Southern Cultures: The Help Special Issue

Volume 20: Number 1 – Spring 2014 Issue

Edited by Harry L. Watson, Jocelyn Neal

112 pp., 7 x 10, 45 halftones

  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1593-6
    Published: February 2014
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4867-3
    Published: February 2014

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Distributed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for the Study of the American South

Southern Cultures: The Help Special Issue

Volume 20: Number 1 – Spring 2014

Table of Contents

Front Porch,

by Harry L. Watson

“Lauded for her endless gifts and selfless generosity, Mammy is summoned from the kitchen to refute the critics of southern race relations; cruelly circumscribed and taken for granted, she silently confirms them all.”

The Divided Reception of The Help

by Suzanne W. Jones

The more one examines the reception of The Help, the less one is able to categorize the reception as divided between blacks and whites or academics and general readers or those who have worked as domestics and those who haven’t.

Black Women’s Memories and The Help

by Valerie Smith

“Cultural products—literary texts, television series, films, music, theatre, etc.—that look back on the Movement tell us at least as much about how contemporary culture views its own racial politics as they do about the past they purport to represent, often conveying the fantasy that the United States has triumphed over and transcended its racial past.”

“A Stake in the Story”: Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, Ellen Douglas’s Can’t Quit You, Baby, and the Politics of Southern Storytelling

by Susan V. Donaldson

“Like The Help, Can’t Quit You, Baby focuses on the layers of habit, antipathy, resentment, suspicion, attachment, and silence linking white employer and black employee, but in ways that are far more unsettling.”

“We Ain’t Doin’ Civil Rights”: The Life and Times of a Genre, as Told in The Help

by Allison Graham

“Perhaps because the modern Civil Rights Movement and television news came of age together, the younger medium was destined to become an iconographic feature of the civil rights genre.”

Every Child Left Behind: Minny’s Many Invisible Children in The Help

by Kimberly Wallace-Sanders

“The question arises: wouldn’t the mammy characters be rendered more believable in their altruism if it extended beyond white children to all children?”

Kathryn Stockett’s Postmodern First Novel

by Pearl McHaney

“Pleasure and anger are dependent on one another for heightened authenticity. Discussing The Help with delight and outrage seems just the right action.”

Not Forgotten: Twenty-Five Years Out from Telling Memories

Conversations Between Mary Yelling and Susan Tucker

compiled and introduced by Susan Tucker

“I am glad she used what the women told us and made something different from it. She made people listen. I know it is fiction, and I know not everyone liked it, but she made people not forget. What more can you want?”

Mason-Dixon Lines

Prayer for My Children

poetry by Kate Daniels

About the Contributors

Southern Cultures is published quarterly (spring, summer, fall, winter) by the University of North Carolina Press. The journal is sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for the Study of the American South.

About the Authors

Harry L. Watson is Atlanta Alumni Distinguished Professor in UNC’s Department of History and is cofounder, with John Shelton Reed, of Southern Cultures.
For more information about Harry L. Watson, visit the Author Page.

Jocelyn Neal is director of UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South and teaches music theory, analysis, and popular music courses. She regularly presents her research at national conferences on American music, popular music, music theory, and cultural studies.
For more information about Jocelyn Neal, visit the Author Page.


“The rich array of photographs and graphics, and the sincere and effective attempt at readerly appeal, go well beyond what is attempted by most… Southern Cultures is truly impressive.”--The Council of Editors of Learned Journals