Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies


Southern Studies

First Advisor

Andy Harper

Second Advisor

Deborah Barker

Third Advisor

Jodi Skipper

Relational Format



This thesis explores the filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s portrayal of the South and southerners in his films Pulp Fiction (1994), Death Proof (2007), and Django Unchained (2012). In order to do so, it explores and explains Tarantino’s mixture of genres, influences, and filmmaking styles in which he places the South and its inhabitants into current trends in southern studies which aim to examine the South as a place that is defined by cultural reproductions, lacking authenticity, and cultural distinctiveness. Like Godard before him, Tarantino’s movies are commentaries on film history itself. In short, Tarantino’s films actively reimagine the South and southerners in a way that is not nostalgic for a “southern way of life,” nor meant to exploit lower class whites. Tarantino’s application of southerness in his movies are self-reflexive commentaries on “southerness,” assembling them in a postmodern fashion by mixing high and low culture and multiple, even contradictory, genres and images from film history. Tarantino takes traditional southern narratives on their head to reimagine and repurpose generic tropes, making him a pioneer of postsouthern cinema.



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