MLA 2017: Southern US Forum Panels (CFP)

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    Ted Atkinson

    The Revolution(ary) South

    Across its history, the South, broadly conceived, has been the site for numerous revolutions and revolutionary ideas. These moments have been classified under many headings, including but not limited to: rebellion, insurrection, and protest. This panel invites papers that interrogate these revolution(ary) Souths as depicted across literary and cultural texts. When thinking of a revolution several distinct meanings might spring to mind: the process of social upheaval; the overthrow of a government; the act of moving in a circular fashion around a central point; a period of time; or the recurrence of a particular event or task. In its simultaneous evoking of rupture and continuity, the term “revolution” allows us to look at the region from multiple angles, examining how it has participated in moments of change and stasis. As such, we are interested in papers from across periods and genres. To what extent did the southern front of the American Revolution impact the nation’s literary history? How has the U.S. South understood its own history of revolutionary moments? How has it participated in and/or disavowed revolutions from across the Global South? What is the contemporary revolutionary moment in the U.S. South and in southern studies? Proposals might consider these or other questions that complicate our understanding of the region and/or revolution itself. Please send a 250 word abstract and a copy of your CV by 15 March 2016 to Gina Caison at

    Queer Southern Imaginaries

    Drawing especially on theories of Lacan, Zizek, and others, a growing number of southernist critics are examining “the South” as an ideological construct that bridges and blurs lines between the real and the imaginary. This work has largely focused on relationships between fantasy, ideology, and/or mythology that create and support the very idea of the South as unique (often exceptionalist) region, as well as the various affective ties through which individuals feel themselves attached to the region. This panel asks what role gender, sex, and eroticism play in shaping those regional imaginaries, whether from within the region or as something projected onto the region from afar. Put another way, how is “the South” a function of specifically sexual imaginaries? Papers might focus on LGBTQ treatments of the region or other eroticized constructions of sexuality, gender, race, religion, and/or class. What are the erotics of trying to discover or know the southern past? What are the erotics of imagining a future South? How might we revisit old mythologies of race and sex in southern culture, such as the belle, the cavalier, the jezebel, the black rapist, or others? How does fetishism intersect with ideology in constructions and representations of region? Please send a 250 word abstract and a copy of your CV by 15 March 2016 to Michael Bibler at

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