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Front Porch

Front Porch Contemporary discussion of the U.S. South frequendy revolves around the question of southern identity or southern distinctiveness. For much of the twentieth century, Wilbur J. Cash's authoritative pronouncement held sway: the South was utterly different from the rest of the country. In the introduction to his magisterial analysis, The Mind of the South, pubUshed in 1941, Cash minced no words. "When Carl Carmer said of Alabama that 'the Congo is not more different from Massachusetts or Kansas or CaUfornia,' " the master recaUed, "he fashioned a hyperbole which is appUcable in one measure or another to the entire section." Cash went on to Unk his argument for southern distinctiveness to an argument for southern cultural continuity. Southern whites, he insisted, had sustained an underlying cultural unity that had not changed much since colonial days. above: Country musicpioneer Uncle Dave Macon (detail). Courtesy ofthe Southern Folklife Collection, University ofNorth Carolina Library. Some observers have always disputed this point. Cash himself was probably thinking about Chapel HiU sociologists Howard Odum and Rupert Vance when he airily dismissed those "journaüsts or professors" who pretended that "the South reaUy exists only as a geographical division of the United States." Early on, the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Center for the Study of the American South.
ISSN
1534-1488
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Abstract

Contemporary discussion of the U.S. South frequendy revolves around the question of southern identity or southern distinctiveness. For much of the twentieth century, Wilbur J. Cash's authoritative pronouncement held sway: the South was utterly different from the rest of the country. In the introduction to his magisterial analysis, The Mind of the South, pubUshed in 1941, Cash minced no words. "When Carl Carmer said of Alabama that 'the Congo is not more different from Massachusetts or Kansas or CaUfornia,' " the master recaUed, "he fashioned a hyperbole which is appUcable in one measure or another to the entire section." Cash went on to Unk his argument for southern distinctiveness to an argument for southern cultural continuity. Southern whites, he insisted, had sustained an underlying cultural unity that had not changed much since colonial days. above: Country musicpioneer Uncle Dave Macon (detail). Courtesy ofthe Southern Folklife Collection, University ofNorth Carolina Library. Some observers have always disputed this point. Cash himself was probably thinking about Chapel HiU sociologists Howard Odum and Rupert Vance when he airily dismissed those "journaüsts or professors" who pretended that "the South reaUy exists only as a geographical division of the United States." Early on, the

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 4, 1999

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