Redefining Southern Culture: Mind and Identity in the Modern South

Overview


From the creation of the first “New South” in the wake of Appomattox to the current struggles over the Confederate flag, Redefining Southern Culture surveys the remarkable story of southern identity and its persistence in the face of sweeping changes in the South’s economy, society, and political structure. Rejecting the conventional continuity-versus-change framework, James C. Cobb instead illustrates how the evolution of southern culture synthesized these two forces in recent years. Throughout this lively and ...
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Overview


From the creation of the first “New South” in the wake of Appomattox to the current struggles over the Confederate flag, Redefining Southern Culture surveys the remarkable story of southern identity and its persistence in the face of sweeping changes in the South’s economy, society, and political structure. Rejecting the conventional continuity-versus-change framework, James C. Cobb instead illustrates how the evolution of southern culture synthesized these two forces in recent years. Throughout this lively and engaging volume, Cobb examines southern identity in its constantly changing forms, from history and literature to blues and country music to popular and consumer cultures. Cobb also presents the first detailed account of the efforts of African Americans in the South to reclaim their identity as southerners and to construct their own symbolic and substantive representations of what that identity means.

The essays in Redefining Southern Culture reflect James C. Cobb’s career-long interest in exploring southern cultural identity and the interaction of this identity with the economic, social, and political forces that have transformed the region. Written in a refreshingly straightforward and engaging style, this book promises thoughtful reading for anyone interested in the modern South and will be a valuable resource for courses in southern history and culture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Redefining Southern Culture will undoubtably be a significant book for historians and other scholars interested in the South. Cobb has original and sage observations and his range is impressive. Cobb is at ease in dealing with issues of both economic development and cultural expression, and he engages familiar figures in this manuscript—the writers of the Southern Literary Renaissance, historian C. Vann Woodward, journalist W. J. Cash, sociologist Howard Odem, and contemporary African American writers who are reimagining the South."--Charles Reagan Wilson, author of Judgment and Grace in Dixie

"Cobb's work draws upon the writing of many historians, and his notes provide for a rich bibliography . . . Highly recommended.”--Library Journal

"James C. Cobb has a distinguished record of helping to sort out the complexities of tradition and modernity in the American South. . . . Cobb's prose is deft and graceful . . . . This is a book that deserves a wide audience and a careful reading, by soccer moms and neo-Confederates alike."--Raleigh News and Observer

“[Cobb] exhibits the skills of a talented folklorist as well as historian of southern music in presenting with great detail the stories, songs, and voices of history that fascinate the imagination . . . He brings the long dead past into sharp focus . . . Cobb brings to his study a great and useful range of cultural history and wonderful detail."--Southern Literary Journal

"Readers who want a broad scholarly treatment of southern culture and its continuous state of change will find this book to be educational, balanced and interesting."--Tampa Tribune

"People interested in the South and its place in the greater scheme of things need to pay attention to what Jim Cobb has to say."--Anniston Star

"Cobb is witty and always stimulating in bringing together issues of the South’s cultural identity and its economic development—as no one else writing on the South does so well."--Southern Register

"Very few historians can turn their hand to both economic and cultural history but James Cobb is one of them."--Mississippi Quarterly

Library Journal
Many historians of the South have portrayed the modernization of this region through the prism of the North's industrialization rather than as a complex example of cultural development in its own right. In this collection, Georgia historian Cobb gathers six previously published and two new essays that, in the author's own words, serve as an "assault" on the prevalent theories of the South as somewhat aberrant in its evolution. The essay topics are wide-ranging--the debate over the study of Southern history and the influence of J.W. Cash's classic Mind of the South (1941), the significance of country music's popularity with mainstream America, and a provocative look at the influence of World War II on the emergence of the modern South. Cobb's work draws upon the writing of many historians, and his notes provide for a rich bibliography. A useful collection; highly recommended for all academic libraries.--Nancy B. Turner, New Mexico State Univ. Lib., Las Cruces Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820321394
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author


James C. Cobb is the B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Georgia. His numerous publications include Georgia Odyssey; Redefining Southern Culture: Mind and Identity in the Modern South; and The Brown Decision, Jim Crow, and Southern Identity (all Georgia), as well as The South and America since World War II; Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity; The Selling of the South: The Southern Crusade for Industrial Development, 1936-1990; and The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Beyond Planters and Industrialists: A New Perspective on the New South 5
World War II and the Mind of the Modern South 25
Does "Mind" Still Matter? The South, the Nation, and The Mind of the South, 1941-1991 44
From Muskogee to Luckenbach: Country Music and the "Southernization" of America 78
The Blues Is a Lowdown Shakin' Chill 92
Searching for Southernness: Community and Identity in the Contemporary South 125
From "New South" to "No South": The Southern Renaissance and the Struggle with Southern Identity 150
Modernization and the Mind of the South 187
Notes 213
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