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SouthTalks Return for Spring

Anthony Siracusa, photo courtesy of Ole Miss Communications.

Community activism is once again the focus of the SouthTalks series presented by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

All SouthTalks events, which include lectures, performances, film screenings and panel discussions exploring the interdisciplinary nature of southern studies, will be virtual, free and accessible on the center’s YouTube channel. Registration is required. Due to COVID-10, everything remains online, instead of their usual location in Barnard Observatory.

“SouthTalks continue last semester’s focus on community activism with talks centered on youth activism and transforming athletic playing fields,” said Afton Thomas, the center’s associate director for programs. “Guests explore how Southerners are engaging both natural and built environments and moving across ‘borders’ both literal and symbolic to shape the future of the South.

“We are excited to welcome Lyndsey Gilpin, founder and editor-in-chief of Southerly, and filmmaker Alexander Glustrom to discuss how they tackle environmental justice in their documentary work.”

Below is a list of discussions and links to their registration portals:

Events begin at noon Wednesday (Jan. 27) with historian Anthony Siracusa discussing his forthcoming book, “Nonviolence before King: The Politics of Being and the Black Freedom Struggle.”

Siracusa argues that the political philosophy of religious nonviolence was a key motivation for many and will explain how what he calls a “politics of being” came to occupy a central place in the Black freedom struggle. The registration link is https://olemiss.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_MTwql8GVQzaqh8du3Qd8dw.

At noon Feb. 10, historian Edward L. Ayers discusses “Southern Journey: The Migrations of the American South, 1790-2020.” Ayers narrates the evolution of Southern history from the founding of the nation to the present day by focusing on the set­tling, unsettling and resettling of the South.

Using migration as the dominant theme of Southern his­tory and including Indigenous, white, Black and immigrant people in the story, Ayers cuts across the usual geographic, thematic and chronological boundaries that subdivide Southern history. The registration link is https://olemiss.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ObFUXO4RTkumx-RSffVz4Q.

Chuck Ross’s “Protests in Pro Football, 1965-2020” talk, set for 3 p.m. Feb. 11, examines both the events leading up to the 1965 American Football League All-Star game protest and the events that led to Colin Kapernick’s 2016 NFL protest. Ross will also discuss the legacy of Kapernick’s actions in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the different responses by professional sports leagues and teams.

The registration link is https://olemiss.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QfTMFwSoTTeBOUhYrOjivA.

Frank X Walker will read from and discuss his latest collection of poems, “Masked Man, Black: Pandemic and Protest Poems” at noon Feb. 17.

The poems document in real time the myriad of challenges presented by the multiple pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice. They also offer edifying pockets of solace as the poet shares his family’s survival tips, strategies and discoveries in midst of so much loss, while laying blame at the feet of the administration that unnecessarily politicized, misled and further complicated this country’s response to the virus. 

Derrick Harriell, UM associate professor of English and African American studies, will facilitate the Q&A portion of this event. It is co-sponsored by the university’s M.F.A. in English program and is part of the English department’s 2021 spring Grisham Visiting Writers series. The registration link is https://olemiss.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iE5fVGJORVGG6n9khGAsWg.

Daphne Chamberlain’s talk, “The Emmett Till Generation: Youth Activism, Radical Protest and Social Change in Jim Crow Mississippi,” slated for noon Feb. 24, highlights the role of children as leaders and participants in the Mississippi civil rights movement between 1946 and 1965. This presentation also offers a new perspective on the origins of the civil rights struggle and gives credence to how instrumental young people were to engaging in radical protest and grassroots activism in Mississippi.

Chamberlain completed her undergraduate studies at Tougaloo College in 2001 and received her master’s degree and doctorate in history from UM. The registration link is https://olemiss.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_g7uAUfo_RjW2XsltWGzdGw.

American children are living in a world of ongoing public debates about race, daily displays of racial violence and, for some, an increased awareness of inequality. Based on two years of ethnographic research with affluent white kids and their families, Margaret A. Hagerman’s talk, “White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America,” set for noon March 3, examines how white kids learn about race, racism, inequality and privilege in the contexts of their everyday lives.

This talk explores how white racial socialization is a process that stretches beyond white parents’ explicit conversations with their white children and includes not only the choices parents make about neighborhoods, schools, peer groups, extracurricular activities and media, but also the choices made by the children themselves. The registration link is https://olemiss.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_oYFqN0-JQHOB3ZLyOY691w.

In her talk, “Indigenous Cultures and Histories of the Southeast,” at noon March 17, Dwanna L. McKay will examine some of the unique cultural practices and diverse histories of Indigenous nations originally of the Southeastern woodlands from precontact to the present. McKay is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and an assistant professor in the race, ethnicity and migration studies program at Colorado College.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History and the Native American and Indigenous Studies working group. The registration link is https://olemiss.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_g1ECtjtKQIqveS-lx7Ibzg.

In the talk “Traditional Crafts of Coastal Louisiana,” set for noon March 24, Louisiana state folklorist Maida Owens will talk about the crafts made by the many traditional cultures on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. Some are made from native plants, such as Spanish moss crafts, decoy carving and boatbuilding, while others, such as embroidery and cloth dolls, are crafted from traditional textiles.

All these cultures are endangered as a result of increasing population movements due to land loss. Houma Indian Janie Luster will talk about her family traditions of using garfish scales and palmetto basketry. Luster studied museum artifacts to revive the half-hitch weave.

This talk is part of the Arts in Barnard Lectures, and the registration link is https://olemiss.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nkr_nkcATKaet–mkuY8jg.

Brian Foster, a recent Humanities Teacher of the Year, will discuss his book “I Don’t Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life” at noon March 31. Foster, assistant professor of sociology and Southern studies, shares his conversations with hundreds of Black Mississippians about race, the blues, politics, memory, community and more. The registration link is https://olemiss.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-gTY6uP3QRyY_Ie7DCgi2w.

At 6 p.m. April 5, Alexander Glustrom will share his short films about South Louisiana’s “Bayou Bridge Pipeline” as part of the Visiting Documentarians Series. The registration link is https://olemiss.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_K7mt4OENQBOYnhSNWHRKBg

Joshua Myers will discuss his book “We Are Worth Fighting For: A History of the Howard University Student Protest of 1989” at noon April 14. Myers, an associate professor of Africana studies in the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, explores how Black student activists – both men and women – helped shape and resist the rightward shift and neoliberal foundations of American politics.

This history adds to the literature on Black campus activism, Black Power studies and the emerging histories of African American life in the 1980s. The registration link is https://olemiss.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VOsHJVjwTVKJMMwavuNE_Q.

Visit https://southernstudies.olemiss.edu/ for updates, or email afthoma4@olemiss.edu.

By Rebecca Lauck Cleary/University of Mississippi 

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