Community Histories Workshop

Community Histories Workshop

Recovering. Preserving. Sharing.

The Asylum in the Archive

How can the history of North Carolina’s iconic insane asylum be reconstructed from the historical records it left in the state archive? How can these records be combined with other sources to shed new light on the state’s role in the emergence of modern psychiatry and humanize the more than 7500 patients treated at Dix Hill from 1856 to 2012?
Learn More   "The Asylum in the Archive"

Rocky Mount Mills

For 200 years, the site of the Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount, N.C., has been a defining feature of the community’s natural and built environment. Through our work, Rocky Mount Mills became a catalyst for open-ended community history and archiving.
Learn More   "Rocky Mount Mills"

Digital Loray

Digital Loray curates the long, complex history of the iconic Loray Mill in Gastonia, North Carolina, as well as the surrounding mill village, using digital tools and technologies to tell human stories. We engaged members of the Loray, Firestone, and mill village communities as active participants in our work.
Learn More   "Digital Loray"

About Us

Established in 2016, the Community Histories Workshop (CHW) works with local communities to recover, preserve, and share the memories, stories, and materials that reflect the multi-layered histories of place. By helping to connect past to present we believe that communities can envision more just, inclusive, and democratic futures. Learn more about us by reading our statement of principles.

Since its founding, the CHW has been affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As of 2022, we are also situated in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University.

The roster of CHW participants will grow and change as the workshop’s agenda develops.


Graduate Research Fellows

Laura King (Auburn)

Stephanie Rudolph (Auburn)

Other Fellows and Contributors

Nate Nihart

The Patient Interview, Part I: Text, Discourse, Performance

Minds may know and be known by cognitions. But persons are enacted rather than known, enacted by performances with a story in mind.William Frank Monroe,... Read More "The Patient Interview, Part I: Text, Discourse, Performance"

The Patient Interview, Part II: Nerves

Read Part I “Nervous” is a term Mrs. Jones uses and applies to herself from the beginning of the examination to its end.  Before she... Read More "The Patient Interview, Part II: Nerves"

Race in the Asylum: the Case of Eli Hill, Part II

Part II: Reconstruction Read the beginning of Eli's story here. The War after the War Eli Hill was among the 179,000 African Americans who served... Read More "Race in the Asylum: the Case of Eli Hill, Part II"

Race in the Asylum: the Case of Eli Hill, Part I

Part I: The War There is no column for race in the Dix Hospital admission records during the period of our digitization project (1856-1921). This... Read More "Race in the Asylum: the Case of Eli Hill, Part I"