Why Has America Been So Reluctant to ‘Own’ the South?

A Preeminent Historian Explores How a Region Central to U.S. Identity Gets Written Out of the National Narrative

James C. Cobb is Emeritus B. Phinizy Spalding distinguished professor in the history of the American South at the University of Georgia. He has published 13 books and many articles focusing on the interaction of the economy, politics, and culture in the American South. Three of his books—The Selling of the South: The Southern Crusade for Industrial Development 1936-1990, Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity, and The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity—are considered classics in the field.

In December …

More In: South

The Enslaved Chefs Who Invented Southern Hospitality

Black Cooks Created the Feasts that Gave the South Its Reputation for Gracious Living 

“We need to forget about this so we can heal,” said an elderly white woman, as she left my lecture on the history of enslaved cooks and their influence on …

How the Pickup Truck Carried the American South Into the Future

From 'Rusty Rattletraps' to 'Big Black Jacked-Up' Rides, the Iconic Vehicles Symbolize Blue-Collar Identity While Flaunting Bourgeois Prosperity

The pickup truck’s rise from its crude, makeshift origins to the almost luxury-item status it enjoys today amounts to a Horatio Alger tale with a technological twist, providing a striking …

How the South Uses Its ‘Anti-Union Arsenal’ to Keep Workers From Organizing

At a Mississippi Nissan Plant, New Global Owners Wield Old Local Politics Against the United Auto Workers

The crushing rejection on August 5 of a United Auto Workers bid to organize a 6,500-worker Nissan assembly plant near Canton, Mississippi seemed to present the proverbial déjà vu …

Bringing Forward Important, if Forgotten, Artists from Deep in the American South

Our Museums Are Filled with Art by the Well-Connected. But We Need to Find the Truly Important Works to Reach Audiences.

What makes some artwork timeless?

History shows that neither high prices at auction nor gallery attendance figures are good predictors of how artists, artworks, and art movements will be viewed …