The mission of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture is to investigate, document, interpret, and teach about the American South. The Center emphasizes the interdisciplinary investigation and documentation of the South as a region of cultural, historical, geographic, and demographic complexity.

At the heart of the Center’s mission is the academic program. Its undergraduate and graduate curricula incorporate traditional disciplines of the arts, humanities, and social sciences to form an interdisciplinary framework for studying the South. The Center promotes research on the South’s varied cultures by supporting the work of its faculty, staff, students, alumni, and visiting scholars. It offers opportunities for increasing understanding of southern culture through publications, conferences, lectures, and documentary media. Because of its location, the Center focuses much of its work on Mississippi and the Deep South, while at the same time exploring the region as a whole, both in its American and global contexts. Interests of Center faculty, staff, and students are always changing, and particular emphases include documentary studies, literature, history, religion, foodways, music, race and ethnicity, and globalization and identity.

Over the last quarter century the Center has become a focal point for innovative education and research on the American South, strengthening the University’s instructional program in the humanities, promoting scholarship on many aspects of southern culture, and encouraging public understanding of the South as a diverse and complex space.