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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 Thirty-One: “The Enemy in the Midst”: Gay-Identified Men in Christian College Spaces



“The Enemy in the Midst”: Gay-Identified Men in Christian College Spaces


Christian colleges are institutions of higher education that are unique in their symbolic power and educational mission. Supporters of Christian colleges describe the important role such spaces play in advancing and protecting the faith and creating a new generation of proselytizing believers (Adrian, 2003), while church officials tout the protective value of Christian colleges against the secularizing influence of higher education and for retaining young people in their denominations (Kingsriter, 2007). Central to maintaining an evangelical mission is the need to carefully prescribe and enforce standards of behavior for both students and staff. For students, such standards can include signing a “lifestyle covenant,” attending religious services, following guidelines regarding interactions with the opposite sex (e.g., “visitation hours”), alcohol restrictions, learning the theology of the host denomination, and various other standards particular to a given campus or denomination. Among these are norms and standards concerning sexual morality.

Many conservative Christian colleges have policies openly barring LGBT students from enrolling or graduating (Wollf & Himes, 2010), though efforts have been underway in recent years to appear more accommodating. For example, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (Jones, 2001), a group including approximately 174 Christian colleges, 62 of which are located in the Southern U.S. (48% of all U.S. Christian colleges), released recommendations for their member institutions on how to...

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