Our second issue of south is dedicated to Patsy Yaeger’s pathbreaking Dirt and Desire: Reconstructing Southern Women’s Writing 1930–1990. Published in 2000, the book set a new paradigm for inquiry and perhaps even a longing for study of and in the south. In many ways, this journal’s new direction represents the child of that endeavor. When Andy Crank first came to me with the proposal for a special issue on Yaeger’s work, I could not have framed it better myself. This issues focus on Dirt and Desire showcases writing from a variety of scholarly locations, and in this special issue, you will find critical and creative non-fiction, speculative and archival home spaces.
I will leave it to Professor Crank to articulate the intellectual terrain for this issue and to introduce its authors. In the meantime, I would like to give readers and subscribers a taste of what is to come. The journal will be publishing a double issue in the next academic year—Fall 2016 and Spring 2017—which will drop in April of 2017. We will return to our special issue focus in Fall 2017 with the theme of “Crisis/Opportunity,” an issue proposed by board member Robin D. G. Kelley. In it, we hope to examine the fraught contemporary landscape of southern politics. The psychic life of this special issue reflects the intellectual inquiry during the Harlem Renaissance as the twin pillars of that work are reflected in Crisis (1910) and Opportunity (1923). Where there is crisis, there is also opportunity. We ask potential essayists to reflect upon anti-civil rights bills passing in Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina, to name a few; the 2016 Presidential election and its candidates; and grassroots and community activisms across a spectrum of identities, issues, and intellectual landscapes. Look for our CFP at south journal.org.
Sharon P. Holland