University of Mississippi

Final Volumes of New Encyclopedia Published

NESC-Complete-SetA May 2013 event at the Library of Congress celebrated the completion of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. 

OXFORD, Miss. – A May 21 reception in Washington, D.C., celebrated the completion of the 24-volume New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, edited and produced by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi and published by University of North Carolina Press.

The reception was held in the pavilion area of the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. The 150 invitees included friends and supporters of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and UNC Press, as well as some congressional delegations.


NESC editors with U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, guest speaker. From left to right: Ted Ownby, Charles Reagan Wilson, Natasha Trethewey, James G. Thomas, Jr., Mark Simpson-Vos, Nancy Bercaw, and Ann Abadie.

Speakers included Chancellor Dan Jones; general editor Charles Reagan Wilson; Mark Simpson-Vos, editorial director of the University of North Carolina Press; Ted Ownby, director of the center; and Natasha Trethewey, U.S. poet laureate. The host was Ralph Eubanks, director of the publishing at Library of Congress and a UM graduate.

When the Center for the Study of Southern Culture joined with the University of North Carolina Press to publish the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture in 1989, a pioneering reference work was born. The first reference book to deal exclusively with an American regional culture, the encyclopedia has served as a model for many similar projects at the state and regional levels. In the years since the encyclopedia was published, globalization, economic transformations and other cultural shifts have profoundly changed the South.

The center and the press have collaborated again to publish the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, a thoroughly revised and updated edition of the original reference that reflects these changes and the newest scholarship about the region. Jimmy Thomas, the center’s associate director for publications, is managing editor of the series, and Ann Abadie, associate director emerita of the center, is the associate editor.

This edition has been published in a series of 24 individual volumes, beginning with “Religion” in 2006 and concluding with the final two volumes, “Folk Art” and “Race,” published on May 21.

To purchase individual volumes in the series, or to order the complete set from the University of North Carolina Press, click here.

By Rebecca Lauck Cleary

Each of the 24 volumes had one or two Volume Editors, scholars chosen because of his or her field of expertise. The series is composed of approximately 3,000 individual entries and had over 1,500 scholars contribute to the series.

Volume titles and editors follow:

Religion – Samuel S. Hill

Geography – Richard Pillsbury

History –Charles Reagan Wilson

Myth, Manners, and Memory –Charles Reagan Wilson

Language – Michael Montgomery and Ellen Johnson

Ethnicity –Celeste Ray

Foodways – John T. Edge

Environment – Martin Melosi

Literature – M. Thomas Inge

Law and Politics – James W. Ely, Jr. and Bradley G. Bond

Agriculture and Industry—James C. Cobb and Melissa Walker

Music – Bill Malone

Gender – Ted Ownby and Nancy Bercaw

Folklife – Glenn Hinson

Urbanization – Wanda Rushing

Sports and Recreation –Harvey H. Jackson III

Education – Clarence L. Mohr

Media – Allison Graham and Sharon Monteith

Violence –Amy Louise Wood

Social Class—Larry J. Griffin and Peggy G. Hargis

Art and Architecture — Judith H. Bonner and Estill Curtis Pennington

Science and Medicine — James G. Thomas Jr. and Charles Reagan Wilson

Folk Art — Carol Crown and Cheryl Rivers

Race — Thomas C. Holt and Laurie B. Green