The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi is pleased to host the 2019 SEWSA Annual Conference. Our theme considers the distinctive role of gender studies programs in the South in fostering interdisciplinary scholarship, social change, and the creation of inclusive spaces.

The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies was established at The University of Mississippi in 1981 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the admission of women to the university (1882). The Isom Center takes its name from Sarah McGehee Isom, who became the first female faculty member in 1885. Today, the Center’s mission is to educate about issues of gender and sexuality, promote interdisciplinary research, and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. As part of our mission, we worked with student leaders to create the first pride parade in Oxford in 2016.

Please click the below links for quick access to conference information.

Questions about the conference? You are welcome to reach out to the conference host with any questions about the general CFP, location, hotel, registration, program, or other conference-related questions.

Conference information

Chairs and Directors Gatherings

We are pleased to announce two special events to help department chairs and center directors to share challenges, discuss solutions, and create stronger networks all in an informal setting. The events are:

  • Thursday, March 7th at 11:45 AM - Chair's Luncheon - This event is for anyone who runs a WGS program regardless of the title.

  • Saturday, March 9th at 7:30 AM - Director's Breakfast - This event is for anyone who runs a non-academic program or center related to WGS (Women's Center, LGBTQ Center, etc.)

Both events are free with conference registration, but limited to faculty and staff. Each event is limited to 20 participants.

Register Now!

Preconference Workshops

Oral History Workshop: Recording Women’s and Queer Voices

UM professors Jessie Wilkerson, History and Southern Studies, and Alysia Steele, Multiple Platform Journalism, will lead a workshop on collecting oral histories, archiving them, teaching them, and translating them into creative nonfiction. Participants will learn technical and creative skills related to documenting oral histories. They will also discuss the challenges of weaving oral histories together to create larger projects. Lastly, they will model how to build classes around collecting oral histories at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Dr. Wilkerson and her spring 2018 Southern Studies graduate class collected oral histories from queer Oxonians and created the first queer archive at the University of Mississippi. She is author of the forthcoming book To Live Here, You Have To Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice (January 19). Prof. Steele is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and author of Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother's Wisdom, a collection of oral histories and portraits of fifty church mothers from the Mississippi Delta. She is also an Isom Fellow and will be leading an undergraduate class on collecting oral histories of Oxford’s elder women and translating them into podcasts.

Open to all conference attendees.

Making Gender Studies Central to Your Institution’s Mission: A Facilitated Think-Shop

Join Dr. Katrina Caldwell, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi, to consider productive partnerships between Gender Studies programs and institutions’ larger diversity goals.  While anxieties about the future of Gender Studies programs have spiked in recent years, most universities understand that having these programs is important. What can be challenging is making sure that Gender Studies programs thrive and remain vibrant, and resist the tendency of institutions to ignore them and make them feel isolated. What might a thriving Gender Studies program look like today?  What partnerships, strategies, and programs will get us there? How can we make this happen?

Dr.. Caldwell has decades of experience in diversity programs and has built constructive partnerships over the years, including at DePaul University.  She will facilitate a wide-ranging conversation in this workshop, to consider the challenges and barriers to such work, the relationships that help it thrive, examples of successful programs, and the elements of effective partnerships and programs.  This is in many ways an aspirational workshop, drawing on participants’ expertise and experience to map assets, consider possibilities, and make innovative plans for thriving futures in their programs. This workshop is beneficial for Gender Studies Programs, Women’s Centers, and LGBTQ Centers.

Conference Keynotes

We are proud to announce that Dr. E. Patrick Johnson and Minnie Bruce Pratt will be presenting our conference keynotes.

Dr. E. Patrick Johnson

Dr. E. Patrick Johnson

About E. Patrick Johnson

A native of North Carolina, E. Patrick Johnson has published widely in the areas of race, class, gender, sexuality, and performance. Johnson is a prolific performer and scholar, and an inspiring teacher, whose research and artistry has greatly impacted African American studies, performance studies, and sexuality studies.

He is the author of two award-winning books, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity, and Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History. He is the editor of Cultural Struggles: Performance, Ethnography, Praxis by Dwight Conquergood (Michigan UP, 2013) and co-editor (with Mae G. Henderson) of Black Queer Studies—A Critical Anthology and (with Ramon Rivera-Servera) of solo/black/woman: scripts, interviews, and essays and Blacktino Queer Performance (Duke UP, forthcoming). He is currently at work on the companion text to Sweet Tea, entitled, Honeypot: Southern Black Women Who Love Women and an edited collection of new writings in black queer studies tentatively titled, No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies.

His staged reading, “Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales” is based on his book, Sweet Tea, and has toured to over 100 college campuses from 2006 to the present. His performance in Oxford, “Put A Little Honey In My Sweet Tea,” combines narratives from Sweet Tea and Honeypot.

Dr. E. Patrick Johnson’s keynote will be on Thursday, March 7 at 1 PM and performance at 6 PM.

