The following articles have been published on Southern Spaces, an interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the U.S. South and their global connections.
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Visions for Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba and the United States: Changing Minds and Models through Exchange >>
In this photo essay and accompanying text, Charles D. Thompson, Jr. meets Cuban farmers, explores sustainable agricultural initiatives in the island nation, and suggests the possibilities for mutually beneficial exchanges with farmers’ organizations in the U.S. South.
“Visions for Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba and the United States: Changing Minds and Models through Exchange” was selected for the Southern Spaces series “Landscapes and Ecologies of the U.S. South,” a collection of innovative, interdisciplinary publications about natural and built environments.
In this interview with Southern Spaces, Charles D. Thompson, Jr., revisits the making of two documentaries that he co-produced: Brother Towns/Pueblos Hermanos (2010) and The Guestworker/Bienvenidos a Carolina del Norte (2007). He discusses his agricultural background, education, experiences that led to documentary work, and current debates over immigration and globalization.
Charles Thompson’s Spirits of Just Men: Mountaineers, Liquor Bosses, and Lawmen in the Moonshine Capital of the World tells the story of Franklin County, Virginia, during the 1930s through the lives of Appalachian farmers who made moonshine there. The book reveals how whiskey production ultimately caught local residents in a conspiracy of national proportions. As background, Spirits of Just Men asks why so many farmers lived in such out of the way places. How did they acquire their knowledge of producing liquor? And, what did moonshining have to do with national farm and trade policy? Southern Spaces offers two excerpts from Spirits of Just Men. The first, a video produced by Marissa Katarina Bergmann, offers glimpses of modern-day Shooting Creek juxtaposed with historical images, remembrances of Thompson’s grandfather, and the music of Charlie Poole. The second excerpt sketches the origins of whiskey-making in the backcountry and recalls the resistance to Alexander Hamilton’s efforts to impose a whiskey tax.