When the North is the South: Life in the Netherlands

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When the North is the South: Life in the Netherlands

by Edward L. Ayers
Southern Cultures, Vol. 4, No. 4: The South in the World

"A Southerner's observations on regionalism and southern stereotypes abroad."

After years of watching colleagues fly to Paris,Johannesburg, Beijing, or Bogotá for research trips and speaking engagements, I decided to apply for a posting abroad. Holding only the vaguest and most stereotyped visions, I chose the Netherlands. My application stressed, perhaps impolitely, the direct Dutch involvement in the slave trade and their indirect connection to South African apartheid. Such commonalities with white southerners, I suggested, might serve as the basis for interesting discussions of race and region.

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