Anthologizing Southern Literature: What Do You Teach?

deadline for submissions: 
October 10, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Michael J Beilfuss
contact email: 

SSSL 2020 Round Table

Anthologizing Southern Literature: What Do You Teach?

This round table seeks start a conversation about what belongs in an anthology of Southern Literature. In line with the conference theme, we’ll explore the borders, bars, and binaries to, and of, Southern Literature to help define Southern Literature in a practical way. The roundtable will discuss what options are available when preparing to teach a course in Southern Literature. We will not necessarily seek to create checklists of authors, but rather we’ll aim to consider the genres, coverage, and foci for a comprehensive anthology of Southern Literature. Particular authors and groupings could be discussed to indicate broader themes available in Southern Literature.

The most recent, comprehensive anthologies of Southern Literature are nearly two decades old or older: Edward Francisco’s The South in Perspective: An Anthology of Southern Literature (2001) and William L Andrews’s The Literature of the American South (1997). Besides being out of print, they are out-of-date. Considering the many changes Southern Studies has gone through in the past 20 years, the field could use updated anthology. We may even debate the flaws and merits of bound, printed anthologies in the digital age.

Lacking an up-to-date, comprehensive anthology, undergraduate instructors are left with few good options: stack the course with several books thereby raising costs for students, or rely on the fair use doctrine and use copies and PDFs to create their own coverage. In addition to discussing what a Southern Literature anthology can look like, the purpose of this panel is to examine what an undergraduate course in Southern Literature might include. What does it exclude? What are the goals for an anthology of Southern Literature? What resonates with your students? What are the best ways to reach your students while also challenging them?

Some possible paper topics include but are not limited to: defining the borders, bars, and binaries of Southern literature; achieving coverage without exorbitant costs; organizational possibilities in addition to (or instead of) chronological; specific clusters, themes, and/or foci.

Participants will present short papers (> 10 minutes) before opening up the panel to discussion.

Please submit a brief abstract (approximately 250 words) and a short bio to Michael J. Beilfuss (Beilfuss-m@mssu.edu) by October 10.