The Black South in the Popular Imagination

deadline for submissions: 
August 20, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
LaRonda Sanders-Senu

In a 2004 interview, author Percival Everett was asked if in his works he was trying to rewrite history.  He candidly responded: “What the hell’s wrong with that? You can write anything you want to. If anybody takes anything they read, history or fiction, as some gospel, then fuck ’em anyway, who cares? The point is, take it and then play with it.”  Everett’s works show how pliant historical and cultural narratives are.  The narratives of African Americans in the American South, and beyond, have long been the playthings of others—especially in the realm of popular culture.  However, Everett’s satire also demonstrates that even self-created narratives are not beyond critique.  While African American artists of all types address longstanding narratives that relegate Black bodies to the margins, we are interested in exploring ways in which narratives about Blackness collide with popular culture in southern texts.  We are looking for multidisciplinary perspectives, and we interpret the term “texts” very liberally


We seek panelists to give 15-20 minute presentations that engage with the intersection of Southern Black Narratives and popular culture.  Please consider the following:   How have historical narratives about African Americans been countered, complicated, revised, revived or disposed of in the context of the American South within popular culture?  What new narratives about Southern African Americans exist and what are the implications of those narratives? Topics may include

  • The Black Church
  • Literary Representations
  • Memoirs
  • The Black South in Reality Television
  • Black Twitter
  • Hip Hop and the Music of the Dirty South
  • Black Conservativism or Liberalism in the American South
  • Hollywood and Representations of Black Southerness
  • Black Immigrants and the American South


If interested, we encourage you to submit a 250-word proposal and 100-word biography to LaRonda Sanders-Senu at by August 15, 2021.  Contributors will be notified of acceptance by August 20, 2021.  The Society for the Study of Southern Literature Conference will be held in Atlanta GA, February 17-20, 2022.