Call for Papers: Converse College Conference on Southern Culture

High Culture/Low Culture, Southern Culture

April 11 – 14, 2012

Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, is pleased to announce a Call for Papers for the Converse College Conference on Southern Culture.


The focus of this conference is the “big picture” of southern culture, from okra to opera. We are particularly interested in the intersections of “high” and “low” culture in the South, and the ways in which the rich working class and folk elements of southern culture have, in many instances, been reinterpreted, and, some might argue, appropriated, by more traditionally high cultural mediums.  We invite papers that examine the unique qualities of diverse southern cultures, interrogate the threads that bind these cultures together, and, we anticipate, propose divergent ways of thinking about the South.


The academic conference will be a key component in a weeklong conversation about modern southern culture that will include featured speakers, panel discussions, literary readings and musical performances.


Writers Lee Smith and Hal Crowther will be the keynote speakers.  We invite papers from scholars and professionals working in the fields of Literary Studies, History, Religion, performing arts, and southern foodways, and we hope to use conference papers as the basis for scholarly collection of essays. This conference will continue a proud tradition of “studying the South” at Converse College.  In the spring of 1962, the Southern Literary Festival met at Converse and featured Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, and Cleanth Brooks, among others.  On the fiftieth anniversary of that event, we propose to examine, not just southern literature, but the wide range of elements of southern culture.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Religious traditions in the south
  • High southern church/low southern church Non-Christians in the south
  • Contemporary southern drama, or the lack of it
  • Visual arts
  • Food security issues in the modern rural south
  • Images of the south in popular culture
  • Urban/agrarian/southern
  • Folk arts
  • The role of food in southern culture:  church, family, community, etc.
  • Women are cooks and men are chefs:  gender and food
  • Why not southern?  Does regional mean provincial? Or does it mean a strong sense of place?
  • Southern cuisine as haute cuisine
  • The evolving role of race in shaping southern culture
  • Immigrants and southern culture
  • Southern musical traditions


Please send 250 word abstract as an email attachment, along with a brief CV (Word or PDF, please) to:


Anita Rose, Conference Co-chair
Associate Professor and Chair of the English Dept.


Deadline: November 1, 2011

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