- The Oxford Handbook of the Literature of the U.S. South
- Literary and Textual Histories of the Native South
- Before Hypodescent: Whitening Equations in South America and the American South
- The Dying Confession of Joseph Hare: Transatlantic Highwaymen and Southern Outlaws in the Antebellum South
- Jackson’s Villes, Squares, and Frontiers of Democracy
- Locality and the Serial South
- The Long Shadow of Torture in the American South
- Masculine Sentiment, Racial Fetishism, and Same-Sex Desire in Antebellum Southern Literature
- Southern Affects: Field and Feeling in a Skeptical Age
- Not-So-Still Waters: Travelers to Florida and the Tropical Sublime
- Indian Knives and Color Lines: Mark Twain from Hannibal to the Jim Crow Raj
- Narrative and Counternarrative in <i>The Leopard’s Spots</i> and <i>The Marrow of Tradition</i>
- The Bright Side: African American Women and the Affective Archive of Southern Racial Uplift
- “Proffered for Your Perusal in Ring by Concentric Ring”: The South and the World in William Faulkner’s Fiction
- Richard Weaver, Lillian Smith, the South, and the World
- Arts of Abjection in James Agee, Walker Evans, and Luis Buñuel
- Tennessee Williams and the Burden of Southern Sexuality Studies
- Reimagining the South of Richard Wright: The Anti-Protest Writing of Albert Murray, Raymond Andrews, and Ernest Gaines
- Letter-Writing, Authorship, and Southern Women Modernists
- Nature and Spirituality in Contemporary Appalachian Poetry
- Southern Religion’s Sexual Charge and the National Imagination
- Their Confederate Kinfolk: African Americans’ Interracial Family Histories
- Mourning, Mockery, and the Post-South in Lars von Trier’s <i>Manderlay</i> and Geraldine Brooks’s <i>March</i>
- Made Things: Structuring Modernity in Southern Poetry
- Four Contemporary Latina/o Writers Ghost the U.S. South
- You Don’t Have to Be Born There: Immigration and Contemporary Fiction of the U.S. South
- Asian Americans, Racial Latency, Southern Traces
- The Woundedness of Southern Literature, Looking Away
Abstract and Keywords
This essay argues that the South’s reputation for religious extremism is manifested in representations of southern religion’s (af)fixation with racialized sexuality, both as “traditional” and “queer.” If the modern charge of southern religion, as represented by Jerry Falwell and his political legacy, has been to set and reinforce the mutual boundaries of “normal” sexuality and regional/national identity, Randall Kenan’s and Dorothy Allison’s works demonstrate the dangerous, and energizing, charge southern religion can lend to transgressive or “queer” reconfigurations of these identities. Centering this discourse and reflecting it back to audiences within the novel and without, these novels level a new sexual charge to regional and national imaginaries: a demand for acknowledgment and accommodation. The supple South of national imaginaries is thus again refigured in these works as the queer foundation for potential national transformation.
Katherine Henninger is Associate Professor of American Literature at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where she specializes in southern literature, visual culture, and gender and sexuality studies. She is the author of Ordering the Façade: Photography and Contemporary Southern Women’s Writing (U North Carolina P, 2007).
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