The Southern Quarterly (Claire Filaski, Sarah Bagwell, and Emily Jolley)

The Southern Quarterly is a product of the University of Southern Mississippi, and is a scholarly journal centered around Southern arts and culture. It is published by The College of Arts and Sciences and is edited by an esteemed advisory board, featuring professors ranging from the University of Copenhagen to Duke University. Professors Karen Cox, William Dunlap, and Michael Kreyling are among the team of 16 who refine this journal into an overview of literature, paintings, theatre, and popular culture. 

Since 1962, The Southern Quarterly has been educating on “studies of Southern culture informed by such disciplines as history, folklore, anthropology, political science, and social geography” (“The Southern Quarterly”). Their focus on “the South” extends beyond the state of Mississippi; the journal explores cultures across the region and down to the Caribbean. It even features interviews with major Southern writers, composers, and artists, as well as photo essays and poems. Frequently, they post a “Call for Papers,” and encourage scholars to submit articles for upcoming issues. Here, they give a brief overview of what the issue will concern itself with, for example: “This call for a special double issue of The Southern Quarterly solicits examinations of the Southern expatriate phenomenon from interdisciplinary scholars at any stage of their career” (The Southern Quarterly”). The Southern Quarterly encourages submissions from their students and writers, and requires thorough documentations, citations, and originality in all articles and creative pieces.

The Southern Quarterly is intended to inform scholars and students who are studying cultural aspects of the South. By inviting this audience to submit works, the journal publishes a variety of genres including articles, archival documents, original poetry, essays, interviews, and portfolios. The journal also provides a style and grammatical guideline that submissions must follow in order to be published. The volume information, table of contents, covers, and editor’s introductions are available to access online through The Southern Quarterly website, and an online subscription service is available for readers as well. The layout of most online downloadable Editor’s Introductions follow a traditional format, with images, footnotes, and a works cited page included. However, the full articles are not available to download from the website. Yearly subscriptions for electronic-only, print-only, or combined mediums can be made through their website.

Some of their previous volumes address topics such as Sports in the South, Foodways in the South, The Carribean South, and Re-playing Gone With the Wind–Novel and Film. On the cover of each volume, an artwork pertaining to the topic is seen, such as a jar of Duke’s Mayonnaise painting on the front of the Foodways in the South edition. Some of the more popular editions include “Sports in the South,” which feature essays ranging from “The Life and Service of Zeke Bonura in the American Media,” by Willie Tubbs and Tony Mixon, to “Spreading the Gospel of Hoops: How Television Helped Make Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball a Cultural Fixture in the South.” This edition successfully captured the importance of sports in the South, and how the fandoms surrounding these events are as much of the game as the players themselves. Readers love the editions surrounding the Southern culture familiar to them; “Foodways in the South” became another highly successful edition of The Southern Quarterly, as readers were able to appreciate another staple of the southern lifestyle.

Overall, The Southern Quarterly is a timeless tribute to the rich culture of the South, featuring both academic and artistic ventures from the works of informed scholars and academics. Through the use of art, articles, poetry, literature, interviews, and primary sources, the journal has gained a reputable status and has established itself as a trustable source of Southern culture.


“The Southern Quarterly.” The Southern Quarterly | The University of Southern Mississippi, University of Southern Mississippi Libraries,

Study the South- Jed, Ha, Catherine

Study the South is an online journal that was founded in 2014 with the purpose of encouraging interdisciplinary academic thought and discourse on the American South and its vast culture. It was created in Oxford, Mississippi by the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Currently, it is edited by James G, Thomas Jr., who is the associate director for publications at the Center. He is also known for editing various works that examine southern history, such as the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Along with Thomas, Study the South also has a ten member editorial board that examines all pieces before they are published. This board includes Ted Ownby, who was once the director of Mississippi’s Center for Study of Southern Culture. 

Study the South describes itself as a peer-reviewed, multimedia, online journal. It was created to encourage the discussion of different aspects of culture in the American South. The online journal features a range of topics in the south, including art, geography, history, literacy, and race studies. Since its main purpose is encouraging discussions on the south, it looks to feature more scholarly or academic works as opposed to popular ones. Anyone is allowed to submit a manuscript to be reviewed and possibly published by the journal, as long as the work had not been previously published elsewhere. Manuscripts are looked over by the editorial staff or board and are chosen to be accepted or rejected. Although it is only six years old, Study the South has been able to grow up to 1000 online readers. Most readers are scholars or students who have an interest in southern culture.

