Imagine Otherwise: Malinda Maynor Lowery on Lumbee Storytelling

Dec 12, 2019 | Podcast

Episode 101 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast is out!

I interview Lumbee historian and documentary filmmaker Malinda Maynor Lowery about how she weaves together family stories with official documents to tell a new history of the Lumbee Nation, using film documentary to expand definitions of what counts as Southern cuisine, the role of food in Indigenous sovereignty movements, and why valuing a world forever in community is how Malinda imagines otherwise.

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You can also read the transcript and show notes on the Ideas on Fire website, which have links to Malinda’s work and all the concepts, people, and events we discuss on the show (great for teaching!).

Guest: Malinda Maynor Lowery

Malinda Maynor Lowery is a historian and documentary film producer who is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.

She is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the Center for the Study of the American South. Her second book, The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle, is a 300-year history of the largest American Indian community east of the Mississippi.

Malinda’s interests include oral history, American Indian migration and identity, school desegregation, federal recognition, religious music, and foodways, and she writes for both scholarly and general audiences.

Films she has produced include the Peabody Award-winning A Chef’s Life (PBS, 2013–2018), the Emmy-nominated Private Violence (broadcast on HBO in 2014), In the Light of Reverence (broadcast on PBS in 2001), and two short films, Real Indian (1996) and Sounds of Faith (1997), both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Key quote

“When I think about the defining moments in my life where I’ve come to an awakening or when I’ve realized that I need to do something different, I needed to change my attitude, I needed to change my approach, it’s almost always because of something artistic that emerged in my life. And then my natural curiosity, I suppose, sends me on a little journey to figure out where does that come from? Where does that piece of art come from? What are the social or political economic forces that converged to make this art necessary in that particular moment? Answering questions that are driven by curiosity is what produces the scholarship and material that we teach with in classes.”

– Malinda Maynor Lowery on episode 101 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast


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