The modern South is a thriving region that is increasingly like the rest of the United States; however, that has not always been the case. Indeed, the political history of the American South is one that has been focused on the integration of this historically underdeveloped region into the remainder of American society, economically (especially in terms of labor markets), politically, judicially, and socially. And, even as the South has become increasingly similar to the rest of the country, it remains an especially important region for the balance of national political power. In this essay, I describe a class I teach on Southern Politics, explaining how I have organized it around topics critical to an understanding of American political development, and I describe the innovative pedagogical perspective I bring to the class (rooting the course in the labor economics of slavery and the "peculiar institution’s" long-term consequences). I also discuss in some detail the importance of this class for American students as they try to understand America’s development as a nation and the lessons that can be learned by international students from the South’s experiences, providing some qualitative evidence of the course’s impact.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science