Southernization on Campus: Why Does it Matter?

Wilson Hall on the JMU campus.

Wilson Hall on the JMU campus.

As evidenced within this exhibit, the national trend of Southernization did appear within the Madison College/JMU community throughout the 1970s. Seen in cultural shifts within the student body towards the “redneck” subculture, the political sentiments on campus that changed from outspoken liberalism to conservative Republicanism, the more traditional ideals of gender roles that were supported throughout the decade, and the examination of Southern ruralism and heritage provide ample evidence to prove that Southernization did indeed touch the JMU community. The existence of Southernization in the JMU community shows that JMU is indeed very connected to the nation as a whole, and after-effects of Southernization can be seen on campus today. The overwhelming Republicanism, the idyllic views of the South, and even the socially constrained gender roles that exist on campus today can be attributed to the effects of Southernization in the 1970s. Because these effects can be seen even today, Schulman’s Southernization thesis is further supported by the trend’s effect within the Madison Collge/James Madison University community during the 1970s.

Works Cited

Control # Wilsh85+1 Historic Photos Online, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.