Literary Archetectonics of the U.S. South (MLA 2011) [3/1/10]

full name / name of organization: 
Daniel Cross Turner / Society for the Study of Southern Literature
contact email: 

Call for Papers

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

Literary Architectonics of 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 addition to iconic images of southern architecture (e.g., the neoclassical, white-columned plantation manor flanked by rows of slave cabins, the shady front porch and solid clapboards of the pastoral homestead, the run-down sharecropper shack, the trailer park), what other architectures pervade literary depictions of the U.S. South, and to what purposes? This panel will address the ways in which literary architectonics provide space for cultural reflection and critique, speaking to-or against-the recent discourse concerning the spatialization of history. Can we draw connections between literary and architectural styles and structures? What do representational architectures tell us about their surrounding cultural histories, especially with regard to matters of economics, race, class, gender, regionality, and nationhood? Do these (symbolically) built environments embody a sense of historical weight, or one of obsolescence and ephemerality? Do they imply an exceptional rural past for the South, or a crossregional (sub)urbanizing impulse? Are these structures aesthetic and/or functional? Panoptical and/or liberatory? Do they bolster traditional conceptions of regional identity, or offer blueprints for challenging the tropes of southern essentialism and point towards a transregional ethos?

Please email (as an attachment and copied into the text of your message) an abstract (250-500 words), along with any requests for a-v support, to Daniel Cross Turner at by March 1, 2010. All panel participants must be members of MLA before April 1, 2010.