The Society for the Study of Southern Literature is a nonprofit organization founded in 1968 devoted to scholarship on writings and writers of the American South. Membership is open to all who have an interest in the literature of the South.
The Society for the Study of Southern Literature is committed to social equality, critical and rigorous discourse about the U.S. South, and the voices of writers from various backgrounds.
We contest revisionist versions of southern history and culture that white supremacists have used to maintain racial hierarchies, inequality, and injustice. We support scholarship that examines the multiplicity and heterogeneity of both the past and present South. We encourage dynamic critical dialogue that examines and expands the borders of the region; that analyzes the region’s history of settler colonialism, slavery, segregation, misogyny, violence, and nativism; that engages the region’s literature and culture; and that implements multiple theoretical and critical perspectives.
We support others who advocate for diversity, community, inclusivity, and equality.
SSSL Sponsored Programs
- The Biennial SSSL Conference: a conference with papers, speakers and discussion panels held across the U.S.
- Current and Recent SSSL Newsletters: The Newsletter informs the members of the SSSL as to what the Society and their colleagues are doing and offers an ongoing bibliography of notable scholarship published in southern studies.
- SSSL Conference Panels: the SSSL sponsors lively and provocative panels for meetings of leading literary conferences, including the Modern Language Association, South Central Modern Language Association, and the American Literature Association.
- The C. Hugh Holman Award for the best book of literary scholarship or criticism in southern literature during a given calendar year. The SSSL makes this award annually at one of its sessions at the Modern Language Association conference.
- The Richard Beale Davis Award for distinguished lifetime service to southern letters. The SSSL makes this award every other year at its biennial conference.
- The Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Prize for best article on southern literature published by a society member in a peer-reviewed journal.
- Graduate Student Travel Awards: The SSSL awards six travel prizes to graduate students attending the biennial conference, one named in memory of Dorothy M. Scura, two named in memory of Noel Polk, one named in honor of Trudier Harris, and two named in honor of Peggy Whitman Prenshaw. Winners are selected by the Program Committee from among graduate student submissions to the conference. The Scura, Harris, Polk, and Prenshaw Awards help to defray up to $500 of travel expenses for each winning student.
- Publications: The SSSL sponsored the publication of The History of Southern Literature, edited by Louis D. Rubin, Jr., Blyden Jackson, Rayburn S. Moore, Lewis P. Simpson, and Thomas Daniel Young (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985).
SSSL joins in Multi-Society Statement on Proposed Cuts at the University of Tulsa
The undersigned associations urge the University of Tulsa to reconsider and rescind its
recent recommendations calling for the elimination of undergraduate majors in philosophy,
religion, theater, musical theater, music, languages, law, and of several graduate and
doctoral programs, including those in anthropology, fine arts, history, and women’s and
gender studies and to eliminate undergraduate minors in ancient languages and classical
The University of Tulsa appears to relegate liberal arts programs to a supporting role in a
new university focus on pre-professional and vocational programs. There is much
convincing evidence that college graduates can be expected to change careers—not just
jobs, but careers— several times in their working lives. By focusing on preparation only for
a very few careers and ignoring evidence of the career-enhancing value of humanities and
social science majors, University of Tulsa administrators restrict opportunities for their
students and reinforce the notion that higher education should focus on workforce
preparation rather than preparing lifelong learners who can use their educations to pursue
a range of careers. We are especially concerned about the effect of such a message on
first-generation students and students of modest means, who may be discouraged from
pursuing a major in a humanities or social sciences field in the mistaken impression that
such a major cannot prepare them for career success.
A true commitment to the liberal arts allows for deep study in the liberal arts and does not
see them merely as context and background for pre-professional studies. We encourage the
university to retain its commitment to the programs in question–programs that develop
students’ capacity for critical thought, evaluative judgment of values, and the means to
grapple with the cultural, linguistic, and visual dimensions of a shared world.
Faculty members at the university have expressed serious concern about the lack of
meaningful opportunities for consultation and input into the university’s deliberative
process that generated these recommendations. We urge President Clancy and Provost
Levit to follow the recommendations of the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences and
revisit the planning process, including full representation from all departments and
examining all applicable data about the value of the programs that will be affected by the
We would be happy to provide research assistance to the university in its efforts to
understand the post-graduation value of degrees in the fields our associations represent.
Thank you for your consideration.
