12th Annual Louisiana Studies Conference

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
contact email: 

The 12th Annual Louisiana Studies Conference will be held September 18-19, 2020 at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. The conference committee is now accepting presentation proposals for the upcoming conference. The 2020 conference theme, “Losing Louisiana,” is dedicated to exploring the ways in which Louisiana’s cultures, environment, languages, and peoples are facing threats to their survival on a variety of fronts. What dangers do these threats pose to people, culture, and the environment? What solutions might be implemented to counter these threats? How can Louisiana pull back from the brink of disaster? Presentation proposals on any aspect of this theme, as well as creative texts and performances by, about, and/or for Louisiana and Louisianans, are sought for this year’s conference.

COVID-19 Update: The Louisiana Folklife Center and Northwestern State University have high hopes that this year’s Louisiana Studies Conference will be able to be held in person on its scheduled dates of September 18-19, 2020. The conference committee is closely monitoring the ongoing pandemic, and we are aware that uncertainties related to the continued impact of COVID-19 might potentially necessitate altering plans for the 2020 Conference. If in the event that a face-to-face conference is not a viable option, the conference will shift to a virtual delivery format via WebEx. In a WebEx format the conference would be held on September 19 and 26, 2020 with individually consecutive presentation sessions rather than the usual concurrent sessions. Presenters will be given notice via email by August 18, 2020 confirming whether the Conference will be a face-to-face or virtual event. 

Although we are especially interested in proposals that deal with the theme of Losing Louisiana, all papers, creative writing, and short performances (dance, music, or theatric) that address ANY aspect of Louisiana studies are welcome. Proposals are being solicited for fifteen-minute presentations from scholars at all career stages as well as graduate students. Creative work (film, creative non-fiction, short fiction, and poetry) is welcome. Undergraduates are invited to submit, provided they are working with the guidance of a trained scholar. (All undergraduate presenters under 18 years of age must be accompanied to the conference by a parent or legal guardian.) Registration for Conference participants will be $50.

Abstracts (300 words max.) for scholarly proposals, creative writing, films, and short performances (dance, music, or theatric) should be sent as e-mail attachments to Dr. Shane Rasmussen, rasmussens@nsula.edu. Presentations should run no longer than 15 minutes. Briefly detail the audio / visual tools (laptop, projection screen, data projector, DVD player, etc.) or space (the stage in the Magale Recital Hall will be provided for short performances) your presentation will require, if any.

Please include a separate cover page with your name, affiliation, mailing and e-mail address, and the title of your presentation. E-mails should be entitled: Louisiana Studies Conference Submission. We will send an e-mail acknowledgement of having received each abstract within one week of having received it. If you do not receive an acknowledgment, please resend your submission as we may not have received it. The deadline for submissions has been extended to July 1, 2020. Accepted presenters will be notified via e-mail by July 15, 2020 if not before.

This interdisciplinary conference will be accepting proposals from the following disciplines: American studies, anthropology, architecture, archival studies, communications, craft, creative writing, criminal justice, cultural studies, cultural tourism, dance, design, education, English and literary studies, environmental studies, ethnic studies, fashion design, film studies, fine arts, folklore, gender studies, geography, heritage resources, history, interior design,  journalism, linguistics, media studies, museum studies, musicology, music performance, philosophy, photography, political science, preservation studies, psychology, queer studies, religious studies, Romance languages, social work, sociology, theatre, and vernacular architecture.

Read broadly, consider the following possibilities for presentation topics relating to the theme Losing Louisiana. The following list of suggestions is not meant to be comprehensive.

NOTE: Louisiana, its cultures, history, literature, peoples, places, etc. should be an intrinsic aspect of the proposed presentation. For example, “thematic motifs in Southern literature” in itself would not be an appropriate presentation topic proposal for the Louisiana Studies Conference, while “thematic motifs in 21st century Louisiana short fiction” or “thematic motifs in the contemporary legends of Evangeline Parish” would both be highly appropriate.


Architecture (including Vernacular Architecture)



The Brain Drain Crisis

Built Environments

Cemeteries and Graveyards

Climate Change

Coastal Erosion




Cultural Drift




Economies (including cultural economies)


Foodways and Folkways – Past, Present, Evolving

Frontiers (cultural, geographic, musical, mythic, narrative, etc.)

Historical Landmarks and Sites

Language Loss



Louisianan Identities

Main Streets



Native American Spaces

The Neutral Strip

Pandemics (preparedness, responses, effects, etc.)



Raising Consciousness

Religion and Spirituality


State and National Parks



A selection of scholarly and creative work presented at the conference will be solicited for publication in the Louisiana Folklife Journal, a peer reviewed academic journal produced by the Louisiana Folklife Center, Northwestern State University, General Editor, Dr. Shane Rasmussen. Additional information is available on the website for the Louisiana Folklife Center at Northwestern State University: https://louisianafolklife.nsula.edu/.

Conference Co-chairs:

Dr. Lisa Abney, Faculty Facilitator for Academic Research and Community College Outreach and Professor of English, Northwestern State University

Jason Church, Materials Conservator, National Center for Preservation Technology and Training

Dr. Charles Pellegrin, Professor of History and Director of the Southern Studies Institute, Northwestern State University

Dr. Shane Rasmussen, Director of the Louisiana Folklife Center and Professor of English, Northwestern State University

Sharon Wolff, CA, Assistant Archivist, Cammie G. Henry Research Center, Northwestern State University

The Conference is co-sponsored by the Louisiana Folklife Center, the Northwestern State University Department of Fine + Graphic Arts, and the Northwestern State University College of Arts, Sciences, Graduate Studies and Research.