Issue 1: Spring 2013

Gloves Icon

I. Cotillion Gloves | Taylor Batten 

Some objects get their power from what they hold – hands, flowers, coins.  Cotillion gloves and Mason jars are both quintessentially Southern objects, but they function in almost exactly opposite ways: one is ornamental, the other utilitarian; one conceals, the other reveals; one is used a single time then stored away, while the other is used every day.

Mason Jars

II. Mason Jar | Rachel Mabe 

The Mason jar and the cast-iron skillet are everyday objects, often passed down through generations of Southern families, one used in the preparation and the other in the preservation of food.  The contents held within both the mason jar and the cast-iron pan come to be defined not by their essential nature, but by their presence in that vessel.

Cast Iron Icon

III. Cast Iron Frying Pan | Ellen Saunders Duncan 

Just as the cast-iron pan holds decades of one family’s memories, the mammy holds lifetimes of a collective memory.  She too wonders with what her instrument is vested.


IV. Mammy’s Cupboard | Candice Jansen 

How much does Mammy weigh?  Pedro weighs 77 tons, stands at 97 feet and has 4 miles of wiring.


V. Pedro | Sarah Madge 

Pedro is a monument to a culture of capitalism, his own particular kind of Southern ruin that is as inextricably molded to his landscape as Hampton Plantation rice dikes.  Standing as a sentinel over the entrance to a rapidly vanishing South, Pedro serves as the standard bearer for a diverse set of imagined Souths whose time has past.

Rice Dike

VI. Hampton Plantation Rice Dike | Elijah Gaddis 

Like the rice dikes of Hampton plantation, King’s castle remains in the midst of a transformed landscape, a monumental reminder of the frailty of Southern ambition.  Such ruins that lie in or on the landscape do not stop surrounding change, and do not even serve as a reminder for past pride and greed.

Kings Castle

VII. King’s Castle | Evan Noll 

The King’s Castle, just like an Alabama Lane Cake, is the failure of an idea.Failure takes many forms; mine took the shape of Lane Cake.

lane cake with frosting

VIII. Lane Cake | Kaitlyn Vogt 

And, that’s how a boozy cake came to symbolize so much more.  Like the cake, another specialty made from the great sugar fields of the South, Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane is sure to pack a punch to your taste buds.


IX. Hurricanes | Burke Edwards 

From one sugary drink in Louisiana to another in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Mediterranean Deli’s famous Sweet Tea will wash down any meal the right way.  You don’t need to risk hangover headaches to drink in the sweetness of the South.

sweet tea

X. Mediterranean Deli’s Rose Water Sweet Tea | Laura Peace 

The substance of the South is always found anew and redesigned.  Every object has a recipe: Med Deli twists a Southern classic; but Scarlett’s green curtain dress denies the sum of its parts.

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XI. Scarlett O’Hara’s Green Curtain Dress | Stephen Mandravelis 

Thousands of threads constitute a dress; a single thread divides a country.  Sometimes the most accurate view of the past is the one that exists only in our head.

Mason Dixon Icon

XI. Mason Dixon Line | Daniel Kurt Ackermann 

Like a glove, the Mason Dixon line is both open and closed, open to those who belong, but a hard boundary against that which does not.

Issue 1 was completed by graduate students in  AMST: 490 “Writing Material Culture,” under the direction of editor-in-chief Bernard L. Herman in fall 2012.