Why the South Still Matters in the Minds of Its People

Nov 19, 2018

(Originally broadcast June 15, 2018) - The American South has experienced remarkable change over the past half century. Black voter registration has increased, the region’s politics have shifted, and in-migration has increased its population many fold. At the same time, many outward signs of regional distinctiveness have faded. But two professors of political science write that these changes have allowed for new types of southern identity to emerge.

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In their new book, The Resilience of Southern Identity: Why the South Still Matters in the Minds of Its People (2017, UNC Press), Western Carolina University's Chris Cooper and the College of Charleston's Gibbs Knotts  argue that, for some, identification with the South has become more about a connection to the region’s folkways or to place than about policy or ideology. For others, the contemporary South is all of those things at once—a place where many modern-day southerners navigate the region’s confusing and omnipresent history.