SSSL 2020: Beyond Borders, Bars, and Binaries in Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing

deadline for submissions: 
October 11, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Amber P. Hodge
contact email: 

In recent years Jesmyn Ward’s workhas received significant critical attention for its stark depiction of race, class, and gender dynamics through Bois Sauvage, microcosm of a rural South typically marginalized in the US imaginary. However, her most recent novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, while still deeply invested in a specific, southern time and place, engages with peripheries in which these categories are constructed. Where does life intersect with death, sickness clash with health, or freedom meet incarceration? This panel invites papers that consider Sing, Unburied, Sing within the 2020 SSSL conference theme, specifically, how the novel explores—and often undermines—borders (between living and dead, human and animal, etc.), bars (such as Parchman), and binaries (that may include black/white, male/female, and so on). The Society for the Study of Southern Literature will meet in Fayetteville, AR on April 2-5, 2020.

Proposals should be 150–200 words and include a brief (apprx. 100 words) academic bio as well as any A/V requests. Please send your proposals and questions to Amber P. Hodge at by October 11.