New Book Analyzes Role of Region in New Media Landscape
From the newspaper controversy at the center of the Wilmington race riot of 1898 and the "media circus" of the 1925 Scopes trial to the Twitter rise of neo-Confederate movements and Black Lives Matter activism, media has long been a proverbial battleground for competing ideologies of the U.S. South.
Responding to this history, a University of Arkansas researcher's new edited collection describes the ways in which new media shape understandings of the region. Remediating Region: New Media and the U.S. South, published this month by Louisiana State University Press, is edited by Lisa Hinrichsen, associate professor of English, Gina Caison of Georgia State University and Stephanie Rountree of the University of North Georgia. Hinrichsen, Rountree and Caison previously edited Small-Screen Souths: Region, Identity, and the Cultural Politics of Television (LSU Press, 2017).
Rather than a media history of the region or a history of Southern media, Remediating Region: New Media and the U.S. South formulates a critical methodology for studying the continuous reinventions of regional space across media platforms. The book both articulates the virtual realities of the twenty-first-century U.S. South and historicizes the impact of "new" media on a region that has long been mediated. Eleven essays examine media moments ranging from the 19th century to the present day, among them Frederick Douglass's utilization of early photography, video game representations of a late capitalist landscape, rural queer communities' engagement with social media platforms, and contemporary technologies focused on revitalizing Indigenous cultural practices.
In emphasizing that all media was once new media, the collection traces the ever-shifting ideas of place that undergird American regionalism. Interdisciplinary in scope and execution, Remediating Region argues that on an increasingly networked planet, concerns over the mediated region continue to inform how audiences and participants understand their entrée into a global world through local space.
Hinrichsen is also the author of Possessing the Past: Trauma, Imagination, and Memory in Post-Plantation Southern Literature (LSU Press, 2015). She served as the President of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature from 2018 to 2020.
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