Hillbilly Scholars: Studying Poor Whites in Academia

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While working on my graduate independent study, I wanted to see if I could find evidence of prejudice against female students with Southern accents. It took a lot of sorting through quite a few books on dialect, sociolinguistics and feminism before I found what I think are the best sources around. Because working class studies and dialects link closely together, I looked at both.

Jennifer Beech’s “Redneck and Hillbilly Discourse in the Writing Classroom: Classifying Critical Pedagogies of Whiteness” goes a step further in not only claiming “middle-class” as identity but daring to proclaim oneself as “redneck” or “hillbilly” in an academic setting (172). Finally, someone is using the terms “redneck” and “hillbilly” in a non-threatening way. She also discusses “Writing With and Even as Rednecks and Hillbillies: Critique and Advocacy” which closer approaches the subject of a Southern female student (177). Though not gender-specific, it comes perhaps as close as any scholarship thus far.

Edward W. Morris’s “From “Middle Class” to “Trailer Trash:” Teachers’ Perceptions of White Students in a Predominantly Minority School” touches on a crucial issues: social class based on teachers’ opinion of the “whiteness of students” within a “predominantly minority school” (99). Morris contends that in his experience, white teachers were more racist towards the poor whites than teachers of color.

This is important because it focuses race and classism in the classroom and how being “poor white” is sometimes considered an allowed biased. This is an integral concept because it introduces the topic of inter-racism within the classroom. Teachers were found to look down upon the poorer white students attending the minority classroom without quite being conscious of it. His book An Unexpected Minority:White Kids in an Urban School delves deeper into interesting questions regarding race and perceptions of race in the classroom.

Casie Fedukovich is one of the first (and few) to broach the idea of Southern women in the classroom. Her work “Strange Imports: Working-Class Appalachian Women in the Composition Classroom” really delves into issues of seemingly impossible binaries of student and hillbilly, as brings to light certain issues and strengths working-class women bring to the university. This work, outside of Working Class Women in the Academy, is perhaps most directly relevant to my experience as a southern woman in academia.

By taking a good look at the roots of when the Southern accent became acknowledged initially, this paper attempts to trace its transformation from merely being accepted to being a legitimate mouthpiece for expression for an unrealized marginalized group.

Interested in Morris’s book? Here’s a link http://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Minority-White-Urban-School/dp/0813537215/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401827466&sr=1-1&keywords=edward+morris+unexpected+minority

On Sarah Bessey’s “Jesus Feminist”: Can These Terms be Reconciled?

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I recently picked up Sarah Bessey’s book “Jesus Feminist.” The first paragraph certainly stirs the pot of conventional women’s bible studies:

“Jesus made a feminist out of me. It’s true. I can’t make apologies for it, even though I know that Jesus plus feminist might be the one label that could alienate almost everyone. I understand that–I do. I know feminism carries a lot of baggage, particularly within the evangelical church. There are the stereotypes: shrill killjoys, man-haters, and rapid abortion-pushers, extreme lesbians, terrifying some of us on cable news programs, deriding motherhood and homemakeing. Feminism has been blamed for the breatkdown of the nuclear family, day care, physical and sexual abuse, hurricanes, the downfall of “real manhood,” the decline of the Christian Church in Western societyy, and spectacularly bad television. Most of what has passed for a description of feminism is fearmongering misinformation” Bessey (1). I agree with this, because I’ve seen it. I’ve seen the name of Jesus invoked as a control mechanism in marriage, and Paul’s teachings used as a model to destroy independence and equality in marriage. I’ve sat with women whose controlling husbands used the bible as a millstone to drag their wives to the bottom of the sea–out of sight and under their thumb.

I don’t know of anyone THAT paragraph won’t ignite–though the fires that begin burn for different reasons.

This book is unlike anything I have ever seen, and I consider myself a bit  of a book expert. I don’t have a PhD (yet), but I did a great bulk of my Master’s work with 20th century feminist writers, particularly such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Julia Kristeva, bell hooks, Laura Brady, and Eileen Schell. I remember devouring these writers’ works like a fat kid eats cake. Their words were so very empowering, yet simultaneously disturbing, because I was having a hard time reconciling their works with the works of God in my heart. Thirty plus years of attending church and hearing the teachings of the distinct line drawn between male leadership roles and female leadership roles caused quite a disturbance. As Sarah muses, “In some circles, using the word feminist is the equivalent of an f-bomb dropped in church–outragous, offensive” (1).

