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Creating and Consuming the American South$
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Martyn Bone, Brian Ward, and William A. Link

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060699

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060699.001.0001

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Toward a Post-postpolitical Southern Studies

Toward a Post-postpolitical Southern Studies

On the Limits of the “Creating and Consuming” Paradigm

(p.72) 3 Toward a Post-postpolitical Southern Studies
Creating and Consuming the American South

Jon Smith

University Press of Florida

The Creating and Consuming the South volume may be less about moving the field forward than about bringing ideas from the early 2000s (and even the 1970s) to the attention of theory-averse southern historians. Most new southern studies today is not interested in questions of “southern identity,” even as constructed, virtual, or “postsouthern.” These latter terms in practice not only move us backward toward old agrarian categories, but also function to preserve what Jodi Dean calls the “postpolitical,” an inherently conservative effect of postmodernism that forecloses real political activity on the left. To illustrate its points, the chapter takes issue with Michael O’Brien for his misunderstanding of both postmodernism and the empirical roots of the new southern studies, and with Scott Romine for his postpolitical relativism.

Keywords:   Southern studies, Postsouthern, New Southern Studies, Michael O’Brien, Scott Romine, Postpolitical

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