Mission and History

Editorial Mission

Mississippi Quarterly: The Journal of Southern Cultures is a refereed academic journal dedicated to publishing scholarship on the US South, broadly defined. Founded in 1948, Mississippi Quarterly is published by the College of Arts and Sciences at Mississippi State University and is recognized as one of the premier journals in the field of southern studies. Mississippi Quarterly publishes scholarly essays, interviews, and book reviews on literature, history, film, and other subjects. The journal showcases work by established and emerging scholars comprising a diverse selection of topics and critical perspectives. Each volume typically includes a special issue, often guest-edited. Topics featured in past special issues include the Twenty-First-Century Southern Novel, The South in Film, Expanding the Archive in Civil War Studies, Southern Poetry, and single authors (William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, and more). Outstanding scholarship published in Mississippi Quarterly has been recognized by the Society for the Study of Southern Literature and The Wilson Quarterly.


What would become one of the most respected scholarly quarterlies in America began in December 1948 as The Social Science News Bulletin. The first issue was subtitled “A Monthly News Survey Sponsored by the Social Science Council.” Vol. 1, No. 1 mostly announced university events, such as conferences and meetings.

In July 1949 the publication dropped “News” from its masthead, and the issue, now The Social Science Bulletin, presented three “papers of the Social Science Round Table of Mississippi State College.” From then on, the Bulletin was devoted more and more to articles of a research nature in fields of social science. Abstracts of graduate theses and research of the college faculty published elsewhere also appeared.

The journal began publishing longer articles, and Vol. VII, No.1, in October 1953, announced a name change and a new publication schedule: The Mississippi Quarterly. Now the publication was “devoted to studies in the Social Sciences and related fields in Mississippi.”

The 1957 issues declared a purpose to “promote scholarly studies in the socio-humanistic field in Mississippi and the South.” The emphasis was changing. By winter 1959, The Mississippi Quarterly welcomed “contributions in the humanities and the social sciences,” and the issue included five articles on literary subjects and one on history.

The first Faulkner issue appeared in 1961. From that issue onward, the shift to literary subjects was steady, and the summer 1963 issue announced that “The Mississippi Quarterly welcomes contributions in the humanities and the social sciences dealing with the South, past and present.”

Mississippi Quarterly continues to devote one issue per volume to special topics and has produced special issues on Southern Poetry, American Indian Literatures and Cultures of the South, Lynching and American Culture, and William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner, as well as on authors such as Lewis Nordan, Richard Wright, and Eudora Welty.