Southern Strategies: Narrative Negotiation in an Evangelical Region

Michael Odom, Associate Professor


Type of Leave
Fellowship Award for Research
Full year starting Fall 2021

Project Description

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“Southern Strategies: Narrative Negotiation in an Evangelical Region” explores the narrative strategies southern writers employ to resist, satirize, and creatively negotiate evangelical communities. Concerned with the interplay and tension between individuals and religious communities, my research examines writers in the twentieth century who grew up in the South and eventually turned a critical and imaginative eye toward the region’s evangelical and authoritarian orientation. By examining both nonfiction and fiction, I argue that each author engages in “writing the self” within the context of religious community; such interplay produces fascinating narrative struggles with profound implications among topics such as race, gender, class, and sexuality. By understanding these writers as situated within their particular contexts, I trace how evangelical religion marshaled white supremacy and cultural conformity in the American South.