Phillips to Speak on Back-to-Land Movement in Arkansas Wednesday

Jared Phillips
Photo Submitted

Jared Phillips

The University Libraries invite the campus community to attend a presentation by international studies professor Jared Phillips titled "Hipbillies: The Back to the Land Movement in the Arkansas Ozarks" at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, in the Special Collections reading room in Mullins Library. Refreshments will be provided by Ozark Natural Foods. This event is free and open to the public. 

During the 1960s and 1970s, a trend emerged of moving "back to the land," as people chose to leave urban areas for rural ones, such as the Arkansas Ozarks. It is estimated that somewhere between 2,000 and 6,000 people participated in the movement, which is the subject of Phillips' forthcoming book, Hipbillies: Deep Revolution in the Arkansas Ozarks, which will debut in spring 2019 from the University of Arkansas Press. 

"Hipbillies is the first in-depth history of the back-to-the-land movement in the Ozarks during the 1960s and 1970s," said Phillips. "Among many things, I talk about how the hipbilly community tapped into a longstanding  American tradition of agrarian ideals as a means of lasting social change, and in so doing I show how the popular narrative of anti-hippie sentiment was often not true. The Special Collections sources, like the Ozark Access Catalog and LION, were hugely helpful in fleshing out the oral histories I took. Honestly, more than the materials, the staff in Special Collections — in particular Geoffery Stark, Joshua Youngblood, and the former head of Special Collections, Tim Nutt — were the biggest help with their deep insight into the region, the sources we have on hand, and more."

Phillips holds a bachelor's degree and a doctoral degree from the University of Arkansas, both in history. He joined the international studies faculty in 2016 and currently teaches INST 2013 Introduction to International Studies, in addition to seminars on human rights, indigenous rights and food security. 

Complementary to this presentation is an exhibit titled "Long Hair, Soft Hands," currently on display in the Special Collections department. Featured materials include photos by Art Meripol and Fred Miller, as well as books from Special Collections. The exhibit will be up through January 2019. 

"Researching the back to the land movement in Northwest Arkansas for the 'Long Hair, Soft Hands' exhibition in Special Collections has introduced me to some incredible stories and people throughout the region," said Marianne Williams, librarian-in-residence. "I'm very excited to bring Dr. Phillips, one of the leading experts and researchers on this movement in Arkansas, to Special Collections for this public lecture and learn more about what happened when idealistic hippie folks started heading out into the Ozarks in search of utopia."


Marianne Williams, librarian-in-residence
University Libraries

Kelsey Lovewell Lippard, public relations coordinator
University Libraries


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