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Barbara Gail Ladd <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Wed, 19 Mar 2008 08:34:34 -0400
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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