Southern Masculinity and Religiosity

Southern Masculinity and Religiosity
Paul Harvey

A new anthology collection for those of you interested in all things southern: Southern Masculinity: Perspectives on Manhood in the South Since Reconstruction. This new volume, a successor to a companion work about masculinity in the Old South, continues and develops further gendered studies of the South, pioneered by works such as Ted Ownby's Subduing Satan and Laura Edwards's Gendered Strife and Confusion. Most notable for the new volume is a really outstanding essay by our contributing editor Ed Blum, " A Subversive Savior: Manhood and African American Images of Christ in the Early Twentieth Century South." Duke University scholar Seth Dowland contributes this piece, which I'm anxious to read: "A New Kind of Patriarchy: Inerrancy and Masculinity in the Southern Baptist Convention, 1979-2000." As well, Joe Creech's "Violent Masculinity: Learning Ritual and Performance in Southern Lynchings," will draw much attention.

For my money, Robert Duvall's portrayal of Sonny in The Apostle captures the contradictions of white southern religiosity and masculinity as well as it has ever been done; as a character, he seems to stride right out of the pages of Wilbur J. Cash's Mind of the South. Black southern versions of the same have been a theme of some recent scholarship, including Ed's essay for this volume and a host of takes on the bluesmen as performers; my favorite there still remains Jon Spencer, Blues and Evil, a work that never got all that much attention but is a short and profound exploration of blues theology.

Some of the contributors to this volume are readers of this blog, so please, ya'll, feel free to add here in the comments section, or throw me a guest post on your essay.


Seth Dowland said…
Thanks, Paul, for mentioning the book. My chapter builds on some of your work and uses many of the interviews that Barry Hankins did for his book on SBC conservatives, Uneasy in Babylon. The whole collection is great; I'm working my way through the essays now.

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