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Call For Papers: Ernest J. Gaines Center

Title: Through Mama’s Eyes: Unique Perspectives of Southern Matriarchy

Edited By: Cheylon Woods and Kiwana McClung

Format: A collection of 10-15 essays (4000-5000 words, .doc or .docx and no more than 10 images per submission [300 dpi JPEG or TIFF]; Citation Style: Chicago Manual Style) that address the subject matter in a range of disciplines, from a variety of scholarly perspectives. (Foreword, Introduction, Essays, Photographs/Images/Charts, Conclusion, Appendix.)

Publisher: University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press

Submission requirements: Abstract length: 300-500 words

Abstract Proposal Deadline: Abstracts due Jan. 12, 2018, 11:59 p.m. CT

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Call for Papers

The role of Southern Matriarchs, as a whole, in shaping communities, influencing culture and uplifting the people in their lives cannot be denied. Historically, however, Southern Matriarchs and the unique roles they played in defining the values that shape our society have either been minimized or reduced to one dimensional imagery and propaganda, which was often used to enforce biased stereotypes about “good women”. Such characterizations in popular culture routinely presented the misogynistic rhetoric that was normalized during the 20th century and often reduced matriarchs to caricatures for consumer appeal. Regardless of how they were viewed throughout the rest of the country, the southern matriarch remains a symbol of respect and wisdom in southern culture. Those who fill this space represent the very best of gentile strength, leadership, protection and moral guidance to southern children, by birth or by choice, families and communities. Southern Matriarchs cared for family while also taking on the burden of the family’s problems, and their reach is more than biological or geographically locked. The remnants of their stories can be seen in today’s southern culture, through music, art, literature, architecture, cuisine, history, education and linguistics.

This work seeks to combine essays that explore the very essence of the Southern Matriarch and how her presence has underscored and influenced various aspects of Southern life. The primary goal of this work is to combine into a single source a variety of ways in which art, architecture, culture, literature, music, cuisine, history, education, and linguistics have been defined by the Southern Matriarch, thus revealing her importance to southern culture. The secondary purpose of this book is to arouse a robust dialogue about the perceived value of southern matriarchs to our communities versus the actual value that our southern mothers have in society. Additionally, it seeks to illuminate the varied definitions, and sometimes complicated, definitions of matriarchy; particularly in terms of gender, race, sexuality, and class. The final objective of this book is to help redefine and complicate the perceptions of the Southern Matriarch to more accurately reflect the importance and contributions of such a position to society and southern culture.

Graduate students ( PhD and Masters), academics, and independent researchers are encouraged to apply.

Submission topics can include but are not limited to:

  • African American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Architecture
  • Black Studies
  • Culinary arts
  • Political Science
  • Linguistics
  • Education
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Folklore
  • Religion
  • Literature
  • History
  • LGBTQ/Sexuality studies
  • Library Science
  • Women's Studies
  • Visual and Performance Art
  • Music