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Research of Howard W. Odum

The most prominent department Chase added was sociology, which became a premier social science program. In 1920, Chase hired Howard Odum, a native of Georgia who specialized in the sociology of the South, as the department's first professor. Odum stressed research on social and economic issues such as the textile industry, tenant farming, and race relations. He recruited other prominent southern studies scholars including Rupert Vance, Arthur Raper, Guy and Guion Johnson, and Harriet Herring. Under their influence, Chapel Hill became a national leader in the study of southern society.