Editors and authors sought for articles/biographies on southern Methodist Women and Social Justice activism, 1920-2020

Janet Allured's picture

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Call for Papers
August 1, 2021
Louisiana, United States

Editors and chapter authors are solicited for an edited volume of biographies of southern Methodist women who became social justice activists in the United States, to be published by an academic press (TBA).


Proposal deadline: August 1, 2021. Please send proposals and inquiries to Janet Allured, jallured@mcneese.edu, Anne Burkholderadanie6@emory.edu, or Melissa Self Patrick, melissaspatrick@gmail.com.


Justification: Southern Methodist women of various racial and ethnic identities were critical to progressive activism in their native region and sometimes nationally, too, yet their role in challenging and undermining discriminatory practices in the United States has been little explored by historians beyond the Civil Rights Movement.


The goal of the collection is to expand the historical narrative of twentieth century reform movements to include the South’s religious progressive traditions, particularly Methodism; to render visible Methodist social justice activists who are little-known to historians and religious scholars of twentieth-century Progressivism; to show how Methodism's liberal tradition provided spiritual, theological, and doctrinal support for social justice work; to show how Methodist women’s missionary associations not only supported liberal endeavors but provided the foot soldiers for carrying out those reforms at the local level, even when their positions were at odds with the dominant culture.


Completed chapters will use a gendered analysis to illuminate how Methodist women interpreted sacred texts and Wesleyan theology to justify their challenge to white (male) supremacists’ lock on power in the region, and to define themselves and their Christian responsibilities differently from men’s.


We are interested in the role of higher education, particularly Methodist schools; in the role of mentorship in creating and sustaining a culture of activism that encouraged and welcomed younger women to become activists themselves.


Papers may focus on any branch of Methodism in the United States, including the predecessor organizations of the United Methodist Church—the Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Methodist Protestant Church, Church of the United Brethren in Christ, and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Papers focusing on ethnic minorities and Black women in the Christian, African (AME), AME Zion, and in The Methodist Church's Central Jurisdiction are especially encouraged.


Possible subjects include but are not limited to Louise Young, Polly Lassiter Cook, Jessie Daniel Ames, Dorothy Tilly, Willa Player, Mrs. David (Susie W.) Jones, Mary McLeod Bethune, Norma Taylor Mitchell, Peggy Billings, Clarie Collins Harvey, Dorothy Mae Taylor, Margaret Bowen, Ruth Carter, Hazel Decker, Evelyn G. Lowery, Ellen Kirby, Sara Evans, Helen Gray Crotwell.


We currently have authors for Thelma Stevens, Theressa Hoover, Marti Turnipseed, Nina H. Reeves, and Louise Branscomb.


All work must be original and not previously published.


We encourage papers that focus on:


  • Intellectual history or theological exegesis, meaning how the subject understood her responsibility as a Christian citizen, the Gospels, and the Kingdom of God.
  • Leadership philosophies, styles and practices.
  • Forms of activism different from traditional public protests.
  • Analysis of photographs of women in mission in the United States (i.e., photographic essays)
  • Ecumenist or interfaith activities, and involvement with organizations outside the church, such as Church Women United, the United Nations, National Council of Christians and Jews, the Urban League, civil rights organizations, the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights, Re-Imagining Community, etc.
  • Development and articulation of feminist consciousness.
  • Women’s liberation activities.


Successful proposals will:


  • Use critical analysis to plumb the intersection of activism, theology, and religious (Wesleyan) identity
  • Approach the subject from a feminist perspective
  • Analyze the subject's oral and/or written work [no analyses of fictional characters or personae]

Completed chapters should be 8,000-10,000 words, including footnotes. Submit typed, double-spaced papers using 12-point Times New Roman font, CMS bibliography style endnotes. Interested authors or editors should submit to jallured@mcneese.edu the following:

    • A 250- to 300-word abstract with working title
    • A 100-word biography
    • A one- to two-page bibliography for the proposed work
    • A two-page version of your CV (graduate program, employment, relevant recent
    • A sample of no more than five pages of writings, preferably published


Authors will be notified of their acceptance by September 1, 2021. Full chapters will be due by April 1, 2022. 


Janet Allured (Ph.D., University of Arkansas, 1988) is retired professor of history and women’s studies at McNeese State University.  Her speciality is the history of southern women and the history of second wave feminism in the South.


Anne Burkholder, (Ph.D., Emory University, 1992) is associate dean of Methodist Studies at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. She does research in Methodist history and polity.


Melissa Self Patrick (MDiv, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, 2010) is an ordained United Methodist Elder and longtime faith-based non-profit leader in Birmingham, Alabama.  Her work is centered in women’s empowerment (especially related to poverty and policies), racial justice and healing, and multi-faith dialogue for community transformation.

Contact Info: 

Janet Allured

Department of History

McNeese State University

Lake Charles, LA 70609

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