South: A Scholarly Journal

South. At once a coordinate called “home,” and a condition to be avoided. Going south is a mixed metaphor; when you are south no one expects you to want to be there, making a mockery of the journey itself. South is a rich landscape for things on or at the edge, for that certain kind of feeling not yet reconciled. To be south is to be fraught—always. Like its predecessor, SLJ (Southern Literary Journal), conceived out of the turbulence of 1968, south makes its first appearance in the global uncertainty and national unrest that has characterized the new millennium. It is with this in mind that south embraces both the edge and the urgency of scholarly and sometimes creative inquiry into that region called “the south.” We encourage global and hemispheric comparative scholarship linking the American South to other Souths. We envision a journal that thinks of that entity called “the south” in circum-Gulfic terms, from the bottom up, rather than from the top down.

Articles

Vol. 51, No. 1, Fall

South: Farewell
Since 1968, SLJ (Southern Literary Journal ), now south: a scholarly journal, has produced forward thinking and innovative scholarship in the field. It has been my distinct pleasure as editor to shepherd the transition from a more disciplinary home...
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The Project of Quaring Childhood
Our goal in this special issue is to bring into dialogue several fields that have developed substantially in the past two decades: childhood studies, critical race studies, queer theory, and new southern studies. What this has meant in practical terms...
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Birthing America's Kweer: Motherless Children Preach the Gospel of Mercy
The quintessential source of music is the orphan's ordeal--an orphan being anyone denied kinship, social sustenance, anyone who suffers, to use Orlando Patterson's phrase, "social death." ... Song is both a complaint and a consolation...
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Unattached Women Raising Cain: Spinsters Touching Orphans in Anne of Green Gables and Uncle Tom's Cabin
"It is your system makes such children," said Miss Ophelia. "I know it; but they are made, --they exist,--and what is to be done with them?" --Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, 236 Just as abolitionist...
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Southern Floods and Reproduction on the Roof: Tennessee Williams's Kingdom of Earth and Quare Ecology
Had E. Patrick Johnson's provocation for "'quare' studies" appeared a few years later than it did, one wonders if Johnson might have included "environment" or perhaps "ecology" as away to articulate the "historically situated and materially conditioned"...
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The Queer Silences of Jim Grimsley's Winter Birds
Those with sufficient memories of childhood have no trouble recognizing that it is a queer time: being a child entails existing as an individual whose identity is defined by multiple competing structures of value, each with their own intrinsic--and often...
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Once upon a Time
There was a young College Student tasked with making a thought Journal for his class. Naive, he would not Realize what a daunting task this would be.... THINGS DISNEY TAUGHT US (& Probably Shouldn't have): 1. Men know how to dress 2. Men talk only...
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Building the Worlds of Our Dreams: Black Girlhood and Quare Narratives in African American Literature
On the one hand, my grandmother uses "quare" to denote something or someone who is odd, irregular, or slightly of-kilter--definitions in keeping with traditional understandings and uses of "queer." On the other hand, she also deploys...
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On Witnessing: James Baldwin's Southern Experience and the Quareness of Black Sociality
More than five years after the publication of his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), and two years after his return to the United States, James Baldwin writes of his first visit to the "rust-red earth of Georgia," as if of a mythic return...
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Boys Erased and the Trouble with Coaching: Confronting Male-Male Sexual Violence in the Age of #Metoo
... but that voice--erased boy, beloved of time, who did nothing to no one and became nothing because of it ... --Mark Doty, "In Two Seconds" I. BOY: ZERO-CONVERSION We do not begin with what the sports-minded like to call...
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Vol. 50, No. 2, Spring

