Call for Papers
“Student Activism, Southern Style: Organizing and Protest in the 1960s and
March 19-21, 2010
University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Student protest is a signature element of the political turmoil of the
Vietnam era. The spring of 1970 witnessed some of the largest campus
demonstrations in U.S. history, many connected to the tragic events at
Kent State University. Students at the University of South Carolina
briefly occupied the Russell House student union, in a show of solidarity
with Kent State and in protest of developments at home and abroad. Yet the
histories of these students, and many others at campuses throughout the
old south, tend to be neglected in the conventional narratives of student
protest, civil rights activism, and broader accounts of the
While northern student protestors and activists are typically seen as
agents of change, the south is typically seen as the subject of radical
change, and as a field in which northern agents encountered resistance.
Yet as the story of the Russell House illustrates, the south offered its
own indigenous activism that was no less sincere, if less amplified, than
its northern counterpart. “Student Activism, Southern Style” seeks to draw
attention to and investigate this phenomenon in its own right.
The Departments of History at the University of South Carolina and Western
Carolina University solicit paper proposals that address the topic of
student activism at southern colleges and universities for a conference to
be held March 19-21, 2010 at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.
We seek a broad conversation about protest, organization, and political
engagement across the political spectrum, including civil rights work,
antiwar protest, the “New Right,” and other forms of political
organization. Our aim is to examine the broad intersections among
political movements within the unique cultural and political environment
that conditioned student activism in the region and throughout this
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
* How did antiwar and civil rights activists shape each others’ approach?
* What role did southern students play in the rise of the “New Right”?
* Violence, non-violence, and civil disobedience on the southern campus.
* What linkages did southern activists forge with their northern peers?
* Town-and-gown relationships, and connections to surrounding
institutions, such as military bases.
* How did public and private university students differ in their
approaches to political organizing?
* What effect did southern culture, mores, and etiquette have on activism?
* Sexuality activism in the south.
* What were the regional variations to leftwing and rightwing organizing
in the south?
* Goldwater supporters and antiwar activism in the south.
* How did national political strategies, such as Richard Nixon’s so-called
“southern strategy,” effect southern student activism?
* What role did historically black colleges play in organizing student
politics in the south?
* How did traditional forms of southern religion influence the antiwar
* Gender and political organizing on the southern campus.
* The curricular legacy of campus upheavals, e.g., University Studies 101
courses, the articulation of students’ rights, or other institutional
We welcome proposals for full panels, though individual paper proposals
will be considered. Send a brief panel or paper abstract, along with a CV,
to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 1, 2009. For full panels, include
pertinent information for each presenter. Selected presenters will be
informed by January 1, 2010. Additionally, if you are interested in
serving as a chair/commentator, please send a vita to
Further information including registration information, keynote address,
meals and lodging will be forwarded in due course to presenters.
For more information see the website at http://www.cas.sc.edu/hist/sass/
or contact conference organizers at email@example.com.