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Southern Cultures Refuses Boundaries and Borders

“You won’t find us…penning a single definition of the ‘South,'” claims Southern Cultures. “From Faulkner in Bulgaria to Lebanese in Mississippi, and from teaching Gone with the Wind in Vietnam to the international avant-garde at Black Mountain, we recognize that no border can contain our complex region.”

This vision of the South as something larger than a geographic region, both overflowing its boundaries and continually making room for new voices, permeates every aspect of Southern Cultures‘ production, from its mix of print and multimedia to the fact that it makes space both for academic and creative work. This fundamental belief in the South as both a changing and accomodating phenomenon has given this journal an international readership and kept it thriving for more than twenty years.

Launched in 1993, Southern Cultures is produced from the Center for the Study of the American South and published by UNC Press. The journal counts readers in over ninety countries and continues to turn its sharp eye on both generous and nefarious aspects of the Southern existence.

Southern Cultures freely admits that, in many ways, they are a traditional academic quarterly:

We are peer-reviewed, we publish original scholarship, and we use citations (even here in this very description). But we are not your typical journal—we eschew jargon and insider speak, and in addition to scholarly articles, we print photo essays, original artwork, poetry, fiction, interviews, and narrative journalism.

The journal is published as a print edition but makes some content available for free online, and even offers some online-only content.

The most-recent issue (Summer, 2017) featured essays on the Cyclorama in Atlanta; Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah; and poetic ruminations by Michael Chitwood and Michael McFee. Past issues include poetry by Ross White; an essay on New Orleans parades; and a feature on author Dorothy Allison.

Submissions are open all year ’round on “all things Southern—from essays and articles to poetry, memoir, photo essays, features, and interviews and oral histories” (so, no ficton, scripts, etc.). Full-length essays and articles generally run 15–20 double-spaced manuscript pages (3,750–5,000 words). Shorter features typically run 8–14 pages (2,000–3,500 words).

The Spring 2018 theme is “Coastal Foodways.” Work should be submitted via Submittable; for full details, click here.

Southern Cultures has also developed “Loose Leaf,” a section of their website devoted to multimedia offerings that expand the content of their print issues. Here, visitors can watch a reading by poet Dr. Lenard D. Moore; an interview with Bulgarian Ambassador (and Tennessee Williams scholar) Elena Poptodorova; and Paul Williams on the demise of circus performer Charles Siegert, a tiger named Big Ben, and the coolest cemetery in Washington, DC.

Subscribers receive four issues a year for $40 (or eight issues for two years for $75): subscribe here.

Visit Southern Cultures on the web at; on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, or Instagram.