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GUIDELINES: As we begin this Southern Culture course, it is good for you to think about the ways in which your life interacts with the culture of the American South. Many of you will be lifelong residents of the three-county area served by Central Carolina Community College. Others among you will come from other parts of North Carolina. Still others will be from other parts of the American South. Others yet will be from those parts of the United States that fall outside the South (your instructor, for example, was born in Easton, Pennsylvania and did not move to North Carolina until the age of 22), or from other countries. Whatever your status may be in terms of who you are and where you are from, what we all have in common today is that we are all attending a school here in Sanford, North Carolina, and participating in the life of this particular part of the American South (even though it’s virtual!).
Accordingly, this first assignment calls upon you to record and analyze your particular part of the Southern experience. When did your life and the life of the American South first intersect – at birth, or when you moved to the region? What aspects of Southern culture have most stood out to you, and when did you become conscious of those cultural aspects, and how, and why? What do you think and how do you feel about the South, and why?
In setting forth your thoughts and feelings regarding your Southern experience, I want you to source your ideas back to our textbook, Southern Culture: An Introduction by John Beck, Wendy Frandsen, and Aaron Randall. The authors provide many helpful facts and insights regarding Southern life, focusing on topics such as agrarianism, social class, race, family, gender, religion, politics, and creativity. Which of those elements of Southern life have impacted your life most immediately, and how, and why? I expect that your paper will include at least three quotes from Southern Culture: An Introduction, in which you consider the perspectives of Beck, Frandsen, and Randall regarding Southern life, and set forth how your own experience matches, or does not match, with the perspectives of these authors. You may want to look ahead to those chapters from the book that discuss those aspects of Southern life that are most immediate and most important to your own, individual Southern experience.
Finally, keep in mind that your own experience of life in the American South may be very different from someone else’s. The Southern Culture book is written in collaboration by a group of authors who are diverse in terms of gender, race, and socioeconomic status. How might your experience be characteristic, or atypical, of the Southern experience? This paper provides you with an opportunity to explore a range of interesting questions.