HIS 392 • Modernity and the U.S. South
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
The history of the U.S. South in the twentieth century is frequently perceived as a story of distinctiveness, that identifies the region with technological, cultural and political backwardness. At the same time, modernity in the U.S. has generally been explored within the context of major northern and western metropolitan areas, such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. This graduate reading seminar explores southern history from a different vantage point, reexamining how the region was shaped by and shaped modernity. We consider themes that have long been central to the study of the South, such as race, labor, religion and politics, while also looking at issues that have only figured centrally in recent literature, such as consumption, popular culture, gender, memory and transnationalism. Throughout, we will also consider how studies of the South might contribute to new understandings of modernity itself.
Possible readings (not a final list): Ownby,Ted. AMERICAN DREAMS IN MISSISSIPPI: CONSUMERS, POVERTY, AND CULTURE, 1830-1998. Brundage, W. Fitzhugh, ed. WHERE THOSE MEMORIES GROW: HISTORY, MEMORY, AND SOUTHERN IDENTITY. Dailey, Jane, et al., JUMPIN JIM CROW: SOUTHERN POLITICS FROM CIVIL WAR TO CIVIL RIGHTS. Korstad, Robert Rodgers. CIVIL RIGHTS UNIONISM: TOBACCO WORKERS AND THE STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY IN THE MID-TWENTIETH CENTURY SOUTH.