SSSL 2024: "Visions of the Gulf"

deadline for submissions: 
January 26, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Emerging Scholars Organization (ESO)

                                                                                                            Emerging Scholars Organization (ESO)                                                                                   Call for Papers: Society for the Study of Southern Literature Conference

June 23-26, 2024

Courtyard by Marriot Beachfront

Gulfport, Mississippi

Theme: “Reconstruction(s)”

 The Emerging Scholars Organization (ESO), the national affiliate of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSSL), invites current graduate students, recent graduates, and/or beginning faculty to submit abstracts for our upcoming panel, “Visions of the Gulf,” for the 2024 Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSSL) Conference, "Reconstruction(s)," to be held in a hybrid format on June 23-26, 2024 at Courtyard by Marriot Beachfront, Gulfport, Mississippi. The Gulf of Mexico, generally defined from the Florida Keys to Quintana Roo and the watery spaces between, has a complex history of indigenous, colonial, settler-colonial, and neo-colonial exchanges, extractions, and resistance. As Elizabeth Ellis writes, “The Gulf homelands have changed dramatically in the last 300 years, but their peoples embody the enduring traditions, communities and politics of a much older South…[where] Native communities ancestors shaped European empires and forged vibrant and powerful nations” (3). However, the study of the Gulf has historically overlooked this history and its cultural implications. This panel seeks to orient the Gulf as a place to think from and think with. Inspired by transnational, archipelagic, and hemispheric American and southern studies, the ESO seeks scholarship attuned to reconstructing voices, relationships, and/or subjectivities silenced or lost by traditional forms of scholarship. ESO invites papers that embrace the Gulf of Mexico as a “cross-cultural ground zero” rich with “contact zones, creolization, and passages and impasses between peoples” (Flores-Silva, Cartwright 2-3).

Keeping with the conference’s location and theme of Reconstruction(s), the ESO welcomes papers that focus on literary portrayals of the Gulf of Mexico that rethink, reshape, remap, and/or reframe the region.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Reconstructions of southern literature / southern literary studies; American literature/ American studies; Archipelagic studies that include the Gulf; transnational studies that include the Gulf
  • Comparative and other reading practices that bring together literature of the Gulf (U.SSouth, Cuban, Mexican, Caribbean, etc.)
  • Archival (re)construction and recovery (traditional or alternative; addressing / redressing omissions and erasures in historical / cultural / public memory)
  • Portrayals of Indigenous history / culture; acts of indigenous removals and resilient stances in Gulf literature.
  • Depictions of migration and immigration / emigration (regional, national, transnational, diasporic)
  • Depictions of LGBTQIA+ identity formation/activism/history/experience
  • (Post)apocalyptic souths
  • Gothic souths (Southern Gothic, New Black Gothic, Undead Souths, Magical Realist Souths, Tropical Gothic)
  • Texts that depict/engage with mass incarceration; police brutality and violence; and inequities in the justice system
  • Texts that depict/engage with social justice (organization, activism, Black Lives Matter)
  •  Representations of disaster and recovery (“natural,” economic)
  • Depictions of climate change, environmental degradation and destruction, and forms of sustainability, survivability, and recovery
  • Representations of modernization and (uneven) development of the Gulf
  • Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction depictions of the Gulf
  • Historical fictions / formations / events
  • Unexpected or uncanny contact zones, relationships, or (im)passess between people.
  • Creole identity or creolization, Mestizaje, hybridity, etc.

Submit 200-250 word abstracts and short bios (roughly 100 words) by January 26th to
Works Cited:
Elizabeth Ellis, The Great Power of Small Nations: Indigenous Diplomacy in the Gulf South. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022.
Dolores Flores-Silva and Keith Cartwright, Gulf Gothic: Mexico, the U.S. South and La Llorona’s Undead Voices. Anthem Press, 2022.