American Anthropological Association
American Comparative Literature Association
American Historical Association
American Musicological Society
American Philosophical Association
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Archaeological Institute of America
Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Medieval Academy of America
Modern Language Association of America
National Communication Association
Rhetoric Society of America
Society of Architectural Historians
Society of Biblical Literature
Society for Cinema and Media Studies
Society for Classical Studies
Society for Ethnomusicology
Society for the Study of Southern Literature
30 May 2019
The Executive Council
of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature
endorses the American Historical Association’s
Statement on Confederate Statues
SSSL Statement Against Harrassment
The Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSSL) is committed to ensuring a respectful and inclusive environment that fosters scholarly exchange, deepens our collective knowledge, and practices reciprocity and accountability to the communities and work that we engage across a number of professional homes. We believe that scholarship and education are ethical acts. Thus, SSSL condemns all forms of harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, size, economic status, veteran status, genetic information, and any other characteristic protected by law or used historically to marginalize, exploit, or exclude peoples. Harassment includes all forms of offensive or unwelcome physical or verbal conduct that creates an offensive or hostile environment: slurs, epithets, threats, derogatory comments, unwelcome jokes, teasing, flirting, and other similar verbal or physical conduct. Furthermore, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about harassment will not be tolerated. Members of the Society, particularly members exercising authority of any kind, are urged actively to uphold this policy, to prevent violations, and to take alleged violations seriously. Complaints of harassment should be brought directly to the President of the Society, or to members of the Executive Committee.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Brannon Costello (2018-2020)
Louisiana State University
Rain Prud’homme Cranford (2017-2019)
University of Calgary
Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder (2018-2020)
University of Pittsburgh
Katherine Henninger (2018-2020)
Louisiana State University
Sharon Holland (2017-2019)
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Sherita Johnson (2017-2019)
University of Southern Mississippi
Jennie Lightweis-Goff (2018-2020)
University of Mississippi
Molly McGehee (2018-2020)
Oxford College, Emory University
Eric Nunn (2018-2020)
University of Florida
Kelly Vines (2018-2020)
(Past President of SSSL Emerging Scholars Organization)
Louisiana State University
Qiana Whitted (2017-2019)
University of South Carolina
José E. Limón (2018-2020)
Notre Dame Foundation Professor of American Literature Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame
Mody C. Boatright Regents Professor of American Literature Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin
Past Presidents of SSSL
2017-2018 Coleman Hutchison
2015-2016 John T. Matthews
2013-2014 Eric Gary Anderson
2011-2012 Michael Kreyling
2009-2010 John Lowe
2007-2008 Susan V. Donaldson
2005-2006 Robert L. Phillips, Jr.
2003-2004 William Andrews
2001-2002 Dorothy M. Scura
1999-2000 David B. Kesterson
1997-1998 Martha E. Cook
1995-1996 John L. Idol Jr.
1993-1994 Lewis A. Lawson
1991-1992 Peggy Whitman Prenshaw
1989-1990 Richard S. Kennedy
1987-1988 Richard J. Calhoun
1985-1986 James H. Justus
1983-1984 Rayburn S. Moore
1981-1982 Mary Ann Wimsatt
1979-1980 Thomas Daniel Young
1977-1978 Lewis P. Simpson
1975-1976 Louis D. Rubin, Jr.
1973-1974 Arlin Turner
1971-1972 Cleanth Brooks
1969-1970 Richard Beale Davis
Past SSSL Conferences & Organizers
2018 Austin, Texas, Coleman Hutchison
2016 Boston, Massachusetts, John T. Matthews
2014 Washington, DC, Eric Gary Anderson
2012 Nashville, Tennessee, Michael Kreyling
2010 New Orleans, Louisiana, Barbara Ewell and Rebecca Mark
2008 Williamsburg, Virginia, Susan V. Donaldson
2006 Birmingham, Alabama, Riché Richardson and Jon Smith
2004 Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Scott Romine and William Andrews
2002 Lafayette, Louisiana, Margaret Bauer, Paul Jones, and Mary Ann Wilson
2000 Orlando, Florida, Dawn Trouard
1998 Charleston, South Carolina, Jeff Abernathy and Jim Hutchisson
1996 Richmond, Virginia, Suzanne Jones
1994 New Orleans, Louisiana, Tom Bonner and David Estes
1992 Clemson, South Carolina, Leo Lemay and Harold Woodell
1990 Chapel Hill, North Carolina, John Idol and Joseph Flora
Past Editors of the SSSL Newsletter
Fall 2011 – Spring 2015, David Davis
Fall 2006 – Spring 2011, Sarah Gleeson-White
Fall 2001 – Spring 2006, Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr.