Mississippi Quarterly: The Journal of Southern Cultures – Kevin Riley and Josh Tiddy

The Mississippi Quarterly is a journal founded in 1948 published by Mississippi State University which is based in Starkville, Mississippi. This journal is dedicated to publishing scholarly work, especially in the field of southern studies. They publish scholarly essays, reviews, interviews, and other subjects. It exhibits the work of upcoming scholars of all kinds of topics. Each volume has a special issue attached to it that usually are edited by special guests. It is edited by three professors of the college. The managing editor is professor Laura E. West, assisted by editor Ted Atkinson (pictured to the left) who is an associate professor and associate editor Robert E. West. The journal accepts submissions from anybody that are reviewed for publication. The submissions must meet certain criteria for formatting. There is also a style sheet provided on the website to give people specific information on how to write their paper with respect to capitalization, punctuation, spacing, etc.

The Mississippi Quarterly is a heavily academic journal that is targeted towards people in the academic field. It appeals greatly to students on the Mississippi State campus or any students that are interested in Southern Studies. Students that study English or other literary applications are also likely to take interest in the Quarterly. College of Charleston, because of the present Southern Studies program, is an institution that likely houses many readers of The Mississippi Quarterly. Anyone can, regardless of whether or not they are a part of a Southern Studies program, subscribe to the Quarterly. Subscribers to the journal, while primarily Southern Studies Scholars, include any individual interested in research regarding Southern literature. The Quarterly can be purchased online for $30 a year. A yearly subscription provides 4 issues of the journal. It can be either in print or electronic.

The Quarterly has a strong emphasis on academic analysis of Southern Literature and has little interest in appealing to a popular audience. The journal does, however, frequently analyze pieces of popular literature that are related to Southern Studies. The study of these popular works likely attract an audience that has an interest in popular culture. This audience may discover an interest in the academic analysis of popular works. This is one way that the Quarterly appeals to an audience that is primarily interested in popular culture. Visually, the Mississippi Quarterly is very much an academic work. The reader will see very few pictures in the journal. It consists of in depth analysis with examples from and citations of the work in question. This format is visible when looking at excerpts from several different issues. The journal is almost entirely black and white. All of the visual aspects of the journal further suggest that it is targeted at a very scholarly audience that is interested in the analysis and research of literature, rather than entertainment.

This journal is unique when compared to magazines or journals that are related to Southern Studies. The history of the journal reveals that it was originally a broad, Social Sciences journal. It was titled, “The Social Sciences Bulletin.” It gradually changed into more of a humanities journal. In 1968, it adopted its current title. The Quarterly’s original broad focus and conversion to a literary culture analysis journal have had a positive effect on its credibility. Any group of writers with experience in a broad field that are able to specialize based on outstanding skills and interests will have an advantage over others. When compared to other Southern journals, The Mississippi Quarterly is uniquely equipped to provide analysis on Southern culture because of its specialization from a broader field.

The journal’s recent 2019 publication included analysis of and commentary on several important southern works. The first section in this issue featured an in depth, specialized analysis of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. The article was titled, “The Roots of Huck Finn’s Melancholy: Sam Clemens, Mark Twain, and a World of Pain,” by Robert Paul Lamb. Another article in the issue is called, “Small-Town Literature, and the Uses of Queerness,” by Nathaniel T. Booth. As suggested by the title, it touches on the relationship between Southern literature and queer identities. The publication consists of 7 articles, including the ones mentioned, that analyze pieces of southern literature and how they relate to broader Southern culture.

Southern Spaces (Cody and Jenna)



Southern Spaces is a user friendly, online-only journal, with a variety of interesting articles. When you first go to the website, it can look overwhelming at first; all of the recent articles are put on the homepage and there are so many pictures. However, there are a few buttons that make the journal easier to use. Underneath the title section, there are nine broad categories, like interviews, blogs, or articles, you can click on and visit. These are pages more generally categorized based on type of writing and not subject . Under the browse section, there are almost sixty specific topics, like foodways, African American Art, and religious studies, to choose from. By clicking on one of these, you are taken to a page dedicated to all types of writing on one of those topics. 

The articles on this journal are different in their own unique way and utilise new technologies to enhance them. Many of the articles have videos, pictures, or helpful links embedded in them, which makes the journal more engaging. You definitely don’t get bored reading the lengthy articles. Not only are these articles full of these technological resources, but they are interesting and pertinent to current events. One recent blog was about a new Supreme Court Case which went back on Brown vs. Board of Education. The blog was clearly written and provided necessary background information to understand how the case is currently affecting schools. Other articles have focused on music in the twentieth century and help people compare and contrast music from two time periods. Overall, the articles are very interesting to read.

Southern Spaces is a unique journal for everyone. The content is not so scholarly that it turns everyday readers away, but it is not too basic that you don’t feel challenged. Southern Spaces aims at reaching people of all educational backgrounds, whether teachers or even high school students, they want everyone to learn. In addition, there are so many topics that you are bound to find something you think is interesting. It is also unique that anyone can contribute to it, without having to give up rights to their work. But first, scholars have to go through and review the essays before publication. I think this provides so many people the chance to contribute to this journal.

Southern Spaces is a digital publication, and as a group endorses their utilization of the internet since it allows them to share their magazine’s material through multimedia (audio, video, images, and articles.) The Emory Center for Digital Scholarship funds the operation of Southern Spaces. So, because the funding source for Southern Spaces is Emory University, their base of operation is in Atlanta, Georgia, on the Emory University Campus. 

Everyone on the magazine editing staff is an employee of Emory University. Many of them function either out of the Robert W. Woodruff Library or the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship. Most, if not all, the staff are published scholars on various subjects in Southern Studies. The diversified background of the editorial staff allows for the magazine to include a wide array of topics and media. 

Southern Spaces started as an online publication in 2004, with the same mission statement that drives its content today. The placement of the U.S. South in the greater context of the world through the use of; articles, interviews, monographs, presentations, and more. In their first year as an online publication, Southern Spaces had mainly articles composed by university professors.

Southern Spaces self identifies as a magazine that caters to the educational and non-educational communities alike. Their materials come from published doctoral professors as well as journalists, artists, and geographers. They claim to gear much of their material towards serving marginalized groups in the South, often focused on shedding light on the falsehoods of a monolithic South. 




Jenna Stern and Cody McLellan