South, on Thursday, March 2, 2017, in Mills Hall 160 from 4:00-5:15 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

 

Okie graduated in 2002 with a history degree from Covenant College, where he studied American environmental history under Covenant history professor Dr. Paul Morton. Okie went on to earn his PhD from the University of Georgia. In May 2013, the Society of American Historians awarded Okie the 53rd annual Allan Nevins Dissertation Prize for his dissertation, “Everything is Peaches Down in Georgia: Culture and Agriculture in the American South.” The prize is named after the society’s founder and is annually awarded “for the best-written doctoral dissertation on an American subject.” 

 

Okie was a visiting assistant professor of history at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine from 2012-13. He now serves as assistant professor of history education at Kennesaw State University.

 

The Georgia Peach: Culture, Agriculture, and Environment in the American South was published by Cambridge University Press in November of 2016. The publisher provides a helpful description of the work:

 

“Imprinted on license plates, plastered on billboards, stamped on the tail side of the state quarter, and inscribed on the state map, the peach is easily Georgia's most visible symbol. Yet Prunus persica itself is surprisingly rare in Georgia, and it has never been central to the southern agricultural economy. Why, then, have southerners - and Georgians in particular - clung to the fruit? The Georgia Peach: Culture, Agriculture, and Environment in the American South shows that the peach emerged as a viable commodity at a moment when the South was desperate for a reputation makeover. This agricultural success made the fruit an enduring cultural icon despite the increasing difficulties of growing it. A delectable contribution to the renaissance in food writing, The Georgia Peach will be of great interest to connoisseurs of food, southern, environmental, rural, and agricultural history.”

 

Okie’s lecture on March 2 will be followed by an open time of Q&A. The lecture will be held in Mills Hall, room 160. Directions to Covenant College are available here, and a campus map is downloadable on this page.

 

You can learn more about Okie by reading his alumni profile here.