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Surveying the South

Every essay or feature in Southern Cultures contributes to understanding a particular aspect of the South, but the content we’ve collected here looks more broadly at the region and/or at the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of southerners. Much of what follows is the foundational work of former editors John Shelton Reed (whose scholarship and career were the focus of a special issue in 2001) and Larry J. Griffin (for instance, see Enough About the Disappearing South: What About the Disappearing Southerner?Southerners All?, and The American South and the Self). We also include here the work of some of the many scholars who’ve followed the leads of Reed and Griffin in defining and redefining our region, as well as the work of others who’ve used different approaches to examining the South and its people. You can follow the direct links below to read this material at the Project Muse digital archive. Select recent essays and features are also available as $0.99 downloads for Kindle, Nook, or Sony Reader, with more issues becoming available in eBook formats every day.

Race as Region, Region as Race: How Black and White Southerners Understand Their Regional Identities
by Ashley B. Thompson and Melissa M. Sloan
‘You’ve never been black, have you? No, if you’d been black, you wouldn’t ask no silly-ass question like that.’
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Southern Cultures, Volume 18, Number 4, Winter 2012

The South in Red and Purple: Southernized Republicans, Diverse Democrats
     by Ferrel Guillory
     “Politically, the South is not an assembly of states, acting in unison, in the grip of one party.    The region is not one South, undivided.”
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Southern Cultures, Volume 18, Number 3, Fall 2012

The Past, Present, and Future of Southern Politics
     by Seth C. McKee
     “The apparent partisan stability of contemporary southern politics belies a complex and dynamic process that makes it doubtful one party can persist as the dominant force in the most diverse region of the United States.”
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Southern Cultures, Volume 18, Number 3, Fall 2012

Every Ounce a Man’s Whiskey?: Bourbon in the White Masculine South
     by Seán S. McKeithan
     ”The hot bite of the Bourbon sensuously connects the body of the drinker to nation, region, and locale, enjoining his experience with those of imagined, historical bodies, soaking up space and place in the slow burn of what appears an endless southern summertime.” 
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Southern Cultures, Volume 18, Number 1, Spring 2012

Rethinking the Boundaries of the South
by Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts
     “We can place the South into three categories: ‘southern to the core,’ ‘pretty darn southern,’ and ‘sorta southern.’”
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Southern Cultures , Volume 16, Number 4, Winter 2010

Southerners All?: New Northern Neighbors and the Changing Sense of Place 
by William W. Falk and Susan Webb
     “I tell the students: ‘Act like you’ve moved to a foreign country. Things, at times, will seem that odd to you. But in time you will learn to think of them as normal.’” 
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Southern Cultures, Volume 16, Number 1, Spring 2010

Food for Thought: Race, Region, Identity, and Foodways in the American South 
by Beth A. Latshaw
     “‘I’ve eaten it all my life, and I’m not dead yet.’” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 15, Number 4, Winter 2009: Food I

Sundown Towns and Counties: Racial Exclusion in the South 
by James W. Loewen 
“In 1987, Oprah Winfrey broadcast her television show from Forsyth County, Georgia, which had expelled its back population seventy-five years earlier.” 

Southern Cultures, Volume 15, Number 1, Spring 2009

When Heritage Is Hip 
by Larry J. Griffin
     “Not all ‘cool’ identities are equally cool. If the socially constructed identity of American Indian is cool, for most people it is cooler to have Indian ancestry than to be Indian.” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 14, Number 4, Winter 2008: First Peoples

Still Distinctive After All These Years: Trends in Racial Attitudes in and out of the South 
by Larry J. Griffin and Peggy G. Hargis
Fanny Lou Hamer, one of the genuine heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, once said, ‘So this ain’t just Mississippi’s problem. It’s America’s problem. ‘
Southern Cultures, Volume 14, Number 3, Fall 2008: Civil Rights

New People in the New South: An Overview of Southern Immigration 
by Carl L. Bankston III
     “The making of a global South is a relatively new phenomenon, yet these dynamics that drive recent immigration to the region have deep historical roots. ” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 13, Number 4, Winter 2007: Global South

The Institute and the Factory: Business Leadership and Change in the Global South 
by John Russell
     “We can’t lead in this world for long by making people afraid. It simply is impossible to succeed while being afraid.” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 13, Number 4, Winter 2007: Global South

“In My Heart, I’m an American”: Regional Attitudes and American Identity 
by Larry J. Griffin and Katherine McFarland
     “No other country has become home to so many immigrants and to so many different kinds of immigrants.” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 13, Number 4, Winter 2007: Global South