Since the journal is online, its website design is an important factor in keeping readers engaged. Study the South has a clean, simplistic design that uses black and white as its main colors. Most of the attention is given to the articles themselves because of this. Each one has the standard title, author, and publication date, but they are also given a photo to help give readers an idea of what it will be discussing. Each article is put in chronological order according to its publishing date in order to make viewing easier for readers. What makes Study the South unique is its simplicity in web design and its dedication to their original purpose. The website focuses the attention towards the articles which shows they stay true to their hopes of having more meaningful conversations about the American South. Study the South stays true to their origins by ensuring the information is what stays most important.

“Toward Freedom: A Reading of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice” written by Margaret Pless is a recent article published on the many symbols of racism. She focuses on many monuments and statues that honor the Confederates and major slave supporters. The many statues and monuments littered around the south embody white supremacy and many people refuse to see the racial issues that come with them. She emphasizes that “When Confederate monuments exalt white supremacy, they perpetuate our forgetfulness of these historical roots”, and history will repeat if the evil behind these statues are forgotten. The first half of the article focuses on the history of slavery and how many people forget about an important group during the Civil War. Not only did it include the Confederates that fought for their rights to own slaves and the Union that fought to stay unified, but also the enslaved African American that fought for their freedom. The second half of the article focuses on the National Memorial for Peace and Justice grounds situated in Montgomery, Alabama. This place features many monuments that represent the horrors of racism towards African Americans, starting with the transatlantic slave trade. For example, one section focuses on the heart of the memorial, a huge monument dedicated to victims of lynching. To summarize, this article focuses on the meaning behind monuments and the importance of showing history rather than honoring of Confederacy. 

Another recent article that was published to Study the South is called “Vanishing Acts: Civil Rights Reform and Dramatic Inversion in Douglas Turner Ward’s Day of Absence.” This article deals with the African American community and how Martin Luther King Jr.’s words inspired a dramatic play written by Douglas Turner Ward called Day of Absence. The play came out in 1965 in response to the 1964 decision regarding African American equal rights. The article states that “Ward creates a work concerned with figuring the value of Black labor through absenting the Black body” (Avilez). This is an extremely unique way to show the value of black life and labor to the white community at that time. The play “plays” off of the “exploration of civil rights concerns and provides the basis for dramatic inversions that critique social inequities.” (Avilez). This article, in conclusion, is a perfect example of how Study the South is constantly giving the spotlight to Southern related stories that may not have received the recognition they deserve. For example, as someone who has (and have been) performing and studying theatrical productions all of his life, I have never heard of or seen anything related to Days of Absence. That doesn’t change the fact that Days of Absence provides viewers with a wealth of information that is ridiculously important to the development of our world today. Study the South has allowed me (and so many others) to see important stories like this come to fruition. Study the South, in this respect, is NOT as much for the purpose of entertainment but more for the purpose of informing readers. This is why Study the South proves to be extremely important to the preservation and understanding of southern culture. 

Southern Cultures Profile

Southern Cultures is a peer reviewed journal published by UNC for the Center of Studies for the American South. It was founded by sociologist John Shelton Reed and historian Henry Watson in 1993 and has gained a large following since. Despite the fact that he founded the magazine, Reed wanted to name it Southern Culture, singular, but was outvoted as many of his peers felt that there was no singular southern culture and that the magazine should represent all voices in the South. The journal is currently edited by Ayşe Erginer, Marcie Cohen Ferris, and Tom Rankin. Southern Cultures is not your typical journal. They publish everything from photo essays and original artwork to interviews and creative nonfiction. They pride themselves in having representation from every corner of the South and from every perspective. They work to present more voices about the Southern identity and to increase the world’s understanding of the American South, as a whole. 

The magazine is primarily authored by Southerners, though there is a minority hailing from the Northeast and West Coast. Southern Cultures can be read by anyone, though its subject matter lends itself more to Southerners, or those who have a connection to the region. However, the magazine does not just publish articles on stereotypical “Southern” things; in just a quick scan over the Summer 2020 page, a reader might find an article about misconceptions about Asian-Americans, or a profile of artist Susan Harbage Page, and her relationship with her United States citizenship. The magazine can be read online, but one can also purchase a physical subscription, with the options of $40 for one year or $70 for two for United States subscribers or $72 for a year and $144 for two for an international subscription

