The American South and the Atlantic World

The American South and the Atlantic World

The American South and the Atlantic World

The American South and the Atlantic World


"A refreshing and intriguing interdisciplinary examination of the ways in which the history and cultures of the American South have been largely shaped by forces beyond the geographical boundaries of the United States."--Allison Graham, author of Framing the South

"This is an impressive collection of essays, reflective of the latest theoretical interpretations that illuminate how scholars are looking anew at local stories within a global context."--Glenn T. Eskew, author of But for Birmingham

While much research on the American South considers the region in terms of its relationship with the North, emphasizing black and white racial binaries and outdated geographical boundaries, The American South and the Atlantic World seeks larger thematic and spatial contexts. This is the first book to focus explicitly on how contacts with the peoples, cultures, ideas, and economies of the Atlantic World have decisively shaped the history and culture of the American South from colonial times to the modern era.

The essays in this interdisciplinary volume examine a wide range of topics, including race, migration, religion, law, slavery, emancipation, literature, memoir, popular culture, and ethnography. At a time when there is growing emphasis on globalizing southern studies the collection both demonstrates and critiques the value of Atlantic World perspectives on the region.

Equally important, the mix of case studies and state-of-the field essays combines the latest historical thinking on the South's myriad Atlantic World connections with the kinds of innovative cultural and literary scholarship associated with developments in the New Southern Studies.

Ultimately, the volume reveals that there is still much to be learned about both the Atlantic World and the American South by considering them in tandem and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Moreover, by probing the Atlantic coordinates of the material, historical, emotional, intellectual, cultural, and symbolic South, these essays provide an important framework for better understanding the region and the succession of Atlantic Worlds to which it has long been intimately and distinctively connected.


In 2008, the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the United Kingdom agreed to fund an international research network dedicated to the theme “Understanding the South, Understanding America: the American South in Regional, National and Global Perspectives.” the network was based at the University of Manchester, with the Universities of Copenhagen, Cambridge, and Florida as partners. Between May 2008 and August 2010 each of these institutions hosted a network conference. These meetings brought together scholars from a range of disciplines and allowed them to explore together the current state and future prospects for the study of that section of the North American continent that eventually became known, with all due disclaimers about the definitional slipperiness of the term, as the American South.

This series of books from the University Press of Florida extends the work of the network, initially in three volumes grouped around the themes of creating citizenship in the nineteenth-century South, the South and the Atlantic World, and creating and consuming the South. While each volume stands alone as a valuable contribution to a particular aspect of southern studies, collectively they allow us to take stock of a rich and diverse field, to ponder the substantive disagreements and methodological tensions—as well as the common ground—among scholars of the South, and to think about new areas and techniques for future research. Each volume and many of the individual essays are marked by an interest in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to the region. Indeed, one aim of the series is to juxtapose the work of historians with that of scholars associated with the New Southern Studies in the belief that historians and those working out of literary and cultural studies traditions have much to learn from each other in their quest to understand . . .

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