Conference Information

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conference will be moved to the Spring of 2021. Please continue to check this site for updates and new information during the Fall of 2020.

2020 William Gilmore Simms Society Biennial Conference:

World Without End: The Antebellum South, William Gilmore Simms, and the Global Experience

The University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

September 18-20, 2020

Readers of the work of William Gilmore Simms (1806-1870) have long recognized that he is very much a son of the Antebellum South, yet the vast swathe of materials produced by this prolific novelist, poet, critic, and historian examine global concerns through the specific contexts of both the antebellum and colonial Souths. In other words, Simms’s works often explore the tensions between and the complementary natures of cosmopolitanism and provincialism.

Evinced by his interests in German Romanticism, republicanism, colonization, migration, (re-)settlement, the frontier, and the relationship between regional, national, and racial and ethnic identities, Simms’s work participates in many of the most globally significant intellectual and artistic questions of his day. For readers in the 21st century, these questions—and Simms’s answers to them—take on new significance in our current moment of renewed interest in populism, nationalism, globalism, and migration. How does the work of an Antebellum Southern writer provide us with new perspectives on these enduring global concerns?

The William Gilmore Simms Society invites all interested scholars and students to a conference exploring these questions and all themes related to issues of globalization in relation to William Gilmore Simms’s literary output and his times. Any and all perspectives, approaches and questions addressed to this general theme are welcome for the conference. The Simms Society seeks to provide a venue for academics, students, and independent scholars from across all disciplines to present their work.

While we are accepting papers on any Simms-related topic, possible paper topics for this conference may include Simms, Simms’s work, and Simms’s life-and-times in terms of:

  • Tragedy
  • Civilizational/Municipal Destruction
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Slavery
  • Science and Culture
  • The ‘Great Man’ Theory of History
  • Republicanism
  • Victorianism and Victorian Thinkers
  • German Romanticism and Romantic Thinkers
  • Post-Napoleonic European Civilization
  • Revolution(s)
  • History and Myth
  • Colonialism and Empire
  • Migration
  • The Caribbean
  • The Frontier
  • Copyright and Intellectual Property
  • And any number of others

Revised papers may be considered for inclusion in The Simms Review, a refereed journal published by the Simms Society.


Cash prizes will be offered for the best undergraduate and graduate papers: $150 plus a refund of registration fees for undergraduates, and $250 plus a refund of registration fees for graduate students. Students must submit full papers, not abstracts, by May 30, 2020; winning students must read their papers at the conference.


Updated information to come in the Fall of 2020

Academics, independent scholars, and students not wishing to enter the contest should submit abstracts (100-200 words) by July 15, 2020. Conference information, including registration fees and information about accommodations, will be posted on the Society’s website, Scholars are encouraged to use the resources listed at, especially the Simms Initiatives.

All questions and submissions should be directed to Dr. W. Matthew J. Simmons, Society President, at