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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 Six: Redneck Piece of White Trash: Southern Rebels and Music: Epistemologies ofClass, Masculinity, and Race Identity

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SIX

Redneck Piece of White Trash: Southern Rebels and Music: Epistemologies of Class, Masculinity, and Race Identity

WILLIAM M. REYNOLDS

And you would speak the grammar of dirt farmers and Negroes [sic], using ain’t’s and reckless verb forms with such natural instinct that the right ones would have sounded high-blown and phony, and pushing the country talk to such limits that making it as flamboyant as possible became an end in itself.

—Willie Morris (1967, p. 124)

Never a dominant component in mainstream country music, overt, class-conscious treatment of blue-collar resentment and pride had been more the stock-in-trade of southern and country rockers such as the Charlie Daniels Band and the ill-fated Lynyrd Skynyrd, whose partly ironic 1974 hit “Sweet Home Alabama,” was immediately embraced by many white southerners as a classic expression of regional pride and spoiling-for-a-fight defiance.

—James Cobb (2011, p. 253)

Flashback early 1970s—my friends and I are sitting around (hanging out) in my buddy Jeff’s house in Rochester, New York, wearing western shirts, jeans, and boots listening to New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Band, Marshall Tucker, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. I have often wondered why we were listening to Southern/country rock music in New York in the early 1970s. I have thought about that over the years. Sure, we were working-class kids, but I am not sure how that influenced our choice of these bands—it may have...

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