The Conference on Southern Culture


“Fryin’ Eggs and Boilin’ Hammy”: Is that what we like about the South?

Food as comfort.
Food as sustenance.
Food as power.
Food as work.
Food as love.
Food as culture.

Food touches on every aspect of life, from religion, to socio-economic concerns, to cultural identities, and beyond. This weeklong conversation, April 15-19, will include featured speakers, panel discussions, readings and musical performances. Attendees will have the opportunity to examine the diverse ways that the growing, cooking, consuming and availability of food impacts southern culture.  

All events without meals are open and free to the public, including the opening reception at the Johnson Collection of Art and the Friday night artistic celebration. 

Keynote Speaker

Elizabeth Engelhardt, Southern Food Matters
Thursday, April 17, 4:15 pm 

Engelhardt - Okra to Opera II

Elizabeth Engelhardt is the author of A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender and Southern Food (2011)and Republic of Barbecue (2009).  Engelhardt has taught in American Studies and the Center for Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Texas, Austin from 2004 until the present. Since receiving her doctorate in Women's Studies in 1999, Dr. Engelhardt has held academic positions at Emory University, Ohio University, and West Virginia University as well. A native of western North Carolina, she is never happier than when she can write and read with her feet in a mountain stream. 


Sampling of Events

Making a Living in Food, panel discussion

Speaker, Dr. Rebecca Sharpless, Fame and Fortune: The Tradition of Food Entrepreneurs in the South

Everybody Eats: Food Insecurity in the South, panel discussion

An artistic celebration of food with Susan Tekulve, author of "In the Garden of Stone,"; a musical collaboration with composer Scott Robbins and poet Rick Mulkey and Converse musicians, and a one-act play performed by Theatre Converse

Peaches and Plates A'Plenty: Opening Reception and Exhibition at the Regional Museum of History

From Plate to Palette: exploring the culture of Southern food and Southern art in Spartanburg, opening reception and art exhibit at the Johnson Collection of Art

See the full schedule of events.