Writing the South through the Self
Explorations in Southern Autobiography
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Georgia Press
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THIS BOOK EVOLVED from a course I have taught at the University of Georgia for the past two decades or so, called "Southern Autobiography as Southern History." It was inspired by a similar course John Boles designed and taught at Rice University called "Growing Up Southern," and by an initiative...
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I HAVE LONG BELIEVED that autobiographers are, or can be, among the most astute chroniclers of the South. Much of what makes their self-portraits so accessibleindeed, so memorableis that they tend to privilege storytelling, dramatic turning points, and cathartic or...
1. Lessons from Southern Lives: Teaching Race through Autobiography
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ONE OF THE BIGGEST challenges we face as history teachers whether working with middle- or high-school students or college undergraduates is making sense of the vast complexities and variables that have always characterized the interactions of white and black Americans. ...
2. "I Learn What I Am": Adolescent Struggles with Mixed-Race Identities
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OF THE MANY eyewitness accounts we have of the Atlanta race riot of 1906, none is more chilling than that describing a thirteen-year-old black boy's confrontation with an angry white mob on the steps of his home. That young man was Walter White, who grew up to become...
3. "All Manner of Defeated, Shiftless, Shifty, Pathetic and Interesting Good People": Autobiographical Encounters with Southern White Poverty
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IN A TIDEWATER MORNING: Three Tales from Youth, his fictionalized memoir of growing up in eastern Virginia in the 1930s, William Styron wrote of his boyhood fascination with the Dabneys, a poor family who lived nearby and with whom he spent a great deal of time as a ten-year-old. ...
4. Railroads, Race, and Remembrance: The Traumas of Train Travel in the Jim Crow South
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AT THE BEGINNING of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, her classic account of growing up in Stamps, Arkansas, Maya Angelou told of the journey in 1931 that brought her there. She was a mere three years old when she and her four-year-old brother Bailey, the refuse of divorce, were...
5. "I'm Better Than This Sorry Place": Coming to Terms with Self and the South in College
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WILLIE MORRIS'S DISILLUSIONMENT with college life came early in his freshman year at the University of Texas in the fall of 1952. A Yazoo City, Mississippi, native who went to UT in Austin at his father's urging "I think you ought to go to school out there. Can't nuthin' in this...
6. Sense of Place, Sense of Being: Appalachian Struggles with Identity, Belonging, and Escape
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IN A RECENT COLLECTION of autobiographical essays titled Moving Out, Finding Home, Bob Fox, a Brooklyn native, reflected on the intellectual and psychological impact of his decision to give up an academic career to become a farmer and independent writer in Appalachian Ohio. ...
Afterword. "Getting Pretty Fed Up with This Two-Tone South": Moving toward Multiculturalism
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IN HIS ESSAY COLLECTION Beyond the Binary, my friend and former colleague Timothy Powell called for a new paradigm for American cultural studies. It is time, he wrote in 1999, to move beyond the long-established theoretical binaries of Self/Other, Center/Margin, and...
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Page Count: 268
Publication Year: 2011