Dyin’ Dixie?: Literature and Culture of the Southern U.S.

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
July 22, 2019 - August 02, 20197/22 - 8/02M-F 12:15P-3:05POpenRyan Doherty

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Course Description

What makes the South “the South”? This course is designed to introduce students to the literature, culture, and history of the Southern U.S. as a diverse and complex region. As suggested by the title of the course, we will examine narratives of the South, either of it as a region in decline or changing to fit a changing world, and how these narratives have played out both historically and today.

We will discuss not only primary sources coming from southern authors and artists but also critical works which seek to define and situate the South within an American and historical context. This will include works that present a number of perspectives on events of major historical import, such as the Civil War, but also works that pertain to difficult and sensitive issues such as race, cultural identity, social class, and religious belief.

Teaching materials include texts such as stories by Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams, as well as other texts representing diverse and under-taught authors such as Charles Chestnutt, Zora Neale Hurston, and Manly Wade Wellman. In addition to fiction, students will read non-fiction pieces dealing with contemporary issues such as “No One Really Understands the South” by Alexis Okeowo, “The Idea of the South” by Benjamin Schwartz, and “In Voodoo’s Survival, a Tale of Black Resilience” by Massoud Hayoun.

Lastly, we will also explore documentary and film, such as The Dirty South by Rich Hall and Suddenly Last Summer, as well as music from a variety of Southern genres, including Gospel, bluegrass, ballads, delta blues, and early rock’n’roll.

During this course, students will acquire an introduction to the role of the South in American culture and discuss representations of the South and their implications in broader discussions of race, culture, class, and religion. They will develop skills such as thinking and writing critically using primary and secondary sources, as well as critical debate and analysis of both primary and secondary sources. Finally, at the end of this course students will be able to situate works of literature and art within a historical and culture context as it pertains to the Southern U.S.

Prerequisites: This course requires no prerequisites and is open to all high school aged students.


Course Information

  • Course Code: CEAC0925
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.

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