Why Study the South? Southern Studies in the 21st Century

Director John Grammer discusses his vision for Southern Studies at Sewanee


The Center for Southern Studies at the University of the South is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is committed to rigorous explorations of the Southern past, confronting the region's moral and practical failures as well as its achievements, in the hopes of informing a thoughtful critique of the present and an imagining of possible futures. The goal of the program is to encourage the interdisciplinary study of the U.S. South by the scholars who participate in its conferences and other academic occasions, by the post-doctoral Fellows it hosts, and by undergraduates at the University of the South.

Call for Faculty Proposals for Research or Course Development

Thanks to its Mellon Grant, Southern Studies is able to offer financial support for faculty research or course development relevant to the study of the U.S. South.

  • Course development proposals should identify the subject matter of the course, the primary department in which it would be offered, and an explanation of the work to be done in preparing it. We particularly welcome proposals for “linked courses,” pairs of courses, offered by two different faculty members in two different departments, that will complement one another in the experience of students who register for both.
  • Research proposals should identify the project to be developed, its current stage of development, and plans for work during the grant period.
  • For both course-development and research grants, please keep in mind the possibilities afforded by the tools of Digital Humanities such as Scalar, Omeka, or Tableau. Interested faculty, whether applying for financial support or not, may consult with the program’s digital humanities specialist, Hannah Huber.

Summer Field School

The Center supports a summer field school that combines archival and archaeological work in the nearby South Cumberland State Park. This work seeks to understand the evolution of race relations in Tennessee immediately following the Civil War through the excavation of a private prison where primarily African American men were forced to work without pay as part of the South’s convict lease system. Archaeological and archival work provide a clearer understanding of the methods used during Reconstruction to continue to subjugate the South’s African American population. This work focuses on highlighting the continuation of slavery after the Civil War and examines how this history continues to impact racial patterns of incarceration today.

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