Below you will find a list of current course information for Southern Studies.

  • Fall 2020 Courses
  • B.A. Required Courses Checklist
  • SPECIAL FALL 2020 COURSES:


    SST 598 Section 1: Photographing Place in the American South
    Tuesday 1:00-3:30 p.m.
    David Wharton, Assistant Professor of Southern Studies  and Director of Documentary Studies
    Using the medium of photography, this course will focus on the relationship between local culture and the physical world(s) such cultures produce. Students will visit a variety of places in north Mississippi—rural spaces, small towns, urban areas—and make photographs of local landscapes and activities. In-class activities will examine the idea of “place,” review various examples of “cultural landscape” photography, and discuss photographs the students have made. Late-semester class sessions will be devoted to editing and curating student photographs for an on-line exhibition focusing on the idea of north Mississippi as a “place.”
    SST 598 Section 2:
    Freedom Summer 1964:  Mississippi’s Civil Rights Watershed
    Tuesday 4:00-6:30 p.m.
    Adam Gussow, Professor of English
    In the summer of 1964, the nation’s attention was drawn to Mississippi as more than a thousand college student volunteers descended on the state to supplement the voter registration and community education work of local civil rights workers.  The murders of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman—dramatized in Mississippi Burning (1988)–epitomized the organized and often violent resistance those students and workers encountered from segregationists determined to uphold the advantages conferred by white supremacy.  Later that summer, Delta resident Fannie Lou Hamer again compelled public attention as a leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, an upstart group that traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey for the Democratic national convention and attempted, with only partial success, to motivate the national conscience in the service of the Magnolia State’s liberation.  What deep cultural and historical dynamics lay behind this catastrophic collision of values?  How did the events of Freedom Summer impact Mississippi, and the nation, in the decades that followed?  This course will explore Freedom Summer (and the broader Civil Rights movement) through a range of texts:  histories, memoirs, fiction, film, and song.


    ENG 741  Cultural Studies: The Blues Tradition

    Wednesday, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
    Adam Gussow, Professor of English

    This course will explore the way in which African American (and selected white American) writers have translated the oral culture and social milieu of blues musicians into a range of literary forms: poems, stories, novels, plays, interviews, autobiographies, and theoretical/prophetic writings. Since the blues tradition is grounded in what David Oshinsky has called “the ordeal of Jim Crow justice,” we’ll devote considerable attention to the way in which adverse social conditions in the early modern South—lynching, segregation, sharecropping, and other forms of racialized exploitation—are represented and contested in blues texts. We’ll cover a range of other themes: the tragicomic dialectic that underlies blues expressiveness; the shaping role played by various forms of interpersonal violence; “signifying” as a textual strategy; womanist self-assertion and the sounding of desire; the emergence of a mass white blues audience in the 1960s; contemporary blues performance and blues literature as scenes of interracial contact in which the legacy of Jim Crow is engaged in both productive and troubling ways. Subject to availability, a local blues musician may be invited to class to share stories and insights. Requirements include three short response papers, a term paper, and an oral presentation.