Call for Papers: The Future of Textiles

The Future of Textiles (Winter 2024)

Guest Editors: Natalie Chanin

Deadline for Submissions: March 1, 2024

Southern Cultures encourages submissions from scholars, writers, and artists for a special issue, The Future of Textiles, to be published Winter 2024. We will accept submissions for this issue through March 1, 2024.

In a moment when the textile industry is fueled by exploited overseas laborers, toxic chemicals, and artificial intelligence over craft, we ask: what is the future of textiles? What happens to a community, state, or nation when its people no longer make clothing, utilitarian fabrics, and textile-related artifacts? The widely held image of the South as an agrarian economy belies the reality of the region as a cradle for modern industry, unions, and global capitalism. We seek submissions that connect the past, present, and future of textile production, from raw material to finished goods. How might we imagine a progressive way forward for textiles in the United States, with attention to sustainability, craft preservation, cultural heritage, justice and equity, entrepreneurship, creativity, and global economics? Stories should connect the hyperlocal and the global, examining how the act of making has shaped the lives of individuals and communities.

How do we preserve the craft and industrial knowledge of making and producing textiles? What happens when textile manufacturing supply chains are broken? How is the South impacted when our textile goods and services are imported from somewhere else? How can making and manufacturing create stronger southern communities? How do we explore, honor, and document the South’s histories of making and manufacturing textiles? How might one restore dignity to the craft and labor of textiles while honoring its makers and a fragile ecosystem?

Submissions may explore any topic or theme related to textiles. We welcome investigations of the region in the forms Southern Cultures publishes: scholarly articles, memoir, interviews, surveys, photo and art essays, and shorter feature essays. Possible topics and questions to examine might include (but are not limited to):

  • Agriculture and raw materials
  • Machine manufacturing
  • Large- and small-scale factory work
  • Hand work and hand craft
  • Small-town economics and community health
  • Generational knowledge
  • The geography of the factory
  • Living, evolving Indigenous textiles
  • Quilt and other textile arts’ curation and exhibition
  • Examples of radical or activist entrepreneurship
  • Gendered empowerment
  • Sustainability in an era of greenwashing
  • Mission-driven textile production
  • Textiles and food landscapes
  • The meaning of craft preservation
  • How hyperlocal becomes a global story

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.

Image courtesy Natalie “Alabama” Chanin
Loose Leaf