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 is the author of many books, including My Tears Spoiled My Aim and Other Reflections on Southern Culture, Whistling Dixie: Dispatches from the South, The Enduring South, and Southern Folk, Plain and Fancy. He is William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology, Adjunct Professor of American Studies, and Director of the Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.