ECU Hosts First of Four Conferences to Examine North Carolina’s Distinctive History

East Carolina University and the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences will host the first of four conferences slated to examine North Carolina’s distinctive history in an effort to develop a new narrative of the state. “New Voyages to Carolina,” will begin February 2-3 on the ECU Campus.

The idea for the conference series originated from Dr. Larry Tise, ECU professor of history and former director of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Office of Archives and History. Tise developed the series in collaboration with his successors in the Office of Archives and History, Drs. William S. Price and Jeffrey J. Crow. Each of the four conferences is designed to encourage the examination of important topics and issues in North Carolina’s history.

The inaugural conference hosted by ECU is titled “The First North Carolina,” in reference to John Lawson’s “A New Voyage to Carolina.” Future conference themes will include “Defining the Contours of the Old North State,” “The Progressive Plutocracy,” and “The Cultural Roots of North Carolina.”

“The purpose of the conferences is to foster new and original understandings of North Carolina’s past, so that we can chart a general reinterpretation of the state’s history,” said Tise. “ We have recruited some of the finest historians in America to participate in this effort –all of them have written books on important aspects of North Carolina’s history.”

The two-day conference at ECU begins with a keynote address given by Bland Simpson, North Carolina native and Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, at 7 p.m. February 2, in Wright Auditorium. This portion of the conference is also the Thomas Harriot Lecture in the 2011-12 Thomas Harriot Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. Additional information on this lecture may be viewed at

On Friday, February 3, the conference continues with registration at 8 a.m. in the Mendenhall Student Union, room 244. The day begins with various speakers in two morning sessions on “Visions –Old World/New World” and “The Tuscarora Tragedy,” followed by lunch and two afternoon sessions on “The Conundrum of Slavery” and “The Uncompromising Environment.” A closing reception will be held at 6 p.m.

Sponsors of “The New Voyages to Carolina” conference series include ECU, ECU’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and its Office of Archives and History, the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, and additional participating universities.

Subsequent conferences will be held in October 2012, hosted by North Carolina Central University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; in November 2012, hosted by the University of North Carolina at Asheville and Western Carolina University; and in early 2013, hosted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Registration for ECU’s “The First North Carolina” conference is $20 for students with a valid ID, and $30 to the general public. Checks should be made payable to East Carolina University and mailed to ECU’s History Department, c/o Rebecca Futrell, A-315 Brewster Building, Greenville, NC 27858. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.

For additional information, or questions pertaining to registration, contact Futrell at or 252-328-6496.  Inquiries about the conference program may be directed to Tise at or 252-328-1026. Also, more information may be viewed at