SSSL 2022 CFPs for Participant-Organized Panels

 [listed alphabetically by title]

Accessing Justice: Disability, Region, and Technology

Aligning with this year’s theme, “Technologies of Region,” this proposed roundtable centralizes disability, broadly defined, to historicize and interrogate the nexus between region and technology. The pandemic has demonstrated that technology has helped many people maintain social relationships and access to employment; however, it has also highlighted fundamental issues in terms of access and justice. As Lydia X.Z. Brown explains, while “technology holds enormous promise for helping disabled people,” it also “threatens to exacerbate long-standing structural problems, such as widespread medical discrimination resulting in denial of care.” Therefore, this roundtable seeks to understand, complicate, and interrogate the uses of technology in broader southern contexts as both a digital divide and as potential for justice, access, and inclusion.

We seek participants who focus on a wide range of topics that engage the intersections of disability, region, and technology, including but not limited to:

  • disability activism, inclusion, equity, and/or justice
  • disability and accessibility
  • education, access, and use of technology during the “Zoom era” and pandemic
  • Universal design
  • assistive technology and communication, its history, and/or its future(s)
  • literary representations of technology and disability
  • the future(s) of technology
  • technology and urban planning
  • technology and the environment
  • inventing/innovation under constraints and times of crisis
  • disability and new media studies

Please submit a 250-word proposal and a 100-word biography to both Elizabeth Glass (Elizabeth.glass@louisville.edu) and Delia Steverson (dsteverson@ufl.edu) by August 20, 2021.

Atlanta: Regional Technology, National Screens

On the occasion of SSSL’s first conference in Atlanta and its theme “Technologies of Region,” this proposed panel invites fifteen-minute presentations on the FX television series, Atlanta. Donald Glover’s critically acclaimed series centers on Earn and his successes and missteps managing his cousin, the rapper Paper Boi. The series not only presents a fecund opportunity to analyze a distinctly southern and urban setting of Atlanta in the medium of the television series, but it also depicts the characters’ interactions and challenges with technologies of region—public transportation, public access cable, terrestrial radio broadcast—that they perceive as pathways to success, or even a network to national and global superstardom. Moreover, if technology is merely a human creation that increases the efficiency of work toward the completion of a goal, what other kinds of non-digital technologies do the characters of Atlanta deploy or encounter? What kinds of technologies might they create?   

Please submit 250-word proposals and a 100-word biography to Jordan Dominy (Associate Professor of English, Savannah State University) at dominyj@savannahstate.edu by 1 August 2021.

Beyond Queering South/Southing Queer: New Perspectives on Twentieth-Century American Literature

This proposed panel aligns with recent scholarship, including John Howard’s Men Like That (1999), Michael Bibler’s Cotton’s Queer Relations (2009), and Jaime Harker’s The Lesbian South (2018), that has proven the South is queer and the queer is southern. These scholars define the Queer South as the network of relationships among queer people, heteronormative power structures, and the land through which they negotiate meaning in the American South. However, our panel will expand upon this knowledge by interrogating the Queer South as a contested site of multiple technologies of resistance that allow for queer innovations, survival, and community despite erasure, violence, and disintegration.

In 15-minute paper presentations, we hope to illuminate alternative innovations that oppose the agrarian, industrial, and electronic advancements more commonly associated with the South. By centering queerness, we can imagine what technologies are accessible to those who are deemed inappropriate, aberrant, or alien to the traditional Southern hierarchy and its privileging of white, cisgendered, heterosexual men. When one is ostracized, alienated, or queered, how does one resist? What technologies does one utilize when denied a future and, thus, technological advancements?

Whereas the South garners much attention for its technologies of power, like white supremacy or mass incarceration, we propose that all technologies of power are challenged by technologies of resistance: we might think of the “South” itself as a technology resistant to a “North;” the “Queer” to the “Heterosexual;” the “Natural” to the “Industrial;” and the “Feral” to the “Human.” Consequently, these technologies both reveal new ways of imagining the South as diverse, contested, and misunderstood and provide space and visibility to queer people who persist in such volatile spaces.

