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Understanding the Ozarks with Brooks Blevins

In this episode of Talking History, Patrick and Djene speak with the doyen of Ozarks history, Dr. Brooks Blevins about his latest book, Up South in the Ozarks.


The Ozarks as a region are often overlooked. The difficult terrain and relative dearth of arable soil have left the plateau sparsely populated for time immemorial. Rarely registered on maps and ignored by American historians for generations, the Ozark Plateau lived in the popular imagination as a land of backward people and night-riding vigilantes for many decades. In recent years, however, scholars have begun to look at the region with a keen eye, creating the nascent field of Ozarks Studies.

In this episode of Talking History, Patrick and Djene speak with Dr. Brooks Blevins, the founding father of Ozarks Studies, about his latest book, Up South in the Ozarks, a collection of essays on life and culture in the Ozarks published by the University of Arkansas Press.

Dr. Brooks Blevins
Kevin White/Missouri State University
Dr. Brooks Blevins

In Talking History Extra, continued at 24:42 in the audio, they discuss the origins and development of Ozarks Studies as well as whether the Ozarks is a mini-Appalachia or Appalachia is a big Ozarks.

Brooks Blevins
Brooks Blevins is the Noel Boyd Professor of Ozarks Studies at Missouri State University. He published his capstone work with the University of Illinois Press—three volumes constituting the definitive history of the Ozarks. He is also the author or editor of ten other books, including Arkansas/Arkansaw: How Bear Hunters, Hillbillies, and Good Ol’ Boys Defined a State.

Djene Bajalan is a historian and a member of the faculty in the Department of History at Missouri State University. He was born, raised, and educated in the United Kingdom and holds a DPhil in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford. His research focuses on the Ottoman Empire and he teaches courses on the history of the Middle East.<br/><br/>
Patrick Needham is a mechanic and fabricator with a love for History. Born in Colorado and raised in Taney County, Missouri, Pat loves the Ozarks with the zeal of a convert. Not formally trained in History, he brings an everyman touch to the show. He hopes his fellow Ozarkers find lessons and parallels in the past.