Selling Which South?: Economic Change in Rural and Small-Town North Carolina in an Era of Globalization, 1940–2007 
by Peter A. Coclanis and Louis M. Kyriakoudes
     “If national planners and the federal government first became interested in rural manufacturing as a development strategy in the 1930s and 1940s, the South had by that time been poursuing such a strategy for generations, albeit with mixed success.” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 13, Number 4, Winter 2007: Global South

Seniors and the Sunbelt 
by John Shelton Reed
     “Brother Dave Gardner once cracked that ‘the only reason people live in the North is because they have jobs there.’” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 13, Number 1, Spring 2007

Sheldon Hackney
Magnolias without Moonlight: The American South from Regional Confederacy to National Integration
reviewed by Stephen J. Whitfield
Southern Cultures, Volume 13, Number 1, Spring 2007

Give Me That Old-Time Music . . . or Not 
by Larry J. Griffin
     “American popular culture would be unimaginable without the music created by the South’s disfranchised, impoverished, and forgotten peoples.” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 12, Number 4, Winter 2006: Music I

The American South and the Self 
by Larry J. Griffin
     “Just as the history of the South is contradictory and contested, so, too, is the identity of southerners.” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 12, Number 3, Fall 2006

The South, the Nation, and Tobacco 
by Larry J. Griffin
     “My firmly devout Church of Christ grandmother from the hills of East Mississippi dipped snuff for most of her eighty-five years. She wasn’t proud of her habit—tried to hide it, in fact.” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 12, Number 2, Summer 2006: Tobacco

Reimagining the South 
by William F. Winter
     “Now it is time to talk about what we are called on to do in this latter day South. Now it is time for us to have an accounting of just where we are.” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 11, Number 3, Fall 2005

Southerners All? 
by Larry J. Griffin, Ranae J. Evenson, and Ashley B. Thompson
     “Exactly who is a southerner, exactly who wishes to be a southerner, and who is thought to have the right to claim southern identity are now highly uncertain.” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 2005

Enough About the Disappearing South: What About the Disappearing Southerner? 
by Larry J. Griffin and Ashley B. Thompson
     “Are southerners a dying breed?” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 9, Number 3, Fall 2003

Birds of a Feather 
by John Shelton Reed
     “Do southerners prefer one another’s company?” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 9, Number 2, Summer 2003

The Contradictory South 
by Sheldon Hackney
     “The tension between individualism and organization is a central theme of American history, a running argument between Clint Eastwood and Bill Gates. It occurs in the South with a regional flavor.” 
Southern Cultures, Volume 7, Number 4, Winter 2001

Lay My Burden of Southern History Down 
by John Shelton Reed
Southerners are at least as likely to agree as to disagree that ‘it’s important to remember our history, but the Civil War doesn’t mean that much to me personally. ‘
Southern Cultures, Volume 7, Number 4, Winter 2001

Forty Defining Moments of the Twentieth-century South 
by John Shelton Reed
It will surprise no one to see that the two big stories of the twentieth-century South are the transition from an agricultural to an urban society and the transformation effected by the civil rights movement. 
Southern Cultures, Volume 7, Number 2, Summer 2001

The Twenty Most Influential Southerners of the Twentieth Century 
by John Shelton Reed
Unknown saints will have to get their reward in heaven, as usual. 
Southern Cultures, Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 2001: Reed

If I’d Just Waked Up from a Thirty-six-year Sleep 
by John Shelton Reed
Welcome to the South—now leave your daughter and go home. 
Southern Cultures, Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 2001: Reed

Rethinking Southern History 
by David L. Carlton
Reed burst on the southern scene in 1972 as a contrarian, and, as we know, he has remained very much a contrarian to this day. 
Southern Cultures, Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 2001: Reed

The Promise of a Sociology of the South 
by Larry J. Griffin
Even as he turned to a form of largely conservative cultural commentary on all sorts of things, Reed retained a keen sociological consciousness. 
Southern Cultures, Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 2001: Reed

Surveying the South: A Conversation with John Shelton Reed 
by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene D. Genovese
I don’t have much patience with folks who say the Civil War was not about slavery. 
Southern Cultures, Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 2001: Reed

Tracking the Economic Divergence of North and South 
by Peter A. Coclanis
Plantations dominated the southern economy by the 1770s, and those who controlled them had decisively shaped the region’s economic course, and, perhaps, destiny. 
Southern Cultures, Volume 6, Number 4, Winter 2000