Dr. Blake Perkins, assistant professor of history at Williams Baptist College, has recently signed a book contract with the University of Illinois Press. Perkins’s dissertation, entitled “ Dynamics of Defiance: Government Power and Rural Resistance in the Arkansas Ozarks,” led the way to the book deal.
Perkins says his dissertation illustrates the long transformation of rural populist culture. “It challenges the ideas that rural white Americans have always stood at the vanguard of opposition to outside authority and federal intervention,” he notes.
Perkins also says his draw to the topic came from a lifetime of interest in smallholder farmers and rural working people, and his intrigue constantly expanded due to growing up in a five-generation farm family in the Arkansas Ozarks.
Due to the long process of writing and preparing for publishing a book, Perkins adds his tips to keep in mind before beginning a writing project. “Choose a research focus that you can obsess over, one that can literally keep you working into the wee hours of morning without realizing it, and cultivate connections and relationships with people- both scholars and non-academics- who share you interest and want to see your project succeed,” he concludes.
The manuscript, which is set to be published within the next year, will be titled “Backcountry Defiance: A Hidden History of Rural Resistance to Federal Power in the Ozarks.”