Jeannie Whayne

Jeannie Whayne

Jeannie Whayne is a University Professor of history at the University of Arkansas and a past president of the Agricultural History Society. She is the author of two books including Delta Empire: Lee Wilson and the Transformation of Agriculture in the New South (2011), a social, economic, and environmental study of a plantation owned by a single family from 1846 to 2010 and the winner of the John G. Ragsdale Prize. She is the editor or a coauthor of nine other books, including The Ongoing Burden of Southern History: Politics and Identity in the Twenty-First-Century South (2012).

Whayne has won numerous awards for her teaching and publications, including the Arkansas Historical Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. She is currently researching a book on Memphis, Tennessee, that examines the interaction between the city and its hinterlands in forging a regional cotton empire; she is also working on a National Endowment for the Humanities digitization proposal to map that connection.

Her 2014 presidential address to the Agricultural History Society, "The Incidental Environmentalists: Dale Bumpers, George Templeton, and the Origins of the Rosen Alternative Pest Control Center at the University of Arkansas," examined a tradition of sustainable agriculture within the traditional agricultural bureaucracy of the late twentieth-century United States and the role of the center in promoting alternatives to agricultural chemicals. Also in 2014, she presented a paper at the World Congress on Environmental History that examined modern "portfolio plantations," or investor-owned agricultural land, placing this global development in the context of the new corporate colonialism and examining its environmental and cultural implications. She has also presented her work at the Southern Historical Association and the European Rural Studies Organization conferences.


  • A Faustian Bargain? The Modern Corporate Plantation in the Age of Scientific Agriculture
  • Building It of Brick and Hollow Tile: Lee Wilson, the Lowery Lynching, and the Limitations of Planter Paternalism in the Twentieth-Century South
  • Crises in Cotton's Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity, and Yellow Fever in Late Nineteenth-Century Memphis, Tennessee
  • The Remaking of Rural Society in the Twentieth-Century South: Communities and the Environment in the Lower Mississippi River Valley
  • The Winds Have Changed: The Flood of 1927 and the Arkansas "Cracker" Response to Planter Power