We are looking for papers that fall into the following themes:

  • Queer, queer of color, or trans resistance in the US South or Global South
  • Queer, queer of color, or trans innovations and technologies in the US South or Global South
  • Queer, queer of color, or trans representations in literature of the US South or Global South
  • Technologies of power in the US South or Global South
  • Technologies of resistance in the US South or Global South
  • Queer, queer of color, or trans scholarship

If interested, we encourage you to submit a 250-word proposal and 100-word biography to Anthony Gottlich (agottlic@go.olemiss.edu) by August 15, 2021. Contributors will be notified of acceptance by August 20, 2021.

The Black South in the Popular Imagination

In a 2004 interview, author Percival Everett was asked if in his works he was trying to rewrite history. He candidly responded: “What the hell’s wrong with that? You can write anything you want to. If anybody takes anything they read, history or fiction, as some gospel, then fuck ’em anyway, who cares? The point is, take it and then play with it.” Everett’s works show how pliant historical and cultural narratives are. The narratives of African Americans in the American South, and beyond, have long been the playthings of others—especially in the realm of popular culture. However, Everett’s satire also demonstrates that even self-created narratives are not beyond critique. While African American artists of all types address longstanding narratives that relegate Black bodies to the margins, we are interested in exploring ways in which narratives about Blackness collide with popular culture in southern texts. We are looking for multidisciplinary perspectives, and we interpret the term “texts” very liberally

We seek panelists to give 15-20 minute presentations that engage with the intersection of Southern Black Narratives and popular culture. Please consider the following: How have historical narratives about African Americans been countered, complicated, revised, revived or disposed of in the context of the American South within popular culture? What new narratives about Southern African Americans exist and what are the implications of those narratives? Topics may include:

  • The Black Church
  • Literary Representations
  • Memoirs
  • The Black South in Reality Television
  • Black Twitter
  • Hip Hop and the Music of the Dirty South
  • Black Conservativism or Liberalism in the American South
  • Hollywood and Representations of Black Southerness
  • Black Immigrants and the American South

If interested, we encourage you to submit a 250-word proposal and 100-word biography to LaRonda Sanders-Senu at lsanders-senu@gordonstate.edu by August 15, 2021. Contributors will be notified of acceptance by August 20, 2021.

Civil War Memory in Contemporary Literature and Culture

Proposals requested for a panel on Civil War memory in Contemporary Literature and Culture, understanding all terms capaciously. How does the cultural memory of the U.S. Civil War change after the deaths of those who experienced the events first-hand? How does it intersect with and respond to the civil rights movement and/or the centennial commemoration? What repetitions or departures are represented in the Civil War sesquicentennial commemoration and Black Lives Matter?

Please submit 250-word proposals and a brief CV to Michael LeMahieu (Associate Professor of English, Clemson University) at mlemahi@clemson.edu by August 15, 2021.

Comics Pedagogy and Southern Studies (Lightning Panel)

Recent years have seen an explosion of comics—comic strips, comic books, webcomics, and graphic novels—about the South. These comics have addressed a diverse range of subjects in a wide variety of genres, including autobiographical and historical explorations of the Civil Rights Movement, rural noir thrillers, ecopocalyptic horror tales, and reprints of newspaper comics strips both cherished and forgotten, among many others. What are the challenges and opportunities involved in bringing such texts into our courses? What aspects of comics form and history are most useful in introducing, contextualizing, and analyzing books like these? How might the study of a hybrid medium like comics lead us to reimagine our teaching of prose, poetry, and film? Can the particular affordances of the comics medium helpfully inform the way we teach the concept of “the South”?

We seek panelists to deliver 5-minute presentations that explore these questions, pose new ones, and generate a lively discussion about the intersections between comics pedagogy and southern studies. Panelists may wish to focus on teaching a particular comic set in the U.S. South and/or Global South, or they may wish to focus on classroom strategies for bringing southern studies approaches to comics not traditionally understood as “southern.” Tales of glorious success, instructive failure, and everything in between are equally welcome.

Interested panelists should submit a 50-word proposal as well as a short biography to the panel organizers, Brannon Costello (bcostell@lsu.edu) and Qiana J. Whitted (whittedq@mailbox.sc.edu) by August 15, 2021.

