Shared Traditions


3.7 (10 ratings by Goodreads)
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Grounded in Charles Joyner's unique blend of rigorous scholarship and genuine curiosity, these thoughtful and incisive essays by the eminent southern historian and folklorist explore the South's extraordinary amalgam of cultural traditions. By examining the mutual influence of history and folk culture, "Shared Traditions" reveals the essence of southern culture in the complex and dynamic interactions of descendants of Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans. The book covers a broad spectrum of southern folk groups, folklore expressions, and major themes of southern history, including antebellum society, slavery, the coming of the Civil War, economic modernization in the Appalachians and the Sea Islands, immigration, the civil rights movement, and the effects of cultural tourism. Joyner addresses the convergence of African and European elements in the Old South and explores how specific environmental and demographic features shaped the acculturation process. He discusses divergent practices in worship services, funeral and burial services, and other religious ceremonies.
He examines links between speech patterns and cultural patterns, the influence of Irish folk culture in the American South, and the southern Jewish experience. He also investigates points of intersection between history and legend and relations between the new social history and folklore. Ranging from rites of power and resistance on the slave plantation to the creolization of language to the musical brew of blues, country, jazz, and rock, "Shared Traditions" reveals the distinctive culture born of a sharing by black and white southerners of their deep-rooted and diverse traditions.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 392 pages
  • 170.18 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 430.91g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 025206772X
  • 9780252067723

Review quote

"Intellectually stimulating and beautifully crafted. Joyner's views are unique because he approaches his subject as both a folklorist and a historian...Joyner's fascination with his native region is apparent throughout... Filled with fresh, provocative insights on Southern history and folk culture... Ultimately, it is a relentlessly optimistic book, both a work of faith and a call for Southerners to employ their shared traditions to construct the beloved community." - Melton McLaurin, Raleigh News & Observer "Another reminder of why [Joyner] is one of the most engaging and skillful observers of the South... Scholars, general readers, and students will benefit from -- and enjoy -- this marvelous collection." -- Edward D. C. Campbell, Jr. ,The North Carolina Historical Review "A rich collection... eminently worth reading, revealing ... the depth of Joyner's scholarship, the breadth of his historical and social concerns, and his encompassing love of his region and its people. Joyner himself personifies the 'shared traditions' that, for him, have shaped the South, and this book is his testament. It is a worthy one." - John Salmond, Australasian Journal of American Studies "Taken together, Joyner's essays make a compelling case for the southern folk as the repository of southern singularity." -- Jay Langdale, Southern Historian "Joyner's is a deeply humane and hopeful vision. He celebrates what he loves about a culture in a brilliant essay on the dulcimer, for example, and is just as clear about what he thinks stifles a culture's natural transformations, as do seacoast developers and the commercialization of folkways. But neither celebration nor criticism is the intellectual heart of this collection. Instead, Joyner's essays work in two ways toward making a middle ground in the interpretation of southern life and history. First, his abiding interest in how tradition adapts to change leads him to emphasize the balance in the history of racial conflict... On a second kind of middleground, Joyner's effort is to bring into common cause the work of historians and folklorists." - Steven Stowe, Journal of American History "Provides an excellent analysis of the historiography of both white and black southern folk culture... Argues convincingly that the complexity of modern southern culture has its roots in the intermingling of Europeans and Africans and raises important issues for the future study of southern folk culture." -- Carroll Calhoun, The Alabama Review "Reading this book is rather like camping out on the front porch for an evening with a well-traveled author and raconteur who is telling you of his life's work. Joyner informs and delights with stories of people he has met and how they have influenced him... The book reads easily, the author's learning is serious but wears lightly, and virtually all scholars in southern studies will benefit from getting in their favorite reading chair and having a silent conversation with Joyner." -- Paul Harvey, South Carolina Historical Magazine "An unusually rich series of essays... [Joyner's] enthusiasm for folk music, both white and black, is a most outstanding feature of the book. For those of us largely ignorant of the borrowing between white and black musicians, Joyner's explications come as a revelation... [This study is] a set of coherent reflections on aspects of Southern history and culture that other scholars have missed. Joyner's brilliant, accessible, and almost poetic analysis makes the volume mandatory reading for scholars and general readers alike." -- Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Florida Historical Quarterly "Sixteen essays, some old, some new, introduce folklife to historians of the South and history to folklorists of the South... Shared Traditions points out promising new directions for two disciplines by tracing the career of one extraordinary scholar. The ideas here offer historians and folklorists the chance to recover a 'lost opportunity' and learn from one another." -- Bruce E. Baker, The South Carolina Review ADVANCE PRAISE "Charles Joyner has devoted his entire career to folkways, folk music, and folklore. He loves it as fondly as he does the people and the land where it flourishes."-C. Vann Woodward "Joyner is a rare bird: a regional and even local historian who has studied, read, and written on very large subjects. His shorter works included here make for a fine reading experience. This collection will become the bedside book of the year for historians and folklorists."-Roger Abrahams "Both historian and folklorist, Charles Joyner offers insights into the southern experience unmatched in their range and interest. From John Brown to the blues, Shared Traditions reveals a South rich in complexity, a South of both continuities and constant transformations."-Drew Gilpin Faust
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Rating details

10 ratings
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 20% (2)
4 40% (4)
3 30% (3)
2 10% (1)
1 0% (0)
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