Doing Southern Studies Today

Thursday, January 14


11.00 a.m.-12.00 p.m.: Southern Futures in the Past


Dr. Rieke Jordan is assistant professor (wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) at the Department of English and American Studies at Goethe-University Frankfurt and teaches American literary, cultural, and media studies. She obtained her PhD in North American Studies from the Graduate School of North American Studies at the Free University of Berlin (2016). Her book Work in Progress (2019) was published with Bloomsbury, and her Habilitation turns to utopian literature of the Early Republic.


Siân Round is a PhD candidate in American Literature at Jesus College, University of Cambridge. Her research concerns literary magazines published in the US South between 1920 and 1945. She is interested in how editors construct an idea of a cohesive South while balancing and participating in currents of transatlantic modernism. She has previously studied at the Universities of Durham and Oxford where she wrote dissertations on the British Reception of William Faulkner and Conceptualisations of Europe in the work of Lillian Smith.


2.00-3.30 p.m.: Imaginations of “the South” in Popular Culture 


Greta Kaisen is a research assistant and PhD candidate at HU Berlin. In 2019, she completed a combined M.A. in American Studies and Literature and Media Practice from the University of Duisburg-Essen with a thesis on the Gothic mode and nostalgia in video games. As part of the research project “Liminal Whiteness: Southern Rednecks, Hillbillies, and Crackers in American Studies”, her dissertation investigates the social mobility of liminal white characters in Southern Gothic literature, film, and video games. 


Janina Wedig

I have been a research assistant at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf since 2016 and I am currently in the process of writing my dissertation on the purpose of the grotesque as a literary device in Southern women’s literature of the late 19th /early 20th century as well as in modern Southern literature and film.

I have completed my BA degree in English and Art History at the Ruhr University of Bochum in 2013 and moved on to the MA program of Comparative Studies in English and American Language, Literature and Culture at the HHU which I have finished in 2016. My research is focused on Southern Studies, grotesque literature and the Gothic as well as the representation of mental and physical illness in both media and literature.


Ella Waldmann is an alumna of the Ecole Normale Supérieure and Sciences Po Paris. As part of her MA Program in English she was a visiting student at Columbia University in the City of New York. She is currently a PhD candidate at Université de Paris, Laboratoire de Recherche sur les Cultures Anglophones (LARCA), where she is working on a thesis on podcasts as literary objects, with a focus on the podcast S-Town


4.00-5.30 p.m.: Plac(ing) Place


Scott Romine is Professor and Department Head at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  He is the author of The Narrative Forms of Southern Community (LSUP, 1999) and The Real South: Southern Narrative in the Age of Cultural Reproduction. He currently edits the Southern Literary Studies series at LSU Press.


Marco Petrelli is adjunct professor of Anglo-American literature at the University of Bologna and the University of Turin. He received his Ph.D. from “Sapienza”, University of Rome with a dissertation on space and myth in Cormac McCarthy’s southern novels. Among his research interests there are the literature and culture of the Southern United States, geocriticism, the American gothic, and graphic narratives. He published a number of essays on contemporary American literature in Italian and international journals; his first book, Paradiso in nero, is forthcoming later this year.


Corin Kraft studied English Literature and Language at the University of Basel (Switzerland) and Cardiff (Wales, UK) with a special focus on U.S. Southern literature and American Modernism. She wrote her master’s thesis on the notion of the collective memory of slavery in the literature of the U.S. South, including the works of William Faulkner and contemporary writers such as Steve Yarbrough and Thulani Davis. In connection to her thesis, she received the SANAS travel award that allowed her to travel to the South doing research on William Faulkner at the University of Mississippi and the state. Currently, Corin is a PhD candidate in Anglophone Literature and Culture at the University of Basel. Her PhD project engages with the representation of time and space in contemporary literature of Mississippi. Corin is also an external lecturer at the University of Fribourg where she teaches proseminars on Southern literature, American Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance. 


6.00-7.00 p.m. 


E. Patrick Johnson is Dean of the School of Communication and Annenberg University Professor at Northwestern University. A member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Johnson’s work has greatly impacted African American Studies, Performance Studies, and Gender, and Sexuality Studies. He is the author of several books, including Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (2003); Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South – An Oral History (2008); Black. Queer. Southern. Women. – An Oral History (2018); Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women (2019), in addition to a number of edited and co-edited collections, essays, and plays.