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Forgotten Places

Critical Studies in Rural Education

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Edited By William M. Reynolds

Forgotten Places: Critical Studies in Rural Education critically investigates and informs the construction of the rural, rural identity and the understanding of the rural internationally. This book promotes and expands the notion of critical understandings of rural education, particularly in the areas of race, class, gender, and LGBTQ, with conceptualizations of social justice. While there have been many volumes written on critical issues in urban education, only a small number have been produced on rural education, and the majority of those are not critical. By contrast, Forgotten Places not only discusses "schools in the country," but also expands conceptualizations of the rural beyond schools and place as well as beyond the borders of the United States. It also tackles the artificial duality between conceptualizations of urban and rural. Forgotten Places includes scholarly investigations into the connections among the symbolic order, various forms of cultural artifacts and multiple readings of these artifacts within the context of critical/transformational pedagogy. This book fills a significant gap in the scholarly work on the ramifications of the rural.

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Chapter Eleven: A Memoir of Littleville School: Identity, Community, and Rural Education in a Curriculum Study of Rural Place (Reta Ugena Whitlock)

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

A Memoir OF Littleville School

Identity, Community, and Rural Education in a Curriculum Study of Rural Place

RETA UGENA WHITLOCK



I am a product of rural schooling in a place called Littleville, Alabama. I have a sense of pride in it. I have a Ph.D., have published, have traveled all over the world. I chair a department in one of the largest universities in the state of Georgia. I am successful according to most any metric that is used to measure success. In this essay I recount my experiences going through the school, yet this is not an exercise in nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake, nor a progress narrative of outmigration. From my accounting, it is my hope that the school as an anchor of the community will emerge, as a place-within-a-place. This essay, a curriculum study of rural place, extends existing conversations on rural education, specifically the effects school closures have on communities. My narrative takes up the span of years where my story and the school’s intersect, 1969–1977, and speaks to intersections of identity, intergenerationality, schooling, and rural community—all contextualized in a place that no longer exists and possibly never did. Littleville School closed in 1994 after 56 years in operation, a casualty of the wave of school consolidation in that began in the 1980s. “We might as well not have rural education research,” declare Howley, Theobald, and Howley (2005, p. 1)...

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