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College of Arts and Sciences

Southern Studies Courses

Fall 2024 Courses

SOST 280-001 – TTh 8:30-9:45AM (Instructor Dr. Matthew Simmons) 
The Literary South 
This course will introduce students to important literary texts of the American South, ranging from European contact through the 21st century. We will also emphasize the interplay of Southern literary output with and in reaction to important historical and political trends. Within the Carolina Core, this course meets the Aesthetic and Interpretative Understanding learning outcome in that students will be able to interpret the literature of the American South, which will help them understand the human condition as it is expressed through literary output. 

SOST 201-001 - TTh 1:15-2:30PM (Instructor: Dr. Matthew Simmons) 
Intro to Southern Studies: 1580-1900 

SOST201 is an interdisciplinary exploration of the development of the American South as a distinctive sociocultural, political, and economic region from the days of Spanish colonial exploration of La Florida through the end of the Confederate States of America. While the course title suggests the years 1580 and 1900 as our start and end, the course will actually be shifted back about forty years before those dates—from the Hernando de Soto’s exploration of what is now the South (1539-1542) to the South’s 1865 defeat in the US Civil War. The course will emphasis the interconnected development of the South’s economics, demographics, politics, and cultural identities throughout the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. As a part of our tracing these developments, we will situate the South as a global phenomenon, exploring the region’s relationship with the rest of America, the Caribbean, Latin America, west Africa, and Europe. We will look at the South through history, literature, political theory, and economics to understand how the region came to occupy a mythological place in the American mind. Finally, we will use our reflections on the preceding three centuries to ask if the South’s 1860-65 experiment in secession and independence was a tragic inevitability, an ignominious choice, or something else. Both because of South Carolina’s major role in the development of the South and the fact that we are at the University of South Carolina, we will give special attention to our state throughout the course.


SOST 202-001  – TTh 2:50-4:05PM (Instructor Dr. Emily Allen)
Intro to Southern Studies: The 20th Century 
This course will examine the ideas, political movements, economics, and people that shaped the South in the 20th century through an interdisciplinary lens.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.