Exploring the rich linguistic diversity of the American South

The third installment in the landmark Language Variety in the South (LAVIS) series, New Perspectives on Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Approaches brings together essays devoted to the careful examination and elucidation of Jkt_Picone_mktgthe rich linguistic diversity of the American South, updating and broadening the work of the earlier volumes by more fully capturing the multifaceted configuration of languages and dialects in the South.

Beginning with an introduction to American Indian languages of the Southeast, five fascinating essays discuss indigenous languages, including Caddo, Ofo, and Timucua, and evidence for the connection between the Pre-Columbian Southeast and the Caribbean.

Five essays explore the earlier Englishes of the South, covering topics such as the eighteenth century as the key period in the differentiation of Southern American English and the use of new quantitative methods to trace the transfer of linguistic features from England to America. These essays examine a range of linguistic resources, such as plantation overseers’ writings, modern blues lyrics, linguistic databases, and lexical and locutional compilations that reveal the region’s distinctive dialectal traditions.

New Perspectives on Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Approaches widens the scope of inquiry into the linguistic influences of the African diaspora as evidenced in primary sources and records. A comprehensive essay redefines the varieties of French in Louisiana, tracing the pathway from Colonial Louisiana to the emergence of Plantation Society French in a diglossic relationship with Louisiana Creole. A further essay maps the shift from French to English in family documents.

An assortment of essays on English in the contemporary South touch on an array of compelling topics from discourse strategies to dialectal emblems of identity to stereotypes in popular perception.

Essays about recent Latino immigrants to the South bring the collection into the twenty-first century, taking into account the dramatic increase in the population of Spanish speakers and illuminating the purported role of “Spanglish,” the bilingual lives of Spanish-speaking Latinos in Mississippi, and the existence of regional Spanish dialectal diversity.


Michael D. Picone is a professor in and former chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at the University of Alabama; the author of Anglicisms, Neologisms, and Dynamic French; and a coeditor of the Dictionary of Louisiana French: As Spoken in Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities. Catherine Evans Davies is a professor in and former chair of the Department of English at the University of Alabama and a coeditor of English and Ethnicity.


“This collection of essays represents both an original and a significant contribution to the field. The most valuable aspect of the collection is the breadth of its enquiry, which encompasses the evolving picture of language in the South. Far more complicated than many realize, the language of the South merits intense scrutiny by linguists, since the South is in many ways ‘defined’ by its speech. Thanks to the scope and depth of the research presented in this book, which is supported by solid facts from geographic communities as well as from communities of practice, this collection of essays challenges major theoretical approaches in the field of linguistics itself.”
–Patricia Causey Nichols, author of Voices of our Ancestors: Language Contact in Early South Carolina

“This is an outstanding collection of essays–comprehensive in scope and containing work by the best scholars now writing. Of particular note are essays devoted to Amerindian languages and Spanish. Until recently, the South has been less influenced than other parts of the country by languages other than English. This linguistic isolationism is no longer the case, and the volume will introduce many readers to that fact.”
–Richard W. Bailey, author of Images of English: A Cultural History of the Language


Trade Cloth
6 1/8 x 9 1/4, 824 pp
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1815-4 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-8736-5 Ebook
Price: $59.95

Remembering Bloody Sunday

The Civil Rights Movement has contributed some of the most epic and pivotal moments in US history. Among the most dramatic were the events of March 7, 1965, in the Black Belt hamlet of Selma. On that day, six hundred protesters led by Martin Luther King Jr. set out on foot from Selma to Montgomery to demand voting rights. They got no further than the city’s Edmund Pettus Bridge before state and local law enforcement officers savagely attacked them with truncheons, an event now commemorated as “Bloody Sunday.”

Selma Lord SelmaThis year, UAP is proud to highlight our extensive list of memoirs and histories about Selma and the civil rights movement in Alabama. These classics in include Selma, Lord, Selma, a memoir coauthored by the youngest participant in the Bloody Sunday March, Sheyann Webb-Christburg. She will be the next featured speaker in the Alabama Department of Archives and History’s popular ArchiTreats lunchtime speaker program on Thursday, March 19. Click here for details.

A best-seller newly available in a paperback edition is Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson’s memoir The House by the Side of the Road: The Selma Civil Rights Movement. Richie Jean’s Selma home provided a safe haven for Martin Luther King Jr. and his lieutenants, events recently brought to life in the 2015 film “Selma.”

Other best-sellers include the photographic retrospective Powerful Days: Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore, featuring Alabama native and Life photographer Charles Moore’s most iconic civil rights–era photos. Black in Selma tells the story of J. L. Chestnut Jr, often identified in accounts of Bloody Sunday as “a local attorney,” who in fact was a central figure in Selma not just during March 1965 but for decades beyond. A recent best-seller is Maria Gitin’s fascinating memoir This Bright Light of Ours, which recounts her experiences as a voting rights activist in neighboring Wilcox County in the months following Bloody Sunday.

Readers in the Alabama area may be interested in taking part in this weekend’s Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma. Many UAP books will be available at the Wallace Community College Barnes & Noble as well as at the Jubilee festival.


“Indians Playing Indian”: challenging cultural misperceptions

Jkt_Siebert_mktgContemporary indigenous peoples in North America confront a unique predicament. While they are reclaiming their historic status as sovereign nations, mainstream popular culture continues to depict them as cultural minorities similar to other ethnic Americans. These depictions of indigenous peoples as “Native Americans” complete the broader narrative of America as a refuge to the world’s immigrants and a home to contemporary multicultural democracies, such as the United States and Canada. But they fundamentally misrepresent indigenous peoples, whose American history has not been of immigration but of colonization.

Monika Siebert’s Indians Playing Indian first identifies this phenomenon as multicultural misrecognition, explains its sources in North American colonial history and in the political mandates of multiculturalism, and describes its consequences for contemporary indigenous cultural production. It then explores the responses of indigenous artists who take advantage of the ongoing popular interest in Native American culture and art while offering narratives of the political histories of their nations in order to resist multicultural incorporation.

Each chapter of Indians Playing Indian showcases a different medium of contemporary indigenous art–museum exhibition, cinema, digital fine art, sculpture, multimedia installation, and literary fiction–and explores specific rhetorical strategies artists deploy to forestall multicultural misrecognition and recover political meanings of indigeneity. The sites and artists discussed include the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC; filmmakers at Inuit Isuma Productions; digital artists/photographers Dugan Aguilar, Pamela Shields, and Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie; sculptor Jimmie Durham; and novelist LeAnne Howe.

Monika Siebert is an associate professor of English at the University of Richmond, where she teaches indigenous and American literature and film.

“Monika Siebert’s thought-provoking book opens up a difficult puzzle: to what extent can indigenous artists represent the specificity of their cultures and (re)produce political visions that resist multiculturalism’s nationalist incorporation? Through analysis of a range of cultural, visual, and literary texts, Siebert identifies the fraught historical, political, and aesthetic contexts that illuminate this problem.”
–Beth H. Piatote, author of Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature

Trade Cloth
6 X 9, 240 pp
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1855-0 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-8798-3 Ebook
Price: $54.95

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,003 other followers