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Call for Papers: The Gothic South

Call for Papers: The Gothic South (Winter 2023)

Guest Editor: Kinitra D. Brooks (Michigan State University)

Deadline for Submissions: February 20, 2023

Southern Cultures encourages submissions from scholars, writers, and artists for a special issue, The Gothic South, to be published Winter 2023. We will accept submissions for this issue through January 30, 2023.

Many stories of the Gothic South remain to be told. The South’s prominence in the discussion of horror and the outsize influence it has on the ways in which Americans consider ancestry, race, time, and more offer rich opportunities to build on previous scholarship, art, storytelling, and public memory. In keeping with those traditions, this issue seeks to extend beyond the vast variety of sites of terror to reveal the region as a crucial space through which to explore the very notion of Horror and the Gothic, how its meanings have shifted, and its contemporary implications and depictions.

We seek submissions that explore abundant southern tales of hauntings, hoodoo, and holler magic—both past and present—and what makes them uniquely southern. How have southerners used gothic horrors in film, television, digital media, literature, music, comics, and graphic novels to explore the traumas of the past and the present? How does the genre of southern horror reflect the complexities of the South itself? How have key horror subgenres like zombies, haunted houses, slashers, demonic possession, etc., manifested in the South? How does contemporary criticism analyze the South through horror frameworks that pivot on the raced, the queered, the gendered, the working class, and/or the disabled in historical and contemporary contexts? How important is the land to Southern Gothic?

We additionally seek submissions that consider broader conceptual linkages. How has the horror genre developed in the South? How has horror shaped understandings of “the South” and southernness? How can these categories be comprehended and complicated through approaches rooted in genre studies and shifting signifiers of identity? And why is foregrounding the Gothic essential to understanding the South as both region and concept?

In all respects, we seek submissions that capture the range of topics and questions that can be considered through a horror lens. We hope to spotlight overarching themes and stories, while also appreciating the crucial differences within identities, eras, conditions, and experiences.

Submissions can explore any topic related to the theme, and we welcome investigations of the region in the forms Southern Cultures publishes: scholarly articles, memoir (first-person or collective), interviews, surveys, photo and art essays, and shorter feature essays.

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

  •      Southern Horror, including regional manifestations (Delta, Appalachia, Atlantic, Gulf, Lowcountry, Gullah, etc.)
  •       Horror subgenres
  •       Haints, the haunted house, and haunting as memory
  •       Intersectional identities and histories and questions of representation
  •       Race and Slaveocracy
  •       Family and parenthood
  •       Love and sex
  •       Labor, class, poverty, and economics
  •       Landscapes and geographies‚ natural, built, social, memorial, or imagined
  •       Mountain Magic
  •       Conjure and Hoodoo, including Conjure Feminism
  •       Africaneity, the Ethnogothic, and Horror
  •       The Reverse Migration
  •       Health and medicine
  •       Tainted, poisoned, and magical foodways (potions, food- and drink-based cures, and more)
  •       Personhood and eugenics
  •       Narratives of disease and deficiency, particularly as they relate to larger stigmas about southerners and the South
  •      “Freaks,” freak shows, and freakishness in the context of southern cultural traditions
  •       Public and historical memory
  •       Oral narratives, memoir, storytelling, and self-narrativization
  •       Distinguishing the Horror Genre and Trauma Narratives
  •       Artistic expressions, including visual, literary, theatrical, musical/sonic, documentary, and performative activism

Submissions can explore any topic or theme, and we welcome investigations of the region in the forms Southern Cultures publishes: scholarly articles, memoir (first-person or collective), interviews, surveys, photo and art essays, and shorter feature essays.

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. For full submissions guidelines, please click here.