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Juniata Historian Details Lowcountry Rice Kingdom in New History Book

(Posted October 11, 2010)

James Tuten, author of "Low Country Time and Tide," a history of the South Carolina rice industry.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- James Tuten, associate professor of history at Juniata College, has just published a history of the rice industry in coastal South Carolina in the five decades after the Civil War. "Lowcountry Time and Tide: The Fall of the South Carolina Rice Kingdom," is available in bookstores and online today.

The 200-page history retails for $34.95 and is published by the University of South Carolina Press. The book is available at the Juniata College Bookstore and online at a variety of websites.

Tuten focuses much of the book on detailing how three huge rice plantations -- each owned by a single family -- tried to revive the once-lucrative rice industry as it existed before the Civil War. Tuten addresses the agricultural, economic, cultural and climatic factors faced by the plantation owners as well as plantation employees and satellite industries.

Tuten and a Juniata student also developed a website called ricekingdom.com.

The book illustrates how planters tried many innovations, such as mechanization, mergers and marketing cooperatives, only to ultimately fail in the Reconstruction and turn-of-the-century economy. Tuten details the history of South Carolina rice culture and then focuses on the industry's decline from 1877 to 1930.

Tuten focuses much of the book on detailing how three huge rice plantations -- each owned by a single family -- tried to revive the once-lucrative rice industry as it existed before the Civil War.

Tuten, a native of South Carolina, came to Juniata in 1998 from Emory University. He earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts and United States history in 1990 from the College of Charleston in South Carolina and went on to earn a master's degree in history in 1992 from Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He earned a doctoral degree in history in 2003 from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

He served as an instructor in history from 1998 to 2000 and was assistant provost from 2001 to 2006. He also was a teaching associate at Emory from 1994 to 1996. He teaches courses on the New South, Contemporary America, and Civil War and Reconstruction. He has published articles on maderia wine, most notably in the journal American Nineteenth Century History and the cooking journal Slow.

He is the founder of H-SC, an H-Net discussion list on the history and culture of South Carolina.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.