Organization: South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA)
One need only look back to H.L. Mencken’s infamous 1917 description of the American South as “a cesspool of Baptists, a miasma of Methodists, snake-charmers, phony real estate operators, and syphilitic evangelists” to note how the region’s proclivity towards religiosity has been perceived and reported. It remains nearly impossible, even in the 21stcentury, to disassociate the American South from its religious underpinnings. As Lee Ramsey points out in his book Preachers and Misfits, Prophets and Thieves, “When you read just about any piece of Southern fiction written over the past one hundred years, there is at least half a chance that you will find a minister tucked somewhere within its pages.” The impact of faith and religion upon Southern literature cannot be overstated, leading to Flannery O’Connor’s famous (and perhaps overused) proclamation that the South remains “Christ-haunted.”
This panel seeks topics that explore religion and the character of the preacher in Southern literature, focusing on the role the minister plays in his community, as well as the corrupting influence of power and the everlasting beliefs that drive these characters toward their respective ends. This panel specifically welcomes proposals which directly or indirectly address the role of the preacher figure in particular, though any paper topic revolving around faith and doubt in Southern literature will be considered.
Please send 300-word abstracts to Joe Seale, University of Georgia, by June 14, 2019. Please also include a brief bio and any A/V requirements along with your abstract.