The location of "the South" is hardly a settled or static geographic concept. Culturally speaking, are Florida and Arkansas really part of the same region? Is Texas considered part of the South or the West? This volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture grapples with the contestable issue of where the cultural South is located, both on maps and in the minds of Americans.
Richard Pillsbury's introductory essay explores the evolution of geographic patterns of life within the region--agricultural practices, urban patterns, residential buildings, religious preferences, foodways, and language. The entries that follow address general topics of cultural geographic interest, such as Appalachia, exiles and expatriates, Latino and Jewish populations, migration patterns, and the profound Disneyfication of central Florida. Entries with a more concentrated focus examine major cities, such as Atlanta, New Orleans, and Memphis; the influence of black and white southern migrants on northern cities; and individual subregions, such as the Piedmont, Piney Woods, Tidewater, and Delta. Putting together the disparate pieces that make up the place called "the South," this volume sets the scene for the discussions in all the other volumes of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.