Reading Atlanta: A Presidential Roundtable

In Partnership with SLI: Studies in the Literary Imagination

Reading Atlanta Tuesday Roundtable by Stephanie Rountree, Ph.D.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 | 5:00 – 6:20 pm | GSU’s CMII & Whova

This year’s SSSL Presidential Roundtable features contributors to the 2022 “Atlanta” special issue of SLI: Studies in the Literary Imagination. Structured as a “lightning” roundtable, “Reading Atlanta,” brings together a variety of approaches to Atlanta’s literature from a range of scholar-contributors. Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder reads Toni Cade Bambara as a documentarian of Black women’s activism in the South. Focusing on how Those Bones Are Not My Child (1999) represents activism, Rodriguez Fielder argues that the Black women protagonists contend with the mental strain of activism, and their grief becomes an integral part of how they connect with and bring people together. Molly McGeehee will explore the ways in which Anne Rivers Siddons used the horror genre to critique her social and spatial surroundings in white, elite Buckhead. Jennie Lightweis-Goff demonstrates that Margaret Mitchell’s intra-war representation of resurgent Atlanta stands in contrast to that of dying coastal cities. This representation reveals the prehistory of the Sunbelt and “New” Souths, spatio-ideological formations organized in opposition to Old Southern cities, which needed to be buried in order to produce Atlanta’s vitality. Shari Arnold argues that Tayari Jones’s Leaving Atlanta (2002) speaks through children to explore how Black families address power dynamics / positionality when addressing crises—ultimately reexamining (possibly calling into question) the legacy embodied in “Black Mecca.” Finally, Eric Solomon explores the dual and different experiences of Donald Windham and Tennessee Williams to offer a theory of queer Atlanta through which each man’s view serve as one entry along a complicated continuum.

  • Matthew Dischinger, Georgia State University (Moderator)
  • Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder, University of Iowa
  • Margaret T. (“Molly”) McGehee, Oxford College of Emory University
  • Jennie Lightweis-Goff, University of Mississippi
  • Shari L. Arnold, Georgia State University
  • Eric Solomon, Oxford College of Emory University

Reading Atlanta is first of three Closing Night Events at Georgia State University’s CMII

Tuesday Evening: June 28, 2022 | GSU’s CMII (25 Park Place, Atlanta)

SSSL 2022’s Tuesday Night Event will be held at Georgia State University’s Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) and will feature three Marquee Events