Southern Studies

CottonThe Mercer University Southern Studies Center examines the complex history and culture of the U.S. South.

The center offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate major that studies the region from multiple perspectives including courses in African American studies, English, history, political science, and cultural studies.

The center also offers Southern Semester, a unique opportunity for students from American and international universities to learn about and to experience the people, history, and culture of the U.S. South.

The center hosts the Lamar Memorial Lecture Series, the most prestigious scholarly lectures on southern history, literature, and culture. Patricia Sullivan, Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, will give the lectures in on October 19-20, 2015.

The Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature recognizes significant career contribution to southern writing. The winner for 2015 is Yusef Komunyakaa.

For the fall of 2015, the center will host several events open to the public.

  • "Unclench the Fist: A Family Story of Race, Religion, and Resilience" lecture by Cindy McMahon, author of Fresh Water from Old Wells, in Connell Student Center 2 at 5:30 on September 8.
  • "Birmingham Stories: 'The History that's Buried and Forgot'" lecture by Julie Armstrong, Associate Professor of English at University of South Florida-St. Petersburg and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Civil Rights Literature, in Medical School Auditorium at 5:30 on September 14.
  • Screening of Selma with in Medical School Auditorium at 5:00 on September 22.
  • Screening of The Apostle in Medical School Auditorium at 5:00 on November 10.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded Mercer University's Center for Southern Studies a $500,000 challenge grant to support establishment of an endowment for programming and outreach activities. NEH challenge grants are capacity-building grants, intended to help institutions and organizations secure long-term support for their humanities programs and resources. Through these awards, recipients have been able to increase their humanities capacity and secure the permanent support of an endowment. The $500,000 grant will be matched by $1.5 million that will be raised by the University as part of its recently launched Aspire capital campaign, ultimately establishing a $2 million endowment for the center. To support the fundraising effort, contact Todd Smith in University Advancement.

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