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Southeastern Geographer Vol. XXXX, No. I, May 2000, pp. 124-125 THE SOUTHERN STUDIES COMMITTEE OF THE SOUTHEASTERN DIVISION OF THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN GEOGRAPHERS Charles F. Kovacik Legend has it and corporate memory supports the claim that the SEDAAG Southern Studies Committee bears a special distinction within the Association of American Geographers (AAG). Our Southern Studies Committee is the oldest continuing Standing Committee ofthe AAG. Its roots lie in the research strengths ofthe Division's membership that so long dominated the annual meeting program and the pages of the Southeastern Geographer. Committee membership almost exclusively has been restricted to those whose research interests focus on the rural, agricultural, cultural, or historical geography ofthe South. Early annual meeting programs show that a paper session usually was devoted to the state of the host institution, and in 1 949 there was a session entitled "Studies in Southern Physical and Regional Geography." Minutes ofthe seventh annual business meeting in the 1952 Memorandum Folio reveals that Fraser Hart, Chair of the Southern Studies Committee, exhorted the membership to "do all they could to stimulate research" (p. v). The Committee sponsors a Southern Studies Session at each annual meeting, and it often served as the plenary session during the 1970s and 1980s. It sometimes was scheduled as part of the opening activities on Sunday evening and usually was followed by a social hour. On occasion, it was held on Monday morning. Presenters, discussants, and attendees looked forward to the papers and anticipated what often became spirited debate. People came early to assure themselves a seat. The Committee distributed the papers delivered in the Southern Studies Session in proceedings on at least two occasions. Beginning in 1971, the Committee compiled at least six bibliographies entitled Publications Pertaining to the Southern United States. These included citations for research on the South completed by SEDAAG members . The last issue was distributed in 1986. There are no established by-laws, and membership traditionally has been by invitation. Members leave the Committee because they lose interest in its activities or their research interests change. New members have been asked to join the Committee in recognition ofthe changing nature ofresearch on the South and the "graying " of its members. The size of the committee has fluctuated over the years, but it seems to have grown larger because few leave. The Committee operates in a very genial manner and, even though it may not have a specific agenda, it meets for lunch each year. For as long as anyone can remember, the meeting opens with a statement something like, "The third Monday Dr. Kovacik is Professor of Geography at the University ofSouth Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. Internet: SOUTHERN STUDIES COMMITTEE125 of November is a fine time for scholars of the South to meet for lunch." The Southern Studies Committee is one of the many things about SEDAAG that lends identity , character, charm, and a special ambience to our Division. It is a legacy of people like Schwendeman, Prunty, Petty, Hart, and others who helped create our Division. LITERATURE CITED Hart, J. F. 1952. "Minutes ofthe Seventh Annual Meeting," Memorandum Folio, Vol. 4, p. v. ...


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