What are the primary “genres” which have defined the South in popular culture, according to Jack Kirby?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In his book Media-Made Dixie: The South in the American Imagination, historian Jack Kirby argues that, since the nineteenth century, there have been three essential genres within the larger larger field of Southern popular culture. The first he calls "Neo-Confederate," and it is described as:

...the popular genre counterpart of the academic Dunning school of Reconstruction historiography and Professor U.B. Phillips' history of slavery. 

The second is "Gothic," exemplified by authors like William Faulkner, and the third is "Neo-abolitionist," which accompanied the rise of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s and ranges from the works of Kenneth Stampp and C. Vann Woodward to popular depictions of slavery like that in Roots. Kirby argues that these genres developed out of an interplay between academics, societal developments and trends, and popular culture that contributed to changing attitudes about the American South.


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