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The Deep South


In the late ninetieth and early twentieth century, sociologists of the south produced important politically relevant research about life in the region.  These include Anna Julia Cooper's A Voice From the South, W. E. B. DuBois' Atlanta University Studies, Howard Odum's Southern Regions of the United States, Hortense Powdermaker's After Freedom, and Charles Johnson's Shadow of the Plantation.  Sociology about the south has not completely disappeared, but the region has not captured much attention in recent works.  As southern sociologist Larry J. Griffin describes, "Under the guise of research on collective action and social movements, social inequality, violence and criminality, social conflict, and race relations, sociology in the South flourishes, while sociology of the South . . . has withered for almost fifty years" (Griffin 2001:53).  Often, the few sociologies in the south are historical ones more concerned with understanding Jim Crow and Civil Right eras than with contemporary life.  In this class, we read these early sociological works about the region and compare them with a new but growing body of works about the contemporary south.