The Localized Global: The Arkansas Ozarks as a Center of Twentieth Century Capitalism

Spring 2023 GGR Recipient

Olivia Paschal (History)

Three major corporations came out of the Arkansas Ozarks in the mid-twentieth century: Walmart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt. I am interested in the intertwined development of these three companies and the larger industries and economies they produced. Why and how did such a relatively small, less populated, poor corner of the rural South give rise to companies that would become some of the most powerful in the global economy by the end of the century? How did creation and participation in regional, national, and global networks of economic and cultural exchange shape the Ozarks? How did the particularities of the Ozarks’ political economy and culture shape the world through these corporations? And how did these three companies become, for a time, such powerful political and economic institutions domestically and internationally?  This grant will fund a pre-prospectus research trip to various potential archives such as the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Shiloh Museum in Springdale, and cultural organizations to set up potential oral history projects.