Call for Papers Special issue of Southern Cultures: The Women’s Issue

Katharine Henry's picture

Special issue of Southern Cultures: The Women’s Issue

Guest Editor: Jessie Wilkerson

Southern Cultures, the award-winning, peer-reviewed quarterly from UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South, encourages submissions from scholars, writers, and artists for a special Fall 2020 issue to mark the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment. We will be accepting submissions for this special issue through December 1, 2019, at https://southerncultures.submittable.com/Submit .

We seek work that examines and complicates the history of women’s suffrage in the South. How does starting from the perspective of women in the region lead us to new questions, narratives, and understandings about women and gender, citizenship, and rights? 

The anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment evokes specific people in particular times and places— rarely in the South. It narrowly emphasizes the vote, when we know that black, brown, and working-class women fought for political and human rights well before and after ratification and that black southern women understood suffrage as part of their battles against lynching and Jim Crow. Across the country, many white women celebrated suffrage with ticker tape parades in 1920 while black women protested their continued disfranchisement, and many southern white women continued to support it.

Taking the centennial as our opening, this issue will explore a range of themes related to women’s rights, activism, and protest in the South. How does a focus on the South complicate the idea of anniversary, which implies remembrance of an achievement? In what ways does it lead us to new historical actors and periodization? What is the longer story of women’s rights in the South, and what is the relationship to civil rights; reproductive rights; workers’ rights; lesbian, trans, and queer rights; indigenous rights; and immigrant rights? What is the state of women’s rights, and how does such a framework limit or open possibilities? Who are the leading voices on these issues in the South today?

In the South, women have led multiracial and multiethnic movements to expand democracy even while others sheltered white male supremacy. This special issue will examine the meaning of womanhood, feminisms, and southern women’s and queer activism, as well as how southern women have contributed to the preservation and dismantling of oppressive systems. Telling the story of women in the South—across race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality—we will explore the complex ways that gender operates in the many Souths across time and place.

Submissions may explore any topic or theme related to women’s activism in the South, and we welcome explorations of the region in the forms Southern Cultures publishes: scholarly articles, memoir, interviews, surveys, photo essays, and shorter feature essays. We hope that submitters will interpret the idea of the visual South broadly.

Possible topics and questions to explore might include (but are certainly not limited to):

    • Women-led activism, social movements, and protest
    • The history of race, gender, and suffrage
    • Exploration of women’s rights in the South across time and place
    • The diversity, complexity, and competing perceptions of gender in the South
    • Disorderly women
    • Bodily autonomy and reproductive justice
    • Feminisms and women’s movements in the South
    • Gender, immigration, and citizenship
    • Women and mass incarceration in the South
    • Queer southern histories

As we also publish a digital edition, we can supplement print materials with video, audio, and interactive visual content. We encourage creativity in coordinating print and digital materials in submissions and ask that authors submit any potential digital materials with their essay or introduction/artist’s statement.

We encourage authors to gain familiarity with the tone, scope, and style of our journal before submitting. Those whose institutions subscribe to Project Muse can read past issues for free via http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/southern_cultures/ . To read our current issue, access our submission guidelines, or browse our content, please visit us online at SouthernCultures.org.