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Sunbelt Rising
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Sunbelt Rising
The Politics of Space, Place, and Region

Edited by Michelle Nickerson and Darren Dochuk

480 pages | 6 x 9 | 8 illus.
Paper 2014 | ISBN 9780812223002 | $28.95s | Outside the Americas £21.99
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
Published in cooperation with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University
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"This well-written and insightful book mirrors the very region it attempts to understand. While certain shared commonalities exist, one is most struck by the differences between locations and the rich diversity of people and experiences. . . . The real strength of Sunbelt Rising is the innovative scholarship found within its pages."—Western Historical Quarterly

"An important and insightful anthology for scholars interested in the socioeconomic, cultural, and political history of the American Sunbelt. . . . Replete with innovation, thoughtful analysis, and mature synthesis, Sunbelt Rising should quickly become a go-to test for scholars interested in the region's social and political culture."—Journal of Southern History

"Sunbelt Rising represents the maturation of a new generation of scholarship on the Sunbelt. Drawing on recent work in metropolitan history, urban planning, economics, and political science, these scholars reach provocative conclusions on issues of race, religion, politics, and economic development that see beyond established regional boundaries. Altogether an impressive volume."—Bruce Schulman, author of The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Politics, and Society

"Sunbelt Rising provides fresh perspectives on established subjects, including racial division, boosterism and growth politics, and the making of modern conservatism. It also pushes the discussion in new and interesting directions, bringing in issues like energy development, Native American policy, prison construction, and evangelical entrepreneurs, among others."—Kevin M. Kruse, author of White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism

Coined by Republican strategist Kevin Phillips in 1969 to describe the new alloy of conservatism that united voters across the southern rim of the country, the term "Sunbelt" has since gained currency in the American lexicon. By the early 1970s, the region had come to embody economic growth and an ambitious political culture. With sprawling suburban landscapes, cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles seemed destined to sap influence from the Northeast. Corporate entrepreneurialism and a conservative ethos helped forge the Sunbelt's industrial-labor relations, military spending, education systems, and neighborhood development. Unprecedented migration to the region ensured that these developments worked in concert with sojourners' personal quests for work, family, community, and leisure. In the resplendent Sunbelt the nation seemed to glimpse the American Dream remade.

The essays in Sunbelt Rising deploy new analytic tools to explain this region's dramatic rise. Contributors to the volume study the Sunbelt as both a physical entity and a cultural invention. They examine the raised highway, the sprawling prison complex, and the fast-food restaurant as distinctive material contours of a region. In this same vein they delineate distinctive Sunbelt models of corporate and government organization, which came to shape so many aspects of the nation's political and economic future. Contributors also examine literature, religion, and civic engagement to illustrate how a particular Sunbelt cultural sensibility arose that ordered people's lives in a period of tumultuous change. By exploring the interplay between the Sunbelt as a structurally defined space and a culturally imagined place, Sunbelt Rising addresses longstanding debates about region as a category of analysis.

Michelle Nickerson is Associate Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago.

Darren Dochuk is Associate Professor of History at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics of Washington University in St. Louis.

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