History Professor publishes essay on racial violence in Journal of American History


Contributed by Terrie Miller

Michael Trotti in the History department published an essay in the current edition of the Journal of American History entitled "What Counts: Trends in Racial Violence in the Postbellum South."  This is a reinterpretation of the use of numbers in the study of racial violence, cataloging the challenges posed by quantification of so complicated a phenomenon.

"Read more" elaboration:
The article argues that there are layers of challenges to studying lynching's numbers: the definition of lynching is awkward, sources are often problematic in terms of identifying lynchings, and the trends resulting from any count of lynchings can be (and are) interpreted in multiple ways.  Historians approach racial violence with nuance and complexity; numbers do not, treating each lynching a equivalent to every other lynching in any calculation.  For a brief excerpt of the article: