David Wharton and Brooke White will introduce two new documentary photography exhibits at UM from the Do Good Fund. Dr. Wharton is Assistant Professor of Southern Studies, and Brooke White is Associate Professor of Art at the University of Mississippi.
The Do Good Fund, Inc. is a public charity based in Columbus, Georgia. Since its founding in 2012, the Fund has focused on building a museum-quality collection of photographs taken in the American South since World War II. The collection ranges from works by more than a dozen Guggenheim Fellows to images by less well-known emerging photographers working in the region.
Do Good’s mission is to make its collection of over 400 images broadly accessible through regional museums, nonprofit galleries and nontraditional venues, and to encourage complimentary, community-based programming to accompany each exhibition.
On Wednesday, November 1 at noon, Dr. Adam Gussow will discuss his new book, Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition. The book will be published in October 2017 by UNC Press.
The devil is the most charismatic and important figure in the blues tradition. He’s not just the music’s namesake (“the devil’s music”), but a shadowy presence who haunts an imagined Mississippi crossroads where, it is claimed, Delta bluesman Robert Johnson traded away his soul in exchange for extraordinary prowess on the guitar. Yet, as scholar and musician Adam Gussow argues, there is much more to the story of the devil and the blues than these cliched understandings.
In this groundbreaking study, Gussow takes the full measure of the devil’s presence. Working from original transcriptions of more than 125 recordings released during the past ninety years, Gussow explores the varied uses to which black southern blues people have put this trouble-sowing, love-wrecking, but also empowering figure. The book culminates with a bold reinterpretation of Johnson’s music and a provocative investigation of the way in which the citizens of Clarksdale, Mississippi, managed to rebrand a commercial hub as “the crossroads” in 1999, claiming Johnson and the devil as their own.
Dr. Gussow is Associate Professor of English and Southern Studies.
On Wednesday, November 8 at noon, Dr. Kristine McCusker of Middle Tennessee State University will present “Bobbie Gentry’s Odes to Mississippi.”