Hurricane Katrina at 20: Rethinking the Literary and Cultural Legacies of the Storm

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Courtney George/Columbus State University

CALL FOR PAPERS: Special Issue of Mississippi Quarterly

“Hurricane Katrina at 20: Rethinking the Literary and Cultural Legacies of the Storm” 

 Guest Editors, Courtney George and Judith Livingston (Columbus State University)

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast with catastrophic results for the surrounding communities, which are still recovering today. Almost immediately, journalists, artists, and scholars began producing significant work about Katrina—work that has continued, especially as we begin to view the disaster and its circumstances in the context of our current social justice and climate-related struggles.

With a wealth of new texts emerging about Hurricane Katrina and its effects, this special issue of Mississippi Quarterly will take a timely look at how humanities scholars are re-thinking one of the country’s worst natural disasters in the twenty-first century. Just within the past five years, there have been many new approaches to viewing and re-viewing the historic storm that devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005—for instance: Sarah M. Broom’s memoir The Yellow House; the fiction of Maurice Carlos Ruffin; Apple+’s dramatic televisual adaptation of Sheri Fink’s Five Days at Memorial; Edward Buckles Jr.’s HBO documentary Katrina Babies; the music documentaries Take Me to the River & Jazz Fest; Andy Horowitz’s Katrina: a History, 1915-2015; the Peabody Award-winning podcast Floodlines.

In addition to these more recent works, there exists a robust repository of creative representations and critical scholarship, in nearly every discipline and medium, ripe for re-visitation in the twenty-first century. For instance, there are representations by well-established writers like Dave Eggers, Kiese Laymon, Natasha Trethewey, and Jesmyn Ward; by acclaimed filmmakers and producers Sharon Linezo Hong, Spike Lee, Tia Lessen & Carl Deal, David Simon, and Ben Zeitlin; the critical works of The Katrina Bookshelf series (and hosts of other books and articles); research collections and oral histories at various universities and museums across the nation.  

As an inexhaustive starting place, writers and scholars might analyze the creative and critical work that has emerged from Hurricane Katrina and its consequences in the context of  


·       literature, music, and/or popular culture 

·       the Anthropocene and/or the environment  

·       social justice movements for racial equity and equality  

·       class, gender, and/or sexuality

·       violence (racial, domestic, “slow”)  

·       relevant connections to other global disasters and pandemics

·       technology, science, and medicine

·       disaster capitalism and/or neoliberal exploitation  

·       teaching Hurricane Katrina in any context or educational environment


Please send 300–500-word abstracts, along with brief 100–150-word biographies, to Courtney George & Judith Livingston via email at before January 15, 2024. If your proposal is accepted, full manuscripts are due in September of 2024. As of now, the issue is set for publication in Fall 2025.