Edited By William M. Reynolds
Chapter Twenty-Four: Visual Landscapes, Literacies, and Place: The South (Re)seen
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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