The format of the website is very appealing, and easy to read: upon opening it, the first thing that comes up is the featured article of the week. Below that are several other articles that relate to the South and its culture. From the home page, you can go to the “About” tab to learn about the journal and what it stands for, the “Summer ‘20” tab to see several of the most popular and relevant articles from this summer, the “Issues” tab to browse all the issues on the site, the Events tab to find things such as launch parties, a “Films tab”, a “Shop” tab, and a “Newsletter” tab where one can read it or start a subscription. As far as what the physical issues look like, they often feature covers showing art from Southern artists having to do with the content of that issue. This week’s feature, “It Was A Place of Infamy,” focuses on a set of photographs from Perry County Jail and what that location has to do with the larger Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Organizers who worked with King to recruit the youth to the movement like James Orange were sent to the jail on charges such as “‘disorderly conduct’ and ‘contributing to the delinquency of minors.’” The article then goes into how the myrder of a local deacon led to the protests becoming progressively more heated. Other recent articles include “Cancer Alley,” an article focusing on a large port and trade area stretching from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico and how many of its economic and cultural problems stem from the colonialism on which America was founded, and “Cut it Clean,” an article that focuses on the art and culture surrounding oyster shucking and a little bit on the challenges faced by women and people of color in that field. All of this paints a picture of a very scholarly journal that takes small and unique instances and stories in the South to shed light on some of the larger issues and cultural phenomena in the region.


Oxford American (Julia Kempton and Colin Burke)

Oxford American is a quarterly literary magazine that is published by The Oxford Literary Project, Inc. along with the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and it is based in Little Rock, Arkansas. The magazine describes itself as being “dedicated to featuring the best in Southern writing while documenting the complexity and vitality of the American South.” Part of what makes Oxford American different from other popular publications is that they recognize how diverse many communities are in the south. Along with that, they try to focus on all of these different areas, communities, and stories to make sure that the entirety of southern culture can be seen and encompassed by their publications. 

Eliza Borné was named the editor in 2015 after the previous editor, Roger D. Hodge, left the magazine earlier in the year. A wide variety of writers contribute to Oxford American. The magazine’s website calls for “personal essays, narrative journalism, and short dispatches and meditations” that address the topic of the issue. Fiction and nonfiction submissions are welcomed, and the list of contributors includes Z.Z. Packer, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Jesmyn Ward, Wendell Berry, John Updike, Leslie Jamison, and many emerging authors.

Oxford American’s content is definitely aimed for the general public and people who are interested in the Southern United States. These are mostly articles talking about various topics that can relate to the south in a variety of ways. This includes music, food, or even southern literature. So, this magazine is definitely more popular due to a lack of scholarly peer reviewed papers. Even though Oxford American appeals to the general public, its audience is mostly middle and upper class. According to the magazine’s demographics sheet, 99% of readers have a college education and the median household income is above $75k. In addition, most readers are in a professional/managerial occupation.

The first publication of Oxford American began in late 1989 in Oxford, Mississippi with Marc Smirnoff as the editor. He decided that there was a need in the South for a magazine similar to the New Yorker, which would focus on the writers and culture of the region. Smirnoff wrote to many famous writers, including John Updike, Richard Ford, and William Steig and asked them to send in contributions for the magazine he had titled Oxford American as a play on H.L. Mencken’s magazine The American Mercury. Several responded and contributed to the magazine. However, in the middle of 1994 the first publication stopped production after a lack of funding. In 1995, John Grisham, a famous novelist who is a native of Oxford, secured enough money to begin the second publication of Oxford American. Again, the magazine ended publication in 2001 as it did not work well as a business venture. The third publication began in 2002 with its headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas, but low advertising revenue forced it to stop production for a third time only a year later. These first three versions were published entirely in print. The final version of the magazine began publishing in December 2004 as a quarterly after the University of Central Arkansas collected enough funding. Although Oxford American went through an embezzlement scandal in 2008 and owed $700,000 to the university in 2012, the fourth iteration of the magazine is still in widespread circulation and the publication recently released its 100th issue. The currently running publication is mostly in print and mailed out quarterly. However, it is also published online with the magazines available to purchase and select articles available for free as well. As of 2019 there are around 9,000 subscriptions to the magazine as well as it being available in thousands of retail locations. 

A recent example of an article from the magazine would be one titled Hunger for the Water from the Summer 2020 issue. Here they talk about the Lowcountry of Louisiana and the role that the water plays there. The article goes into detail about one woman who had lived there her entire life who shows the significance of the water. She owns a restaurant and has published a cookbook and the article ends with a recipe from that book. It is available for free on the website if you are interested in reading it for yourself.

With the magazine focusing on the south it uses lots of southern art and most of the covers for recent magazines have depicted such art, prominent figures from the south, or images that encompass the south in some way. Such examples can be seen below.