An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections
Posted on November 20, 2012

Devin M. Brown, Emory University


In April 2012, Southern Spaces published an interview with Lance Ledbetter, founder of Dust-to-Digital Records, in which he discussed the operations of his Atlanta-based record label. During the interview, Ledbetter mentioned a new project which would create a digital repository of historical sound recordings—accompanied by discographical information, music notation, lyrics, and biographical information about artists and composers—to make available the tens of thousands of recordings without commercial potential.

Music Memory, launched by Lance Ledbetter.

The frontpage of Music Memory, an online music archive launched by Lance Ledbetter.

This month, Ledbetter has launched Music Memory, his audio-centered spin on the concept of scholarly databases. The site will focus upon recordings made during the "Golden Age of roots music" (1925–1950), and the recordings will be digitized primarily from 78 RPM records that have been amassed and preserved by a group of dedicated collectors partnering with Ledbetter. Although the music that eventually will populate Music Memory is not yet accessible to users, the site provides a first glimpse at Music Memory's layout and design.

Posted on November 15, 2012

Alan G. Pike and Jesse P. Karlsberg, Emory University


The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South.

  • The 2012 United States presidential election results have led mapmakers and illustrators over the past week to search for new ways to visualize the geography of political power. Mark Newman, Paul Dirac Collegiate Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan, released a series of maps and cartograms depicting the state- and county-level results of the presidential election between Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama scaled by population density. Illustrator Chris Howard designed another map which overlays county-by-county election results with population density data as recorded in the 2010 census. This image, which depicts the electoral power of densely populated areas without distorting the shapes of the counties, provoked analysis, as in this piece by Sommer Mathis writing in The Atlantic Cities, about the importance of cities in deciding the election. Metropolitan areas in the US South and elsewhere in the interior appear on the map as dense blue dots surrounded by rings of pink. The map illustrates how elections are decided on an urban/suburban basis, as Lydia DePillis argued in The New Republic. This distribution of political power is a consequence of the demographic shifts in cities like Atlanta since the Second World War, a topic discussed by Kevin Kruse in his 2005 Southern Spaces presentation "White Flight: The Strategies, Ideology, and Legacy of Segregationists in Atlanta."
  • Post-election conversation has also focused on the continued dominance of the Republican Party in the US South. In The New York Times, Campbell Robertson argued that the Republican coalition that has been characterized as a shrinking proportion of the population across much of the country remains dominant in a number of southern states. Remarking on the similar results of the 2008 presidential election in his Southern Spaces piece "The US South and the 2008 Election," Joseph Crespino tied rhetoric about Republican political dominance in the US South to the rise of the Sun Belt and noted that populations in several southern states voted in favor of Obama. Crespino's analysis remains a useful reminder that the US South is a heterogenous section of the country.
Posted on November 6, 2012

Katie Rawson, Emory University

Southern Quarterly, Fall 2012 cover

As part of our engagement with scholarship about the US South, we wanted to let our readers know about the recent call for papers from The Southern Quarterly. Please remember that Southern Spaces also continues to accept submissions on a rolling basis. For details, see our submission guidelines.

From The Southern Quarterly:

Celebrating fifty years of publication, The Southern Quarterly: A Journal of Arts in the South invites submissions of interdisciplinary scholarly articles, interviews with major Southern writers, composers, and artists, unpublished archival materials, and poems anchored in the ethos of the South.

Since special issues on Natasha Trethewey and religion in the South are forthcoming, we are not currently reading manuscripts on these topics.

We do not consider email submissions, previously published work, or work being considered elsewhere. Submit two hard copies of your work (not to exceed twenty to twenty-five pages) with a cover letter. Follow the instructions on our submissions guidelines page ( Please submit original manuscripts to the following address:

Managing Editor
The Southern Quarterly
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive #5078
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001

Posted on November 1, 2012

Alan G. Pike, Emory University


The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South.

  • As a follow up to our Open Access Week blog post, we are sharing this one-hour webcast from the blog of the Association of Research Libraries which features attorneys and advocates involved in the recent Authors Guild v. HathiTrust case summarizing the ruling and its implications for libraries.
  • In Florida, recently enacted changes to the early voting schedule have altered the ways in which African American churches organize their early voting campaigns. According to Susan Saulny of The New York Times, these campaigns to get "souls to the polls" were energized by the decision to eliminate six days of early voting which was legislated by the Republican State Legislature and signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Scott. While the reduction in early voting was enacted in order to prevent voter fraud, some African Americans in Florida feel that the changes target African American voters, who turned out at twice the rate of white voters in 2008 when President Barack Obama won the state.
  • In a recent review essay, Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker surveys works which he considers to be part of a "renaissance of geographic history." Gopnik argues that new works in the field ask future historians to consider how space and place retain some primacy in historical narratives, which will force them to "make more modest claims for abstract ideas and modern machines than [they] like to." He suggests that such modesty will allow for more nuanced examinations of the interplay between "big" ideas and individual places. It is this connection between local agricultural knowledge and "big" ideological shifts regarding sustainability in agriculture which the authors of our two featured Southern Spaces essays explore. Charles D. Thompson, Jr. describes the local conditions for the growth of sustainable agriculture in Cuba in "Visions for Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba and the United States: Changing Minds and Models through Exchange," and Brian C. Campbell uncovers how local traditions of biodiversity rooted in place persisted despite technological advancements in farming in "'Closest to Everlastin'': Ozark Agricultural Biodiversity and Subsistence Traditions." 
Posted on October 31, 2012

