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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-Three: The World Through My Eyes: A Rural Southern Boy Comes of Age



The World Through My Eyes: A Rural Southern Boy Comes of Age


The context of where one is born and raised has a powerful influence on developmental factors, life perspectives, and how one sees himself or herself in the world. As a child of the 1960s and 70s, I have been influenced by numerous changes that have shaped our history and our country. I was in the first integrated 1st-grade class in my town. I am from a blended family and am the middle child, sandwiched between other children. The essence of who I am and what my place in the world is are shaped by my family and community. I know of no other way to be except as a Southerner who was raised in rural South Carolina. It does not limit me from becoming what I need to be, but it does interact with my worldly experiences in ways that remind, resonate, and ground me to my own existential knowledge.

The community I grew up in would be considered by any standard an integrated rural community. Whites and blacks lived comfortably together and supported each other, from my recollection. I was born in 1964, when party lines were used for communications by telephone. There were blacks and whites that shared the lines, and I don’t recall anyone having first rights to use. If you picked up the phone and it was engaged, you gave...

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