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Critical Studies of Southern Place

A Reader

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William M. Reynolds

Critical Studies of Southern Place: A Reader critically investigates and informs the construction of Southernness, Southern identity, and the South past and present. It promotes and expands the notion of a Southern epistemology. Authors from across the South write about such diverse topics as Southern working-class culture; LGBT issues in the South; Southern music; Southern reality television; race and ethnicity in the South; religion in the South; sports in the South; and Southernness. How do these multiple interpretations of popular culture within critical conceptualizations of place enhance our understandings of education? Critical Studies of Southern Place investigates the connections between the critical examination of place-specific culture and its multiple connections with education and pedagogy. This important book fills a significant gap in the scholarly work on the ramifications of place. Readers will be able to center the importance of place in their own scholarship and cultural work as well as be able to think deeply about how Southern place affects us all.
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Chapter Eleven: Honey Boo Boo, Moonshiners, and Duck Dynasty: The Intersection of Popular Culture and a Southern Place

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ELEVEN

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Moonshiners, and Duck Dynasty: The Intersection of Popular Culture and a Southern Place

ELEANOR BLAIR

Writing this chapter was a deeply personal experience; it was impossible to remove my story, my narrative, from the thoughts and ideas that I have shared. These days, each time I turn on the television, I am besieged with images of the South that I find disconcerting. And of course I am painfully aware that the South as it is defined through these images is neither geographically nor demographically accurate. In reality, the South represents myriad regions of the southern United States, but it also represents a way of life, a life that is shaped by traditions that dictate everything from manners to religion to politics, but it is also a treasured and rich tapestry of life that is woven with the threads of a complicated history filled with the literary, artistic, and musical contributions from a long line of notable and talented artists. In contrast, these popular images of the South present characters with distorted and exaggerated qualities of speech and behavior that cater to the fantasies of other people in other parts of the world—caricatures of Southern culture. My attempts to maintain a sense of humor and remain objective about Southern reality television are more successful some days than others; I grow tired of laughing at the bad imitations of a Southern accent that are offered unapologetically by...

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