Symposiums to Examine Sunbelt’s Changing Politics

July 18, 2008

Near the close of World War II, the United States began to experience a tremendous population shift.  Young families left crowded urban centers in the Northeast to build homes and new lives in southern states from Georgia to California. As Sunbelt cities such as Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta grew in size, they also grew in national clout. 

Today, scholars are evaluating how these new economic and political institutions in the Sunbelt have shaped the nation.  Dr. Michelle Nickerson, assistant professor of history in the School of Arts & Humanities, has organized two public symposiums about the region with Dr. Darren Dochuk, a historian at Purdue University.

The first of these is “Sunbelt Rising: The Politics of Space, Place, and Region in the American South and Southwest” Saturday, July 19, at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles. The second will follow on April 25, 2009 at SMU in Dallas.

“Warmer temperatures and air conditioning only begin to tell the story of the Sunbelt’s rise,” said Nickerson, whose research focuses on the history of the American conservative movement. “The objective of this symposium is to understand how a region functions as a category of political analysis.”

Twelve political historians and political scientists will give presentations at the first symposium.  Nickerson says lots of new scholarship has emerged in recent years about the Sunbelt, some of which will be discussed, including energy politics in Arizona, multi-racial politics during the Civil Rights Movement and an evangelical style of entrepreneurism introduced by the founder of the Chick-Fil-A chain.

The University of Pennsylvania Press will publish the papers as a volume edited by the conference organizers.


Media contact: Meredith Dickenson, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2293, meredith.dickenson@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Michelle Nickerson

Dr. Michelle Nickerson

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