Title page for ETD etd-06142005-094933

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Whitlock, Reta Ugena
Author's Email Address RWhitl1@lsu.edu
URN etd-06142005-094933
Title This Corner of Canaan: Curriculum Studies of Place and the Reconstruction of the South
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Curriculum & Instruction
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
William F. Pinar Committee Chair
katrina powell Committee Member
Mary Aswell Doll Committee Member
Nina Asher Committee Member
Carl Freedman Dean's Representative
  • south
  • curriculum studies
  • home
  • fundamentalism
  • queer
  • place
  • curriculum theory
Date of Defense 2005-04-29
Availability unrestricted
If place is crucial to understanding the self and society, then it is central to curriculum studies that relate the individual and the social. This theoretical autobiographical research seeks to encourage progressive conversation and social political movement in the South by attending to the anomalous forms of Southernness that emerge in the interrogation of feeling Southern. Toward that end, in this dissertation I explore and foreground a marginalized Southern curriculum of nostalgia, homeplace, grace, and queerness. I investigate aspects of Southern place and feeling Southern that are submerged in conventional white patriarchal notions of Southern identity. My narrative allows some of these anomalous forms of Southernness to surface and, out of these forms, create a Southern curriculum of place. This work is necessary for displacing the dominant, race-, class-, and gender-constricting conception of Southernness that perpetuates itself.

The politics of place inform individual and collective Southern identities. As examining Southern place and conventional traits of Southern identity reveal a greater complexity to feeling Southern, attending to anomalous forms of Southernness creates conversation about the progressive transformation of Southern place. The forms of Southernness for which I have created curricular forum are as follows: 1) unsettling prohibitive nostalgia so as to disrupt rather than solidify identity/place norms; 2) homeplace as a site for the interrogation of the construction of identity rather than the consoling, pacifying mirror of identity 3) queer Southernness, exemplified in the conjunction rather than the opposition of fundamentalism and queer desire; 4) grace that shatters rather than absolves traditional raced, classed, and gendered notions of Southern identity.

This study elaborates a curriculum of Southern place; the study is a journey of self—a self situated squarely in Southern place and the raced, classed, gendered, religious sensibilities of the place. In relation to place and self, this research uncovers sites of subjective and social transformation within the American South. Transformation is not a destination, but is itself a passage, forward motion that requires a continuing disruption of traditional Southern codes that leave the South with nostalgia, guilt, and pain.

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