The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture - Vol. 13

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture - Vol. 13

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture - Vol. 13

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture - Vol. 13


This volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture reflects the dramatic increase in research on the topic of gender over the past thirty years, revealing that even the most familiar subjects take on new significance when viewed through the lens of gender. The wide range of entries explores how people have experienced, understood, and used concepts of womanhood and manhood in all sorts of obvious and subtle ways.

The volume features 113 articles, 65 of which are entirely new for this edition. Thematic articles address subjects such as sexuality, respectability, and paternalism and investigate the role of gender in broader subjects, including the civil rights movement, country music, and sports. Topical entries highlight individuals such as Oprah Winfrey, the Grimke sisters, and Dale Earnhardt, as well as historical events such as the capture of Jefferson Davis in a woman's dress, the Supreme Court's decision in Loving v. Virginia, and the Memphis sanitation workers' strike, with its slogan, "I AM A MAN." Bringing together scholarship on gender and the body, sexuality, labor, race, and politics, this volume offers new ways to view big questions in southern history and culture.


Gender is a central category of analysis in understanding the American South. The “Women’s Life” section of the original Encyclopedia of Southern Culture focused attention on previously neglected issues of women’s culture and identity, but in considering this volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture the editors believed that we needed to reconceptualize many of the issues raised in that section. Work on the “masculine” and the “feminine” grew exponentially after publication of the original encyclopedia, and that scholarship complicates our understanding of men’s and women’s lives in the South. As Ted Ownby and Nancy Bercaw note in their overview essay, gender analysis destabilizes discourse about the South, upsetting conventional wisdom. Southern culture looks different than it did in earlier eras because scholars are giving more serious consideration to the conflicts and tensions that are inherent in the cultural constructions that men and women have made over centuries.

The power of gendered terminology is apparent in the importance of the term “patriarchy” as a way to bridge class and regional gaps within the South in order to emphasize shared values around male dominance of the household. “Family,” with its culturally sanctioned antebellum roles for men, women, children, and slaves, proved a related imaginative construct that ideologues used to justify the slave society, and, later, “family values” would prove a resonant contemporary idea for conservative southern Christians.

This volume charts ways that men and women have had differing experiences of manhood and womanhood. The expectations, opportunities, and limitations of white plantation owners, slave field hands, and small yeoman farmers established enduring parameters and boundaries for men’s understanding of their roles as fathers or husbands. The domestic worker and the woman she worked for might share the kitchen, but they did so in complex relationships of intimacy and power. Native American men and women and Latino men and women surely have had differing gender experiences from other people in the South, based on their positioning in southern society. The public and private contexts made a difference in how men and women played gender roles, and the regional context resulted in many southern women having differing ideas about feminism than women in other parts of the nation had.

This volume is particularly important in illuminating a major goal of The New Encyclopedia, namely to show—within the systematic categorization of a . . .

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