The Conference on Southern Culture


April 8 & 9, 2016
Converse College, Spartanburg, SC


“Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories.”
- Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings

The focus of O2O 3 will be storytelling; approaches that take an interdisciplinary approach are especially welcome. As in the past, we are conceiving this topic broadly – stories are passed along through oral traditions, of course, but stories also are told in the ways families interact, the way communities function, in churches, synagogues, and other religious settings, around campfires and the dinner table. For better or worse, in our modern digital age, stories are told from a multitude of platforms. Books, television shows, and movies often tell stories about the south, and sometimes we experience them as true, sometimes we do not. We welcome proposals that examine all these diverse aspects of storytelling in and about the south.

We envision this conference as a place to pull many threads together in unusual and perhaps innovative combinations to examine larger questions. We welcome proposals that employ both traditional and non-traditional approaches to larger scholarly questions. To further ensure that this conference provides a place for interdisciplinary and non-traditional examinations of Southern Culture we would prefer single paper proposals rather than full panel proposals.

We invite papers from scholars and professionals working in the fields of literary studies, creative writing, folk culture, history, performing arts, social sciences and material culture, as well as students and practitioners of the art of storytelling in its many forms.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Oral traditions
  • Music as storytelling
  • Southern writers
  • Stories of the dinner table
  • Material culture and storytelling
  • Stories about the south in popular culture
  • Southern filmmaking
  • Television in and about the south
  • Storytelling in diverse religious traditions
  • Digital storytelling

About the speakers: Joe Newberry is a North Carolina musician and teacher of traditional music and song, Joe is a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, and for the last six years he has served as coordinator of Old-Time Week at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV.

Laurel Horton is an independent quilt researcher, writer, and editor; she attended the U of Kentucky and UNC Chapel Hill and is the author of Mary Black’s Family Quilts: Memory and Meaning in Everyday Life. Her current research focuses on quilts and counterpanes as documents of women's expressive culture.

Please send 250-word abstract as an email attachment, along with a brief CV (Word or PDF, with O2O 3 proposal in the subject line) to:

Anita Rose, Conference Chair @
Please check back on this webpage,, for schedule and registration information.