I wondered if I could be both feminist and Christian, both reverent and seeking, both open to new teachings without endangering my soul and wounding the Spirit of He who made me. It seemed unlikely. Who then, do I propose to be? And isn’t it a bit late to be asking these kinds of questions?

I don’t think it’e EVER too late to ask questions. I also don’t think the kind of God I serve minds. I think He respects those who geniuniely seek.
I could sure use a few friends on this journey with me. Want to come along with me while I figure it out? I’ve made a cup of coffee for you just the way you like it. Let’s do this.
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War Eagle Women is on East Texas News Networks

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It’s always helpful when you’re publishing a book to get assistance promoting it…and free help from the local news is always appreciated. Since War Eagle Women was mentioned on USA Today a press release was written and sent out and several East Texas news stations have picked it up.

USA TODAY LINK: http://www.usatoday.com/story/happyeverafter/2014/04/17/recommended-book-video-cooper-richardson-bausinger/7801479/

One thing I love about living here is that the media is quick to help out its citizens.

Thanks very much to UT Tyler, East Texas News 4 and KYTX CBS 19 for their help.

CBS19 LINK: http://www.cbs19.tv/story/25497497/ut-tyler-alumnas-novel-war-eagle-women-published-featured-in-national-media 

War Eagle Women link:http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Women-Tina-Coleman-Bausinger-ebook/dp/B00GXP1T1K

Rachel Held Evans’ Blog Post About the Proverbs 31 Woman

Ever since I first found the works of Rachel Held Evans, I’ve been transfixed by her ideas. A sweet lady at church handed me her book, “A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master” and I was blown away by this woman who tackled some of the more difficult passages directed to women with seriousness and humor at the same time. Here’s a link to this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Year-Biblical-Womanhood-Liberated-Covering/dp/1595553673

She also has another brand new book out called “Faith Unraveled.” I can’t wait to read it. After I read Mrs. Evans’ works, I also started reading some of the women she quotes, including Sarah Bessey’s “Jesus Feminist.” That book is little by little blowing the lid off what I thought I believed.

I want to share her latest post which is a nice complement to the post I wrote yesterday. Mrs. Evans was the one who opened my eyes concerning the Proverbs 31 Woman–who has somehow become a bit of an old testament Urban Legend.

Please enjoy her post about the Proverbs 31 Woman.

http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/3-things-you-might-not-know-about-proverbs-31

I’d love to know your thoughts. If you like to comment, click on the “ADD COMMENT” link below the title of the blog. You don’t have to register or anything. Thanks!

 

An Open Letter to Students from Your Professor: 10 Tips for Surviving Those Final Days

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Dear Student,
It’s that time again…finals! I know this is hard to believe, but I was once a student too. I would like to extend some tips to keep you sane during this trying time of the semester.
1. Breathe. Everything that has to be done will be done, unless it’s just too late. In that case…
2. Get plenty of sleep. Pulling an all-nighter rarely works. If you haven’t studied before now, it is probably too late. Try to remember this angst-filled moment next semester so you don’t end up in the same place.
3. Don’t send panicked, rude emails to your professor, especially about your grade. She’s stressed out as well, and it won’t help your case in the end anyway. It’s too late to ask to make up the quiz you missed in January.
4. Do review your lecture notes and text with friends…sober friends. Studying in groups does help many people, just skip the Cuervo. Not that you drink, right?
5. Your professor does want you to do well. We are REALLY not “out to get you.” It’s not our favorite thing to sit around in the teacher’s lounge, drinking Red Bulls and cackling maniacally as we scribble all over your essays with red pens. If a lot of students are failing the class, it reflects on us as well. We are here because we loved our subject enough to spend hours researching and reading and studying, and because we want to share it with you. It makes us geekily giddy when a student does well, especially if the student has been struggling.
6. Many college and university professors, especially adjuncts, get paid less than you think and receive little to no benefits, so it should be clear that we are here only because we want to be. Trust us enough to talk to us if you are behind early in the semester. Of course there are good and bad teachers, just as there are good and bad people, but I promise we’re not there to cash our huge check and ride off into the sunset in our convertible Ferraris.