Compiling the South

In fall 2019, the authors of this proposal signed a contract with Routledge Press to co-edit the Companion to Literature of the U.S. South, scheduled to be published in 2023. The topics covered are wide-ranging, reflecting the evolving changes to what is typically considered southern literature. Alongside foundational topics in southern studies, the book features new entries and approaches that have emerged after the publication of previous collections; all told, the Routledge Companion boasts almost 100 contributors—from “established” academics in the southern studies field, to newer scholars and those who would not ordinarily consider themselves scholars of the South at all.

However, the events of the year and a half since the project was contracted have raised new and pressing questions about its function. In addition to the complications in putting together a project of this scale in the midst of a public health crisis, the recent embattled political climate and the precarious state of academia forces a deeper consideration of southern literary studies as a field and its relationship to the vexed history of the region and nation. In short, what is at stake in putting this encyclopedia together?

We seek respondents to deliver 5-minute responses in a roundtable composed of the Companion editors and contributors from each of the collection’s three sections: Foundations, Touchstones, and Trajectories.
Interested respondents should submit a 50-word proposal as well as a short biography to panel organizers, Katie Burnett (kburnett@fisk.edu); Todd Hagstette (ToddH@usca.edu); and Monica Miller (monica.miller@mga.edu), by August 15, 2021.

Digitizing Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha

Ongoing since 2011, the Digital Yoknapatawpha project (http://faulkner.iath.virginia.edu/) is an NEH-sponsored web-based resource that provides teachers, students, scholars and aficionados with multiple ways to appreciate and analyze the 68 fictions that Faulkner set in his mythical part of the South. Like the conference, the panel will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual presentations, and will feature 5 members of the DY team giving lightning presentations, each focusing on a different aspect of the project, with particular emphasis on the themes of the conference.

We seek people who have used the project, in either your classroom or your scholarship, to participate in the panel (either in person or virtually) by contributing brief (5-minutes or so) responses – either to the presentations or to DY itself. We are interested in discussing both how the site’s different technologies open up new ways of thinking about Faulkner, and, just as importantly, how Faulkner’s work provides an occasion to think about the use of digital tools for textual analysis. Respondents will have access to the other presentations ahead of the conference.

Interested respondents should submit a 50-word proposal as well as a short biography to panel organizers, Stephen Railton (sfr@virginia.edu) or Lorie Watkins (loriewatkins@gmail.com), by 1 September 2021.

Emerging & Dismantling: Feminist Killjoys Confront SSSL’s Past and Present

This lightning roundtable extends the conversation established in SSSL’s 2018 Closing Plenary wherein the organization’s community began an open-forum dialogue about its history and ongoing manifestations of sexism, racism, and elitism—among many other oppressive structures that have been integral to the organization and discipline. Following that plenary, on the one hand, SSSL’s leadership worked in earnest to more equitably reshape the organization’s structure via policies, procedures, and explicit public statements condemning white supremacy and harassment. With this work, and with the outcomes of recent elections evidencing the membership’s desire for diverse leadership, the structural and cultural landscape of SSSL 2022 looks notably different from that of SSSL 2018. On the other hand, public revelations that senior SSSL members have sexually harassed and bullied emerging scholars, specifically graduate students, and the growing rise of violent white supremacy and xenophobia in our national climate have made clear that we as a membership still have much more work ahead to continue reshaping SSSL into a more equitable, inclusive, and ethical organization.

In this context, this roundtable confronts SSSL’s present “Age of Crisis” by amplifying experiences of emerging women (trans- and cis-) and non-binary scholars from a range of backgrounds across graduate, contingent, independent, and junior/pre-tenure career stature. We seek scholars and/or activists who have experiences within, against, or parallel to the disciplinary structures of oppression that SSSL must confront and dismantle in our present moment. We especially welcome scholars and/or activists whose work engages with the content of southern studies (e.g. African American, African Diasporic, Native/Indigenous/First Nations, Latinx, Caribbean, Global South, etc.), but who may have experienced exclusion, oppression, or hostility that has precluded their participation in SSSL programming or the field of southern studies, more broadly. The organizers of this roundtable and SSSL leadership are committed to making this session and the 2022 conference a secure, constructive, edifying experience for all attendees.

Roundtable participants will offer 3-5 minute “lightning presentations” that (a) share experience, (b) offer advice, and (c) demand change in either the SSSL organization or the field more broadly. Following the presentations, we will preserve ample time for open discussion.

