Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Southern Spaces is a multimedia, open-access journal publishing articles, photo essays and images, reviews, presentations (including the media associated with the public presentations of scholarly work such as lectures, conference papers, panels, and more), and short videos about “real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections.” The intended audience is “researchers and teachers, students in and out of classrooms, library patrons, and interested readers.”
The journal offers “critical scrutiny of any monolithic "South," interrogates historical developments and geographies over time, and maps expressive cultural forms associated with place,” encouraging submissions from scholars, photographers, journalists, and artists in the areas of geography, Southern studies, regional studies, women's studies, LGBTQ studies, public health, and African American, Native, and American Studies. It is able to deliver audio, video, images, and text in presenting the research it publishes, and all publication materials are archived through the Digital Programs and Systems of the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Emory University.
This is one of the most sophisticated and visually-appealing online journals I’ve ever seen. The homepage highlights recently published material with eye-catching, colorful photographs and illustrations. There’s an impressive list of editorial board members and editorial reviewers provided, and the journal is fully searchable. Clicking on a book icon in the journal title bar brings out a Browse window that lets you browse the journal by Article, Photo Essay, Short Video, Presentation, Review, Blog Post, Featured Image, Authors, Series & Collections, and Year. Like I said, it’s a sophisticated creation.
It’s not possible to convey adequately the pop and sizzle of this journal’s actuality, but I can give you an idea of the richness of the content. Recently published articles include, “Dancing Around the "Glaring Light of Television": Black Teen Dance Shows in the South,” “Crossing Over: Sustainability, New Urbanism, and Gentrification in Austin, Texas,” “Reconsidering Appalachian Studies,” ‘"I Used That Katrina Water To Master My Flow": Rap Performance, Disaster, and Recovery in New Orleans,” and “Segregation's New Geography: The Atlanta Metro Region, Race, and the Declining Prospects for Upward Mobility,” among others. There are blog posts titled, “A Trumped-Up Dixie: White Southern Republicans and Immigration Reform,” “Contesting the Roadways: The Moore's Ford Lynching Reenactment and a Confederate Flag Rally, July 25, 2015,” and “MARBL Highlights: The Black Comic Books Collection,” along with many others. Then there are the presentations, such as, “How I Shed My Skin,” which pairs a video presentation featuring Jim Grimsley speaking about How I Shed My Skin: Unlearning the Lessons of a Racist Childhood (Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books) with John Howard's review of the book; and “Africana Archives: Making Art at the Schomburg,” Howard Dodson’s (former director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and current director of Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center) keynote address at the 2014 Callaloo Conference held at Emory University. And a lot more.
Southern Spaces is an exciting, standout realization of what a multimedia open access journal can be. Add it to your catalog and tell your patrons about it: it’s a win-win-win-win-winner.