Call for Papers: Southern Cultures Special Issue on “Art”

Katharine Henry's picture

Call for Papers

Special issue of Southern Cultures: Art

Guest Editor: Teka Selman

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 this special issue, to be published Summer 2020. We will be accepting submissions for this special issue through September 16, 2019, at .

We are seeking words and work that examine artistic expression in and about the South—the mediums, methods, and narratives that inform our perceptions of and desires for the region. What is the role of creativity in picturing the past, present, and future of a multifaceted region that has many times reinvented itself, that is ever-evolving? 

The South has played a pivotal role in the making of American culture, whether in the form of blues and jazz and literature and culinary arts, or through the lasting and devastating aftereffects of slavery and segregation. What does it mean to make work in a place that is both reviled and revered? How have artists living in the South taken up the challenges of creating in a region whose visual output rarely receives the same level of attention and acclaim as the Northeast and West Coasts? What do artistic communities in the South look like? Could it be true that there is such a thing as “southern art” and, if not, how do visual artists from or working in the South complicate that notion? Who are the makers pushing forward new narratives and ideas across the region, and what do they have to say?

The art we create reveals attitudes about what the South is and means (or what we wish it were and meant). It can likewise act as an agent of understanding and debate, capable of fostering both empathy and chaos. We will explore the many complex ways that the visual arts frame the South; and how attitudes and ideas about the region manifest across a variety of media, styles, and expressions. In gathering and interpreting the art that southerners have created and are creating, this issue seeks to explore visions of the South that begin to imagine its pivotal role in an uncertain future.

Submissions can explore any topic or theme related to visual expression 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):

  • The act of envisioning a future through visual art
  • Explorations of art and the archive
  • The diversity, complexity, and competing perceptions of southern experience
  • Art and protest in the South
  • The intersection of visual art and spirituality
  • Transmutations, or art as an alchemic practice
  • Histories of visual representation in and of the South
  • Southern constellations: explorations of artistic centers and communities in the South
  • Southern artistic influence outside of the region

As we also publish a digital edition, we are able to 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 . To read our current issue, access our submission guidelines, or browse our content, please visit us online at