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Critical Studies of Southern Place

A Reader


Edited By 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 Thirteen: SubalternDesires: Queer (in) Southern Story Lines: Looking at Movies and the Queering of/in the South.



Subaltern Desires: Queer (in) Southern Story Lines: Looking at Movies and the Queering of/in the South


Growing up in a small northern town in the U.K., on the wrong side of the boundaries of insider/outsider, hetero/homo, I discovered considerably early on in life what fun could be had with popular cultural texts. I first fell in love watching Mervyn LeRoy’s (1949) MGM film Little Women, and I couldn’t for the life of me understand why June Allyson wouldn’t want to marry her handsome neighbor Laurie played by Peter Lawford. My dyke friends tell me the character Little Jo was something of an inspiration in their formative years, and it has been remarked that

Even though Little Women brings its tomboy heroine to the expected end of marriage, this conclusion is so unsatisfying and incoherent that most readers reject it in favor of the far more queer middle of Jo’s plot, where meanings do not line up into a seamless univocal whole. In this way Alcott perhaps unknowingly presented all readers with an epistemological occasion to develop a queer reading praxis. (Quimby, 2004, p. 8)

My dissident and non-normative readings of cinematic texts became a way of world-making and self-making. Inhabiting the creases (Schechner, 1988) where the worlds of dominant and vernacular literacies converge, my queer reading praxis afforded a critical location from which to re/textualize the quotidian; to rethink the complexity of who “I” was...

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