Surveying the South collects some of John Shelton Reed's classic essays which offer an introduction to the sociology of the South. Beginning with the roots of regional sociology, Reed examines threads of continuity and change in southern sociology, including such issues as southern stereotypes and the changing definition of the South. His history of the mythical but often-cited correlation between cotton prices and lynching offers a profound warning students and scholars alike - ""always verify your references"". Reed offers several essays on what has been called ""the central theme"" of southern sociology - race relations. He demonstrates the success of the civil rights movement in the South and explores the ways in which southern identity has become more regional than racial. Reed concludes this collection with a plea to sociologists to abandon the effort to ""sound scientific"". ""Let's not seal the borders of our profession with an impenetrable style and vocabulary,"" writes Reed. ""Plainly, outsiders are not impressed"". This work is intended to be useful to students of sociology and southern studies and to general readers.
John Shelton Reed taught for thirty-one years at the University of North Carolina, where he directed the Howard Odum Institute for Research in Social Science and helped to found the university's Center for the Study of the American South. A founding coeditor of the quarterly Southern Cultures, he has received many fellowships and prizes and has been president of the Southern Sociological Society and the Southern Association for Public Opinion Research. He was once a judge at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and in 2001 he was elected to the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Reed has written many books including Kicking Back and My Tears Spoiled My Aim (both with University of Missouri Press). He lives and writes in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.