March 2, 2011
You might say American Studies Professor Allen Tullos has a complicated relationship with the state of Alabama. He's a native son, but takes issue with its many complex historical, racial and cultural issues – and their consequences for the state's reputation as a backwater. His experience growing up affected his decision to do scholarship on the American South, and can be seen in his editorial influence as senior editor in the interdisciplinary online journal Southern Spaces.
Now, in hopes of spurring discussion and change, Tullos is making his critique of his homeland public with a new book, "Alabama Getaway: The Political Imaginary and the Heart of Dixie" (University of Georgia Press, 2011).
In it, Tullos describes the constellation of historical events and attitudes that have created and perpetuated the public's view of Alabama as a frequent national joke. Tullos also explores the stories of notable Alabamians who've broken free of the state's attitudes and belief systems to forge a new way for themselves and fellow statesmen, in or out of Alabama.
Listen to Allen Tullos talk about the state's history, and its impact on common perceptions of Alabama.
Listen to Tullos read from the introduction to "Alabama Getaway."