DEADLINE EXTENDED: Flannery O'Connor Allied Session at South Central Modern Language Association

deadline for submissions: 
April 25, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Flannery O'Connor Society
contact email: 


The Flannery O'Connor Society seeks abstracts for our virtual Allied Session at the South Central Modern Language Association (SCMLA) Conference. More information regarding the conference can be found here.

This year, we are particularly interested in projects that intersect with SCMLA's theme of movements, described below:

 "The Mississippi River figures prominently in American history as a catalyst for expansion, commerce, and creativity. The SCMLA’s 2022 conference in Memphis explores the theme of movement as a type of ebb and flow in its many incarnations whether literary, cultural, political, or artistic. More than just a tidal description, this theme represents the kinetic and generative tension between opposing forces, ideologies, perspectives, and beliefs that sparks creative production, movement and counter-movement. As a competing idea or movement in music, literature, the arts, and political ideologies gains ascendancy, its dominant competitor must cede its place. Waterways and rivers can lead to discovery and expansion but they can also divide and destroy. The SCMLA invites members to examine these dynamic currents that have and do create various ebbs and flows in literary and cultural production. We invite scholars to contribute on topics such as: Knowledge as power, Democracy, Colonialism, Politics in literature, Sexuality, Gender and power dynamics, Abuse of power, and Industry change and environment issues​." 

Abstracts submitted to the Flannery O’Connor Society may speak to this theme by responding to any of the following questions:

  • What kinds of kinetic and/or generative tensions appear in O'Connor's fiction? How have literary critics, among others, interpreted those tensions, and how do contemporary interpretations contribute to, disrupt, or otherwise complicate those ideas?

  • What beliefs, ideologies, and perspectives are privileged in O’Connor’s work? What beliefs, ideologies, and perspectives are performed rather than sincerely embodied? What beliefs, ideologies, and perspectives are significantly absent in her fiction? 

  • What ways of thinking/knowing are challenged through O’Connor’s writing?

  • What roles do travel and/or journey, broadly defined, play in O'Connor works or throughout her oeuvre? How do these intra/intertextual movements inform readers' reception of the text(s)?

  • The conference's proximity to the Mississippi River inspires an analysis of environmental movements in O'Connor's work. What roles do natural landscapes and features play in O'Connor's fiction?

  • In what ways can we explore O’Connor’s work alongside her relationship to home as a place of movement, care, entrapment or stagnation? How do studies of disability/ability inform conversations about place in O’Connor’s life and work? 

  • How might the landscape of O’Connor Studies ebb, flow, or expand in the future? 

While abstracts that speak to the theme are preferred, the O'Connor Society invites a wide variety of theoretical approaches and topics within O’Connor Studies. 

Please submit abstracts to the panel's chair Alex Anderson ( and secretary Rachel Bryan ( by Monday, April 25.