The American South: Histories, Cultures, and Representatives Beyond a Region


In 1995 Atlanta based hip hop group Goodie Mob released their debut album entitled Soul Food. On the record is a song called "Dirty South." The track talks about life in the South highlighting the war on drugs, racism, and stereotypes that people thought about Black southerners. That same year another Southern hip hop group, Outkast, won the best new hip hop award and brought widespread attention to the rap and hip-hop scene which had been dominated by East Coast and West Coast artists. A new generation of Southern music would quickly become the dominant form of hip hop we hear today. In the early albums you hear lines which ask what it means to be Southern, questions where the South is, and speaks of Southern culture. We will attempt to answer some of those questions that Goodie Mob, Outkast, and more recently Beyoncé posed through a historical exploration of a region steeped in mystery and mystique. The South has fascinated generations of Americans, often represented as a deeply divided and troubled area of backward peoples and histories which continue to shock the nation. At the same time, the South is home to more diverse peoples, businesses, foodstuffs, and geography than most of the United States. The South often defies expectations and surprises the most seasoned social scientist. This course will introduce students to the history of a place that is both familiar and strange while exploring difficult issues of race, ethnicity, and identity. Students will be exposed to a variety of sources including music, film, and art produced by and/or about Southerners. Students will walk away from this course with a deeper understanding of the diversity of cultures and histories of the South and question what makes the South exceptional.
Course Attributes: AS HUM; EN H; AS SC; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

The American South: Histories, Cultures, and Representatives Beyond a Region
INSTRUCTOR: Wakeley-Smith
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