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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 Twenty: Reasons for Moving: Reading Lessons from Southern-Sacred Textuality

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TWENTY

Reasons for Moving: Reading Lessons from Southern-Sacred Textuality

BRANDON L. SAMS

“My Dear, find what you love and let it kill you.”

—attributed, perhaps falsely, to Charles Bukowski,

“Really it is very simple, at least for a fellow like me; so simple that it is easily overlooked. The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life.”

—Walker Percy, The Moviegoer

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I should save this admission for the end, after having sufficient space and opportunity to reflect on the South, my life and work in the South, and what reading, writing, and learning (in and out of school) might make possible for those who call the South home. “Reasons for moving” slightly misses the mark, as this essay is as much about staying put as it is about moving away. The South has always been home for me, both literally and figuratively. While there are many reasons for moving (away, anywhere but here), there are as many for staying and doing the work of reading, teaching, and living. I suspect many of the reasons—for moving, for staying—are the same. In and through this writing, I have learned the many responsibilities to a place that emerge from being in/from a place and, perhaps more importantly, from trying to understand that place.

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