History 372

HIST 372
Southern History and Culture

Catalog Entry

HIST 372
Southern History and Culture
Credit Hours: (3)

Prerequisite: Three hours of HIST at 100 level

This course explores the major historical and cultural characteristics that make the American South a distinct region. Topics include the agricultural tradition, politics, literature, family and gender, the arts, music, religion, race relations, and the role of social class in historical and contemporary contexts. Upon completion, students should be able to identify the characteristics that distinguish Southern history and culture. The course will proceed from a topical perspective. Each main topic will be examined within an historical and chronological framework.

Detailed Description of Content of Course

List topics or major units; include sub-topics under major units if appropriate

Where is the South?
    • Historical Definitions of “Southern”
    • The South and the Nation
    • Regional Subcultures    
The Agrarian South
    • The Origins of the Agrarian Tradition
    • The Agrarian Ideal
    • The Transformation of the Agrarian Tradition Post Civil War
    • The Growth of Towns and Industry
    • The Decline of Agrarianism in the Modern Era
Social Class in the South
    • Social Class in Early Virginia
    • The Planters as a Class
    • Yeoman Farmers and Their World
    • Poor Whites
    • Slaves and Free Blacks
    • Sharecroppers and Debt Peonage
    • Planters, Merchants, Urban Professionals, and Mill Owners in the 20th Century
Race and Race Relations
    • Race in the Western World: The History of an Idea
    • Origins of White Supremacy
    • Slaves and Work
    • Free Blacks in the Ante-Bellum South
    • The Origins and Evolution of Black Culture
    • The Rise of Jim Crow
    • Two Worlds in the South: Segregation and The Civil Rights Movement
    • Race in the Contemporary South    
Family and Gender
    • Family and Gender in the Early South
    • Family, Marriage, and Gender Before the Civil War: Whites
    • Family, Marriage, and Gender Before the Civil War: Blacks
    • The Family in the Post Civil War and the 20th Century South
    • Religion in the Early South
    • The Introduction of Evangelical Protestantism to the South
    • African-American Christianity
    • Modernism vs. Old Time Religion
    • The Black Church and the Quest for Social Justice in the 20th century
    • Modernism vs. Conservatism in Historical Context
Southern Politics
    • Politics in the Early South
    • The Patrician Tradition in Southern Politics
    • The Populist Challenge
    • Southern Progressivism
    • The New Deal and Southern Politics
    • Civil Rights and the Transformation of Southern Politics
    • The New South and the Solid South
    • The End of the Solid South
The Creative South
    • Creativity and Historical Context
    • Southern Subcultures in Food, Furniture, and Other Aspects of Material Culture
    • The History of Southern Dialect
    • The History of Southern Music: The White and Black Traditions
    • Literature and Its Meaning in Southern History
    • The Myths and Icons of Southern History and Culture
The South in the Nation
    • How Does Southern History Fit into Modern America?
    • Will the South Endure and Flourish?

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course may combine lectures, class discussions based on the assigned readings, media presentations, guest speakers, diverse writing assignments, and other strategies to create a classroom environment that is based on student engagement. The course may also require collaborative research opportunities in both traditional library-based sources and in experiential settings. The instructor will provide the academic support services that students need in order to succeed.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

• Practice thinking critically and analytically about historical issues, acquire a broader knowledge and deeperunderstanding of pertinent historical events and processes, and cultivate a familiarity with the concepts of historical

argument and interpretation.
• Develop disciplinary research skills by designing strategies to locate and analyze primary and secondary source evidence, processing and organizing the resultant data, and composing proper citation and bibliographical entries.
• Apply their critical thinking, research, and compositional skills to the creation and presentation of thesis driven essays that discuss, for example, historical social, economic, political, and/or cultural developments and that addressissues such as the causes and consequences of historical change and continuity.
• Assess and discuss how the South is distinct as a region.
• Understand the evolution of systems of social class in the South.
• Understand the development of Southern racial policies and practices, including slavery and segregation.
• Understand the distinctive features of Southern religion, family, gender roles, and politics.
• Recognize the distinctive artistic and musical contributions of the South.
• Make a coherent argument that the contemporary South is or is not losing its cultural distinctiveness.
• Demonstrate improved skills in critical thinking, critical reading, analytical writing, and group discussion.

Assessment Measures

Knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this course will be measured using an array of assessment tools that may include, among other things, class attendance and participation, written examinations, formal writing assignments of various types, and informal writing assignments. All exercises are designed to expand the student's ability to evaluate historical events and to develop his or her ability to compose persuasive arguments.

Other Course Information
Review and Approval