Foregrounding Kimberlé Crenshaw’s “intersectionality” in practice and politics, and channeling Sara Ahmed’s “feminist killjoy” methodology, this roundtable will foster candid dialogue across diverse experiences. We aim to amplify the voices of emerging women and non-binary scholars and activists grounded in this particular historical moment so that we as a community may bear witness to their experiences. We seek to fortify our movement by building solidarity and support across intersecting forms of precarity. Most importantly, we will brainstorm practical, actionable methods to continue dismantling organizational and disciplinary mechanisms of oppression in order to foster more equitable, inclusive, and ethical futures.

Please submit a 250-word proposal and short bio to Jenna Sciuto at j.sciuto@mcla.edu and Rebecca Nisetich at rebecca.nisetich@maine.edu by August 20, 2021.

*This roundtable was originally slated for SSSL 2020. Thanks to Stephanie Rountree for her work on the original CFP.

The Far North and the Global South

In recent decades, as the field of southern studies has expanded its geographical scope, “the South” has been thoroughly recontextualized within circum-Caribbean, transatlantic, and global paradigms which challenge the North/South binary of traditional southern studies. Rather than dividing the U.S. into discrete and monolithic regions, these new approaches have explored how the South consistently exceeds the boundaries once thought to contain it. At the same time, scholars of the Global South have been asking similar questions on a larger scale. In his seminal essay conceptualizing the Global South, Arif Dirlik notes that the “the viability of the North/South distinction” has been called into question, as “the boundaries between the two are crisscrossed by networks of various kinds, relocating some parts of the South in the North, and vice versa” (Dirlik 15). This roundtable seeks to bridge these discourses by bringing the U.S. South and the Global South into conversation with the Far North, a region that remains largely absent from both, despite its increased prominence in contemporary political and environmental crises. We aim to explore the tensions, patterns, similarities, and intersections between spaces often conceptualized as diametrically opposed in order to complicate configurations of region. We are particularly interested in work centering indigenous voices and experiences and/or highlighting the cultural heterogeneity of each region and invite comments on any points of connection between the U.S. South, the Global South, and the Far North, including but not limited to:

  • The effects of climate change
  • Stereotypes and fantasies of region
  • Experiences of colonialism, including post-, neo-, and green-
  • Histories of enslavement / the Plantationocene
  • Resource extraction
  • The tourism industry
  • Hierarchies of race, gender, class, and sexuality
  • Indigenous activism and resistance in northern and southern contexts
  • Connections grounded in art and literature

Please submit a 250-word proposal and a 100-word biography to Jenna Sciuto at j.sciuto@mcla.edu and Ryan Charlton at rmc0017@auburn.edu by August 16, 2021.

Job Market Viability?: Options for Emerging Scholars and Responsibilities for Mentors – Sponsored by SSSL’s Emerging Scholars Organization

The Emerging Scholars Organization appreciates that shifts in the landscape of academic labor caused by adjunctification, legislative meddling, and COVID-19 especially impact our members as graduate students, contingent faculty, junior faculty in unstable institutions, and scholars of color in southern studies. We want to use SSSL 2022 as an opportunity to raise the question of academic institutions’ responsibility to emerging scholars to recognize the realities of the academic job market and produce professionalization options within graduate program structures that will prepare graduates for alt-ac, academic-adjacent, and public/private sector jobs.

This roundtable will be a conversation meant for both emerging scholars and graduate program administrators. We see this panel as promoting a conversation that, rather than languishing in the disruption of academic futures, envisions viable solutions both for those entering unfamiliar job markets and for those committed to equity and evolution in our institutions. We also hope that it will be a chance for scholars of all ranks to familiarize themselves with alternatives to the current pitfalls of the academic market in order to better advise and mentor future scholars.

We seek participants for this roundtable representing both Ph.D.s in alt-ac positions and administrators who have developed alternative opportunities for their graduate students. Those interested in participating should please submit a 250-word statement of interest and a 100-word biography to emergingscholarsorg@gmail.com by August 29, 2021.

