Urban Souths (SAMLA 2017)
CFP: Urban Souths (South Atlantic Modern Language Assocation, November 3 - 5, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia)
Interstate 95, the hinge around which eastern U.S. megalopolises move, stretches from Rhode Island to Florida, with its halfway point somewhere in the Carolinas. The cities it was designed to serve, and the cities that grew up around it, are central texts of Urban Studies: New York City is, of course, a core of American urbanism, and Baltimore – where, as filmmaker John Waters has joked, southern eccentrics landed when they ran out of gas on fugitive flights toward NYC – provides the setting for The Wire as the reliable televisual shorthand for so much public scholarship on the power and possibility of cities. The southern cities that appear along I-95’s winding path –Richmond, Savannah, Charleston, Jacksonville – are a mixture of ports of the Old South and the new ‘knowledge economy’ centers of the Sun Belt. Through a series of paved rings and loops, one might eventually find their way from this path to I-20, I-40, and I-10, hitting Nashville, Knoxville, Birmingham, Mobile, New Orleans, Austin, and Atlanta. The latter city is, of course, the capital of New South popular culture and, indeed, much of New Southern Studies. These are decidedly urban and distinctly southern sites, but ones that are seldom placed in conversation with thinkers from urban studies (whether Jane Jacobs, Richard Florida, or others). The Emerging Scholars Organization of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature invites abstracts of 300 words for presentations that consider the urbanity of the South and the southernness of urbanity in literature and popular culture. Potential topics could be as far-ranging as critical readings of maps or reality television, considerations of urban slavery, and contemporary gentrification. Abstracts and A/V requirements should be sent to Jennie Lightweis-Goff (email@example.com) by June 16, 2017.