CFP for Southern Cultures issue: Sanctuaries

Katharine Henry's picture

Call for Papers

Southern Cultures: Sanctuaries

Guest Editor: Annette M. Rodríguez (University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill)


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 issue, Sanctuaries, to be published in Summer 2022. We will accept submissions for this issue through July 26, 2021, at .

For this issue, we seek submissions that reveal practices and places of sanctuary. We understand sanctuary in its broadest form—as sanctified, sacred, and holy, and also as safety, refuge, haven, and relief. Sanctuary is, in the words of poet and professor Nikky Finney, the “informal sacred.” We look to the long history and future of southern peoples, and people who traverse southern US geographies, who continue to envision and construct sanctuary in both permanence and impermanence.

We recognize sanctuary not only as a space but as a practice. We conceive this issue as honoring and enabling survival and joy, as imagining horizons toward which to reach, and as acknowledging where sanctuary may fail—where, as Finney has said, “God was all around but not everywhere.”

We hope to learn about the designs and the improvisations that provide relief and awe, from ephemeral moments of the everyday sacred to enduring structures of safety. We ask how sanctuary is related to belonging and to unbelonging, and how each are constructed. How have we nurtured sanctuaries—religious, secular, and those that exceed that binary? How have aural, visual, and textual sanctuaries been lovingly nurtured in the South in music, storytelling, and visual grammars? How might we seek sanctuary in a narrative of bird watching, in a historical work on the Fugitive Slave Act, in poetry and new-style liturgy, or in the myriad forms of sanctuary southerners continue to devise for themselves?

Submissions can explore any topic or theme, and we welcome explorations of the region in the forms Southern Cultures publishes: scholarly articles, memoir, interviews, surveys, photo essays, and shorter feature essays.

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

  • Altar-making practices
  • Animal and plant sanctuaries
  • Artistic practices
  • Asylum-seeking via the US immigration system
  • Disaster relief
  • Embodied relief/refuge
  • Faith communities
  • Farming and agricultural projects
  • Foodways
  • Fugitivity
  • Indigenous practices of refuge against settler colonialism
  • Legal sanctuary for those fleeing enslavement
  • Memorial-making
  • Non-human worlds
  • Political sanctuary
  • Religious sanctuaries
  • Sanctuary cities and sanctuary bills
  • Shelters of aid and relief
  • Shrines—formal and informal
  • Undocumented self-narrative
  • US citizenship (as personhood and rights-granting)


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