The English department plays a leading role in the study of the “global South,” a concept that refers to a new direction in Southern studies.
“It signals a paradigm shift away from studying the American South as a national aberration to seeing the region as deeply implicated in global patterns, issues and movements,” said Kathryn McKee, associate professor of English.
To further such studies, UM’s Interdisciplinary Working Group on the Global South was formed in fall 2005. Members of the interdisciplinary group represent the English, education, history, sociology and Southern studies departments and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.
Their expertise is becoming evident in the public forum. McKee and Annette Trefzer, associate professor of English, recently co-edited a special issue of the journal American Literature titled Global Contexts, Local Literatures: The New Southern Studies, and the working group co-sponsored a speaker series on the topic. This new way of thinking is also reflected in the English department’s recently renamed journal, which started in the 1950s as Mississippi Studies in English, evolved into Journal x: Studies in Literature and Culture and finally became The Global South. Published under the auspices of the department and Indiana University Press, it is concerned with understanding South-North divides that exist not only in the United States but also globally.