The Landscape of the American South

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Alex Cummings

This course is meant for advanced History majors and graduate students who are interested in historical geography. The readings provide an introduction to key works in the historiography of Southern cities, while exploring the effects of factors such as plantation slavery, agricultural mechanization and suburbanization on the rural landscape. Each week, a student or group will be responsible for guiding discussion with thematic questions that critically engage with the assigned readings. The final paper (20-25 pages) will synthesize the historiographical literature on a particular city or region, selected in consultation with the instructor.

The Built Environment in the Colonies and Early Republic

• Rhys Isaac, The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790

• J.B. Jackson, “The Virginia Heritage: Fencing, Farming, and Cattle Raising,” in Landscape in Sight

Patterns of the Slave Economy

• J.B. Jackson, “The Nineteenth Century Rural Landscape: The Courthouse, the Small College, the Mineral Springs, and the Country Store,” in Landscape in Sight

• Gregg D. Kimball, “African-Virginians and the Vernacular Building Tradition in Richmond City, 1790-1860,” Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture 4 (1991): 121-129

• John Michael Vlach, Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery

• Eugene Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (recommended)

The View from the North

• Dana F. White and Victor A. Kramer, ed. Olmsted South: Old South Critic/New South Planner

Reconstructing the Landscape

• Leon F. Litwack, Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery, 292-375

• Jonathan M. Wiener, Social Origins of the New South: Alabama, 1860-1885, 292-335

The Urban South before Urbanization

• Lawrence Larsen, The Rise of the Urban South

“Rurbanization”: Town and Country

• David Goldfield, Cottonfields and Skyscrapers: Southern City and Region

• Howard Rabinowitz, “Continuity and Change: Southern Urban Development, 1860-1900,” in The City in Southern History, ed. Blaine A. Brownell and David R. Goldfield

Sex, Race, and Public Space

• Glenda Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow

The New South: Two Case Studies

• Thomas Hanchett, Sorting Out the New South City: City: Race, Class and Urban Development in Charlotte, 1875-1975

• Howard Preston, Automobile Age Atlanta: The Making of a Southern Metropolis, 1900-1935

Revolution in the Countryside

• Sarah Phillips, This Land, This Nation: Conservation, Rural America, and the New Deal, 75-196

• Jack Temple Kirby, Rural Worlds Lost: The American South, 1920-1960

Making the Postwar Sunbelt

• James Cobb, The Selling of the South: The Southern Crusade for Industrial Development, 1936-1980

• Bruce Schulman, From Cotton Belt to Sunbelt: Federal Policy, Economic Development, and the Transformation of the South, 1938-1980

Class Conflict, Urban and Rural

• Jack Temple Kirby, The Countercultural South

Globalization and the Information Economy

• Manuel Castells, The Informational City: Information Technology, Economic Restructuring, and the Urban-Regional Process

• Peter Coclanis, “Down Highway 52: Globalization, Higher Education, and the Economic Future of the American South”