Summersell Center Director

Dr. John Giggie,
Director of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South

Dr. John Giggie is an Associate Professor of History and African American Studies. His research focuses on the American South, African American history, the Civil Rights Movement, and American religious history. As Director of the Summersell Center, his main goal is to encourage and support innovative research into the American South, especially among undergraduates.

Within the Summersell Center, Dr. Giggie and his students have recently created three small, research-intensive undergraduate courses that seek to tell stories deeply hidden in the southern past: Civil Rights and Religion, Lynching in Alabama, and Queer History South. Building on their work in these classes, students have gone on to pursue further independent studies with Dr. Giggie and won multiple campus-wide awards, including first place at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference and The A&S Summit for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity, as well as the Randall Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award.

Dr. Giggie has been named a University of Alabama Distinguished Fellow in Teaching by the College of Arts & Sciences and a Fellow with the Center of Ethics and Social Responsibility.  The Center for Community-Based Partnerships named him the Outstanding Faculty for his class on religion and civil rights; it also funded a partnership between he, his students, Tuscaloosa’s Central High School, and the Equal Justice Initiative intended to design a curriculum centering lynching in American history. Prior to coming to UA, Prof. Giggie taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he was awarded the Presidential Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching, the Honors Alliance Award for Outstanding Teaching, and named one of San Antonio’s Best Teachers. Dr. Giggie has commented widely on matters of southern history for the media, including C-SPAN, National Public Radio, The Christian Science Monitor, Smithsonian Magazine,, as well as local and regional newspapers.