SouthTalks: “Coming Full Circle: My Journey through the University of Mississippi to Many Points Beyond and Back” @ Faulkner Room, J. D. Williams Library
Sep 29 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

“Coming Full Circle: My Journey through the University of Mississippi to Many Points Beyond and Back” presented by Dorothye Quaye Chapman Reed

Dorothye Quaye Chapman Reed
Dorothye Quaye Chapman Reed

Author, columnist, academic, businesswoman, and 1974 UM alumna, Dorothye Quaye Chapman Reed said that she was“only three years old when Emmett Till was killed in neighboring Tallahatchie County, I was ten when James Meredith attempted to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Stores in my hometown would not allow us to sit on the stools to enjoy an ice cream cone or have a cold drink. Fortunately, Black men and women in my community taught us how to cope in this environment and strive for equality.”

As a part of the sixtieth anniversary of integration on the University of Mississippi’s campus, Chapman Reed’s presentation will not only focus on her early life in Water Valley, Mississippi, but her time at the University of Mississippi after its integration.  She will also discuss her work on the “Black Families of Yalobusha County” oral history project with the University’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

The event is hosted by the University of Mississippi Libraries and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Following the program all attendees are invited to join a University of Mississippi Slavery Guided Tour by history doctoral candidate Don Guillory at 2 p.m. Attendees should meet on the steps of the Lyceum (304 University Circle). The tour will last from 45 to 60 minutes.

SouthTalks: “Race in ‘The Secret Lives of Church Ladies’” @ Virtual
Oct 19 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

“Race in The Secret Lives of Church Ladies” with Deesha Philyaw and Ethel Scurlock (virtual event)

Deesha Philyaw wearing a colorful dress
Deesha Philyaw

Readers and critics alike embraced Deesha Philyaw’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, a collection of nine short stories focused on Black women, sex, and the Black church. Yet the collection is rarely discussed as being “about race,” with emphasis placed instead on issues related to gender, sexuality, and religion. In this conversation between Ethel Scurlock and Philyaw, they will explore the significance of race in the book’s stories.

Philyaw’s short story collection won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, the 2020 Los Angeles Times’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for fiction. Philyaw is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and will be the 2022–23 John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi.

Ethel Young Scurlock wearing a blue blazer
Ethel Young Scurlock by Tenola Plaxico

Scurlock is dean of the University of Mississippi’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, associate professor of English and African American studies, and senior fellow of the Luckyday Residential College. Scurlock became a faculty member at the University of Mississippi in 1996 and has taught honors courses for more than 16 years. Prior to being named dean, Scurlock was also the director of African American studies.

SouthTalks is a series of events – including lectures, performances, film screenings and panel discussions – that explores the interdisciplinary nature of Southern Studies. This series is free and open to the public.

SouthTalks: Southern Beauty: Race, Ritual, and Memory in the Modern South @ Off Square Books
Oct 25 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Southern Beauty: Race, Ritual, and Memory in the Modern South 

Elizabeth Bronwyn Boyd and Darren Grem

woman in a blue dressSouthern Beauty: Race, Ritual, and Memory in the Modern South explains a curiosity: why a feminine ideal rooted in the nineteenth century continues to enjoy currency well into the twenty-first. Elizabeth Bronwyn Boyd examines how the continuation of certain gender rituals in the American South has served to perpetuate racism, sexism, and classism.

Boyd is an independent scholar who lives in Takoma Park, Maryland. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, she holds an MA in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi, and a PhD in American studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

Darren Grem is associate professor of history and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of The Blessings of Business: How Corporations Shaped Conservative Christianity and coeditor with Ted Ownby and James G. Thomas Jr. of Southern Religion, Southern Culture: Essays Honoring Charles Reagan Wilson.

This event is cosponsored by Square Books.


SouthTalks: “Humanists as Activists: Exploring Our Social Responsibility as Writers” @ Virtual
Nov 2 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

“Humanists as Activists: Exploring Our Social Responsibility as Writers”

Clinnesha D. Sibley (virtual event)

Black woman in blue shirt smiles This interactive SouthTalk will allow participants to explore characters and dramatic situations that reflect injustices in our current world. In the spirit of social change, urgency, and activism, participants will be able to create and discuss original literature that encourages radical empathy, activates the human heart, and holds the writer accountable.

Clinnesha D. Sibley is the author of plays, blogs, poetry, prose, essays, and creative nonfiction. Her work contributes authentic narratives about Mississippians, southerners, and Black women to the contemporary literary canon and has been recognized by Penumbra Theatre, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Kentucky Women Writers Conference, Fade to Black Reading Series, and the New Stage Theatre, among others.