Doing Southern Studies Today

Wednesday, January 13


12.00-1.30 p.m.: Negotiations of Genre


Allison Serraes is a visiting lecturer at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. She received her PhD in English from the University of Mississippi in 2020 and is at work on her manuscript “Carceral Matrix: Black Women’s Writing in Response to Mass Incarceration, 1963-2019.” Her research interests include critical prison studies, African American literature, and Gender Studies.


Tjalling Valdés Olmos (he/him) is a PhD Candidate at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam (UvA). His research within the ERC-funded project ‘Rural Imaginations’ examines what aspects of US rural life become in/visible in prominent rural imaginations (literature, television, and film), what kind of affective management these imaginations perform, and what politics these imaginations support. His work specifically engages subversive imaginations of the US rural, and the project pays particular attention to imaginations of the queer rural, the black rural, and the indigenous rural. His most recent publication, “The Coloniality of Benevolence,” can be found in Collateral Journal (2020) as part of a special issue on the rural colonies of Veenhuizen. 


Hendrik Burfeind holds a master’s degree in “English and American Literatures, Cultures, and Media” from Kiel University, which he received in 2020. He is currently preparing a PhD dissertation on the history of African American country performers between the 1970s and 2000s. His research interests focus on popular culture, ideology critique, and critical race studies.


2.00-3.30 p.m.: Hauntings in Southern Literature


Vanesa Lado-Pazos holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Santiago de Compostela. She has completed her MA in Advanced English Studies in the same university with a dissertation about models of femininity in the fiction of Southern author Ellen Glasgow. She is currently working on her PhD dissertation that studies spectrality in contemporary African American fiction. Her research interests include Southern and African American literature and culture.


Thomas Austenfeld is Professor of American Literature at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He holds MA and Ph.D. degrees in English and American Literature from the University of Virginia. 

He is the author of American Women Writers and the Nazis: Ethics and Politics in Boyle, Porter, Stafford, and Hellman (2001), the editor of Kay Boyle for the Twenty-First Century (2008), of Critical Insights: Barbara Kingsolver (2010), and of Katherine Anne Porter's Ship of Fools: New Interpretations and Transatlantic Contexts (2015). He is co-editor of Writing American Women (2009, SPELL 23) and Terrorism and Narrative Practice (2011). His articles have appeared in Mississippi Quarterly, Colloquium Helveticum, Prose Studies, South Atlantic Review, Pacific Coast Philology, Southwestern American Literature, Great Plains Quarterly and Anglia. His most recent edited collection, Robert Lowell in a New Century, was published in April, 2019 by Camden House. 

He has published scholarly articles on authors as diverse as Lord Byron, Wallace Stevens, Katherine Anne Porter, Peter Taylor, Thomas Wolfe, Josef Pieper, Derek Walcott, Louise Erdrich, Philip Roth, Frank Norris, Flannery O'Connor, and Robert Lowell, as well as bibliographic essays in the annual American Literary Scholarship

From 2013 to 2019, Austenfeld served as Secretary General of IAUPE, the International Association of University Professors of English. From 2015 to 2019, he served as Senior Editor for Southern Literature on the Editorial Board of the online Oxford Research Encyclopedia (Literature).


Dr Ahmed Honeini is an early career researcher. He received his PhD in 2018 from the Department of English at Royal Holloway, University of London. His first monograph, William Faulkner and Mortality: A Fine Dead Sound, will be published by Routledge in 2021. He is also the founding director of the Faulkner Studies in the UK Research Network. 


4.00-5.15 p.m.: Keynote Lecture


Riché Richardson is currently an associate professor of African American literature in the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University. Her other areas of interest include American literature, American studies, gender studies, and Southern studies.  In 2001, she received a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.  She spent the first 10 years of her academic career in the University of California system at UC Davis.  Her interviews have been highlighted in news media such as NBC’s The Today Show and Nightly News, CNN, Al Jazeera’s Newshour, and the New York Times.  Her Op-Eds have appeared in the New York Times, Public Books and Huff Post, and her essays have been published in journals such as American Literature, Mississippi Quarterly, Forum for Modern Language Studies, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, TransAtlantica, the Southern Quarterly, Black Camera, NKA, Phillis, Technoculture, and Labrys.  Her first book, Black Masculinity and the U.S. South: From Uncle Tom to Gangsta (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2007), was highlighted by Choice Books among the "Outstanding Academic Titles of 2008."  Her new book, Emancipation's Daughters:  Reimagining Black Femininity and the National Body, is forthcoming from Duke University Press.  She is the editor of the New Southern Studies book series at the University of Georgia Press.  Richardson is also a visual artist.  Her art quilts are the subject of the short film by Anne Crémieux and Géraldine Chouard entitled A Portrait of the Artist (2008) and are featured in Lauren Cross’s film The Skin Quilt Project (2010).   In January of 2009, Richardson was invited to Paris as a “Cultural Envoy” by the U.S. Embassy in France through a grant from the U.S. Department of State.