#SOUTHERNSYLLABUS: Teaching and Activism in Southern Studies
In the summer of 2015, I was asked to teach a weeklong course for incoming students to acclimate them to a discussion-based liberal arts classroom. This was the same summer that Dylann Roof massacred nine people at Mother Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston,...
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An Experiment in Teaching Outkast and the Hip Hop South
The first day of teaching my course on OutKast, I played their song "Liberation" from the Aquemini album. The track opens with a softly played piano loop and a dominant rain stick, a sonically solemn foreshadow of the song's focus on what it means to...
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HANDS UP, DON'T SHOOT: Teaching Black Lives Matter in Louisiana
In July 2016 Alton Sterling was murdered by police in Baton Rouge. I felt a combination of grief, rage, fear, and powerlessness. Alton could have been one of my students, or perhaps one of their fathers or uncles or brothers or godfathers or friends...
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TRAINING GENDERED WHITENESS: Teaching Thomas Dixon's the Clansman after Charlottesville
In March 2017, I agreed to teach a literature course titled The Nation and Its Discontents, and, as is perhaps the case for many, I wrote a course description with only a vague idea of its ultimate content. While I knew I would approach the course from...
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WHY AND HOW I TEACH SOUTHERN LITERATURE: A Work in Progress
TO ATTEMPT TO TEACH THE WHOLE STORY "Well," I say, "I believe that the truth about any subject only comes when all the sides of the story are put together, and all their different meanings make one new one. Each writer writes the missing parts to the...
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UNTIL KINGDOM COMES: Teaching Martin Luther King's Legacy in Argumentative Writing
On Tuesday April 28, 2015, CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer conducted a contentious interview with Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson. As the pair discussed the death of Freddie Gray and the peaceful and violent protests that erupted in Baltimore, Maryland,...
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Feminist Teacher Plays Possum
I wouldn't take crap off anybody If I just knew I was getting crap In time not to take it. (Miller Williams, "Ruby Tells All") In August 2016, I left...
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BLACK ACTIVIST GEOGRAPHIES: Teaching Whiteness as Territoriality on Campus
On a recent July evening, a small crowd assembled near Silent Sam, a Confederate monument installed in 1913 on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Over the next two hours, Omololu Babatunde led us through the growing dark,...
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FROM DEEP SOUTH TO FREEDOM HIGHWAY: Some Thoughts on Teaching Southern Race in the United Kingdom
A couple of years ago, a fast food outlet on a wellknown left-leaning university campus in the United Kingdom decided to go for a rebrand before the start of the new academic year. Evidently seeking to distinguish itself from other such eateries, it...
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PARTICULARITY WITHOUT PECULIARITY: Teaching Southern History in Australia
Australian university students can pick Abraham Lincoln out of a lineup. They know about Prohibition, they have at least heard of Frederick Douglass, and they are aware the Tea Party has two incarnations. Many of them have read at least some American...
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Excavating the Roots beneath Our Feet in the Early American Survey Course
On August 11, 2017, a group of white supremacists wielding torches marched to show their opposition to Charlottesville, Virginia's plans to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Under the gaze of a statute of the University of Virginia's...
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"WHERE I COME FROM IT'S LIKE THIS": The African American Lens and the Critical Role of the Local South in Teaching Social Justice
In 2016 Memphis protesters stormed onto Interstate 40 as the spontaneous part of a larger protest of the police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Instead of the military-style policing that characterized Ferguson and Baton Rouge, the protest,...
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Environmental Pedagogy, Activism, and Literature in the U.S. South
For a recent issue of Mississippi Quarterly, editor Ted Atkinson asked me and several other members of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature's Emerging Scholars Organization to write short essays for a roundtable assessing the current state...
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Vol. 50, No. 1, Fall

Crisis: Opportunity
The object of this publication is to set forth those facts and arguments which show the danger of race prejudice, particularly as manifested to-day [sic] toward colored people. It takes its name from the fact that the editors believe that this is a...
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CRISIS: Danger, Opportunity, and the Unknown
Crisis: the decisive moment (as in a literary plot) ... an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending, especially one with the distinct possibility...
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EDUCATION AS LIBERATION: African American Literature and Abolition Pedagogy in the Sunbelt Prison Classroom
In her speech, "The Prison-Industrial Complex" (1997), renowned scholar, anti-prison activist, and former political prisoner Angela Y. Davis articulates a pedagogical philosophy that has inspired my years of teaching African American literature in the...
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FLAGGED UP, LOCKED, AND LOADED: The Confederacy's Call, the Trump Disaster, and the Apocalyptic Crisis of White People
"Lock and load, stay vigilant. War is on the horizon." --Carolina Tactical Response Force Militia Facebook page, July 2017 "Military solutions are now fully ...
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"I CAN'T BREATHE!" Affective Asphyxia in Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric
I found myself unexpectedly overcome with tears , feeling as if finally, after years of being denied some kind of oxygen , I could exhale. Finally, someone in a position to do something was going to...
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Lee & Jackson Flee the Night
Ben Hamburger is a painter, community artist, and educator born and raised outside of Washington, DC. Working within the convergence of visual art and social engagement, Hamburger creates artwork, facilitates workshops, and collaborates with diverse...
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CHARLESTON IS A SMALL PLACE: Literature and Tourism in a Season of Horror
A SEASON OF HORROR If you enter Charleston from the outside, this is what you will see: If the century is eighteenth, you might first be struck by signs of ruin in the riverine space between the city and Sullivan's Island, two sites of devastation during...
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NIGHT TRAIN ACROSS AMERICA: Mapping EthnoHeteroNationalism in the Age of Trump
I find myself unable to articulate the moment in which we are living through the frame of an objective or empirical theory. In the age of Trump and the EthnoHeteroNationalism of his ascendance, our old language has lost its meaning. The models we have...
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A Conversation with Ben Hamburger
SHARON p. HOLLAND: I am so honored to be sitting down with you to talk a little bit about your work and what inspires you, what motivates you. Tell us first a little bit about yourself, and more importantly what you want south readers to know about you....
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Vol. 49, No. 2, Spring

