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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 Twenty-Four: Visual Landscapes, Literacies, and Place: The South (Re)seen

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TWENTY-FOUR

Visual Landscapes, Literacies, and Place: The South (Re)seen

LEILA E. VILLAVERDE, ROYMIECO A. CARTER, AND DANA M. STACHOWIAK

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…we situate time, place, and knowledge. Borrowing the opening of fairytales, we invite readers into the stories produced by complex and intricate visual landscapes in the South. We use photographs both historical and contemporary (courtesy of coauthor Dana Stachowiak) to deeply study the South through images and visuals (from popular culture and folklore) to juxtapose Southern time and sentiment. We look at photographs to question methods of representation, albeit limited, and the vantage points these offer. What can be “seen” in these images largely depends, of course, on what is captured, but also on the photographer and the viewer/reader, and their frames, eyes, positionalities, reflexivities, and knowledge, and on other actors/participants. Too often we regard the image as truth, so our study interrogates said practice and still uses these photographs as rich research artifacts. We focus on three major areas of inquiry: the migration south; a visual Southern politics; and a revisionist imagery of Southern culture, where roles are reversed. We discuss the significance of place in the psyche of the South, the influence of folklore and symbolism, and the Southern literacies produced. In conclusion, we link visual inquiry to investigations of place and identity and offer tenets for visual research that recenter subjectivity as a critical lens for making meaning and...

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