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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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Preface: Old Times There Are Not Forgotten



Old Times There are Not Forgotten

William M. Reynolds

Southerners of both races share a rootedness that even in moments of anger and pain we have been unable to repudiate or ignore, for the South—all of what it is—is in us all. As with Quentin Compson speaking in his pent-up frenzy to his Canadian roommate at Harvard, we love it and we hate it and we cannot turn our backs on it. (Morris, 1981, p. 75)

I don’t normally write a preface, chapters, articles, or even emails on planes. But as I sat down in my seat on a flight from Baltimore and was waiting for the plane to take off, I found a new issue of Delta Sky Magazine (November, 2013) in the seat pocket. Trying to relieve the boredom of waiting, I thumbed through the magazine and was shocked to find the article “Why Southern Food Is so Hot.” My claim has been that America has gone South both politically and culturally (Reynolds, 2013), and there, in the seat pocket of the plane, was another confirmation not only of this claim, but also of the trendy commodification of the South. Southernness is in, and you can buy it everywhere.

Thanks to our collective yearning for food with a distinct sense of place, down-home Southern staples such as barbecue, bourbon, and biscuits have never been hotter. Their reach is extending well beyond their humble...

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