Fires and freezes. Breath and sweat. Sweets and salt. Screams and silence. Fresh crops and pungent fertilizers. These are only a few of the sensations that animate the American South. The 2022 conference theme “invites strategies that draw our attention to and command a multisensory, multiregister engagement with the world as it is and as we want it to be.” This session looks to the region of this year’s meeting, bringing together individuals who are working to investigate the dynamic sensory experiences of the South. Presenters will share methods, theories, and approaches for studying one or more of the five senses (and/or additional concepts like "sense of place," "sense of self," and "sense of belonging") with regards to the South. Furthermore, this session explores how we can make sense of the sensory South, as senses contribute to the region's cultural richness and vibrancy yet are illusive, fleeting, often absent from archives, and cannot be quoted in academic papers. We aim to think expansively about what is considered “southern” and, more importantly, why and how various sights, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes have come to be associated with the region. Current participants plan to discuss the idea of tasting place through visual and material culture, and the rhythms of work and water of Chesapeake oysterman.
Depending on the interest of the participants, this session could take the form of a traditional panel, round table, or question-driven session. Please send a note of interest with a topic description or abstract by January 22nd for consideration.