Charles Reagan Wilson

© Tom Rankin


Charles Reagan Wilson is professor emeritus of history and southern studies at the University of Mississippi. He is the editor-in-chief of the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, the coeditor of the Mississippi Encyclopedia, and the author of Flashes of a Southern Spirit: Meanings of the Spirit in the American South. Wilson is the former director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.




2:15 pm to 3:00 pm
Capitol Park Museum Auditorium
The Dean of Southern Culture on the Southern Way of Life
with Charles Reagan Wilson and moderator James G. Thomas Jr.

3:15 pm to 4:00 pm
Cavalier House Books Tent
Book Signing


The Southern Way of Life: Meanings of Culture & Civilization in the American South

How does one begin to understand the idea of a distinctive southern way of life—a concept as enduring as it is disputed? In this examination of the American South in national and global contexts, celebrated historian Charles Reagan Wilson assesses how diverse communities of southerners have sought to define the region's identity. Surveying three centuries of southern regional consciousness across many genres, disciplines, and cultural strains, Wilson considers and challenges prior presentations of the region, advancing a vision of southern culture that has always been plural, dynamic, and complicated by race and class.

Structured in three parts, The Southern Way of Life takes readers on a journey from the colonial era to the present, from when complex ideas of "southern civilization" rooted in slaveholding and agrarianism dominated to the twenty-first-century rise of a modern, multicultural "southern living." As Wilson shows, there is no singular or essential South but rather a rich tapestry woven with contestations, contingencies, and change.


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