College of Humanities and Social Sciences
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Jennifer Ritterhouse

Jennifer Ritterhouse

Jennifer Ritterhouse

Associate Professor

20th century U.S.; U.S. South; women and gender; children and childhood

Jennifer Ritterhouse earned her B.A at Harvard University and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children Learned Race (UNC Press, 2006) and several articles. She is the editor of a reprint edition of Sarah Patton Boyle’s autobiography, The Desegregated Heart: A Virginian’s Stand in Time of Transition (UVA Press, 2001), and one of several co-editors of Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South (New Press, 2001). She teaches classes on the 20th-century U.S., the U.S. South, cultural history, research methods, and other topics.

Current Research

Professor Ritterhouse’s forthcoming book, Discovering the South: One Man's Travels through a Changing America in the 1930s (UNC Press, 2017), explores the politics and culture of a crucial period in United States history by following North Carolina newspaper editor Jonathan Daniels on a sweeping tour of the southern states in 1937. Written in an engaging, narrative style, Discovering the South examines a variety of interrelated topics, from the New Deal's impact on the South, to the literary and intellectual history of the Southern Renaissance, to the race, class and gender dynamics evident in the tragic Scottsboro case and planters' and industrialists' violent responses to labor organizing.

Dr. Ritterhouse's companion website for Discovering the South is

Selected Publications

Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children Learned Race, University of North Carolina Press, 2006. Received Honorable Mention for the 2007 Outstanding Book Awards from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.

 "Sarah Patton Boyle: A White Activist, the Black Pragmatist Who Taught Her, and the Long and the Short of the Civil Rights Movement," in Virginia Women: Their Lives and Times, vol. 2, ed. by Cynthia Kierner and Sandra Treadway, University of Georgia Press, 2016.

"Woman Flogged: Willie Sue Blagden, the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, and how an impulse for story led to a historiographical corrective," Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice, January 2014.

"Dixie Destinations: Rereading Jonathan Daniels's A Southerner Discovers the South," Southern Spaces: An Interdisciplinary Journal about Regions, Places, and Cultures of the American South and Their Global Connections (, May 2010.

“The Etiquette of Race Relations in the Jim Crow South,” in Manners in Southern History from the 1860s to the 1960s, edited by Ted Ownby. University Press of Mississippi, 2007.

“Reading, Intimacy, and the Role of Uncle Remus in White Southern Social Memory,” Journal of Southern History, August 2003.

Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South. Co-edited as part of the Behind the Veil project ( New Press, 2001.

The Desegregated Heart: A Virginian’s Stand in Time of Transition, by Sarah Patton Boyle. Edited with an introduction and selected correspondence, University Press of Virginia, 2001.

“Speaking of Race: Sarah Patton Boyle and the ‘T.J. Sellers Course for Backward Southern Whites,’” in Sex, Love, Race: Crossing Boundaries in North American History, edited by Martha Hodes. New York University Press, 1999.

Courses Taught

HIST 300: Introduction to Historical Method

HIST 352: The South Since 1865

HIST 499: Senior Seminar in History

HIST 622: U.S. South Since 1865

HIST 634: Interwar America: 1918-1939

HNRS 130: Conceptions of Self

Dissertations Supervised

Lindsey Bestebreurtje, Built by the People Themselves: African American Community Development in Arlington, Virginia, from the Civil War through Civil Rights (2017)