Monument(al) Texts and Technologies 

In a course that I regularly offer on monuments and memorials, my students and I examine various sites and the objects within them as texts to be read closely for the purpose of better understanding how such spaces serve to concretize the collective memory and values of specific groups (in some cases, nations) and, in some instances, to counter the collective memory(ies) of others. This panel is intended to bring together scholars interested in thinking together about the ways in which monuments and memorial spaces within and/or linked to the history of the U.S. South serve as political technologies that put into tangible form the histories, beliefs, ideals, and symbols of a certain constituency or constituencies. Panelists are encouraged to think broadly and creatively, and I welcome papers considering less familiar monuments/ memorials or objects not typically considered as such (e.g., the quilt paintings of Atlanta artist Dawn Williams Boyd).   

Please submit 250-word proposals and a 100-word biography to Molly McGehee (Associate Professor of English & American Studies, Oxford College, Emory University) at molly.mcgehee@emory.edu by 10 August 2021. Depending on the submissions received, this may end up being a traditional panel with 3-4 presenters or a roundtable featuring 6+ shorter presentations (TBD).  

New Ecocritical Directions for Southern Studies

For the past three decades, southern studies scholars have devoted increasing attention to the region’s environmental issues, from floods and droughts to extractive industries like coal, oil, and gas. Academics have also considered the ways in which southern cultural productions—including literature, music, television, and film—have contributed in both productive and detrimental ways to how our ecosystems are perceived and thus the extent to which they are protected. In addition, the recent greening of the field has highlighted the intersections between social, racial, and environmental issues, which are crucial to understand as we attempt to envision a more just and equitable future for a region that is already witnessing some of the nation’s worst impacts of climate change.

This roundtable seeks to expand and update the work done in recent books such as Ecocriticism and the Future of Southern Studies. What has been left out of the conversation, and what needs to be investigated in new ways? Possible topics could include but are certainly not limited to: the Anthropocene/capitalocene/plantationocene, critical race theory and the environment, ecofeminism, queer ecology, slow violence, biopolitics, technology and the environment, critical plant studies, animal studies, climate migrations, comparative (bio)regional studies, how/if ecocriticism and, more broadly, the environmental humanities fit into the “new southern studies.”

If you are interested, please send a 100-word abstract and brief bio to Zackary Vernon (vernonzd@appstate.edu) by August 15, 2021.

New Media and the U.S. South

As the forthcoming edited collection Remediating Region: New Media and the U.S. South (LSUP 2021) argues, all media was once new media. This proposed roundtable seeks to bring together contributors to the collection with other interested scholars working in the long history of new media in the U.S. South. Specific studies of the U.S. South/souths on or across diverse platforms (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, Wikipedia) are welcome, and interdisciplinary work on “old” media in the historical moment when it was “new” is encouraged.

Interested respondents should submit a 50-word proposal as well as a short biography to panel organizer Lisa Hinrichsen (lhinrich@uark.edu) by August 20, 2021.

Richard Wright and Racial Reckoning

One longstanding criticism of Richard Wright is that his depictions of Black life in the United States were too totalizing: too ideological, devoid of joy, and circumscribed by racism. However, as new technologies and our national political climate have made white supremacy, police brutality, and structural racism harder to deny, Richard Wright’s work is both prescient and urgent in the twenty-first century. In June 2021, Imani Perry called for a sensitive reconsideration of Richard Wright, especially in light of an increased awareness that complex depictions of Black people have not brought about universal recognition of Black humanity. This panel aims to participate in such a reevaluation, seeking to engage Wright’s works, including his recently published posthumous novel The Man Who Lived Underground (2021). Possible topics might include but need not be limited to: Wright’s literary naturalism and its relationship to critiques of systemic injustice; police brutality and the carceral state in Wright’s work; Wright and the persistence of white supremacy; Wright in conversation with his critics; and reassessing Wright’s role in Southern Studies.

Please submit 250-word proposals and a short biography to Alison Arant (Associate Professor of English, Wagner College) at alison.arant@wagner.edu by August 15, 2021. This panel could also take the form of a roundtable depending on the number of submissions.

