An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections
Posted on September 6, 2012
by

Alan G. Pike, Emory University; Carl Mydans, Photographer

in

This series of Carl Mydans photographs depicting wheat farmers in the Tygart Valley of West Virginia struck us as particularly interesting, so we decided to post it as this week's set of featured images. While scouring the Library of Congress's Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives Collection, I came across the first image in the series, which seems to traffic in nostalgic visions of an agrarian landscape filled with small farmers. However, the sequence of photographs below actually shows how West Virginia farmers combined old and new technologies of agricultural production during the Great Depression. More of Mydans's photographs from the Tygart Valley can be found on the Library of Congress website.

Carl Mydans, Threshing crew loading bundles, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000720-M3.
Carl Mydans, Threshing crew loading bundles, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000720-M3.
Carl Mydans, Threshing, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000723-M2.
Carl Mydans, Threshing, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000723-M2.
Carl Mydans, Untitled, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000722-M5.
Carl Mydans, Untitled, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000722-M5.
Carl Mydans, Threshing, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000723-M5.
Carl Mydans, Threshing, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000723-M5.
Carl Mydans, Threshing crew, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prinsts and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-00723-M3.
Carl Mydans, Threshing crew, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prinsts and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-00723-M3.
Posted on September 4, 2012
by

Alan G. Pike, Emory University

in

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. This week, in a belated celebration of Labor Day, The Bulletin focuses upon the role of organized labor in the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions held in Tampa, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina respectively.  

Posted on August 28, 2012
by

Louis Fagnan, Emory University

in
© Brian Gauvin, Pratt Drive and Robert E. Lee Avenue at the breach in the 17th Street Canal Levee, Lakeview, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 27, 2005.
© Brian Gauvin, Pratt Drive and Robert E. Lee Avenue at the breach in the 17th Street Canal Levee, Lakeview, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 27, 2005.

Seven years ago, from August 23 to August 30, 2005, Hurricane Katrina stormed though New Orleans, causing the levees to break, devastating a large part of the Crescent City. To mark the seventh anniversary of this disaster, we offer a bibliography of all Southern Spaces publications discussing Katrina.

Publications relating to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath:

Medley, Kate. "Barge washed ashore after Hurricane Katrina, Gulfport, Mississippi, 2005." Southern Spaces, September 1, 2008, http://southernspaces.org/2008/barge-washed-ashore-after-hurricane-katrina-gulfport-mississippi-2005.

Moye, Dorothy. "Katrina + 5: An X-Code Exhibition." Southern Spaces, August 26, 2010,
http://southernspaces.org/2010/katrina-5-x-code-exhibition.

———. "The X-Codes: A Post-Katrina Postscript." Southern Spaces, August 26, 2009, http://southernspaces.org/2009/x-codes-post-katrina-postscript.

Spitzer, Nick. "Creolization as Cultural Continuity and Creativity in Postdiluvian New Orleans and Beyond." Southern Spaces, November 28, 2011, http://southernspaces.org/2011/creolization-cultural-continuity-and-creativity-postdiluvian-new-orleans-and-beyond.

———. "Rebuilding the 'Land of Dreams': Expressive Culture and New Orleans' Authentic Future." Southern Spaces, August 29, 2006, http://southernspaces.org/2006/rebuilding-land-dreams-expressive-culture-and-new-orleans-authentic-future.

Trethewey, Natasha. "Congregation." Southern Spaces, September 9, 2010, http://southernspaces.org/2010/congregation.

Weber, Lynn. "No Place To Be Displaced: Katrina Response and the Deep South's Political Economy." Southern Spaces, August 17, 2012, http://southernspaces.org/2012/no-place-be-displaced-katrina-response-and-deep-souths-political-economy.

West, Bruce, Todd Bertolaet, and David Wharton. "Katrina, One Year Later: Three Perspectives." Southern Spaces, February 15, 2008, http://southernspaces.org/2008/katrina-one-year-later-three-perspectives.

Related publications:

Powell, Lawrence N. "Lyle Saxon and the WPA Guide to New Orleans." Southern Spaces, July 29, 2009, http://southernspaces.org/2009/lyle-saxon-and-wpa-guide-new-orleans.

———. "Unhappy Trails in the Big Easy: Public Spaces and a Square Called Congo." Southern Spaces, January 17, 2012, http://southernspaces.org/2012/unhappy-trails-big-easy-public-spaces-and-square-called-congo.

Trethewey, Natasha. "Geography." Southern Spaces, January 11, 2011, http://southernspaces.org/2011/geography.

Saikku, Mikko. "Bioregional Approach to Southern History: The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta." Southern Spaces, January 28, 2010, http://southernspaces.org/2010/bioregional-approach-southern-history-yazoo-mississippi-delta.

Posted on August 23, 2012
by

Allen Tullos and Katie Rawson, Emory University

in
NOAA, Satellite image of Hurricane Katrina, August 2005.

