Southern Landscapes in Memory & Action


Ted L. Gragson - University of Georgia 


Abstract: Humans have diverse and subtle ways of manipulating and shaping the landscapes they inhabit. Southern history has often relied on crude geographic and economic determinism to craft parochial narratives of early settlers patiently chopping their way out of the dark woods into the sunlight or timber barons slashing and burning their way across the landscape. Results from ongoing socio-ecological research that re-examines such interpretations of past-to-present land use shows how to move from simplistic and speculative accounts to understandings that support the decisions needed in the ongoing transformation of the “Old South” into the “New South.”