Scripting the Past in the Present: Early America and Contemporary Culture

For many present-day readers, early American literature seems a nexus of far removed, boring, stodgy, and simply no longer relevant texts, ideas, authors, and tropes. Yes, we hear politicians frequently invoke the “Founding Fathers” and the ideals of the American Revolution in their rhetoric, but few people voluntarily pick up a sermon by Cotton Mather, an exploration narrative by John Smith, Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative, or even Benjamin Franklin’s famous Autobiography as pleasure reading. Yet, if we look a bit more closely, early American literature and history pervade contemporary culture, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries. Beyond well-known examples like Disney’s Pocahontas and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster Hamilton that made Aaron Burr a household name, contemporary writers and artists in literary and popular venues take up and rework early American materials in both explicit and implicit ways. Such texts translate the unfamiliar language and sensibilities of early America as a usable past to find common denominators that address (and often problematize) historic and ever-present concerns with social justice and definitions of democracy for the general public. Ultimately, these links reveal the complementary nature of early American themes and their present-day echoes, establishing intricate transhistorical nexuses that scholars and teachers alike must grapple with and purposely deploy to help students overcome temporal, cultural, and linguistic distances that often limit comprehension, familiarization, and the ability to see the present-day import of our nation’s past. 

In the spirit of fostering dialogue in this area, we seek paper proposals for two panels—one critical and one pedagogical (complementary approaches often seen as disparate)—that explore networks connecting contemporary and early American imaginaries. Interested panelists should send abstracts of no more than 500 words to Dr. Patrick Erben (perben@westga.edu) and Dr. Rebecca Harrison (rharriso@westga.edu) by July 30, 2021.

Southern Ecologies, Southern Capital: The Making and Unmaking of the (Non)Human World

The South has historically been marked by the capital extraction of human, nonhuman, and natural resources from its uniquely fertile yet often impoverished environments, at both national and global scales. The abundance of the “four cheaps” necessary for the accumulation of capital—food, labor-power, energy, and raw materials—has made it a site of intense exploitation of living beings, as well as environmental degradation. This panel will seek to understand capital’s capacity to make and unmake worlds by examining the circulation of capital and the roles that infrastructural development, social engineering, and forced displacement have played in both the material and ideational creation of southern ecologies, from the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta to the sugarcane plantations in Jamaica. At the same time, we also consider the way capital undergirds constructions of identity and continues to dictate who has access to the political category of the human.

Possible topics include but are not limited to: 

  • Environmental Humanities & Ethics
  • Global Economies and Environmental Precarity
  • Racial Capital
  • The TransAtlantic Slave Trade
  • Plantationocene
  • Carceral Studies
  • Climate Change
  • Infrastructures
  • Blue Humanities
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Animal Studies / Questions of the Human
  • Multispecies Justice
  • Neocolonial studies
  • Posthumanism
  • New Materialism
  • Containerism
  • Biopolitics
  • Subaltern Souths

Please submit a 300 word abstract and a brief biography to Savannah DiGregorio (savannah.j.digregorio@vanderbilt.edu) and Huntley Hughes (Huntley.w.hughes@vanderbilt.edu) by August 25th, 2021.

Speculative Plantations

Our panel seeks to put into conversation a variety of texts that use speculative narrative forms (widely defined) to depict past, present, and future plantation settings and power structures. We invite papers that center Black, Indigenous, Asian, and Latinx experiences and narrative voices to explore any of the following topics and/or the intersections of such topics:

  • speculative genres (e.g., horror and science fiction)
  • interplays between texts such as novels, films, television shows, visual art, and tours
  • impacts of economic “speculation” in relation to plantation settings and structures
  • speculative plantation narratives and/as technologies
  • cross-cultural and geographical connections beyond the United States

Please email your 200-word paper proposal and a 100-word biography to Amy K. King (amy.king@auburn.edu) and Allison Harris (harrisaln@uncw.edu) by Monday, 23 August 2021. We will contact panelists soon after. We especially welcome inquiries and papers from graduate, junior, contingent, and independent scholars.

Spinning Dreams, Tangled Histories: The Legacy of Cotton Production and Textile Mills in Southern Culture

