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“Give truth a chance”: Internal orientalism and the League of the South’s discourses of truth
Pennsylvania State University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5123-1357
2005 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the aspects of Edward Said’s theorization of Orientalism that was most criticized was his inattention to the role of contestation in the development of Orientalist discourses. The framework of internal orientalism is useful for analyzing the spatial construction of national identity through the othering of a region within the state. In the case of the U.S., internal orientalism involves the production of a privileged national identity through the othering of the South. In this paper I consider the contestation of internal orientalism by a Southern nationalist organization called the League of the South. An analysis of interview data collected during the League’s annual week-long “summer school” shows that the dominant themes in the interviews are truth, resistance, and moral geography. In reaction to the epistemology of internal orientalism, League members advance their own truths that are presented as recovering the authentic Southern history that has been ignored or suppressed by mainstream America. The individual and institutional strategies of resistance of the League and its members are discussed and are related to the conceptions of the imagined moral geographies of “the South” and “America”. The primary conclusion is that the discourse of internal orientalism shapes the very contours of the resistance of the League of the South, and this resistance takes the form of a derivative discourse that reinforces the internal orientalist paradigm more than it undermines it.

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Human Geography
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-287548OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-287548DiVA: diva2:922907
Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers
Available from: 2016-04-25 Created: 2016-04-25 Last updated: 2016-04-25

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Jansson, David
Human Geography

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