7. Just because your professor seems laid-back and friendly is not an excuse to behave like a giant spitwad. We still expect your assignments to be done as well as you do for the drill sergeant teacher. Just remember: under the exterior of every “easy” teacher is a drill sergeant just waiting to emerge, like a pimple. Don’t be the one to pop that pimple, dude.

8. If you did find your class this semester to be an easy one, don’t call it a “blow-off” or “easy A” either in print or on Ratemyprofessor.com. That’s just insulting to both the professor and the students who struggled. In addition, it only hurts your peers who take the class next time. Maybe the professor has a kind heart and just wanted to help you.

9. We do care about you–and we are listening, even when you don’t think we are. Many nights we worry about you, and pray for you. For some reason, some students believe that professors are invisible until they begin teaching, so they freely talk about the wild party they attended last weekend, professors they hate and think are stupid, or who slept with whom. Just because I am not engaging in the conversation doesn’t mean I didn’t hear you.

10. Keep in mind, most professors know one another at least in a casual way…and we do talk. Also, I will be less enthusiastic when you ask me for a letter of reference. That’s just the way it is.

Sincerely,

Your Friendly Professor

Need a good read?

Looking for some new blood for your stale bookshelf? Look no further, dear reader. Here are three books I couldn’t put down.

http://www.inmagtexas.com/2014/05/what-were-reading-mayjune-2014/

How to Get Published with Chicken Soup for the Soul

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Have you ever seen a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book? Of course you have! There are 11 million of them in circulation, so they’re kind of hard to miss. Have you ever wondered how the editors choose stories to publish? What if I told you it’s really easy to submit your story?

My very first break into paid publication was with a book called “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad: 101 Stories of Gratitude, Love, and Good Times.” I still remember the thrill I felt when I opened the box of books with my story “Thanks Dad” inside. As you might imagine, I was estatic.

A few months later, I submitted and published a poem in their anthology “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners: 101 Inspiration Stories of Energy, Endurance and Endorphins.” Was it because of my vast expertise in the field of running and fitness?

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Did you read my last post about chicken fried steak? Then you know THAT’S not it.

Since my publication with CSS, I have been published many times over, and most recently my first novel, War Eagle Women.I really feel that it was Chicken Soup that got my foot into the door of the publishing world and I want to share this with you.

Everybody has a story to tell. I know the gears are clicking! Keep in mind that Chicken Soup publishes a couple of books a month.

YOU CAN DO THIS. You have a really great shot at finding a book that’s perfect for your story.

Here are 5 reasons why you should submit a story to them today!

1. You don’t need an agent. Many large publishers will not even speak to you without one. Chicken Soup accepts unsolicited submissions from anyone who sends them.
2. You don’t have to write a query letter or proposal. It’s as simple as clicking and submitting.
3. Chicken Soup publishes poetry as well as short stories. Few big name publishers will print a poem from an unknown writer. And, CSS pays the same whether it’s a poem or story.
4. Chicken Soup is an internationally known francise. Their books are translated into at least 40 languages worldwide. That’s a lot of publicity for someone who wants to publish a novel.Their website states that at last count they have published 11 million books.
5. Once published with CSS, you gain credibility, not only as a published writer but with an internationally known brand. Did you know that CSS is not just books? They also sell calendars, clothing, audiobooks, dog food and get this…they are making movies from their favorite short stories! You also gain opportunities. I have spoken several times on this very topic, gaining entrance to expensive writers’ conferences FOR FREE. I said it!

In addition, because I was a speaker at these conferences, I was able to chat with agents and other writers about my book in a casual way. Agents like to hear that you have published something in such a substantial, well-known brand. It makes them want to take a chance on reading bigger things…like your novel.

I know the gears are clicking. And because Chicken Soup publishes so frequently, you have a really great shot of finding the right place for your special piece.

CSS is always looking for material, but it must be clean, uplifting and 1200 words or less. Here’s a link for specific guidelines.

http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/story-guidelines

At the time of this printing, they are currently looking for stories and poems for the following books in progress:

Christmas in Canada

Stories About Moms 

Stories About the Christmas Season

Stories by Moms 

The Power of Forgiveness

Touched by an Angel

Here’s a link for the details regarding these books:

http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

Ready to submit your story or poem? Click here for details. It’s so easy. Why wouldn’t you want to?

http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/submit-your-story

It’s time to get cooking.