Emerging and Dismantling: Feminist Killjoys Confront SSSL’s Past and Present

deadline for submissions: 
August 20, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
The Society for the Study of Southern Literature
contact email: 

CFP // Emerging and Dismantling: Feminist Killjoys Confront SSSL’s Past and PresentThe Society for the Study of Southern Literature Biennial Conference February 17-20, 2022 | Atlanta, GAhttp://southernlit.org/conference/ This lightning roundtable extends the conversation established in SSSL’s 2018 Closing Plenary wherein the organization’s community began an open-forum dialogue about its history and ongoing manifestations of sexism, racism, and elitism—among many other oppressive structures that have been integral to the organization and discipline. Following that plenary, on the one hand, SSSL’s leadership worked in earnest to more equitably reshape the organization’s structure via policies, procedures, and explicit public statements condemning white supremacy and harassment. With this work, and with the outcomes of recent elections evidencing the membership’s desire for diverse leadership, the structural and cultural landscape of SSSL 2022 looks notably different from that of SSSL 2018. On the other hand, public revelations that senior SSSL members have sexually harassed and bullied emerging scholars, specifically graduate students, and the growing rise of violent white supremacy and xenophobia in our national climate have made clear that we as a membership still have much more work ahead to continue reshaping SSSL into a more equitable, inclusive, and ethical organization. In this context, this roundtable confronts SSSL’s present “Age of Crisis” by amplifying experiences of emerging women (trans- and cis-) and non-binary scholars from a range of backgrounds across graduate, contingent, independent, and junior/pre-tenure career stature. We seek scholars and/or activists who have experiences within, against, or parallel to the disciplinary structures of oppression that SSSL must confront and dismantle in our present moment. We especially welcome scholars and/or activists whose work engages with the content of southern studies (e.g. African American, African Diasporic, Native/Indigenous/First Nations, Latinx, Caribbean, Global South, etc.), but who may have experienced exclusion, oppression, or hostility that has precluded their participation in SSSL programming or the field of southern studies, more broadly. The organizers of this roundtable and SSSL leadership are committed to making this session and the 2022 conference a secure, constructive, edifying experience for all attendees.  Roundtable participants will offer 3-5 minute “lightning presentations” that (a) share experience, (b) offer advice, and (c) demand change in either the SSSL organization or the field more broadly. Following the presentations, we will preserve ample time for open discussion.Foregrounding Kimberlé Crenshaw’s “intersectionality” in practice and politics, and channeling Sara Ahmed’s “feminist killjoy” methodology, this roundtable will foster candid dialogue across diverse experiences. We aim to amplify the voices of emerging women and non-binary scholars and activists grounded in this particular historical moment so that we as a community may bear witness to their experiences. We seek to fortify our movement by building solidarity and support across intersecting forms of precarity. Most importantly, we will brainstorm practical, actionable methods to continue dismantling organizational and disciplinary mechanisms of oppression in order to foster more equitable, inclusive, and ethical futures.  Please submit a 250-word proposal and short bio to Jenna Sciuto at j.sciuto@mcla.edu and Rebecca Nisetich at rebecca.nisetich@maine.edu by August 20th.