Sven Beckert’s magisterial study, Empire of Cotton (2015), traces the exponential growth of a commodity-driven industry that revolutionized economic, labor, and social sectors of countries around the globe; he pays particular attention to the dominance of cotton and then textile mills in the U. S. South. Cotton – both its production and transformation into cloth in the myriad mills built on Southern streams in the 1900s – found its way into literature, film, travel writing and more. Olmstead’s fascinating The Cotton Kingdom and other travelogues took northern impoverished farmers, while others traced the accumulation of great fortunes on cotton plantations. The transfer of the nation’s textile mills to the South from New England, as entrepreneurs sought both water power and cheap labor, led to squalid working conditions in milltowns, replete with child labor and unhealthy shanties. The sensational 1929 communist-ed Louray Mill Strike in Gastonia led to at least seven novels by figures such as Sherwood Anderson, Fielding Burke, Grace Lumpkin, and more recently, Wiley Cash in The Last Ballad. Films such as Norma Rae have also dramatized and documented the South’s textile history, which ultimately led to huge conglomerates such as Callaway Mills. During the past decade the textile industry of the South, long in decline, has been revitalized, and 1/3 of the nation’s factories are now located in Georgia and North Carolina. This panel welcomes papers that deal with the literature of this commodity and the technologies it generated.

Send abstracts and 300 word bios to John Wharton Lowe (jwlowe@uga.edu) by August 20, 2021.

Technology and Carson McCullers – Sponsored by the Carson McCullers Society

The Carson McCullers Society invites proposals for presentations related to technology as imagined through the works and influence of Carson McCullers. From Miss Amelia experimenting with medical tinctures in The Ballad of the Sad Cafe to Frankie’s father working with watches in The Member of the Wedding, many of McCullers’ characters engage with technology overtly. However, in the spirit of the SSSL 2022 Conference theme, we also encourage potential panelists to think of technology in broad and creative ways. In Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narratives, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas (2017), for example, Tom McEnaney suggests that the relationship between characters and sounds in mid-century novels, including The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, creates a “new neighborhood,” joining North and South America. As such, McNaney theorizes reading as a type of technology. How else might we read McCullers’ work as inventing, resisting, and or engaging technology? Other questions to inspire possible paper topics include:

  • In what ways does McCullers comment on the technology of the mid-century South and world at large?
  • How does technology influence archival, biographical, and literary research on McCullers? (Panelists might think of McCullers’ telegrams, recordings of therapy sessions, photography, handwritten and typewritten mailed correspondence, etc.).
  • How does teaching act as a kind of technology? Please consider sharing your ideas and experiences for teaching and engaging with McCullers’ work in the classroom and beyond.

Please email your roughly 200-word paper proposal and 100-word biography to Paula Rawlins (paula.rawlins@yale.edu) by Monday, August 23, 2021.

We invite and encourage proposals from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, especially those who may not identify as “southernists,” as well as from Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and other people of color; LGBTQIA+ individuals; and those with a range of (dis)abilities; as well as scholars who are students or contingent faculty. We will contact panelists by August 30th.

The Uses and Abuses of Shame in the American South

In writing and representations of the U.S. South, shame is nearly unavoidable. It is evident in the shameless racism of slaveholders, secessionists, segregationists, and the dog whistlers of today, and it thunders in condemnations of injustice and violence, historic and contemporary. For instance, shame has been embodied in iconic characters in southern literature, interrogated by scholars in our field, flatly rejected by pop sociologist Brené Brown, and roundly challenged by musician Lil Nas X. Southerners often loudly resist efforts to cast the region as a shameful space, even as communities within the South deploy shaming language to regulate difference within them. These contradictions suggest that, while provoking shame as an emotion may serve to disrupt barriers between individuals and cultures, shame can also keep us from honest conversations about identity and community.

For this panel, we are interested in interrogations of shame and shaming in a regional context as represented in literature, history, culture, and technologies. Such examinations might consider how individuals and groups utilize shame in ways that are both well-intentioned and wicked—how shame and shaming provoke and produce highly varied reactions given the user/abuser and the target audience.

This list is in no way exhaustive, but some possible subjects might include:

  • Shame as represented in the arts, popular culture, new media, and/or other technologies;
  • Shame as represented in literature (for instance, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lillian Smith, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Dorothy Allison, William Faulkner, and others);
  • Intersections between shame research and African American studies, Indigenous studies, Appalachian studies, Feminist theory, Queer Studies, Gender Studies, and other critical methods;
  • Shame and history, politics, sociology, criminal justice, or other fields of study;
  • Shame and socioeconomic class;
  • Online and/or public shaming;
  • Individual v. Cultural Shaming;
  • Shame, hunger, and foodways.

If interested, please send a 250-300 word abstract and a short bio to Courtney George (george_courtney2@columbusstate.edu) and Andy Hoefer (ahoefer@gmu.edu) by August 20, 2021.

