About Us

Our Mission

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.

Diversity Statement

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.

Constitution, By-Laws, and Policy Documents

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).


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.


Sherita L. Johnson

The University of Southern Mississippi

Gina Caison

Gina Caison


Georgia State University

Harper Strom

Harper Strom


Georgia State University

Executive Council

Constance Bailey (2020-2022)
University of Arkansas

Tara A. Bynum  (2021-2023)
University of Iowa

Frank Cha (2020-2022)
Virginia Commonwealth University

Joanna Davis-McElligatt (2019-2021)
University of North Texas



Matthew Dischinger (2021-2023)
Georgia State University

Jaime Harker (2020-2022)
University of Mississippi

Jennifer L. Hayes (2021-2023)
Tennessee State University

Gavan Lennon (2021-2023)
Coventry University



John D. Ribó (2021-2023)
Florida State University

Delia Steverson (2019-2021)
University of Florida

Christin Marie Taylor (2020-2022)
Shenandoah University

Kathryn Walkiewicz (2021-2023)
University of California, San Diego

Elizabeth Gardner (2020-2022)
(Past President of SSSL Emerging Scholars Organization)
Louisiana State University


Past Presidents of SSSL

2019-2020 Lisa Hinrichsen
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

2022, Atlanta, Georgia, Gina Caison & Stephanie Rountree
2020 Fayetteville, Arkansas, Lisa Hinrichsen (Cancelled Due to Covid-19)
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

Investment Committee

Whitney Martin (2021-2027) The University of Southern Mississippi
Stephanie Rountree (2019 – 2025), University of North Georgia
Jenna Sciuto (2020 – 2026), Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Eric Solomon (2020 – 2026), Oxford College of Emory University

2022 Program Committee

Shari Arnold, Georgia State University (ESO president)
Matthew Dischinger, Georgia State University
R. Scott Heath, Loyola University New Orleans
Amy King, Auburn University
Erich Nunn, Auburn University
Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder, The University of Iowa
Delia Steverson, University of Florida

Past Editors of the SSSL Newsletter

Fall 2016 – Summer 2022, Amy King
Fall 2011 – Spring 2015, David Davis
Fall 2006 – Spring 2011, Sarah Gleeson-White
Fall 2001 – Spring 2006, Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr.

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