Dan Pierce picked for humanities distinguished professorship at UNCA

History professor (and chairman of the department) Dan Pierce has been selected to serve as the university’s National Endowment of the Humanities Distinguished Professor, a three-year appointment.

UNC Asheville’s Dan Pierce may be best known as a NASCAR historian and a book on moonshining, but now he’s been picked to serve as the university’s  National Endowment of the Humanities Distinguished Professor for the next three years. Here’s more about Prof. Pierce, his scholarship and his books:

Professor Dan Pierce Selected for the National Endowment of Humanities Distinguished Professorship at UNC Asheville

Dan Pierce, professor and department chair of history at UNC Asheville, has been selected as the university’s National Endowment of the Humanities Distinguished Professor. This distinguished professorship is awarded for a three-year term, in recognition of scholarship and teaching in the Humanities.

A specialist in Southern and Appalachian history, Pierce has written books on the history of NASCAR, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and most recently, moonshine. He was the curator for the 2014 exhibition, Hillbilly Land: Myth and Reality of Appalachian Culture, at The Smith-McDowell House Museum in Asheville.

Best known in the popular press as a NASCAR historian, Pierce is the author of Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), and articles on the sport in in Southern Cultures and in numerous encyclopedias.

Pierce’s most recent book, Corn from a Jar: Moonshining in the Great Smoky Mountains (Great Smoky Mountains Association, 2013), chronicles the development of moonshine from its early legal days, through prohibition and the struggles against federal agents, ending with the then newly legalized moonshine industry.

In his writing and teaching, Pierce often integrates the stories of and issues faced by ordinary people in the region. “What we do at UNC Asheville in the humanities is look at the human experience,” said Pierce. His engaging teaching and mentoring of students gained him UNC Asheville’s Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award in 2010. Among the courses taught by Pierce are The Historian’s Craft, Civil War and Reconstruction, North Carolina History, Southern Appalachian History, History of the American South, The National Parks – America’s Best Idea, and Environmental History.


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