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CFP // Studies in the Literary Imagination 

Special Issue on the Literature of Atlanta

The city of Atlanta if often nestled in layers of American and southern exceptionalism. The refrain that “once you leave Atlanta, you’re in Georgia” locates the city outside the imaginary of the U.S. South, a space often overdetermined by the rural. And still, as an American city and as a locus for literary production, Atlanta is overshadowed by its peers to the north (New York, Chicago, and Boston) and west (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New Orleans). At the same time, the city has become a hub for film and television production in the twenty-first century, and it sits profoundly at the center of the hip hop industry now more than ever.

Where do these contradictory cultural framings leave the city’s literature? This special issue of Studies in the Literary Imagination examines the literary texts of a city that W.E.B. Du Bois characterized as “peering out from the shadows of the past into the promise of the future.” We seek essays that consider Atlanta’s literary past, present, and future that move beyond the most familiar characterizations of the city in literature, treating texts that radically shift the narrative landscapes established by Gone with the Wind (1936) or that return to those landscapes with new eyes.

We welcome a wide range of methodologies to understanding Atlanta’s literature, particularly those that focus on emerging wings of southern literary studies related to critical race theory, ecocriticism, queer studies, and Indigenous studies. The following prompts offers possible topics, and it is not meant to be exhaustive: 

  • Literary attempts to redirect the most familiar representations of the city, such as those by Alice Randall, Percival Everett, and others 
  • Literature exploring the status of Atlanta as a city driven by colonizing and globalizing forces related to Removal, migration, capital—such as those by Nella Larsen, Ha Jin, Janet McAdams, Dave Eggers, Tom Wolfe, Omar El Akkad, and others 
  • Literary treatments of the city that move beyond the novel, such as those by Natasha Trethewey, Kevin Young, ZZ Packer, Pearl Cleage, Jericho Brown, Topher Payne, Alfred Uhry, Horton Foote, Joel Chandler Harris, and others 
  • Literary treatments of Atlanta’s urban development—including those by Nathan McCall, Anthony Grooms, Anne Rivers Siddons, Hannah Palmer, and others—and that development’s relationship to outlying areas surrounding the city, including those by James Dickey, Flannery O’Connor, Devi Laskar, and others 
  • Literary examinations of Atlanta’s complex position as a Black city, including those by James Weldon Johnson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Oscar Micheaux, many of the authors listed elsewhere, and others 
  • Literary representations of Atlanta that complement and anticipate broader cultural (re)investigations of the Atlanta Child Murders (1979-1981), including those by James Baldwin, Toni Cade Bambara, Tayari Jones, and others 
  • Literary treatments of Atlanta as a queer city, including those by Donald Windham, Benjamin Smoke, many of the aforementioned writers, and others 
  • Examinations of Atlanta in genre fiction, including those by Stephen King, the stories in Atlanta Noir (2016), and others 
  • Work driven by archival investigations of Atlanta’s literature, writers, and print culture 


We welcome work on the topics above and any others that focus on Atlanta’s literary landscapes, helping readers shift focus away from the familiar scales of analysis in southern studies—the region, the nation, the hemisphere, the globe—in order to explore how Atlanta reconfigures these and other scales.

Studies in the Literary Imagination is a biannual scholarly journal focusing on special topics in literature and enjoys a worldwide audience. SLI delivers topic-driven issues on a range of literary texts; in this sense, SLI serves more as a monograph series than as a typical journal.

Proposals from established, emerging, and independent scholars are welcomed. Please send 500-word abstracts as well as a short author bio (~100 words) to the editors of this special issue, Matthew Dischinger (mdischinger@gsu.edu) and Gina Caison (gcaison@gsu.edu) by December 15, 2020. Inquiries can be directed to Dr. Dischinger. For those asked to contribute essays to the special issue, we anticipate that completed essays will be due in August 2021. Contributors will also be invited to present conference-length versions of their work as part of a featured panel at the Society for the Study of Southern Literature’s Biennial Conference in spring of 2022 in Atlanta. 

Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2021
“Faulkner, Welty, Wright: A Mississippi Confluence”

July 18-22, 2021
University of Mississippi
Announcement and Call For Papers
http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/events/faulkner

The forty-eighth annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference will interrupt its long history of focusing on a single author to take up a trio of Mississippi giants who have left an indelible mark on American literature and modern intellectual life: William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Richard Wright. Together they have shaped, and moreover embodied, what we might call a “Mississippi modernism” that has yet to be fully reckoned with by literary scholars. And they have collectively bequeathed to us a bold imaginative encounter with history, society, power, and indeed the range of life in the state, region, nation, and beyond, over a timespan that reaches from settler colonialism and the Middle Passage to decolonization and the Civil Rights Movement. This legacy, still vital today, invites, and should richly reward, comparative study, so proposals that approach the authors’ work in dialogue and context will be particularly welcome. Topics might include but are not limited to:

Authorship
–transnational currents in the authors’ lives and careers: itineraries, encounters, constellations
–authorship, publishing, and the literary marketplace: negotiation, frustration, censorship, remuneration, etc.
–histories and patterns of critical reception
–the writer as public intellectual, as celebrity, as political figure
–personal encounters, correspondence, or other exchanges between/among the three authors and/or their common contemporaries and shared cultural brokers

Aesthetics
–convergent/divergent modernisms: aesthetics, themes, genres, commitments
–structures of feeling: textual or authorial affects, emotions, temperaments
–historical fiction, historical consciousness across/among the three writers
–non-fiction: memoir, poetry, screenwriting, reviewing
–nonliterary media in the creative life: painting, drawing, photography, film, music

