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"Rollins, Jessica P." <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 11 Apr 2008 15:12:18 -0500
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After reviewing the postings on Southern Studies and New Southern Studies, it reminded me of a related question that I have been formulating for some time.  I am under the impression that literary criticism shifted focus from the "misfit" to the "deviant" about the same time as the switch to "new" Southern Studies.  I am interested in the deviant in (new?) Southern Studies, but I am just beginning to research the topic.  Could anyone point me in the right direction?  I appreciate and thank you for any comments in advance.

Jessica Rollins

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Twain Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Barbara Gail Ladd
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 7:35 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Southern Studies

Dear Hal, The "New Southern Studies" is a term used by some folks in
the field to refer to post-1989 work in the field with its interests in
globalization, post-national models for literary and cultural inquiry,
and broader, more inclusive models of "southern" studies. Other folks
associate the term with Houston Baker's and Dana Nelson's use of it in
a special issue of the journal American Literature on "Turning South
Again" (which came out around 2000 or 2001), the title of one of
Baker's books.

It's a contested term, with the idea of when the "new" began floating
all over the place. Sometimes it seems the "new" in "new southern
studies" keeps moving forward, from the late eighties to the
mid-nineties to the turn of the 21st century, depending . . . .   I'm
in the field of southern studies and have an essay in the October 2005
issue of PMLA on the state of the field (with bibliography). In the
March issue, another southernist, Jon Smith, has a response to my
essay, which objects to some of the things I said.

Other books associated with the "new southern studies" are /South to a
New Place/, edited by Suzanne Jones and Sharon Monteith; /Look Away/
edited by Jon Smith and Deborah Cohn (see a cluster of reviews of this
book in the latest issue of the /Mississippi Quarterly/ where Vera
Kutzinski and others assess the book). See the /American Literature/
issue edited by Houston Baker and Dana Nelson and also a more recent
issue of American Literature (Vol 78, issue 4, Dec. 2006) where a
number of people associated with the "new southern studies" speak about
the subject. Various books associated with the field are referenced in
all of these sources.

Thomas Ruys Smith's /River of Dreams: The Mississippi Before Mark
Twain/ is another excellent book on The River.


Barbara Ladd
Professor of English
307 N Callaway Center
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia 30322