By Sherrie A. Inness
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Extra resources for Breaking Boundaries: New Perspectives on Women's Regional Writing
We believe that to understand fully the success regional literature has had in its endeavors to teach, criticize, praise, and grow, we must perceive regionalism in all its complexities. Reshaping Regionalist Thought Each section of the anthology is designed to reinvigorate the discussion of regional literature in a specific way. Studies of the genre continue to change as critical theories, cultural readings, and academic fields evolve. New disciplines Page 8 such as women's studies and ethnic studies, new theoretical approaches such as new historicism and ecocriticismeach expansion of academe provides an additional lens through which to read not only standard texts but little-known or unknown texts as well.
Teaching regional literature under various circumstances has made us aware of the different ways the genre can be constructed, each construction bringing its own set of assumptions, limitations, and opportunities. In a lower-level survey course of American literature, time constraints and the necessity of covering a wide variety of literatures for primarily non-English majors can make a limited, neat definition of regionalism look welcoming. The most well meaning professor may find it difficult to deal with the terribly complicated issues a broader analysis of the genre demands.
It may be relatively easy to conform in what we eat if regional favorites are no longer available when we relocate or to change patterns of social interaction, making sure we ask about another's family and chat a bit before getting down to business, even though we were raised in an area where this was considered a waste of the other person's time. But how essentially are we changed by movement among regions? If we relocate from a multicultural coastal city to a relatively homogeneous midwestern town, how is our world view altered?