Crossroads and Memory in William Gay's Provinces of Night
Perhaps William Gay's most well-known story is that of the paperhanger--not the short story bearing that title, but the story of Gay himself, long-time drywall hanger and son of a sharecropper. Gay was the first in his family to graduate from high school,...
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FROM JILTING TO JONQUIL: Katherine Anne Porter and Wendell Berry, Sustaining Connections, Re-Engendering the Rural
"For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope." --Ecclesiastes 9:4 Sustainability, new agrarianism, localism, and other contemporary place-based interests invite reconsideration...
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TENNESSEE WILLIAMS'S STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE: A Global Perspective
A Small Place begins with Jamaica Kincaid greeting a hypothetical guest on her native island of Antigua. "If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see," she insists, "since you are a tourist, the thought of what it might be like for someone...
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Vol. 49, No. 1, Fall

Holding Pattern
Toni Morrison once wrote, "there were no marigolds in the spring of 1941" (The Bluest Eye, 1). Her object in that book was the failure of community; its specific iteration was in blackness, but her call was for us to take stock. Her purpose perhaps,...
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Re-Imagining Slavery in the Hip-Hop Imagination
In the opening scene for WGN's television series Underground (2016), a black enslaved man named Noah (played by Aldis Hodge) is seen running through the woods at night. Noah crashes through the landscape, jumping over bushes and running in erratic patterns....
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Declining Misery: Rural Florida's Hmong and Korean Farmers
The Southern Gothic tradition asserts a misery that centers decline, the pull of decay and degeneracy, as a regional terror. Yet the notion of declining misery also hinges on a dual elaboration, that of refusal, of choosing to decline the long reach...
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Taste as Emotion: The Synesthetic Body in Monique Truong's Bitter in the Mouth
"An' they chased him 'n' never could catch him 'cause they didn't know what he looked like, an' Atticus, when they finally saw him ... he was real nice ..." His hands were under my chin, pulling up ...
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"I'd Sing You a Song If I Could Sing": Art and Artifice in Ellen Douglas's Can't Quit You, Baby
Ah, well, I didn't say it was possible. I said, Try. --Ellen Douglas, Can't Quit You, Baby Ellen Douglas's Can't Quit You, Baby (1988) is a prismatic and profoundly subtle novel. And yet, despite its impressive melange...
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Not Real Good at Modern Life: Appalachian Pentecostals in the Works of Lee Smith
In his 1996 essay "Writing on the Cusp: Double Alterity and Minority Discourse in Appalachia," Richard Cunningham urges Appalachian writers to start writing about, and therefore defining, themselves: "we Appalachian writers are en(cou)raged to fill in...
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Fantasy and Haiti's Erasure in William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!
In William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! (1936), a story otherwise bounded by clear and uncontroverted historical markers, the central character, Thomas Sutpen, embarks on a fantastical island excursion--an adventure that accomplishes two related but...
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Laying Down the Rails: Sacred and Secular Groundwork in Zora Neale Hurston's Jonah's Gourd Vine and King Vidor's Hallelujah
"Dey talkin' 'bout passin' laws tuh keep black folks from buying railroad tickets." --Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine Though it is clear that the characters in the novel Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)...
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