Daniel W. Patterson, University of North Carolina

William Simpson gravestone (1777), Stone Cemetery, Chester County, South Carolina, March 1996.
William Simpson gravestone (1777), Stone Cemetery, Chester County, South Carolina, March 1996.
Rear faces of gravestones carved by Laurence Crone, McGavock Family Cemetery, Fort Chiswell, Wythe County, Virginia, August 1978.
Rear faces of gravestones carved by Laurence Crone, McGavock Family Cemetery, Fort Chiswell, Wythe County, Virginia, August 1978. From Daniel Patterson, The True Image (read an essay excerpted from the book). Used with permission of the University of North Carolina Press.
Posted on October 23, 2012

Alan G. Pike, Emory University

Open Access Week

This week (October 22–28, 2012) is the sixth annual Open Access Week, a global event which presents opportunities for the academic and research community to celebrate and learn more about the potential benefits of Open Access. Because Southern Spaces is an open access journal, we thought that it would be appropriate for us to share the details of a recent legal challenge to the access and preservation of library books on the blog as a part of our contribution to spreading awareness (and celebrating!) this week.

On October 10, Harold Baer, Federal District Judge of the Second District of New York, handed down his decision in The Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust. HathiTrust is a digital repository in partnership with over sixty major research institutions and libraries "working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future." The Authors Guild is group which advocates "for writers' interests in effective copyright protection, fair contracts and free expression." The Authors Guild's suit alleged that the massive digitization and preservation effort undertaken by the HathiTrust and its affiliates represented a copyright violation. The HathiTrust countered that their digitization project is fair use because it is intended to preserve print materials in perpetuity, give access to print-disabled readers as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and enable non-expressive uses like comprehensive word searches, text mining, and data analysis. 

Baer's ruling represented a major victory for the HathiTrust, its affiliates, and fair use advocates. Below is a "score card" of the results of the ruling written by Matthew Sag, an Associate Professor of Law at Loyola University of Chicago who is an expert in copyright law. In his blog post on the case, "HathiTrust Wins on Fair Use, and just about everything else," he included the following list of the judge's findings:

  • Digitization to provide access for the print-disabled held to be transformative use and, on balance, fair use.
  • Digitization to provide for print-disabled students held to be (i) an obligation of universities under the ADA, (ii) fair use under section 107 of the Copyright Act and (iii) enabled by section 121 of the Copyright Act.
  • Section 108 the Copyright Act was held to expand the rights of libraries, not limit the scope of their fair use rights in any way, shape or form. Given the text says "Nothing in this section . . . in any way affects the right of fair use as provided by section 107" any ruling to the contrary would have been pretty shocking.
  • Digitization to create a search index held to be a transformative use, and, on balance, fair use.
  • Alleged security risks created by library digitization—dismissed as speculative and unproven. The judge noted the strong evidence to the contrary. It is still an open question whether the risk of subsequent illegal act by a third party could ever render an initial lawful copy not fair use. The whole notion strikes me as rather odd.
  • The market effect of library digitization—the court found there was none to speak of in this case. The court rejected the CCC's magic toll-booth arguments—i.e., there were some wild assertions about future licensing revenue that the court rejected as "conjecture."
  • The court also notes that a copyright holder cannot preempt a transformative market merely by offering to license it.
  • The market effect of enabling print-disabled access to library books—the court found there was no market for this under-served group, nor was one likely to develop.

As Sag's list makes clear, the HathiTrust case represents a major victory for libraries, universities, and the Digital Humanities community. The American Library Association and the Library Copyright Association welcomed the ruling this week, suggesting that it helps set a significant precedent regarding the relationship between library intiatives and copyright laws. 

"This ruling is significant for all libraries and universities because it goes to the heart of the mission of libraries, which is to preserve and make accessible our cultural heritage" says Lisa Macklin, director of scholarly communications at Emory Libraries. "The power of full-text searching and non-expressive research like text mining is growing more important to our faculty, students, and researchers, and is only possible with a digital library like HathiTrust. It is heartening that the court so clearly found that HathiTrust's creation and use of the digital library was a fair use under copyright law, particularly in serving print-disabled students."