Reference Works for Scholars of the South

Article excerpt

In an age when most people turn to the Internet for their basic research needs, the number of reference works still published each year will surprise many. However, for scholars or laypeople who have an interest in a specific region or discipline, specialized reference works are important and useful tools. This bibliography lists and categorizes reference works touching on the American South published since the year 2000. Dictionaries and encyclopedias are the two most common types of reference works; others include almanacs, atlases, bibliographies, biographical sources, catalogs, directories, and indexes. While the vast majority of the works selected for this bibliography are printed books, a few electronic works (CD, DVD, or Internet) are included. Additionally, several of the books are available in both print and electronic form. Works specifically written for a juvenile audience were excluded.

The South as defined here includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the city of Washington, D.C. While geography is the primary defining characteristic of the South for this project, certain thematic topics were also identified as having particular relevance for scholarship on the South. Some of these topics include African American history and literature, issues of race and slavery, the United States Civil War, and musical forms indigenous to the South. Individual authors who are either natives of the South, write predominantly about the South, or are associated with the South were also considered.

This bibliography is organized into the following sections: general works, regional works, fine arts, history, and language and literature. Although many of the following works could be placed in more than one topical section, each work is listed only once. Multi-volume sets or series were kept together in a single section, even in instances where individual volumes could have been listed in separate sections. Each entry contains a standard bibliographic citation, supplemented by length of the work, ISBN, and price. In addition, the publisher's description of the work is provided for most of the sources.

GENERAL WORKS

Abramson, Rudy and Jean Haskell, ed. Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2006. (xxvii, 1832 p., ISBN: 9781572334564, $79.95).

DESCRIPTION: This encyclopedia details subjects traditionally associated with Appalachia - folklore, handcrafts, mountain music, foods, and coal mining - but goes far beyond regional stereotypes to treat such wide-ranging topics as the aerospace industry, Native American foodways, ethnic diversity in the coalfields, education reform, linguistic variation, and the contested notion of what it means to be Appalachian, both inside and outside the region. Researched and developed by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University, this 1,860-page compendium includes all thirteen states that constitute the northern, central, and southern subregions of Appalachia - from New York to Mississippi.

Goodman, Jordan, ed. Tobacco in History and Culture: An Encyclopedia. 2 vols, Scribner Turning Points Library. Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005. (2 v. (xvi, 738 p.), ISBN: 9780684314051 (set), 9780684314068 (v. 1), 9780684314075 (v. 2), 9780684314532 (e-book), $290.00).

DESCRIPTION: Tobacco in History and Culture explores how tobacco became one of the most important commodities in the history of world trade and the source of one of the biggest public health concerns in modern history. Originally used by Native Americans for medicinal, religious and social purposes, tobacco quickly became the biggest export from the American colonies. By the mid-1990s, more than 14 billion pounds of tobacco leaf were grown worldwide each year, with international treaties governing its advertising and distribution. …