University of Mississippi

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

In his foreword to the 1989 edition, Alex Haley wrote, “I consider this Encyclopedia of Southern Culture the answer to a deep need that we resuscitate and keep alive and fresh the memories of those who are now bones and dust, who during their eras and in their respective ways contributed toward the social accretion that has entered legend as ‘the southern way of life,’ which we continue today.” Haley’s description of the Encyclopedia is a primary objective of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and through the Encyclopedia, the original editors successfully “sought to assemble authoritative, concise, thoughtful, substantive, and interesting articles that will give scholars, students, and general readers a useful perspective on the South.”

But C. Vann Woodward’s review of the original Encyclopedia ended by “suggesting future needs for revision or supplement to keep up with ongoing scholarship.” Thus, the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the University of North Carolina Press have recently completed production of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. The New Encyclopedia has been released as a series of clothbound and paperback volumes, making each individual section of the original edition a handy, one-volume guide for those who are interested in a particular subject, as well as making the volumes more accessible for classroom use.

Each section of the original Encyclopedia has been published as separate volume, with two sections occasionally being combined into a single volume. Several volumes, including Foodways, Language, Folk Art, and Ethnicity are composed of nearly all-new material. All of the articles first appearing in the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture have been updated or revised to reflect recent scholarship.

Production of the volumes was staggered, with approximately four volumes being published each year. The entire collection contains 24 volumes, and the final volumes were published in May 2013.

To purchase copies, call or e-mail the Center at 662-915-5993 or, contact UNC Press by phone at 919-966-3561 or online at, or visit your local independent bookstore. A limited number of copies of the original Encyclopedia of Southern Culture are also available through UNC Press.

Visit the Center’s website homepage to learn about upcoming events related to The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.