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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Fall 2004

AMS 315 • “Reconstructing” the Modern South: Race, Place, and Culture-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
27803 to 27804 Multiple Sections

Course Description

"The South always makes good reading.” Fred Hobson This course will examine the roots and legacies of key elements of the South’s regional identity, including but not limited to: race, place, religion, popular culture, politics, and poverty. We will address three fundamental questions: What is the South? Does it exist as a separate region? And if so, how does it differ from other distinct American regions? The course will commence with an initial attempt to define the South, as well as with a general overview of Southern history, including a brief survey of the institution of slavery and the key events of the Civil War.

The period of Reconstruction will then take center stage. Often misunderstood, Reconstruction laid the groundwork for the development of the modern South; the legacy of Reconstruction will thus serve as the primary theme for this course. We will not, however, focus solely on traditional histories of the region, but rather on the events and personalities that shaped the region as a whole in the twentieth century. The remaining sections of the course will examine Southern politics and poverty, as well as the Southern cultural renaissance, in an effort to expand our sense of the South. Moreover, the incorporation of literature, photography, music, and film will provide an interdisciplinary view of this American region. The course will conclude with an exploration of the Civil Rights Movement and of the Southern sense of place, offering students the opportunity to connect their own personal experiences to those studied in the class.


The Oxford Book of the American South, edited by Edward L. Ayers and Bradley C. Mittendorf (This text includes excerpts from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee, Black Boy by Richard Wright, Lanterns on the Levee by Walker Percy, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Killers of the Dream by Lillian Smith, etc.) All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren The Long Shadow of Little Rock by Daisy Bates North Toward Home by Willie Morris


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