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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Increasingly committed to the idea of the South as a construction, the field of southern studies has neglected the affective substrate of earlier Souths that powerfully integrated and synthesized disparate economic, social, and political data. Historically consolidated through feeling and emotion, earlier conceptions of the South supported more powerful discourses of intervention and aspiration because they drew upon and more efficiently organized a deeper reservoir of affect. By contrast, the waning of affect characteristic of contemporary southern studies has led to skepticism toward the South’s conceptual integrity, synthesizing capacity, and explanatory power. Experienced as an imagined geography or geographic fantasy—that is, as a palpable construction—the “South” offers less rhetorical traction, and is consequently less capable of sustaining interventionist discourses.

Keywords: construction, affect, feeling, intervention, imagined community

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