[UPDATE] Southern Literature and the 1930s - MLA 2009

full name / name of organization: 
Brandon Gordon
contact email: 

We are looking for a third panelist for a proposed MLA special session organized around the response of Southern writers to the dislocations that the South experienced in the 1930s as a result of the Great Depression. Judged "the Nation's No. 1 economic problem" by the National Emergency Council's Report on Southern Economic Conditions in the South, the South's under-developed, agricultural economy posed a serious obstacle for the country's overall economic recovery. However, even as tropes of the South's economic backwardness were employed to generate support for economic reform and development, Southern intellectuals - notably the Fugitive Agrarians - resisted such efforts. Appealing to an image of the South as a holistic, organic society, the Agrarians valorized the region's agrarian economic base and sought to maintain the South's communal forms of affiliation as a bulwark against the threat of encroaching industrialization.

Possible paper topics could include how Southern writers responded to: the New Deal, the erosion of a regional identity, the plight of sharecroppers and tenant farmers, etc.

Please send 500 word abstracts and a brief bio to bgordon@uci.edu by March 30.