In Critical Studies of Southern Place: A Reader

Watson titles his chapter: The World Through My Eyes: A Rural Southern Boys Comes of Age

Lemuel W. Watson

Peter Lang


This chapter presents a reflection on the structure of life in the rural south compared to current conditions through a native son's eyes. The author builds the case that community, education, social functions, and values created a certain identity with regards to place, time, and responsibility. Through narrative, historical documents, and current literature, the author compares and contracts the changes over the years as he has developed as a professional and person who is deeply commitment to his home in South Carolina. Throughout this chapter issues relating to family, land/place, race, ethnicity, southernness, sexuality, religion, gender roles, and leadership to name a few will be discussed. In essence, the author, a dean at a large research university, will share personal stories about living, leaving, and returning to South Carolina as an example of how powerful a rural southern background can be in developing a positive disposition, strong character, and sharp determination to succeed in life.

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.