Southern History Now! Upheavals, Reckonings, and Reimaginings

The 2022 Southern Historical Association Conference will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, historically a crossroads between North and South and a gateway to the wider Atlantic world. Settled by the Piscataway and used as a hunting ground by the Susquehannock, Europeans colonized the unceded land 11,636 years later and the city and region  became one of America’s premiere ports and maritime facilities. A slave state that remained in the Union, Maryland was “middle ground” between the North and South. Today, Baltimore is a vibrant, multi-cultural city with major art and history museums and the historic Inner Harbor, the setting for the conference. It is an ideal site for a conversation that  reflects the ways in which southern pasts inform the global present.

The region’s history is organized around the nation’s central event of rupture and rebellion against the Republic. The South’s dynamic and contradictory traditions--of anti-democratic politics, and of revolutionary protests against white supremacy--speak to the challenges of our time. How do we reconcile what has long been cast as the southern exceptionalism with a national and international revivification of forces and political regimes that seek to disenfranchise, oppress, impoverish, and persecute individuals and groups based on racial, ethnic, religious, and gender identities? What relevance does the South’s centuries-long environmental devastation have for the current climate-change emergency? What can the southern past and our own experience tell us about how to produce and preserve scholarship while making our voices heard in classrooms and beyond? Amid the histories of oppression, racism, violence, corruption, and misuse that we chronicle in southern history there are progressive stories, successful interventions, political and legal advances, and people’s movements. Where do we find them, and how do we tell them in ways that spark hope, offer reasoned strategies, and suggest solutions? We invite participants to ask how their knowledge and experience can contribute to more inclusive and productive political, economic, and social policies. 

Particularly welcome are sessions that bring southern history to bear on pressing issues of race, gender, ethnicity, and citizenship; on white supremacist violence and reactions; on public health; on constitutional and political issues; on the climate crisis; and on the emergence of innovative forms of leadership and organizing. As we confront the limits of our national myth as a progressive and inclusive country, we also face disruption in our professional lives as teachers and researchers, and in the ways we engage with our students and publics. Sessions might also explore the impact of these disruptions on the way that we practice history, including sessions that employ modalities other than the delivery of papers, address the relationship of our work to social media, reflect on the possibilities and perils of digitized archives, highlight digital production, and more. We hope to spark conversations among diverse communities of scholars, activists, and cultural workers. 

The 88th Annual Meeting of the Southern Historical Association will take place at the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland from November 10-13, 2022. The 2022 Program Committee invites historians and students of history who work in secondary and higher education, museums, libraries, archives, government, and other public and private institutions, or who work as activists, writers, journalists, artists, performers, and film-makers to submit proposals in the formats listed below. We especially welcome panels that bring together scholars who are not typically in conversation with one another. All proposals for the 2022 program must be submitted online before September 15, 2021.


Traditional panels are composed of three 15-minute papers, a chair, and two commentators, one of whom may be the chair. One panel member, designated the organizer, will submit a 250-word panel overview, abstracts for each paper, and the participants’ vitas. Single paper submissions are accepted and, where possible, will be matched into panels by the Program Committee.  However, complete panels have priority. You may find H-South helpful in connecting with scholars to build panels. To submit a single paper proposal, click hereTo submit a traditional session proposal, click here.

Lightning Sessions give 5 scholars 5 minutes to present individually their work on a common theme, followed by a 10 minute comment by another scholar that synthesizes the presentations. The Lightning Session allows multiple viewpoints on contested historical issues or state of the field overviews. Organizers must submit a 250-word panel overview, 100 word abstracts for each short paper, and vitas for all participants. To submit a lightning session proposal, click here.

Roundtables: These organized discussions include three to four discussants and a moderator, who responds and asks questions of the participants, one of whom is designated the organizer. Discussants focus on a specific field or topic in informal 8 minute remarks, but do not read a formal paper. The moderator asks questions to which they respond, leaving ample time for questions from the audience. The organizer submits a 250 word statement on the main question under discussion and each participant’s vita. To submit a roundtable proposal, click here.

Paper Workshops: Three participants pre-circulate papers by October 8 to which the commentator and the audience read before the session. Each presenter frames their paper in five minutes, and the commentator comments on each paper and the common theme for 10 minutes. The remainder of the session is given over to the audience’s questions and comments. Organizers must submit a 250-word panel overview, 100 word abstracts for each short paper, and vitas for all participants. To submit a workshop proposal, click here.

Artist, Performance, or Activist Presentations: We encourage submission of sessions in a non-traditional format that lends itself to different mediums and methods of expression on the history of the South. Organizers must submit a 250-word panel overview, a description of each participant’s contribution to the session, and vitas for all participants. Single presenters will be considered. To submit an artist, performance, or activist presentation proposal, click here.

2022 Program Committee Co-chairs

Crystal Feimster and Steven Kantrowitz