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Racialization and “Southern” identities of resistance: A psychogeography of internal orientalism in the U.S.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2010 (English)In: Annals of the Association of American Geographers, ISSN 0004-5608, E-ISSN 1467-8306, Vol. 100, no 1, 202-221 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines the “voices of the Others” of internal orientalism in the United States. Internal orientalismcreates a binary of the imagined spaces of “America” and “the South,” simultaneously racializing both spaces aswhite spaces. The article explores the extent to which this discourse informs a “Southern” resistance identityamong members of the white “Southern” nationalist organization the League of the South, and African Americanresidents of Lynchburg, Virginia. An analysis of interviews shows that for the League members, internalorientalism produces a psychogeography wherein “Southerners” feel that they are considered an inferior partof the “American” nation, which they might experience as hatred and demonization. To combat a colonialmentality, the League advances a positive notion of “Southern” identity that emphasizes the theme of resistance.The essentialist version of “Southern” identity they espouse is ultimately a derivative discourse in that it doesnot unsettle the internal orientalist assumption that “the South” is fundamentally different from “the North”and “America.” Those African Americans in the study who embrace “Southern” identity resist the internal orientalistracialization of “Southern” as referring to white people, although to the extent they associate “Southern”identity with racism and segregation they partly reinforce the discourse. Some who do not embrace “Southern”identity cannot overcome its negative connotations. The study shows that articulations of “the South” and“Southern” identity are best understood from an interscalar perspective and not by considering “Southernness”as something produced solely in “the South.”

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 100, no 1, 202-221 p.
Keyword [en]
U.S. South, psychogeography, nationalism, internal orientalism, race, ethnicity, resistance
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-121430DOI: 10.1080/00045600903379109ISI: 000277437100010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-121430DiVA: diva2:305287
Available from: 2010-03-23 Created: 2010-03-23 Last updated: 2012-01-31Bibliographically approved

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