College of Arts and Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)
University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, Football, Southern Identity
Pollard, Wendi Jo, "Gridiron Reconstruction: The Struggle for the Soul of the Post-Civil War South as Embodied in the UGA vs Georgia Tech Rivalry" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4515.
The conflict between the Old South and New South has been examined through multiple historical lenses: political, social, racial, and economic. While it has also been analyzed in cultural terms, a study of how a classic southern rivalry between the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology reflects the strife which the South faced in its quest for a new identity - one that was acceptable to the world and a signal that the region was wanting to move on from its past. The University of Georgia/Georgia Tech rivalry embodied the struggle that the South was facing. The University of Georgia, the epitome of Old South charm and grace, was immediately challenged after the Civil War by the creation of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the New South’s answer to industrialization, engineering, and technology. As it was unlike any southern school that existed, Georgia Tech threatened the South’s way of life, traditions, and identity.Particularly on the football field, the ebb and flow of the Old South vs. New South struggle was evident. The intense 150 year football rivalry reflects what was occurring culturally, politically, and economically in the South as the region attempted to determine its identity moving forward. By the end of the twentieth century, the dominance of the University of Georgia in this classic rivalry mirrors the South’s chosen character, one that retains both classical elements of its past while incorporating the modern innovations that will make it a leader on the twenty-first century world stage.