Myths and Mythmaking

26 - 29 January 2023
San Antonio, Texas

Proposals are due by December 15, 2022, but are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. 

The modern world is redolent with myths, mythologies, and mythmakers in various guises.  Myths are often defined in contrast to truths or realities, giving them a nature that begs for breaking down or seeing through the myth to what’s beyond.  In his groundbreaking exploration of modern myths, Roland Barthes wrote that “The starting point of my reflections was usually a feeling of impatience at the sight of the “naturalness” with which newspapers, art and common sense constantly dress up a reality which, even though it is the one we live in, is undoubtedly determined by history…Right from the start, the notion of myth seemed to me to explain these examples of the falsely obvious.”  As scholars, thinkers, and writers, we also make myths in our storytelling, our artistry, and our argumentation.  We take immense satisfaction from exploring and interpreting the myths presented to us, including those fashioned by ourselves.  But we recognize that myths can also be unifying, and mythmakers participants in the process of building community and weaving social and cultural bonds.  American writer Terry Tempest Williams said, “Mythmaking is the evolutionary enterprise of translating truths.”  The interplay of truth and myth, of myth and mythmaking, of mythologies and histories, gives us a field of exposition in the humanities that is rich in its offerings.

The Southern Humanities Conference invites proposals for papers on any aspect of the theme “Myths and Mythmaking,” broadly conceived. Our conference themes are meant to be inspiring and prompt reflection, not limiting. The topic is interdisciplinary and invites proposals from all areas of study, as well as creative pieces including but not limited to performance, music, art, and literature. Customary paper and full panel proposals are invited, as are ones for creative presentation formats like roundtables, workshops, and demonstrations.  Moreover, the Southern Humanities Conference welcomes proposals from teachers and professionals outside the academy, as well as from scholars in the early stages of their academic careers.  Please note that the name of our organization simply reflects its having been founded in the U.S. South; no presenter is expected to present anything “southern,” though southern topics are also welcomed. Conference attendees come from all over the United States, Canada, as well as overseas.​

Possible topics may include but are not limited to any aspect or combination of Myths and Mythmaking and . . .

  • Witnessing, Remembering and Forgetting

  • Community and Community-building

  • Hospitality and “Withness”

  • Literature and Literary Analysis

  • Poetry and Creative Writing

  • Art and Art History

  • Sociology and Anthropology

  • History and the Historical

  • Memory and Forgetting

  • Gender

  • Race/Ethnicity

  • Social Class

  • Sex and Sexuality

  • Religion and Spirituality

  • Geography and Geographies

  • Philosophy and Social Ethics

  • Psychology, Community, and the Sense of Self

  • New Media and Digital Humanities

  • The Visible/Invisible 

  • Dis/Ability

  • Theatre/Drama (theory and live performance)

  • Dance (theory and live performance)

  • Music (theory and live performance)

  • Education and the Educative

  • Cinema and Culture

  • Cultural Difference

  • Humanities and the Human

Please submit proposals of 300-500 words below. Proposals are due by December 15, 2022, but are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. 


Two awards of up to $300 are available to help mitigate the costs of travel to the conference, one for first- or second-time presenters, and one for graduate students. If you would like to be considered for one of these awards, please indicate which award in your proposal.  Please see the website for more details.

Topics are not limited to but may address any of the following areas, and may integrate the theme in trans-disciplinary or interdisciplinary ways.  That is, the paper or creative presentation may address the theme from particular perspectives OR may address the integration of two or more dimensions of the theme

Please indicate in your abstract if you would like to be considered for either the Reynolds or Ussery Awards. The deadline for these awards is November 1, 2022. Awardees will be notified no later than two months before the conference. The award will be presented at the Open Mic night of the conference.

Thanks for submitting!