Bridging Southern Cultures
An Interdisciplinary Approach
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: Louisiana State University Press
Series: Southern Literary Studies
Cover, Title Page, Copyright
Introduction: Constructing a Cultural Theory for the South
Some years ago, when I was teaching in Massachusetts, I got a call from the chair of English at Louisiana State University, offering me a job. My northern friends congratulated me, saying they knew I must be happy about going “back home” after thirteen years...
Preamble: The Study of Region
To study region is to explore the relation between people and the places in which they live. The study can be approached from without as anthropologists examine cultures and places foreign to their own experience or from inside as artists and writers...
Part One: Southern Lives, Southern Cultures
In Search of a Common Identity: The Self and the South in Four Mississippi Autobiographies
An article of faith among the first generation of southern literary modernists, writes Lewis Simpson, is “the truth that man’s essential nature lies in his possession of the moral community of memory and history.” Much has been written, of course, about...
Reclaiming the South
In discussing the origins of his classic study From Slavery to Freedom (1947) John Hope Franklin, professor emeritus at Duke University and former chairman of President Bill Clinton’s advisory board on race, talked about the need for the text in...
Part Two: Southern Culture and the Arts
William Faulkner: Art, Alienation, and Alcohol
In 1958, a state senator of Mississippi expressed the mixture of horror and affection for liquor that had long bedeviled many of his constituents. Back then Mississippi was an officially dry state, where bootleggers were taxed as if they ran legitimate businesses...
The Spunky Little Woman—You Can’t Be One If You’re White: Race, Gender, and a Little Bit of Class in Depression Post Office Murals
Sadie burke, the executive secretary, prime mover, and sometime lover of Willie Stark in All the King’s Men, is a plucky little woman. So are Joanna Burden, the activist daughter of a transplanted Yankee in Light in August, and Scarlett O’Hara in...
“The Most Natural Expressions of Locality”: Ellsworth Woodward and the Newcomb Pottery
Perhaps no period in all the southern past witnessed more “redefinitions” than the half century following 1890. Industrial growth, national consolidation, global war, and modern assumptions—all prompted a profound reconsideration of the South...
“Working Both Sides of the Fence”: African American Quartets Enter the Realm of Popular Culture
Whether the urbanizing South will remain southern is a question that now occupies the minds of countless scholars and journalists. Clearly, we see a region in the process of redefining its own image and character as it is buffeted by the forces...
“The Tools of the Master”: Southernists in Theoryland
Afew years ago, an issue of the Yale Journal of Criticism featured an article whose title had a proclamatory tone. “The Inevitability of Theory in the South” bespoke at once the absence of theory, its desirability, and its irresistible advent. The argument...
Part Three: The Burdens and Blessings of Southern History
On the Issue of Africanisms in American Culture
On December 18, 1996, the Oakland (California) Unified School District’s Board of Education adopted a resolution declaring that its black students were bilingual, speaking both standard and black English. Ebonics, a term derived from...
Re-creating a Public for the Plantation: Reconstruction Myths of the Biracial Southern “Family”
In the decades following the Civil War, the United States was awash with the literature of reunion, as writers in both the North and the South sought an antidote to the wounds of national struggle in the myths of reconciliation. Most readers of the period...
The South’s Midlife Crisis
"Midlife crisis.” A cliché with its origins in Gail Sheehy’s outrageously successful book, Passages. Why bring up that piece of middle-brow pop psychology? What does that sort of bicoastal psychobabble have to do with the South, anyway? You might well ask...
How Region Changed Its Meaning and Appalachia Changed Its Standing in the Twentieth Century
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the word region meant an area, geographic or other, defined exclusively by its location. But terms as well as times were changing. The Oxford English Dictionary, long in process and finally published in 1910, noticed...
The Burden of Southern Culture / Contributors
The south carolina Legislature voted in May 2000 to remove the Confederate battle flag from its state capitol, an event of enormous symbolic significance in the redefinition of southern culture. The Confederate flag had once flown over several...