As a quintessentially southern campus, Louisiana State University has logically spawned some of the most important regional scholarly studies of the twentieth century. During the campus’ golden age in the 1930s, such eminent scholars as Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren, and Eric Voeglin made LSU one of the leading academic institutions in the country. It was during this period that a series called the Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures in Southern History, named in honor of a noted scholar and researcher at LSU in the early 1900s, was created to add to the body of knowledge in the developing field of southern history.
Now considered one of the most distinguished lecture series of its kind, the Fleming series has brought to the LSU campus scholars of note who have studied the South in its various aspects. Lecturers ranging from C. Vann Woodward and Lewis P. Simpson to Eric Foner and Drew Gilpin Faust have presented a wide panorama of views and methodological approaches. In this book Burl Noggle presents an informative history of the lectures from 1937 through 1990.
As a member of the LSU history faculty for more than thirty years, Noggle has heard most of the Fleming lectures delivered and has participated in the selection of lecturers. He thus brings a rather special perspective to his subject—that of an insider who has been intimately involved in the series itself—as well as the broader understanding of a mature scholar who has devoted a substantial portion of his career to the analysis of American historiography.
Noggle focuses on two aspects of the Fleming series. On one level, he discusses the history of the lectures themselves—who lectured on what topic, why each lecturer was chose, what general historiographical trends prevailed at the time, and how each speaker’s lectures were related to scholarly currents within the profession. On another level, Noggle discusses just what the lecturers said about southern history and how they contributed to, qualified, refuted, or revised existing conceptions about southern history. The Fleming Lectures, 1937–1990 is, therefore, both a history of the lecture series and an analysis of the history contained in the lectures.
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