Special Issue, Mississippi Quarterly: Mass Incarceration in the U.S. South

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Mississippi Quarterly
contact email: 

Call for Papers


Special Issue, Mississippi Quarterly: Mass Incarceration in the U.S. South

Guest editors, Katie Owens-Murphy and Jeanine Weekes-Schroer



If you are Black, you were born in jail, in the North as well as the South. Stop talking about the South. As long as you are south of the Canadian border, you’re South.

 ~Malcolm X


This special issue of Mississippi Quarterly invites essays that address mass incarceration in the U.S. South, broadly defined and imagined. The geographical South has been the site of the extremities of oppression and resistance, from large-scale prison plantations and convict leasing to prison labor strikes and abolitionist movements led by incarcerated people (Free Alabama Movement, Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty). Yet, as Malcolm reminds us, the South is also a metonym for the nation, and incarceration a metonym for injustice and inequality.


This issue welcomes essays that explore the contours of the material and theoretical conditions of incarceration, including but not limited to the following topics:


-economic injustice such as bail, fines, and fees

-racial injustice and contact with criminal and legal systems

-felony voter disenfranchisement

-mass protest and mass incarceration, especially surrounding BLM

-literacy and prison education programs

-COVID 19’s impact on jails and prisons

-prison abolition and decarceration movements

-policing and police brutality

-intersectional identities and mass incarceration

-detainment and mass incarceration at the U.S.-Mexico border

-LGBTQIA people and policing, detainment, and imprisonment

-critiques of carceral feminism and other tough-on-crime movements

-mass incarceration’s impact on families and communities

-alternatives to incarceration such as community-building and restorative practices


Essays by incarcerated and formerly-incarcerated authors are especially welcome. Please send a 300-word abstract and 100-word biography to Katie Owens-Murphy at kowensmurphy@una.edu or via hard copy to UNA Box 5050, 110 Willingham Hall, Florence, AL 35630 by December 1, 2020. If your proposal is accepted, full manuscripts are due April 1, 2021.