Dr. Minnie Bruce Pratt

Dr. Minnie Bruce Pratt

About Minnie Bruce Pratt

Originally from Centreville, Alabama, Minnie Bruce Pratt received a B.A. from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is professor of Women’s & Gender Studies and Writing & Rhetoric at Syracuse University, where she also serves as faculty for a developing Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/ Transgender Studies Program.

For five years she was a member of the editorial collective of Feminary: A Feminist Journal for the South, Emphasizing Lesbian Visions.  She has published six books of poetry, The Sound of One Fork, We Say We Love Each Other, Crime Against Nature, Walking Back Up Depot Street, The Money Machine, and The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems.

In 1989, Crime Against Nature, on Pratt's relationship to her two sons as a lesbian mother, was chosen as the Lamont Poetry Selection by the Academy of American Poets, an annual award given for the best second full-length book of poetry by a U.S. author.  In 1992 her book of autobiographical and political essays, Rebellion: Essays 1980-1991, was a Finalist in Non-Fiction for the Lambda Literary Awards. Her book of prose stories about gender-boundary-crossing, S/HE, was one of the five finalists in Non-Fiction for the 1995 American Library Association Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Book Award.

Pratt has been active in organizing that intersects women’s and gender issues, LGBT issues, anti-racist work, and anti-imperialist initiatives. She is a member of the National Writers Union-UAW Local 1981, and works with the International Action Center and its Women's Fightback Network.

Dr. Pratt’s keynote will be on Friday, March 8 at Noon.  


SEWSA 2019 will be held at the Inn at Ole Miss Hotel and Conference Center on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS. To learn more about Oxford, see

Transportation | parking

By Air:

Those who plan to fly to the conference should book their flights to and from Memphis (Tennessee) International Airport (MEM). From Wednesday, March 6, 2019 to Sunday,  March 10, 2019 the Division of Outreach offers a shuttle service for conference participants who arrive at the Memphis International Airport (approximately 75 miles or 1 hour and 15 minutes drive). Shuttle reservations must be made and paid for in advance. Cost: $80 roundtrip/$40 one-way

If you would like to use the Division of Outreach shuttle service, please contact Drew Pruitt, Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, via e-mail at no later than March 1, 2019 by 4:00 p.m. CST, in order to make your reservation. Your e-mail must include the following information:

  • Subject line: SEWSA 2019

  • Name of Passenger(s)

  • Flight Date(s)

  • Flight Number(s)

  • Flight Arrival/Departure Time(s)

  • Passenger’s Cell Phone #

  • Passenger’s e-mail

  • Location at which to be Dropped Off or Picked Up in Oxford

Shuttles will be confirmed via e-mail by Tuesday, March 5.

Please meet your shuttle driver inside the airport at Baggage Claim, Area B escalator.

Memphis Shuttle Departures (Shuttle leaves the airport at these times.) Schedule your flight arrival 45–60 minutes (or more) before these shuttle departure times from Memphis.
11:00 a.m. • 4:00 p.m. • 9:00 p.m. 

Oxford Shuttle Departures (Shuttle leaves the Inn at Ole Miss at these times.) Schedule your flight departure 3 hours (or more) after these shuttle departure times from Oxford.
8:00 a.m. • Noon • 4:00 p.m. (Earlier times by request, if needed)

Should your arriving flight be delayed, please call 662-816-0543 and if necessary leave a voice mail message with your name and new arrival time. If you are unable to meet the next shuttle(s) you will be required either to stay over in Memphis and take the 10:00 a.m. shuttle the next day or to rent a car.

By Land:
Oxford is located at the intersection of MS Hwy 7 and US Hwy 278 and is less than an hour from Interstate 22 and thirty minutes from Interstate 55.

In-Town Shuttle:
The Inn operates a shuttle between the hotel and the Oxford Square. There should be ample parking for guests and conference attendees as the Inn has a dedicated parking lot.



We are proud to partner with the Inn at Ole Miss for housing for the 2019 conference. Originally known as the Alumni House, many of the Inn’s rooms have been sponsored and decorated by alumni giving them the feel of a guest bedroom rather than a standard hotel room. A major renovation and addition to add the suites tower and conference facilities opened in 2008.

Standard $99.00
Deluxe $129.00
Suites $149.00

There is a $10 charge per night, per occupant over 2.

Guests can make reservations by calling 1-888- 486-7666 and referencing the SEWSA Conference Group. Reservations may also be made online at and reference the group code 3592.

Deadline for rate is February 6, 2019.

There are several hotel options in Oxford including a Courtyard by Marriott that is walking distance from campus and the Inn.


REGULAR Registration – open January 17, 2019 through February 28, 2019
Faculty/Professional: $155
Student/Independent Scholar/Part-Time Faculty: $75
Undergraduate Student: $35

ONSITE Registration – Those who do not register by February 28 will need to register onsite
Faculty/Professional: $180
Student/Independent Scholar/Part-Time Faculty: $85
Undergraduate Student: $40

Note: All presenters are required to be active individual SEWSA members.