Future Souths--MLA 2024 CFP

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
MLA 2024 LLC Southern US Forum
contact email: 

Going against tenacious perceptions of the south as firmly rooted to the past, we argue for a vision of multicultural, diverse souths oriented towards the future. At times, southern futurism has been a force of oppression, including the technological innovations of the plantation; the rebranding of Atlanta as a place where commerce could ignore racism or complicate it as a model of true global exchange; or the militaristic and privatized response to Hurricane Katrina that foreshadows a disaster-capitalist approach to climate change. However, the south’s overlapping histories of decolonial and anti-racist activism have always imagined progressive futures. We look to reframe these histories from being actions of resistance, to ones that mobilize and plan new futures. Considering Daphne Brook’s reframing of resistance as “a threat in abeyance,” we look at southern futurity’s blueprints for reimagining the world.  

How might we imagine and celebrate future souths? From examining the southernness of Afrofuturism (Davis-McElligatt 2023; Heath 2018) to exploring the impact of climate change on the region (Vernon 2019) to considering the future of Southern studies itself (UGA New Southern Studies Series), scholars in Southern studies have looked beyond the present to reconstruct and reshape conceptions of southern cultures, histories, and identities. As the south continues to be a place in crisis and location of activist resistance, we examine how joy and sorrow are interwoven into the fabric of southern identities. This panel seeks papers that use interdisciplinary approaches to imagine the possibilities, transformations, and even limitations of southern futures.

  • What is the relationship between futurity and the south and how can considering futurity reshape our concept of “south” and “southernness”?
  • What futures can be imagined in the face of crisis?
  • How might revisions or revisiting the past act as a roadmap for the future?
  • What is the relationship between temporality, spatiality, and futurity as it relates to the south?
  • What strategic actions emerge when imagining our collective futures?


We especially invite submissions that consider:

  • Planetary Souths
  • Reimagining health/ health activism in the south
  • The worker center and labor in the south
  • Indigenous futurisms
  • Migrant Souths


Please submit a 250-word abstract and a copy of your CV to dsteverson@ufl.edu by 15 March 2023.