CFP: Gulf Coast Culture After the Hurricanes (4/27/07; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Matt Hackler
contact email:

CFP: Gulf Coast Culture After the Hurricanes

I am writing to solicit articles for a proposed collection of essays
addressing cultural issues on the Gulf Coast in the wake of 2005’s two major
hurricanes, Katrina and Rita. The collection will consist of six or seven
articles, each focusing on a particular cultural form (e.g. architecture and
the built environment, tourism, casinos and gaming, etc.) which has been the
subject of cultural planning discourse in the aftermath of the hurricanes.
The term “cultural policy” should be interpreted very broadly in this context,
including not only “official” cultural planning documents but also all of
those statements, formal and informal alike, which are made by all of the
invested parties. Because of this, contributors need not be experts in
cultural policy studies. A critical introduction will situate the collection
within the intellectual traditions of Folklore, Cultural Studies, and the
burgeoning field of Cultural Policy Studies.

The widespread destruction along the Gulf Coast caused by 2005’s two
devastating hurricanes seems to many to present an unprecedented opportunity
for the implementation of arts and cultural planning schemes which before the
storm would not have been possible. Thus, while their residents continue to
struggle to rebuild homes and businesses, communities from southeast Texas to
the southern Alabama find themselves the focus of planning conversations in
Austin, Baton Rouge, and Jackson as well as in Washington D.C. and New York,
in national media outlets as well as on the websites of non-profit and arts
advocacy groups. A search of Lexus-Nexus on cultural planning in New
Orleans, for example, will yield hundreds of reports, including the statements
of the mayor’s office and state officials as well as those of local and
national celebrities, residents, community organizations, national non-profit
organizations, and even foreign governments. The cacophony of voices is deafening.

The goal of this collection is to demystify the cultural planning process by
revealing the definitions of culture which underpin the larger discourse. It
will argue that approaches to culture which have grown out of Folklore and
Cultural Studies challenge those accepted a priori by cultural bureaucrats and
arts consultants and provide more nuanced, sophisticated, and culturally
relevant bases for cultural planning conversations. By isolating significant
cultural genres and analyzing the debate around each, the collection will
provide a model for future case studies of cultural policy and implementation.

Articles are sought on any relevant cultural form, with preference given to
articles which in some way address one of the following topics:

Architecture: Some ideas for this chapter include addressing the significance
of much of the built environment of the Gulf Coast, including unique
vernacular architecture as well as the connections between architecturally
significant zones and ethnic communities.

Tourism: What does tourism mean for a rebuilt New Orleans? How are the
hurricanes themselves tourist attractions? What is at stake in this debate?

The Environment: The connection between the land and particular communities
might be the focus of this chapter. It could include, for example, commentary
on folk occupations (such as trapping, fishing, and oystering, all
significantly damaged by the storms) as well as the ways in which traditional
land use has been reimagined by cultural planners.

Festival: In the wake of the hurricanes, local festivals have been recast by
many as primarily economic events. This chapter might provide an opportunity
to examine urban events, such as New Orleans’ Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras with
rural events in the devastated portions of southwest Louisiana.

Gaming: A major area of concern in southeast Louisiana and an even more
significant one for the Mississippi coast, gaming provides an example of
culture in which the profit motive need not be disguised. This chapter might
look at the ways in which casino gaming – and the profits derived from casino
gaming – influence the larger cultural planning process.

Foodways: What happens when food is elevated to “culinary art”? How does
dining work as a marker of culture in the post-hurricane region?

An academic publishing house in the South has expressed interest in this
collection, and a formal proposal will be sent to their editor-in-chief at the
end of April. Contributors should expect to have final drafts prepared by
August 15, 2007.

Please submit 700-1000-word abstracts to Matthew Hackler at by April 27, 2007

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Received on Wed Apr 04 2007 - 17:24:02 EDT

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