Explore the fascinating history and culture of the American South from colonial times to the 21st century.

11,598 enrolled on this course

The American South
  • Duration

    5 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

The South is among the most important, yet most misrepresented regions of the United States. This course explores many aspects of southern life, culture, politics and history from colonial times to the present day, focusing on the nature and extent of southern distinctiveness.

The South has a reputation for violence, racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry, but also for friendliness, hospitality, popular culture, and a strong commitment to family, heritage, and community. The course will examine how these understandings and misunderstandings of the South came into being and changed over time.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Hello, and welcome to this course on the History and Culture of the American South. My name is Brian Ward and I’m a Professor in American Studies at Northumbria University. Together with a team of experts on all things Southern, I’ll be your guide for what we hope will be an enjoyable and illuminating exploration of some of the key events, people, movements, and themes connected with the US South. It’s a fascinating, complex region that, as we’ll discover together, has exerted enormous influence on the history, politics and cultures of the United States, and indeed on the rest of the world.

Skip to 0 minutes and 39 seconds In sum then, this course allows you to engage with the history of a region that has been by turns enchanting and exasperating, a source of deep fear and loathing, but also of deep admiration, endless fascination, and no little imitation. It’s a place of enormous poverty, racial intolerance, religious bigotry, ill health, and violence. Yet it’s also a site of tremendous creativity with a well-earned reputation for openness, hospitality, good living, and a deep respect for family, place, god and history. With a course that takes us from Robert E.

Skip to 1 minute and 7 seconds Lee to Harper Lee, from the Ku Klux Klan to the Kings of Leon, from Coca-cola to Kudzu, and from Gone With the Wind to Hurricane Katrina, we can promise you an exhilarating and thought provoking introduction to the enigma that is the American South.

What topics will you cover?

  • Identity (including race, gender, and class)
  • War and Reconciliation
  • Social Activism and Justice
  • Contemporary and Historical Politics
  • Popular Culture

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of the American South.
  • Investigate the question of regional distinctiveness in the United States.
  • Identify key icons, events, themes in the history and culture of the American South.

Who is the course for?

There are no special requirements for this course but an interest in history or American culture might be useful.

Who will you learn with?

I am Northumbria University’s first Professor in American Studies and my teaching and research focuses on the modern US South, the African American Experience, and popular music.

I'm a PhD student at Northumbria University studying the development of urban space in the eighteenth century British-Atlantic. I'm especially interested in Newcastle upon Tyne and Charleston, SC!

Who developed the course?

Northumbria University Institute of the Humanities

Northumbria University is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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