In this Book

American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary
summary
Employing innovations in media studies, southern cultural studies, and approaches to the global South, this collection of essays examines aspects of the southern imaginary in American cinema and offers fresh insight into the evolving field of southern film studies.
 
In their introduction, Deborah Barker and Kathryn McKee argue that the southern imaginary in film is not contained by the boundaries of geography and genre; it is not an offshoot or subgenre of mainstream American film but is integral to the history and the development of American cinema.
 
Ranging from the silent era to the present and considering Hollywood movies, documentaries, and independent films, the contributors incorporate the latest scholarship in a range of disciplines. The volume is divided into three sections: “Rereading the South” uses new critical perspectives to reassess classic Hollywood films; “Viewing the Civil Rights South” examines changing approaches to viewing race and class in the post–civil rights era; and “Crossing Borders” considers the influence of postmodernism, postcolonialism, and media studies on recent southern films.
 
The contributors to American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary complicate the foundational term “southern,” in some places stretching the traditional boundaries of regional identification until they all but disappear and in others limning a persistent and sometimes self-conscious performance of place that intensifies its power.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Introduction: The Southern Imaginary
  2. pp. 1-24
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  1. I. Rereading the Hollywood South
  2. pp. 25-26
  1. The Celluloid War before The Birth: Race and History in Early American Film
  2. pp. 27-51
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  1. Mammy's "Mules" and the Rules of Marriage
  2. pp. 52-78
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  1. Bodies and Expectations: Chain Gang Discipline
  2. pp. 79-103
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  1. The Postwar Cinematic South: Realism and the Politics of Liberal Consensus
  2. pp. 104-121
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  1. A "Professional Southerner" in the Hollywood Studio System: Lamar Trotti at Work, 1925-1952
  2. pp. 122-148
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  1. II. Viewing the Civil Rights South
  2. pp. 149-150
  1. Black Passing and White Pluralism: Imitation of Life in the Civil Rights Struggle
  2. pp. 151-178
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  1. Remembering Birmingham Sunday: Spike Lee's 4 Little Girls
  2. pp. 179-193
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  1. Exploitation Movies and the Freedom Struggle of the 1960s
  2. pp. 194-216
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  1. III. Crossing Borders
  2. pp. 217-218
  1. Mapping out a Postsouthern Cinema: Three Contemporary Films
  2. pp. 219-252
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  1. The Native Screen: American Indians in Contemporary Southern Film
  2. pp. 253-276
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  1. The City That Deja Vu Forgot: Memory, Mapping, and the Americanization of New Orleans
  2. pp. 277-292
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  1. Humid Time: Independent Film, Gay Sexualities, and Southernscapes
  2. pp. 293-316
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  1. Papa Legba and the Liminal Spaces of the Blues: Roots Music in Deep South Film
  2. pp. 317-335
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  1. Revamping the South: Thoughts on Labor, Relationality, and Southern Representation
  2. pp. 336-352
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 353-366
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 357-375
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