Stories that focus on local color and local tales are often associated with which Humanitarianism, Liberalism, Regionalism or Populism and why?
I have looked up the meaning and definition of each and have not been able to find anything that remotely matches this. I have this as a study question for my American Literature class.
Local color and local tales are associated with Regionalism. This means stories which take place in a certain region will reflect the places, people, dialect, and traditions of that region.
Think about a story like To Kill a Mockingbird, which is set in Alabama. We meet what are generally the kinds of people you would have found there, they are speaking the dialect (conversational language) which you would have heard there, and the incidents in the work would have been consistent with the time and place of the novel.
Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer are novels set in Hannibal, Missouri, and they reflect the same things--people, places, language, and traditions of that place and time.
Stories like the Laura Ingall's Wilder books or Willa Cather's My Antonia are set in the plains and show how it was to live there at a particular time--including the dialects of immigrants from a variety of places. Even The Crucible is an example of regionalism, as it contains the dialects and practices/beliefs of the Puritans in that time.
Not all works of literature use Regionalism, of course, but those that do allow the reader to feel as if he's actually experienced life in that time and place.
If there is a textbook or some type of instructional material that accompanies your lesson, I would refer to this first. In my mind, I would say that regionalism is something that is being described with narratives that focus on local color and a sense of localism. The other "-isms" being described do not place a primacy on the local or regional aspect of the narrative experience. Populism is driven more by economic or social condition, something that can transcend local color or tale as it seeks to broaden connections between the dispossessed. Humanitarianism, in its basic name, is seeking to connect individuals across regions in order to reflect a basic essence that is interlinked to all. Liberalism is a political movement that is divergent in its appeal, but definitely not as concerned with local flare or local color. Of the options given, I would say that regionalism is probably the term best being described.
Local colouring in literature often relates to culture-specific details, references to a particular subculture, community rituals having to do with beliefs of a particular people.
Humanitarianism is a centrality given to the human category in discourse, the studia humanitatis. Liberalism is a democratic and tolerant political and socio-ethical relation tothe other. Regionalism is, more than the other categories you have mentioned, definitively associated with local colour.
Regionalist writers often make it a point to use the local colours as culturally resistent forms of postcolonial reaction in third world literature.
Whether populism has a necessary link with local colour, I am not so sure of. Local colour, if effectively used, may amke the text more approachable its local audience and thus make it popular among them. But too much local colour, apart from the exotic charms, may make a text difficult to read for a reader, belonging to another culture.