News and Events Archive

Conference on Southern Culture CFP(2011-09-16)

Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, is pleased to announce a Call for Papers for the Converse College Conference on Southern Culture, April 12 – 14, 2012.

The focus of this conference is the “big picture” of southern culture, from okra to opera. We are particularly interested in the intersections of “high” and “low” culture in the South, and the ways in which the rich working class and folk elements of southern culture have, in many instances, been reinterpreted, and, some might argue, appropriated, by more traditionally high cultural mediums. We invite papers that examine the unique qualities of diverse southern cultures, interrogate the threads that bind these cultures together, and, we anticipate, propose divergent ways of thinking about the South.

We recognize that there are many excellent conferences that focus on specific historical events, individual Southern writers, and select sociological phenomena. For that reason, we envision this conference as a place to pull many threads together in unusual and perhaps innovative combinations to examine larger questions. We welcome non-traditional approaches including thoughtful personal narratives and papers that draw on non-traditional resources to explore large scholarly questions. To further ensure that this conference provides a place for inter-disciplinary and non-traditional examinations of Southern Culture, and because we do not expect to run multiple, concurrent sessions, we would prefer single paper proposals rather than full panel proposals.

The academic conference will be a key component in a weeklong conversation about modern southern culture that will include featured speakers, panel discussions, literary readings and musical performances. Writers Lee Smith and Hal Crowther will be the keynote speakers. We invite papers from scholars and professionals working in the fields of Literary Studies, History, Religion, performing arts, and southern foodways, and we hope to use conference papers as the basis for scholarly collection of essays.

This conference will continue a proud tradition of “studying the South” at Converse College. In the spring of 1962, the Southern Literary Festival met at Converse and featured Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, and Cleanth Brooks, among others. On the fiftieth anniversary of that event, we propose to examine, not just southern literature, but the wide range of elements of southern culture.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
Religious traditions in the south
High southern church/low southern church
Non-Christians in the south
Contemporary southern drama, or the lack of it
Visual arts
Food security issues in the modern rural south
Images of the south in popular culture

Folk arts
The role of food in southern culture: church, family, community, etc.
Women are cooks and men are chefs: gender and food
Why not southern? Does regional mean provincial? Or does it mean a strong sense of place?
Southern cuisine as haute cuisine
The evolving role of race in shaping southern culture
Immigrants and southern culture
Southern musical traditions

Please send 250-word abstract as an email attachment, along with a brief CV (Word or PDF, please) to:

Anita Rose, Conference Co-chair
Associate Professor and Chair of the English Dept.

Deadline: November 1, 2011

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