History
–representations of poverty and/or/in the Great Depression
–literary and intellectual engagements with Cold War culture and politics
–civil and human rights in the writer’s life, work, and world
–intersections of racial, gender, class, and sexual identity; intersectional performances
–accounts/experiences of war or other forms of global conflict; the role of violence and death in the authorial imagination
–migration, mobility, rootedness in the lives and works of the three authors

Geography
–senses of place: shared visions or competing versions of the plantation, the farm, the school, the prison, the church, the neighborhood, etc.
–senses of (existing) place: shared visions or competing versions of Jackson, the Delta, the Natchez Trace, the Mississippi River, Memphis, etc.
–glimpses of alternate, emergent, or possible Mississippis
–Faulkner, Welty, Wright and/in the environmental humanities
–scaling up: literature at geological, global, planetary, or cosmic scales

The program committee, which will consist of Wright, Welty, and Faulkner scholars, especially encourages full panel proposals for 60-minute conference sessions. Such proposals should include a one-page overview of the session topic or theme, followed by 400-500-word abstracts for each of the panel papers to be included. We also welcome individually submitted 400-500-word abstracts for 15-20-minute panel papers. Panel papers consist of approximately 2,500 words and will be considered by the conference program committee for possible expansion and inclusion in the conference volume published by the University Press of Mississippi.

Session proposals and panel paper abstracts must be submitted by January 31, 2021, preferably through e-mail attachment. All manuscripts, proposals, abstracts, and inquiries should be addressed to Jay Watson, Department of English, C-135 Bondurant Hall, University of Mississippi, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677-1848. E-mail: jwatson@olemiss.edu. Decisions for all submissions will be made by March 15, 2021.

 

Publication Opportunities

Special issue of The Global South: “The Global South and/in the Plantationocene”

Deadline for abstracts:  July 1, 2020

According to the United Nations’ environmental risk index, a by-country report on the effects of global climate change, the inhabitants, locales, and economies of global south nations will be disproportionally affected as global warming intensifies. Many of these nations are projected to be hit by a triple whammy: rising populations, combined with already-vulnerable economies and spikes in severe weather events will result in massive disruptions to livelihoods and cultural practices, as well as mass migrations as environmental refugees flee to more habitable areas. The plantationocene, defined by Donna Haraway as a way of drawing attention to the planetary effects of extractive practices, monoculture development, and coercive labor structures that have undergirded modernity and climate change since at least the 1600s, can provide a useful rubric for thinking through human-agented ecological change, especially as these changes unevenly affect different populations and regions. Furthermore, the plantationocene calls attention to the indelible ecological and economic legacies of imperialism including patriarchal and race-based hierarchies, and inequities among diverse peoples based on race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.  This special issue of The Global South examines the productive tensions created by the operative phrase “and/in” when thinking, writing, and living through climate change from the perspective of the global south and/in the plantationocene.

Possible topics include:
•    Theoretical and hermeneutical discussions of the plantation and/or the plantationocene;
•    Examinations of the effects and the rise of natural disasters in the global south through the lens of the plantationocene;
•    Feminist-, queer-, decolonial-, and critical race studies-based resistances to the legacies, structures, hierarchies, and effects of the plantationocene;
•    Afro-, Arab, Asian, and Latinx futurisms in film, literature, and visual art which intersect with or document the (potential) effects of the plantationocene;
•    Analyses of the plantationocene, its legacies, its imaginaries, and its contemporary neo-isms (such as border factories, globalized trade, non-government organization assistance programs, privatized detention and incarceration, and plantation tourism) as these relate to the global south;
•    Empire-, refugee-, and military-studies discussions of plantationocene construction or deconstruction/resistance;
•    The global south plantationocene and/in the global north;
•    Interdisciplinary and comparative analyses of the plantationocene;
•    Architectural legacies of monoculture crops and their profits;
•    Ecological, animal studies, disability, medical studies, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies approaches to this topic; and
•    Investigations of the erasures of indigenous peoples through the plantationocene.

This issue is slated for publication in Spring 2023, so contributors will have a calendar year to draft their complete 7,000-10,000-word essays. Please send abstracts of up to 500 words (in MLA style) and a 100-word biographical statement to guest editors Isadora Wagner and Natalie Aikens, at isadora.wagner@westpoint.edu and aikensn@wabash.edu, by July 1, 2020.

Fellowships

LSU Libraries Special Collections Research Grants

The LSU Libraries is offering research travel grants of $1000 each to support the work of researchers who use the rich holdings of the LSU Special Collections Library. The purpose of the grant is to support a researcher’s travel and lodging costs associated with a research trip to Baton Rouge, LA. Graduate level, post-doctoral, faculty and independent researchers who live outside the Baton Rouge area are encouraged to pursue this opportunity. For application information visit: http://lib.lsu.edu/special/research/grant The application deadline is April 30, 2018 and the expected research completion date is June 1, 2019. About LSU Libraries Special Collections The LSU Libraries Special Collections is celebrated for its extensive holdings on the history of Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi Valley, documented through manuscripts, books, newspapers, maps, and ephemera. The American Civil War also has been one of the library’s traditional strengths, including collections specializing in Lincoln studies, Civil War fiction, and young people’s literature. A natural history collection rich in botanical and ornithological illustration, a rare book collection strong in the history of books and printing, and various personal libraries on subjects ranging from Sherlock Holmes to classic comic books all make the LSU Libraries Special Collections a destination for scholars researching broad subjects in American and European history and life. For more information visit: http://lib.lsu.edu/special