The Dixie Plantation State: Antebellum Fiction and Global Capitalism


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This study explores how literature written in and about the US South before the Civil War reflected the tension in the plantation system that formed the economic basis of the region. On one hand, the southern economy was invested in laissez-faire, liberal capitalism that emphasized individual opportunism, modernization, and participation in global commerce. On the other, the predominance of slavery and the social structures that sustained the individual plantations created a culture that was isolated, rural, and socially oppressive. The form imaginative writing took during this time represents the cultural impact of an economy invested in both international capitalism and a version of provincial feudalism.