The case of Southern regionalism shows both the problems with current treatments of regionalism—illustrative of the problem of colonialist perspectives more generally—and the path forward. That path forward involves rethinking whose ancestors count as members of a place, the issue of whose voices are centered, memory and trauma, and counterpublics. The authors advise (1) embracing the field’s interest in local identities and identity movements—therefore, interrogating rhetoric as symbol systems carried in intergenerational, relational identity; (2) pushing further against colonialism, as the world is more layered by global systems of trauma and memory; and (3) admitting that nation-building rhetoric is an imperfect paradigm compared to resistive counterpublic discourse.

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