The Televised South, Panel for SCMS 2012 (Chicago)
The Televised South: Intersections of Race, Gender, and Class in the American South
This panel examines the recent reemergence of the American South across network and cable television. The many cable reality shows geared at men like Cajun Justice, Swamp People, Duck Dynasty and quite a few more reiterate visions of a rural South that is backwards, uneducated, and primarily white. At the same time, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Single Ladies, and Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta showcase a wealthy and primarily Black urban South. Other scripted cable shows like The Walking Dead and Justified reiterate the primacy of reformed white lawman in Southern spaces. These shows are representative of a variety of genres and positions within the television industry and they include diverse versions of the South. However, they all uniformly rely on a paradigm that distinguishes the South from the rest of the nation, geographically, historically, and culturally.
This panel aims to examine and intervene in monolithic media made fantasies of the region as rural, white, and backwards and even popular criticism, which often fails to include shows like Single Ladies and Real Housewives of Atlanta in discussions of the televised South. From the CW's series Vampire Diaries and Hart of Dixie, to HBO's True Blood, and Bravo's The Real Housewives of Atlanta the South offers an emergent-and popular-televisual universe for the dissemination of cultural and national fantasies about the intersections of race, gender, class, and region in the U.S.
We are interested in papers that address intersections race, gender, and/or class in the televised South.