An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections
Posted on May 17, 2012
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Jesse P. Karlsberg and Alan G. Pike, Emory University; Marion Post Wolcott, Photographer

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Marion Post Wolcott, Boarded-up homes in abandoned mining town, Twin Branch, Virginia, 1938.
This photograph from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black and White Negatives collection, taken in September 1938 by Marion Post Wolcott, carried the following caption: "Boarded-up homes in abandoned mining town. Twin Branch, West Virginia. Once very nice, owned by Ford. About four years ago when an attempt to organize it was made, Ford closed it down completely rather than have it unionized. Around 1000 men used to work there. They won't sell it, rent or let 'squatters' live in the deserted homes that are rotting away." LC-USF34-050274-E.
Posted on May 15, 2012
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Alan G. Pike, Emory University

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The Bulletin

Today’s post is the first in an ongoing series compiling links related to news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South. Without further ado, The Bulletin.

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Posted on May 10, 2012
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Katie Rawson, Emory University

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Southern Spaces is excited to announce a collaboration with the Southern Labor Studies Association. We will publish selected pieces from their 2013 conference in a special series, growing our labor studies offerings and presenting significant new scholarship. We encourage scholars to submit panels that engage with ideas of space and place. Below is the SLSA's call for panels.

The Many Souths
Southern Labor Studies Association, New Orleans
March 7–9, 2013

The Southern Labor Studies Association is soliciting panels for its 2013 conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference theme, the “Many Souths,” invites a broad range of panels on southern working-class history, while at the same time it asks participants to examine how we have conceptualized the region: as rural and/or urban; as a single region, or as multiple regions, e.g. the Mountain South, Deep South; as part of the Caribbean, Gulf Coast, and/or Atlantic World; and as a region defined by particular sets of race, class, and gender relations.

New Orleans is an ideal place to do this, as it is often set apart as somehow “exceptional” or outside the South in popular culture and historical accounts. For some, it is a city distinct from the rest of the South, even as for others, it is very much part of the South’s economic and racial framework. Others see New Orleans as a Caribbean capital. In fact, New Orleans, like much of the South, is often “exemplary” of larger historical trends related to migration, de-industrialization, the rise of the service economy, the importance of tourism, race relations, violence, and working-class struggles.

To this end, we welcome full panels on a broad range of southern labor themes, including panels related to slavery and unfree labor; prisons and labor; oil, fishing, and the Gulf Coast; work and disaster capitalism; tourism and the service economy; music and cultural workers; sex workers; the Global South; African American labor history; Latino and migrant workers; gender and labor activism; and migration throughout the South.

Please submit panels by September 14, 2012. Panel submissions must include a brief synopsis of the panel (250 words), abstracts for each paper (250 words), a 2 page CV of each participant, contact information for each participant, and contact information for panel organizer. Please submit panels to both Jana Lipman at jlipman@tulane.edu and Steve Striffler at sstriffl@uno.edu.

Posted on May 8, 2012
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Jesse P. Karlsberg, Emory University

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John Vachon, Workers leaving Pennsylvania shipyards, Beaumont, Texas, 1943.
John Vachon, Workers leaving Pennsylvania shipyards, Beaumont, Texas, 1943. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Color Photographs Collection, LC-USW36-839.

Southern Spaces recently added six new images to the rotating selection on our home page’s nameplate. We selected these images from the newly digitized Library of Congress collection of Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs. This collection includes 1,600 color photographs taken between 1939 and 1944. Many of the images depict rural farming practices, social life in towns, factories and their environmental effects, and aspects of World War II mobilization.

The FSA/OWI Color Photographs collection complements the LoC’s Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives collection which, with 175,000 images, dwarfs the color collection. The black-and-white collection includes such iconic images as Dorothea Lange’s 1936 Migrant Mother photograph and images by Let Us Now Praise Famous Men photographer Walker Evans.

