Abstract: There have been many studies on the impact(s) of the New Deal in the South, but few works analyze the role of nationalism within the New Deal’s southern programming. The New Deal was predicated on economic nationalism, which encouraged consumerism to combat the Great Depression. The South’s laggard economy and largely impoverished rural population were viewed as obstacles to creating this new consumerist society; New Deal planners, therefore, set out to “rehabilitate” the region. This paper concerns one of the New Deal’s southern reform programs, a series of community farms that relocated landless farmers into government-built communities. The purpose of these communities was to economically, socially and culturally prepare poor southerners for participation in the new society being created via the New Deal. For southern farmwomen, the New Deal’s rehabilitation of the South meant greater enforcement of extant gender roles and a restructuring of farm life that marginalized women’s labor.
Southeastern Geographer – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jul 11, 2010