Sex and Sexuality in Modern Southern Culture


In the American imagination, the South is a place both sexually open and closed, outwardly chaste and inwardly sultry. Sex and Sexuality in Modern Southern Culture demonstrates that there is no central theme that encompasses sex in the U.S. South, but rather a rich variety of manifestations and embodiments influenced by race, gender, history, and social and political forces. The twelve essays in this volume shine a particularly bright light on the significance of race in shaping the history of southern sexuality, primarily in the period since World War II. Francesca Gamber discusses the politics of interracial sex during the national civil rights movement, while Katherine Henninger and Riché Richardson each consider the intersections of race and sexuality in the blaxploitation film Mandingo and the comedy of Steve Harvey, respectively. Political and religious regulation of sexual behavior also receives attention in Claire Strom's essay on venereal disease treatment in wartime Florida, Stephanie M. Chalifoux's examination of prostitution networks in Alabama, Krystal Humphreys's piece on purity culture in modern Christianity, and Whitney Strub's essay delving into the sexual politics of the Memphis Deep Throat trials. Specific places in the South figure prominently in Jerry Watkins's essay on queer sex in the Redneck Riviera of northern Florida, Richard Hourigan's exploration of bachelor parties in Myrtle Beach, and Matt Miller's piece on African American spring break celebrations in Atlanta. Finally, Abigail Parsons and Trent Brown investigate southern portrayals of gender and sexuality in the fiction of Fannie Flagg and Larry Brown. Above all, Sex and Sexuality in Modern Southern Culture demonstrates that sex has been a fluid and resilient force operating across multiple discourses and practices in the contemporary South, and remains a vital component in the perception of a culturally complex region.


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