These black and white photographs—many of which represent places in the US South—have become seared into the southern imaginary. Calling up associations of segregation and depression-era rural poverty, the photographs both tie the present-day South to these associations, and due to their black and white format, consign them to the distant past. Mediated by this representation, the South itself becomes separated from the present.

In color, however, these images present themselves as relevant to the present, rather than consigned to the past. By displaying the problems they depict—such as segregation, poverty, and environmental degradation—in a contemporary form, the images imply that such problems may continue to be critical today.

Southern Spaces will be posting images from the FSA/OWI Color Photographs collection, with captions, to our Featured Images series in the months to come. The images we chose to include in our banner are collected below.

John Vachon, Southland Paper mill, Kraft (chemical) pulp used in making newsprint, Lufkin, Texas, 1943.
John Vachon, Southland Paper mill, Kraft (chemical) pulp used in making newsprint, Lufkin, Texas, 1943. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Color Photographs Collection, LC-USW36-836.
Arthur Rothstein, Community clothesline, FSA camp, Robstown, Texas, 1942.
Arthur Rothstein, Community clothesline, FSA camp, Robstown, Texas, 1942. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Color Photographs Collection, LC-USF35-299.
John Vachon, Nearly exhausted sulphur vat from which railroad cars are loaded, Freeport Sulphur Co., Hoskins Mound, Texas, 1943.
John Vachon, Nearly exhausted sulphur vat from which railroad cars are loaded, Freeport Sulphur Co., Hoskins Mound, Texas, 1943. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Color Photographs Collection, LC-USW36-825.
A train bringing copper ore out of the mine; fumes from smelting copper for sulfuric acid have destroyed all vegetation and eroded the land, Ducktown, Tennessee, 1939.
Marion Post Wolcott, A train bringing copper ore out of the mine; fumes from smelting copper for sulfuric acid have destroyed all vegetation and eroded the land, Ducktown, Tennessee, 1939. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Color Photographs Collection, LC-USF35-103.
Marion Post Wolcott, Burley tobacco is placed on sticks to wilt after cutting, before it is taken into the barn for drying and curing on the Russell Spears' farm, vicinity of Lexington, Kentucky, 1940.
Marion Post Wolcott, Burley tobacco is placed on sticks to wilt after cutting, before it is taken into the barn for drying and curing on the Russell Spears' farm, vicinity of Lexington, Kentucky, 1940. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Color Photographs Collection, LC-USF35-165.
Posted on May 1, 2012
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Brandon P. Wicks, Photographer

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Brandon P. Wicks, ROA's graffiti at 209 Mitchell Street, Atlanta, Georgia, 2012
ROA is a graffiti artist from Ghent, Belgium. He made this graffiti for a conference organized by Living Walls Atlanta in 2011. It is located on the east side of the building, facing Forsyth street, at the corner of Mitchell street in downtown Atlanta.
Posted on May 1, 2012
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Sarah Melton, Emory University

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Finding media is a big issue for us here at Southern Spaces. We’re constantly searching for new photographers to highlight in our Featured Images section, and we’re often tasked with helping authors find usable photos, video, and audio clips. This is not always an uncomplicated task: discerning which media are in the public domain or eligible for fair use can seem daunting. (Though I highly recommend the Center for the Study of the Public Domain’s graphic novel Bound By Law for an entertaining explanation of fair use.)

We have a few favorite sites and search strategies for finding useable media:

