Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Southern Foodways: Textual Transactions and Regional Food Writing
If “eating is a means of performing identity” and if “the way southerners eat is a text,” as critics David Davis and Tara Powell assert in their introduction to Writing in the Kitchen: Essays on Southern Literature and Foodways, then how do we think, talk, and write about culinary “textual transactions?”
The Society for the Study of Southern Literature is sponsoring a 2019 MLA panel on the changing landscape of southern foodways and food writing. Given the growing interest and debates on the topic, we are organizing a panel that discusses food writing and food in literature in the context of recent discussions and shifts in the field. Drawing upon the conference theme of “Textual Transactions,” this panel will consider the “mutually constitutive engagements” enacted not only by food itself but also by the ways in which food is written about, understood, and used as shorthand for and as a symbol for the U.S. South.
Possible themes or questions to consider include:
*The ways in which writers and/or critics build from or ignore the Southern Foodways Alliance values statement, “All presentations and plates benefit from context.”
*Literary representations of regional cuisine that complicate or further our understanding of southern consumers.
*Representations--literary or otherwise--of southern food that invite historical, contextual inquiry: for example, exploring a particular ingredient or recipe’s affiliation with one group or region despite its historical origins with another.
*Considering the roots and routes of regional cuisine to ask how movement and migration have changed both the reception and representation of so-called “regional” items.
By Sunday, March 15, please submit 250-word abstracts along with A/V requirements and a short, 100-word bio to Katie Burnett, Fisk University (kburnett@fisk.edu), Erica Abrams Locklear (elockea@unca.edu), and Monica Miller, Middle Georgia State University (monica.miller@mga.edu).

Friday, January 12, 2018

CFP: The Tacky South at ASA

Call for papers: The Tacky South
American Studies Association Annual Meeting
Atlanta, Georgia
November 8-11, 2018

As a way to comment on a person’s style, the word “tacky” has distinctly
southern origins. According to the
Oxford English Dictionary, it first emerged
around 1800 as a noun to describe “a poor white of the Southern States from
Virginia to Georgia.” Although the
OED does not draw connections between this
origin and the origins of the adjective describing something “dowdy, shabby;
in poor taste, cheap, vulgar,” these definitions suggest a clear link between
national stereotypes of region, race, and class and urbane (and northern urban?)
notions of taste, class, and sensibility. 
This panel will use these observations regarding the term’s origin to ask new
questions about how southern culture and identity have been and continue to
be associated with “tackiness.” For instance, in what ways are questions of taste
and class still bound up with regional identification? Or, how do “lowbrow,”
popular representations transmit and recreate images of the South and
southern history? Should we be suspicious of the celebration and enjoyment of
southern tackiness at both the popular and scholarly levels? What power
structures emerge from labeling something as “tacky” or the implementation of
tackiness as an aesthetic mode? Ranging from the rise in popularity of
southern-themed reality shows and tourist attractions, to mainstream media’s
attempts to address topics such as slavery and civil rights, often the specters of
class, race, and region still linger in contemporary notions of what registers as
tacky, particularly in the way it refers to things that are cheap, vulgar, common,
and unsophisticated. This panel will consist of three to four, 15-20 minute
By January 27, 2018 please submit 250-word abstracts along with A/V
requirements and a short, 100-word bio to Katie Burnett, Fisk University
kburnett@fisk.edu) and Monica Miller, Middle Georgia State University