Welty and Disability – Sponsored by the Eudora Welty Society

This panel engages Eudora Welty’s life and work with the field of disability studies and activism. Papers may discuss, but are not limited to, such themes as:

  • Technologies of the body and biopolitics
  • Regionally inflected responses to or definitions of disability
  • State institutions and apparatuses of control
  • Intersectional readings of gender, sexuality, race, disability
  • Examinations of ableist language
  • Ideas about illness/wellness and medical intervention
  • Literature and classroom accessibility

Please send 300 word abstracts and a brief bio to lwilson@fisk.edu no later than August 15, 2021.

Welty and Media Technologies – Sponsored by the Eudora Welty Society

In connection with the conference theme, this panel considers Welty’s interactions with and depictions of the print and performance “technologies” of her time and place. Technologies include but are not limited to magazine culture, advertisement and commercial signs, the pulp and paperback book industries, photography, popular music, radio, newspapers and journalism, propaganda, television, and film.


Papers appropriate for this session might also be developed for the planned volume Welty, Modernism, and Media, anticipated for inclusion in the University of Mississippi series, Critical Perspectives on Eudora Welty.

Please send 250-word abstracts to Harriet Pollack (pollackh@cofc.edu) by August 15, 2021. Early expressions of interest requested.

What’s Next?: After the New Southern Studies

On or about 2001, when Houston A. Baker and Dana Nelson called for a “new southern studies” (NSST), many (then-emerging) scholars were already challenging the critical norms of the “old southern studies.” In place of southern exceptionalism and essentialism, they criticized the politics of white melancholia and showed how the southern imaginary is, and always has been, integral to national culture. In place of a solid South with static Confederate borders, they limned a plethora of micro-Souths: transnational, multi-ethnic, Black, urban, queer, etc. However, the movement that sought to overturn the field’s status quo—ironically? inevitably?—soon became a new status quo. By the time we meet in Atlanta for SSSL in 2022, the NSST will be old enough to legally drink: it’s safe to say that it’s no longer “new” and it’s weird that it is still often presented as such. It’s time to evaluate the successes, and more importantly, the failures of the NSST: it’s time to plot our future.

This session will take the format of a guided discussion between panelists and audience members as we consider “what’s next?” I will lead the discussion, and distribute questions to panelists in advance. Audience members will be invited to submit their own questions and/or volunteer their own comments and ideas. I’m seeking 4-6 panelists to get the ball rolling and focus discussion.

If you’d like to be a panelist, please Amy Clukey (amy.clukey@gmail.com) by August 15, 2021, and briefly tell me your thoughts about the issues outlined above, along with a short academic biography. I will choose panelists to assure a diverse range of perspectives and provocations, and I’m hoping to include new and/or marginalized voices from a variety of academic backgrounds and institutions. 

Why Faulkner Now? – Sponsored by the William Faulkner Society

In his recent biography The Saddest Words (2020), Michael Gorra argues that though scholars continue to investigate William Faulkner’s narrative experiments or “the problems of the human heart,” in our current moment “such readings in themselves are no longer adequate.” By way of example, Gorra turns to “An Image of Africa,” Chinua Achebe’s eviscerating criticism of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, as evidence that Faulkner scholarship must grapple with his fiction and public intellectualism in ways that make sense of his work now. Gorra concludes that Achebe offers us pertinent ways to consider imperialism and modernity as imbricated, which encourages thinking about race, sexuality, class, gender identity, citizenship status, and ability as converging axes. How should recent events—the global Black Lives Matter movement, removal of Confederate monuments, January 6th insurrection, climate change, state border antagonism, rising transphobia, #MeToo, and #SayHerName—influence our understanding of his work? What can readings of Faulkner yield now—and what can’t they? Why (and how) should we read Faulkner now? Should we read Faulkner at all?

This proposed roundtable is organized by the William Faulkner Society. Participants will read short position papers (5-7 minutes), in order to leave room for discussion. The conference will allow for both in-person and virtual/hybrid participation via the online platform Whova. We especially welcome work from international academics, graduate students, and contingent scholars.

Please email 200-word abstracts and short bios to Joanna Davis-McElligatt (joanna.davis-mcelligatt@unt.edu) by Monday, 23 August 2021.