Landscape and Identity in the U.S. South (MLA 2011) [3/1/10]

full name / name of organization: 
Anthony Wilson / Society for the Study of Southern Literature
contact email: 

Call for Papers

MLA 2011: Los Angeles, January 6-9, 2011

Landscape and Identity in the U.S. South

This session is sponsored by the Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSSL) for the January 2011 Modern Language Association conference in Los Angeles. In the South, nature, however problematically defined, has always had complex relationships with cultural and individual identities. Landscape has traditionally served as a marker of race and/or class, with different features identified with particular, often marginalized Southern subcultures (mountain men, swamp rats, hillbillies), while more easily arable land (or land that better fit picturesque visions of the agrarian ideal) tended to be associated with aristocracy. In times of natural disaster, vulnerability often follows the divides of class and race, as well, making even these tragedies potential commentaries on the intersection of nature and identity. This panel focuses on representations of the intersection of personal and/or cultural identity and natural space in Southern literature, particularly reflecting those moments when either cultural attitudes toward the landscape or the landscape itself have undergone significant change -- as space is transformed, marketed, protected, polluted, abandoned, or destroyed. Papers might also consider representations of the southern landscape by travel writers, or as commodified and marketed in promotional literature to various ends during different eras.

Please email an abstract of approximately 500 words along with any equipment requests to Anthony Wilson at by March 1, 2010. All panel participants must be members of the MLA before April 1, 2010.