History of the American South
The history of the American South long has been a primary focus of teaching and research at Auburn. George Petrie, the department’s founder, was a scholar of the Old South who conducted research in topics as diverse as slavery and the career of William Lowndes Yancey. Today’s southern history faculty reflects that multifaceted approach. Chronologically our research interests range from early contacts between Europeans and the first Alabamians to life in the modern region. Uniting our work across time and sub-discipline is a strong interest in the histories of everyday southerners: Creek hunters, frontier traders, slaves seeking freedom, Civil War soldiers and World War II veterans, worshipers, manufacturers, townspeople, Civil Rights advocates, and union workers, among others. Reflecting a more recent tradition, the department is known nationally for its prominence in studies of southern religion. The strengths of our university library and archives, as well as central proximity to the region's chief historic sites and archival repositories, enhance our research opportunities tremendously as we echo William Faulkner’s fictional Quentin Compson and “tell about the South.”
While the history of the American South has long been a particular focus of graduate study at Auburn, the department's national prominence in the field has grown dramatically in recent years, making students of the American South the largest current graduate cohort in the department. Current graduate students research and write on varied subjects in African American history, the Civil Rights Era, Civil War history, higher education, labor history, politics, Native America, tourism, and southern religion in both the antebellum and postbellum eras. They regularly present their work at regional and national conferences, and are particularly known for their involvement in the Alabama Historical Association, Phi Alpha Theta, the Society of Civil War Historians, and Southern Historical Association.
Auburn graduate students of the South have gone on to take tenure-track academic positions throughout the nation and especially in the Southeast. They currently teach at institutions such as Alabama State, Christopher Newport, Houston Baptist, Limestone, Montevallo, Samford, West Alabama, West Georgia, and Western Carolina. They also have published well-regarded work on topics ranging from Alabama politics to the Civil War to modern evangelical movements with presses such as Mercer University Press, the University of Alabama Press, the University of Tennessee Press, and the University of Nebraska Press.
Last Updated: December 01, 2015