People tend to think about children and childhood in the South in overgeneralized terms, but the realities of growing up in the South differ depending on race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality, religion, politics, ethnicity, generational connections and geographical location in the region.
The tensions between these diverse childhood experiences and how they shape identity is often reflected in Southern literature and film, according to organizers of a new initiative at UNC Charlotte. “The Child in Southern Literature and Film,” is presented by the English Department and supported by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, and co-sponsored by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
The initiative’s goal is to provide opportunities for the community to explore the diversity of Southern childhood. The program held a launch reception in February featuring speakers like Jonathan Alexander, a Chancellor’s Professor of English and Informatics in the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine; Jan Susina, professor of English at Illinois State University, and Joanne Joy, director of Community Relations and Marketing Services at Central Piedmont Community College.
Mark West, chair of UNC Charlotte’s English Department, and Sarah Minslow, a lecturer and director of undergraduate advising in the department, are coordinating the project.
The program includes four components designed for specific audiences with activities for children, community members, college students, and teachers. Each component 1provides the opportunity for each audience to examine and discuss how the portrayals of children and childhood in film and literature and in social and cultural realities impact each other.
A free film series for the community will be held at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Main Branch, beginning Saturday, March 10, with “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Visit the Child in Southern Literature and Film website for information on additional programming.
- Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), March 10 at 2 p.m.
- To Kill A Mockingbird (1962), March 24 at 2 p.m.
- Sounder (1972), April 7 at 2 p.m.
- The Reivers (1969), April 14 at 2 p.m.
- The Night of the Hunter (1955), May 12 at 2 p.m.