Weekly sessions starting today cover topics from state politics and civil rights struggles to gay truckers and jazz Written by Rebecca Lauck Cleary The Brown Bag Lunch and Lecture Series sponsored by the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture continues this spring with topics ranging from Brazilian dance to gay truck… Read More >
The University of Mississippi had the first MA program in Southern Studies, with the first students entering the program in 1986. The Southern Studies graduate program is a two-year interdisciplinary program, with faculty in literature, history, sociology, anthropology, music, foodways, religion, documentary studies, and other fields. Set in the Center for the Study of Southern… Read More >
Off Square Books event set for Jan. 22 OXFORD, Miss. – Three faculty members at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture are kicking off the spring semester with a celebration of their books’ publication. The event, set for 5 p.m. Jan. 22 at Off Square Books in Oxford, features Jessica… Read More >
University of Mississippi professor Catarina Passidomo is looking forward to traveling to Lima, Peru, to teach and conduct research in 2019 as the recipient of a Fulbright US Scholar award. While in Lima, the UM assistant professor of anthropology and Southern Studies will teach two courses in the Department of Social Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. She also plans to engage in independent and collaborative research on Peruvian cuisine and foodways for a project titled “Gastrodiplomacy in Peru: Cuisine as Nation-Brand in Postcolonial Context.”
As director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, Ted Ownby fulfills many roles. He recently added one more to the list as the university’s William F. Winter Professor of History.
In 1992, the University of Mississippi Foundation established an endowment fund to promote and recognize excellence in historical scholarship and to honor former Gov. William F. Winter, a staunch supporter of public education.
We like to occasionally post syllabi from Southern Studies courses, like Dr. Brian Foster’s SST 102: The Southern Protest Mixtape and Dr. Darren Grem’s course on southern music history. Today we share Dr. Jessie Wilkerson’s SST 560: Introduction to Oral History, which has as its theme “Documenting LGBTQ Histories in Mississippi.”
The blues—as a palette of intense, often contradictory feelings; a range of social conditions heavily inflected by blackness and southernness; an expressive form encompassing literature as well as music; and a philosophical orientation towards experience—are a more complex cultural phenomenon than some realize. This essay unpacks the latter two concepts: blues expressiveness and the blues ethos. Blues expressiveness is constituted by a range of cultural practices, including the AAB stanza, call and response procedure, vocalizations, blues-idiomatic language, and signifying. The blues ethos, too, offers multiple strategies for surviving bad times by refusing to reify the down-ness of the present moment as an inescapable condition, sometimes with the help of harsh, redemptive laughter. In this essay, Adam Gussow draws on a range of lyric, literary, and folkloristic commentary by Langston Hughes, Cornell West, Bessie Smith, Howard Odum, Kalamu ya Salaam, W. C. Handy, Angela Y. Davis, Lonnie Johnson, and many others. The essay also takes an autobiographical turn as Gussow mines his own bandstand and classroom experience with Mississippi-born blues performers Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee and Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry to illustrate the blues ethos in action.
Assistant Professor of History and Southern Studies Jessie Wilkerson received an award at the recent meeting of the Southern Association for Women Historians (SAWH). Organized in 1970, the organization meets annually and has over 700 members. The SAWH strives to stimulate interest in the study of Southern and women’s history as well to advance the status of women historians.
This interview by Scott Barretta originally appeared in the Fall 2017 Southern Register.
Adam Gussow is an associate professor of English and southern studies at the University of Mississippi whose latest book is Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil in the Blues Tradition (University Press of North Carolina), a survey that occupied seven years of research. Gussow has also grappled extensively with the devil in his parallel career as a professional blues musician—for over thirty years he’s recorded and toured internationally with Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee, a relationship he addressed in his memoir Mr. Satan’s Apprentice.