The Southern Studies Forum Conference 2019: Southern Disruptions
Far from being what Josephine Humphries calls a “disappearing subject” (1988), the US South is a place of change and renewal, a region that often signifies multiply and ambiguously. Variously the scapegoat for the nation’s worst features and a romanticized agrarian place, the South has seen, orchestrated, or suffered a series of disruptions that relate to almost all aspects of southern experiences: early Jamestown settlers viewed the South as a “death trap” due to its deadly climate; slavery—the South’s defining feature—is the ultimate disruption of human rights; the Civil War is the defining disruption of the nation; the Southern Renaissance was a literary disruption as is the Southern Gothic; the Civil Rights movement served as a social and cultural disruption; and finally, there is a long history of constructing the South as different, aberrant, Other.
These renewals and disruptions are mirrored in research about the region, and in recent years, new perspectives and aspects of the South have gained more traction. With new approaches such as gender studies, ecocriticism, ethnic studies, and transnational approaches, to name a few, we are interested in exploring the ways in which the South disrupts and is disrupted by larger national, inter- and transnational concerns, as well as by art, social movements, and technology.
Some of the questions we are interested in discussing at the 2019 SSF conference are: How do southern texts and artifacts represent, react to, or challenge contemporary forms of disruptions to southern life? Which ecological and natural challenges are southern states faced with in the present? How do POC disrupt dominant (historical) narratives in and of the South? Which absences and silences are made present and disruptive? Which contemporary political disruptions characterize the US South and how do they disrupt historical political developments?
Clara Juncker (University of Southern Denmark)
Thomas Ærvold Bjerre (University of Southern Denmark)
Marianne Kongerslev (Aalborg University)