Special issue of Southern Cultures:
Built/Unbuilt (Summer 2021)

Guest Edited by Burak Erdim
NC State University College of Design
Deadline for Submissions: August 31, 2020

Southern Cultures encourages submissions from scholars, writers, and artists for Built/Unbuilt, to be published Summer 2021. Imagined and built landscapes in the South are expressions of, and exert influences on, the region’s diverse peoples, cultures, politics, and economies. This call for submissions comes at a critical time when prevailing modes of cultural and political expression are in question, and when prominent features of our built environment are rejected, removed, and reimagined. We seek work that examines the constructed spaces of the American South—from planning to design to manufacture—and the impacts of those spaces on individuals, communities, and cultures.

Topics can examine the complex set of relationships between the built environment and the production of the South as a territory and region, including ongoing spatial practices. This theme can include a variety of projects and constructions, ranging from the relatively temporary and everyday landscapes of markets, chicken houses, and textile mills; to planned and seemingly sustainable communities, massive manufacturing plants, corporate infrastructures of power, transportation, and resource extraction; along with the pipelines, walls, and fences that mark, connect, and separate people and territories. How do these projects come about, and what are their social and political aims? Who are the diverse set of actors, agents, and agencies that shape them, and promote, criticize, and mold their reception, including those whose actions and voices often do not receive attention? How do communities perceive these projects in their local, national, and global contexts in myriad and conflicting ways—for instance, as spaces of democratization and emancipation, as well as colonization and globalization? And how do southerners think about and respond to these constructions through various modes of cultural production, including  literature, visual arts, and music?

Submissions can explore any topic or theme related to the built environment, and we welcome explorations of the region in the forms Southern Cultures publishes: scholarly articles, memoirs, interviews, surveys, photo essays, and shorter feature essays. We hope that submitters will interpret the idea of the issue’s theme broadly.

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

  • Buildings and landscapes that mark or challenge perceptions of the South as a territory and region
  • Manifestations of national and global movements in the construction of southern landscapes and institutions
  • Spaces of governmentality and the state
  • Economic development projects as contact zones between local, federal, and global actors / programs
  • Landscapes of work and production as manifestations of race, class, gender, and labor relations
  • Layered representations of power, identity, race, and ethnicity in the built environment
  • Racial and spatial practices of segregation and integration (zoning, redlining, environmental racism, etc.)
  • Constructions and perceptions of ordinary and extraordinary landscapes in the South
  • Spaces of change, memory, and commemoration
  • Hidden actors, spaces, and landscapes
  • Untold stories of the construction/destruction of the (old or new) South
  • Landscapes of disaster and rebuilding
  • Social, political, and artistic responses to the South’s modernization and development
  • New and emergent spaces and values
  • Contemporary perceptions of projects of planning, sustainability, and development

As Southern Cultures publishes digital content, we encourage creativity in coordinating print and digital materials in submissions and ask that authors submit any potential video, audio, and interactive visual content 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.

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