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Critical Studies of Southern Place

A Reader

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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 Fourteen: Duck Dynasty Is a TV Show: The Outdoors and Southern Identity

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FOURTEEN

Duck Dynasty Is a TV Show: The Outdoors and Southern Identity

DAVID P. OWEN, JR.

So the instant came. He pulled the trigger and Sam Fathers marked his face with the hot blood which he had spilled and he ceased to be a child and became a hunter and a man.

—William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses

I love William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses (1942). I love its loosely stitched weaving of tales funny and sad and loving and tragic. I love its musings on time and nostalgia and “progress,” on what endures and what dissipates. I love Faulkner’s famous experiments in grammar and storytelling and how much I have to think to keep up. But mostly, I love everything Ike McCaslin—the reverence for the woods and all things old and mysterious, the power and paralysis of honor, the obsession with Right Manhood. I have read over and over the rituals of camp and the hunt and the stillness and felt the particularly Southern truth and blood-marked communion of man and nature.

Here’s the thing, though. I’m no McCaslin, mentored in the ways of the woods by a Sam Fathers; in fact, I’ve never even been hunting. I’ve fished and camped a few times, mostly as a kid, but I’ve never owned a tent or a gun, and my only fishing pole mostly collects dust behind the television upstairs. My family did have a place...

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