Southern Music Symposium @ University of Mississippi
Feb 26 all-day


Music from the American South has made an indisputable impact on culture and politics in the U.S. and around the world.  But who are the South’s most prominent and influential voices today?  How are they creating the “southern” in their sounds and speaking to broader matters of national and international importance?  In what ways do they build on the sounds of the past or provide the soundtrack for our common and divided present?

The Southern Music Symposium will address such questions and more.  Hosted by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, the symposium will highlight musicians and feature presentations by prominent and emerging scholars of southern music. Dr. Randall J. Stephens (Reader and Associate Professor of History and American Studies, Northumbria University) will give a keynote address on religion and rock n’ roll. Scholars Dr. Zandria Robinson of Rhodes College and Dr. Charles Hughes of Rhodes College will participate in a roundtable discussion, and UM students will present their research on southern music and culture.

The symposium will take place in the Overby Center for Journalism and Politics on the UM campus on Monday, February 26. That evening, Proud Larry’s in downtown Oxford will host a showcase concert featuring punk rocker Lee Bains III, rapper Marco Pave, and composer and instrumentalist Wu Fei. The musicians will also participate in panel discussions during the symposium. 

Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, 555 Grove Loop, University of Mississippi

1:00 p.m. 
Welcome and Symposium Introduction by Brian Foster and Darren Grem
Panel for Student Research and Q&A
“Looking at the Blues: Dressing Up Versus Dressing Down”
Keerthi Chandrashekar

“Image is One Thing: Elvis as an Image of Mississippi”
Liam Nieman

“The Same Old Blues Crap: Fat Possum Records’ Matthew Johnson and How White Masculinity Continues to Shape the Blues”
Jacqueline Sahagian

2:30 p.m.
Scholars Roundtable with Zandria Robinson and Charles Hughes
Moderated by Brian Foster

4:00 p.m. 
Musicians Panel with Lee Bains III, Wu Fei, and Marco Pavé
Moderated by Darren Grem

5:30 p.m.
“‘Christian rock musicians come from pentecostal ranks!’ Rock ’n’ Roll and
Conservative Christianity in Modern America.”
Keynote Lecture by Randall Stephens

Proud Larry’s, 211 S. Lamar Blvd, Oxford, Mississippi
8:00 p.m. 
Showcase with Lee Bains III, Wu Fei, and Marco Pavé

Brown Bag: “A Shrine for the State: Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New Deal, and Religious Remembrance at Warm Springs, Georgia” @ Barnard Observatory
Mar 7 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Brown Bag: "A Shrine for the State: Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New Deal, and Religious Remembrance at Warm Springs, Georgia" @ Barnard Observatory

MARCH 7 at noon 

Darren Grem
“A Shrine for the State: Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New Deal, and Religious Remembrance at Warm Springs, Georgia”

Focusing on Warm Springs, Georgia, where Franklin D. Roosevelt died in April, 1945, this talk will detail how New Dealers and other liberals memorialized their approach toward the federal state, business, race, and gender through religious language and imagery.

Grem is assistant professor of history and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. His research sits at the intersection of southern studies, business history, cultural history, and political history. His first book, The Blessings of Business: How Corporations Shaped Conservative Christianity, was published by Oxford University Press in 2016. His current book project is tentatively titled Hard Times, USA: The Great Depression in American Memory.

The Oxford Conference for the Book @ Oxford, Mississippi
Mar 21 – Mar 23 all-day

The tentative dates for the 2018 Oxford Conference for the Book are Wednesday, March 21 through Friday, March 23.

Brown Bag: “Writing Histories of Environmentalism in the U.S. South” @ Barnard Observatory
Mar 28 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

MARCH 28 at noon

Ellen Spears
“Writing Histories of Environmentalism in the US South”

Building on histories of environmental activism in the Southern US, Spears’s talk explores the challenges facing American environmentalism in 2017. Ellen Griffith Spears is an associate professor in the interdisciplinary New College and the Department of American Studies at the University of Alabama. Her research is broadly interdisciplinary, combining environmental and civil rights history with studies of science, technology, and public health. Her book, Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town, published in 2014 by the University of North Carolina Press, explores key questions faced by communities that seek to address systemic class and race inequalities and to tackle toxic pollution.


Brown Bag: “New Orleans and the New Southern Food Movement” @ Barnard Observatory
Apr 4 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Brown Bag: "New Orleans and the New Southern Food Movement" @ Barnard Observatory

APRIL 4 at noon

Catarina Passidomo
“New Orleans and the New Southern Food Movement”

Passidomo has a joint appointment in anthropology and Southern Studies, and works closely with the Southern Foodways Alliance. Her research interests include Southern foodways, critical race studies, social justice, food systems, social movements, and the connections between food and culture, identity, space and power. She holds a PhD in human geography from the University of Georgia, an MA in ecological anthropology from the University of Georgia, and a BA in sociology and anthropology from Washington and Lee University.

Visiting Documentarian Series: Emily Yellin and Darius Williams @ Tupelo Room, Barnard Observatory
Apr 10 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

On Tuesday, April 10 at 5:30pm in Barnard Observatory, Emily Yellin and Darius Williams will give a public talk on their project Striking Voices, which tells the story of the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ strike. From late March to early April, the Center’s Gammill Gallery will exhibit a series of portraits by Darius Williams that are part of the project.

Striking Voices is a multimedia journalism project centered around in-depth video interviews with the 1968 Memphis sanitation strikers and their families. The photos, taken between 2015 and 2017 after each interview, are meant to portray the real, relatable people from that historic time, but also to show how present these heroes are in our modern lives.

Journalist, producer and author Emily Yellin and the Striking Voices crew are in the process of producing a series of video stories, based on their interviews, that will focus on the lives of these men and women who were on the front lines of an iconic American battle.

Striking Voices will roll out in the first four months of 2018 on TheRoot.com.



Brown Bag: “‘Cautious but Solid Character’: Southern Feminists and the State” @ Barnard Observatory
Apr 11 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

APRIL 11 at noon

Jennifer Bingo Gunter
“‘Cautious but Solid Character’: Southern Feminists and the State”

Gunter’s talk is an investigation of the interactions of feminists and the state from 1966 through 1985. Nationally, women cooperated with officials of state agencies to push their agenda of self-sovereignty. Inspired by the Second Wave of the women’s movement, southern women worked with the state and manipulated state reactions to suit their needs.

Jennifer “Bingo” Gunter is a historian who specializes in the intersections of gender, race, health, law, and activism. Her upbringing by a feminist in Mississippi has led her to focus on inequalities and empowerment. With a passion for public history she looks for ways to bridge the town-gown gap. She now resides in Columbia, South Carolina, with her husband, two dachshunds, and a cat.

Brown Bag: “Saving Slave Houses” @ Barnard Observatory
Apr 18 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

APRIL 18 at noon

Jobie Hill
“Saving Slave Houses”

Since 2011 Jobie Hill’s research and professional work has focused exclusively on domestic slave buildings. She is engaged in interdisciplinary research examining the dwellings of American slavery, the influence these dwellings had on the lives of their inhabitants, and the preservation of slave history. In 2012 she started an independent project titled the Slave House Database in an effort to ensure that slave houses, irreplaceable pieces of history, are not lost forever.

Documenting LGBTQ Histories in Mississippi – Oral History Presentation @ Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center
Apr 25 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Dr. Jessica Wilkerson’s graduate seminar on southern queer history will present “Documenting LGBTQ Histories in Mississippi,” an oral history performance and exhibit. Students will reflect on oral history interviews completed for the class and connect the interviews to broader themes in southern and American LGBTQ history.

Light refreshments. Free and open to the public.