Sarah Isom Center Podcast Puts New Lens on Southern Culture

'Swerve South' examines region's gender and sexuality

Jaime Harker (left) and Theresa Starkey record an installment of ‘Swerve South,’ a new podcast series produced by the UM Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Rock stars. Rebellion. Radical spaces.

Welcome to the universe of “Swerve South,” a new podcast produced by the University of Mississippi‘s Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies

“Swerve South,” a six-part weekly series that debuted Nov. 27, examines the Deep South through the lenses of gender, feminism, multiculturalism, pop culture and queer culture. The podcast is produced and hosted by Jaime Harker, Ole Miss English professor and Isom Center director; and Theresa Starkey, the center’s associate director and instructional associate professor in its gender studies minor program.

“This is an interdisciplinary show and a lively take on cultural analysis,” Harker said. “We think an in-depth conversation about gender and sexuality in the South is important. It’s a part of our culture.”

Harker has interviewed visitors to the Isom Center, including Samantha Allen, award-winning journalist and author of “Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States”; and the producers of the popular podcast “Waiting to X-Hale,” which fleshes out influential cultural and social moments that define Generation X.

“Jaime and I are always discussing popular culture, gender, space, and place,” Starkey said. “We’re always also talking about the South we inhabit.

“We wanted to figure out a way to have a conversation about these things, and doing a podcast made sense to us because it allows us to have fun and be serious all in the same moment.” 

“Swerve South” is produced in conjunction with the Department of Southern Studies’ Southern Documentary Project.