Visiting Professor Martyn Bone will present “‘This Is the Place Where the New World Is’: Black Struggle from the U.S. South to the Global South in the Writing of John Oliver Killens” in the Hannah-Ford Room (Bondurant Hall 2nd Fl.) as part of the Spring 2014 Works-in-Progress Seminar Series.
In their 2001 special issue of American Literature announcing a “new southern studies,” Houston Baker and Dana Nelson cited John Oliver Killens’ definition of the United States as “Downsouth” and “Upsouth” alongside Malcolm X’s more well-known declaration that Mississippi is anywhere below the Canadian border in order to posit “the nuanced inseparability of North and South in any fruitful model of American cultural studies.” This presentation proposes that, in the years immediately before and through the publication of his second novel And Then We Heard The Thunder (1963), which narrowly missed out on that year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Killens not only put “the South” at the center of the nation, but also resituated it on transnational and black diasporic scales. As such, Killens’ writing not only has much to teach us about “the nuanced inseparability of North and South,” but also ways of situating both “Downsouth” and “Upsouth” within wider global–especially Global South—frameworks.
Dr. Martyn Bone is associate professor of American Literature at the University of Copenhagen, where he also coordinates the Center for Transnational American Studies. In the spring 2014 semester, he is a visiting professor in the Department of English at the University of Mississippi. He was previously an associate professor at the University of Mississippi (2011-2012) and lecturer in American studies at the University of Nottingham (2002-2003). He is the author of The Postsouthern Sense of Place in Contemporary Fiction (Louisiana State University Press, 2005) the editor of Perspectives on Barry Hannah (University Press of Mississippi, 2007); and the co-editor of a three-volume mini-series with the University Press of Florida: The American South in the Atlantic World (2013), Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth Century South (2013), and Creating and Consuming the U.S. South (forthcoming).
The Works-in-Progress Seminar Series is hosted by the English Graduate Student Body and open to all. The seminars consist of a thirty-minute presentation followed by a Q & A discussion where feedback and further suggestions by both faculty and other graduate students are highly encouraged! A version of the material to be presented on will be sent out to those on the English Department listserve closer to the event. Those not on the listserve who would like a copy, or for more information about this or other Works-in-Progress series events, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.