Coinciding with the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Southern Spaces and the University of Texas Press announce a collaborative publishing project.

"No Place To Be Displaced: Katrina Response and the Deep South's Political Economy" by Prof. Lynn Weber of the University of South Carolina, just published by Southern Spaces, is the first in a series of essays to be adapted for online presentation from the University of Texas Press new Katrina Bookshelf Series. The book series is edited by Prof. Kai Erikson, former president of the American Sociological Association.

Below is a description of the series from the University of Texas Press:

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina crashed into the Gulf Coast and precipitated the flooding of New Orleans. It was a towering catastrophe by any standard. Some 1,800 persons were killed outright. More than a million people were forced to relocate, many for the remainder of their lives. A city of 500,000 was nearly emptied of life.

If measured by the number of lives it claimed, Katrina does not qualify as the worst disaster in our history. But it was far and away the most destructive disaster in our national experience when one considers the amount of damage it did not only to the physical and social landscapes of the Gulf region but also to the nation more generally. And it was far and away the most telling disaster in our national experience. Katrina stripped away the outer surface of our social structure and showed us what lies underneath—a grim look at race, class, and gender in these United States.

It is crucial to get this story straight so that we may learn from it and be ready for that stark inevitability, the next time. When seen through a social science lens, Katrina is almost the perfect storm in terms of informing us what the real human costs of a disaster are and helping prepare us for the blows that we know are lurking just over the horizon.

A number of studies of Katrina have appeared since the event. Most were brief glances at some fragment of that immense disaster rather than rich, in-depth portraits of it, and many rode the crest of Katrina's celebrity for the time it was in the news. The Katrina Bookshelf Series, by contrast, is the result of a national effort to bring experts together in a collaborative program of research on the human costs of the disaster. The program itself was supported by the Ford, Gates, MacArthur, Rockefeller, and Russell Sage Foundations, and sponsored by the Social Science Research Council. This is the most comprehensive social science coverage of a disaster to be found anywhere in the literature. It is also a deeply human story being told here.

Posted on August 21, 2012
by

Alan G. Pike, Emory University

in

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.

  • South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) and the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation reached a settlement on August 20 requiring SCE&G to remove 240,000 tons of toxic coal ash from wet-storage impoundments near the Wateree River. The company must move the coal ash into lined landfill storage away from the river or have it recycled by December 31, 2020. The legal victory, secured with help from the Southern Environmental Law Center, is a major step forward in the protection of the river system, and could set a precedent for the handling of other dangerous coal ash-storage facilities in the state. 
  • As we have reported in The Bulletin before, this summer's record-setting drought has wreaked havoc on farmers and ranchers across a broad swath of the United States. On Monday the United States Department of Agriculture announced that it would buy $170 million of pork, lamb, chicken, and catfish for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks and school lunch and breakfast programs. This announcment is welcome news for farmers and ranchers across the affected area whose livlihoods are seriously endangered by the dry weather. While the Midwest has been hit hardest by this year's drought, farmers and ranchers in the US South (like the catfish farmer interviewed here) have also had to deal with rising feed costs and dry fields.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there have been 693 cases (26 deaths) of the West Nile virus disease in humans in 43 states so far this year. This number represents the highest total in late August since the CDC started tracking the disease in 1999. Over 80 percent of the cases have been reported from six states (Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and California) and almost half of all cases have been reported from Texas (as illustrated in this map). The severity of the outbreak in and around Dallas, Texas has prompted the city to declare a state of emergency and deploy pesticides across the metro region via aircraft for the first time since 1966, much to the chagrin of many residents worried about the potentially hazardous side effects of the chemicals. 
Posted on August 9, 2012
by

Alan G. Pike, Emory University

in

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.

  • In a July 31 primary election, Georgians voted down T-SPLOST (Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax), a penny sales-tax proposal which would have provided for various transportation projects across the state. For the first time in history, voters in the ten-county region surrounding Atlanta were asked to vote on taxes funding projects throughout the metro area. While the regional referrendum failed (62.3% to 37.7%), a closer look at a map of the voting data suggests that most Atlantans living inside the I-285 perimeter voted in favor of the bill, with residents of the city of Atlanta voting in favor of the bill 60% to 40%. The outcome of this ballot initiative has left some observers wondering if "Metro-Atlanta" even exists and whether or not Atlanta residents should seek to enact transportation changes without the help of the surrounding region in the future.
  • On August 7, seven-hundred members of the United Steelworkers Local 5668 who work for the Constellium rolled aluminum plant in Ravenswood, West Virginia went on strike. The workers voted to strike after failing to reach an agreement with the company on a new collective bargaining contract. Specifically, the workers are unwilling to accept the reduction of health care benefits proposed by the company. The importance of the plant to the economic vitality of the town, and the importance of healthcare benefits to its workers recalls a similar relationship in nearby east Kentucky documented by photographer Earl Dotter in his 2008 Southern Spaces photo essay "Coalfield Generations: Health, Mining, and the Environment."