WHAT DOES THE NEW SOUTHERN STUDIES DO?
challenge received history and conventional definitions of Southernness and Southern literature
blur borders, boundaries, maps
complicate familiar stories by exploring their layers and trying to tell the not-told
identify and explore the presence in the U.S. South of various cultures and ethnicities over time and in the present
understand the U.S. South as located squarely within global crosscurrents, now and over time
focus on movement and the encounters that result from mobility
recognize the richness of the intersection, the overlap, the fortuitous simultaneity.
WHAT DOES THE NEW SOUTHERN STUDIES NOT DO?
argue for the South's exclusivity and distinctiveness
focus exclusively on the North/South axis that has historically oriented discussions of Southern identity
focus exclusively on the traditional landmarks of white Southern identity: the Civil War, Reconstruction
accept the white Southern perspective as dominant
study a handful of 19th-century texts, move quickly forward to the Agrarians, and then proceed to evaluate books and moments by how "Faulknerian" or "Non-Faulknerian" they are
worry about deciding exactly which states count as Southern
keep talking about "the South" and figure people know what you mean.
Southern Cultures, UNC Chapel Hill
Southern Spaces, Emory University