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The Ongoing Burden of Southern History

Politics and Identity in the Twenty-First-Century South

edited by Angie Maxwell
edited by Todd Shields

Making the Modern South

240 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 9 charts

ebook available

Southern History

  Hardcover / 9780807147566 / November 2012

More than fifty years after its initial publication, C. Vann Woodward’s landmark work, The Burden of Southern History, remains an essential text on the southern past. Today, a “southern burden” still exists, but its shape and impact on southerners and the world varies dramatically from the one envisioned by Woodward. Recasting Woodward’s ideas on the contemporary South, the contributors to The Ongoing Burden of Southern History highlight the relevance of his scholarship for the twenty-first-century reader and student. 

This interdisciplinary retrospective tackles questions of equality, white southern identity, the political legacy of Reconstruction, the heritage of Populism, and the place of the South within the nation, along with many others. From Woodward’s essays on populism and irony, historians find new insight into the burgeoning Tea Party, while they also shed light on the contemporary legacy of the redeemer Democrats. Using up-to-date election data, scholars locate a “shrinking” southern identity and point to the accomplishments of the recent influx of African American voters and political candidates. This penetrating analysis reinterprets Woodward’s classic for a new generation of readers interested in the modern South.
Contributors: Josephine A. V. Allen, Charles S. Bullock III, James C. Cobb, Donald R. Deskins Jr., Leigh Anne Duck, Angie Maxwell, Robert C. McMath, Wayne Parent, Sherman C. Puckett, Todd Shields, Hanes Walton Jr., Jeannie Whayne, Patrick G. Williams.
Angie Maxwell is the Diane D. Blair Professor of Southern Studies and an assistant professor of political science at the University of Arkansas. Her research has appeared in The Southern Quarterly, Journal of Black Studies, and Presidential Studies Quarterly.

Todd Shields is a professor of political science and director of the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society at the University of Arkansas. His work has appeared in The American Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Politics, and Presidential Studies Quarterly.

Jeannie Whayne is a professor of history at the University of Arkansas and author or editor of ten books, including Delta Empire: Lee Wilson and the Transformation of Southern Agriculture, winner of the J. G. Ragsdale Book Award.

Praise for The Ongoing Burden of Southern History

“This interdisciplinary compilation of essays provides a comprehensive reexamination of The Burden of Southern History while revisiting some of the landmark book’s more intriguing questions in southern history and politics. It deftly underscores the continued relevance of C. Vann Woodward’s scholarship for reassessing the past, interpreting the present, and contemplating the future.”—Journal of Southern History

"The content of the collection speaks for itself: each essay contains beautifully crafted arguments, engaging commentary, and compelling scholarly research. More importantly, while the intended audience may be academic, any reader with even a casual interest in history or politics will learn from and enjoy these essays. While a working knowledge of Woodward's work is beneficial, it is not necessary. This can be attributed to the talents of the contributors, who are not only respectable scholars, but also tremendously gifted writers."—Christopher Tucker, North Carolina Historical Review

"The Ongoing Burden of Southern History will only enhance readers' appreciation for Woodward's achievements as well as deepen their understanding of the south."—Ben Johnson, Arkansas Review

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