  • Public Domain and US Government works: The term "public domain" can be a little tricky—there are a number of caveats and exceptions, but I’ve found this chart from Lolly Gasaway at the University of North Carolina to be especially helpful. One of the general rules is that work produced before 1923, like this image from Lewis Hine, is in the public domain. Fortunately for us, work produced by the US government is also in the public domain. This satellite image is from NASA, and we’ve used images from the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA. The Library of Congress has an extensive collection of prints, manuscripts, photographs, audio recordings, and film, and many—though not all—are digitized and available for public use.
  • Creative Commons: Creative Commons allows users to license their own work for public use as an alternative to ordinary copyright. Creators can choose a number of different licenses, specifying what kinds of uses are permitted. CC also offers a useful search function, allowing a user to find particular types of media that are available for modification, adaption, or commercial use. Wikimedia Commons is a great resource for Creative Commons-licensed work, including images, sound, and video. We often find new photographers on Flickr through the CC search, but it’s always a good idea to double-check with the author whenever possible. We found images from the 2011 Tuscaloosa, Alabama tornado by searching Flickr in this way.
  • Internet Archive: With a massive collection of digitized texts, music, film, and audio, Archive.org can be a great resource for researchers. Some of this work is in the public domain, and the site also provides CC licenses for many of its pieces. Describing itself as a "digital library," the Internet Archive is a repository for media that can be difficult to find. When we were looking for a film clip that illustrated post-World War II attitudes towards Japan in the United States for Aiko Takeuchi-Demirci’s article, we came across a 1946 newsreel in the public domain.
  • Libraries and Archives: We approach repositories for permission to use their materials. Institutions may be willing to provide media if you simply ask. Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library has helped us locate and digitize materials that would otherwise be difficult to find. We recently worked with the librarians at MARBL to locate drawings of the Scottsboro Boys for an article by Ellen Spears. Other libraries and archives have also been great resources; the Virginia Historical Society provided images of visitors to the site when we contacted them for William G. Thomas III’s piece about the VHS’s exhibition on the Civil War in Virginia. Libraries and archives may require payment for media reproduction, but we find that many are willing to assist researchers.
  • Self-Produced Work: Occasionally, we produce media ourselves. Almost all of the maps on the site are made by staff members, as well as many other pieces of media. For Joseph Crespino’s essay on the Strom Thurmond monument, we asked a friend of the staff in Columbia to take a picture of the statue. We encourage authors to produce their own media if possible.

How do you find media for publication?

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Finding Media

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Posted on April 24, 2012
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Katie Rawson, Emory University

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Welcome to the Southern Spaces blog. Since our first publication in 2004, Southern Spaces has been invested in peer-reviewed, multi-media, open-access scholarship. Over the past few years, we have redesigned our website, updated our audio and video, and significantly expanded our readership. As an online journal working at the intersection of a number of scholarly disciplines, we find ourselves in the midst of exciting conversations about the nature of digital publishing.

We hope to continue engaging in these discussions by cultivating relationships with a diverse range of scholars and providing a platform for interested readers to participate. We plan for this blog to be a space for dialogue about scholarship and current events, for connections to other scholarly communities, and for discussing our digital publication processes.

Our blog will:

  • Explore our publication process. We will describe our editorial processes, interview authors, and write about how a Southern Spaces publication is built.
  • Consider our work in the context of digital publishing and the digital humanities. We will examine issues of open access and peer review, talk about finding and presenting multimedia scholarship, and share great tools and vexing questions.
  • Discuss contemporary and significant issues in the study of the US South. From the redistricting of Texas, to the announcement of a new cultural non-profit collecting 78rpm records, to the use of Confederate flags at Croatian soccer games, we will present short, scholarly posts about subjects that engage with southern spaces.
  • Provide a space where people can engage with our work, through guest posts and commenting. We hope that this blog will also connect people to our current and past publications on Southern Spaces. We hope that people will use it as an entry point to explore our journal. We hope that our posts here may even serve as sources of inspiration for future essays, videos, and presentations. Further, while most of the posts will be written by our staff, we are excited about publishing posts by scholars, teachers, artists, and other interested people. Please contact seditor@emory.edu if you are interested in writing for us. Finally, we are excited to include a commenting feature on our blog. For years, we have discussed the role of commenting on Southern Spaces (which will be the subject of a future post), and we are happy to take this step toward fostering meaningful dialogue with our readership.

Thank you for joining us in this new endeavor, and please do check out our most recent journal publications by visiting our home page!

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