Randall Stephens

Mercer University’s Center for Southern Studies on Feb. 17 will welcome Randall J. Stephens, reader in history and American studies at Northumbria University in England, to deliver a public lecture, titled “The Beatles, American Evangelicals, and the Fear of Corrupted Youth,” will take place in Connell Student Center Conference Room 3 at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the community.

“The Center for Southern Studies strives to bring talented scholars to Mercer and Macon who examine the American South to tell us something about our complex ways of living and making meaning in the world,” said Dr. Douglas Thompson, associate professor of Southern studies. “Dr. Stephens has been exploring the ways that evangelicals navigated the chaotic decade of the late 1950s through the late 1960s as popular culture shifted under the influence of things like rock ’n’ roll. The Center is pleased to bring him to campus.”

Born and raised in Kansas, Stephens writes and teaches about the American South, religion in the U.S. and popular music. He is the author of The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South (Harvard University Press) and co-author of The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age (Belknap Press). His current book project explores the contested area of American popular culture as rock ’n’ roll music and evangelical sensibilities struggled for the attention of youth in the 1950s and 1960s.

Mab Segrest

Mab Segrest is this year's Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Scholar at Georgia College & State University where she is researching Central State Hospital's 170 year social history.  Segrest recently retired from the Fuller-Maathai Chair of Gender & Women's Studies at Connecticut College, and she hasthree decades' experience in social justice movements.  She is author of Memoir of a Race Traitor, My Mama's Dead Squirrel: Lesbian Essays on Southern Culture, and Born to Belonging: Writings on Spirit and Justice.  She help to found North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence, and she worked for the World Council of Churches, the Geneva-based Protestant ecumenical organization that represents over 300 million people worldwide, as Coordinator of the US Contact Group of the WCC's Urban-Rural Mission from 1992 to 2000. Segrest has founded, served on the boards of, and consulted with a wide range of social justice organizations over the past twenty-five years.


She will be speaking about her current project, "Administrations of Lunacy: 170 Years of Georgia Insanity," on Thursday, February 26 at 5:30 in Connell Student Center room 3. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Barbara McCaskill

Dr. Barbara McCaskill, associate professor of English at the University of Georgia, gave a talk, titled "City of Men: William and Ellen Craft and Macon's Bounty Hunters, 1850," on Nov. 20. Dr. McCaskill has been studying the fascinating story of two slaves who, out of love for each other and the desire to have a free family, daringly escaped from Macon in broad daylight. When their owner sent bounty hunters to capture them, they fled to England where they wrote their fascinating story, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom. Dr. McCaskill discussed this important story of love, adventure, slavery and freedom that started here. She has a book on the Crafts, titled Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory, that is set to by published by the University of Georgia Press in spring 2015.

She is currently co-director of the Civil Rights Library Initiative and Georgia projects co-director of People Not Property, an initiative that seeks to recover deeds and bills of sale of enslaved persons, research the stories they tell and reconnect these ancestors to their descendants and members of contemporary communities. She has published three books – Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem: African American Literature and Culture, 1877-1919 (New York University Press, 2006); Running 1,000 Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (University of Georgia Press, 1999); and Multicultural Literature and Literacies: Making Space for Difference (State University of New York Press, 1993).

Before the lecture, she discussed her work with Georgia Public Radio's "On Second Thought."

Excavating the Native South

Symposium at Mercer University, Macon, Georgia, April 19, 2014

The area that is now Middle Georgia has been inhabited for thousands of years. Generations of indigenous people lived here and built enormous mounds and massive cities.Native Americans were forcibly removed to make way for cotton plantations, but their legacy and their descendants remain. This symposium will consider Native Americans' role in the South's history and culture.

9:00-9:50 "Reading and Writing Earthworks," Eric Gary Anderson, Director of Native American and Indigenous Studies at George Mason University

10:00-11:20 Excavating the Past

"Rediscovering General Andrew Pickens and the Hopewell Treaties of 1785-1786" by William D. Hiott and Beatrice Bailey, Clemson University

"Slavery and Mixed Blood: Reassessing Choctaw Resistance in the Years of Removal" by John C. Winters, CUNY Graduate Center

"Displacement or Diaspora?: The Choctaw in the Borderlands of the American South" by Jonathan Fairchild, University of Houston

11:30-12:20 Reading from Red Weather by Janet McAdams, Robert B. Hubbard Professor in Poetry at Kenyon College

12:20-1:40 break for lunch

1:40-3:00 Excavating the Present

"Place, Power, and Pride: Willie French Lowery's Performance of Lumbee Nationalism" by Gina Caison, Georgia State University

"Indigenous Place-Making in the South: How American Indian Tourism, Small Businesses, and Casinos Shape the South" by Courtney Lewis, University of South Carolina

"The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the National Park Service, and Authenticity at Ocmulgee" by Matthew Jennings, Middle Georgia State College

3:10-4:00 "Excavating the History of Southern Indians," by Claudio Saunt, Richard B. Russell Professor in American History at the University of Georgia

4:30-6:00 Reception at Ocmulgee National Monument


Southern Intellectual History Circle

The 25th annual gathering of the Southern Intellectual History Circle was held at Mercer University, February 21-23, 2013. The event is an annual gathering of scholars of the American South who discuss the intellectual currents of history, literature and culture of the region. Dr. Michael O’Brien, professor of American intellectual history at Cambridge University, gave the keynote lecture, "A Retrospective on the Southern Intellectual History Circle, 1988-2013."

The conference was co-sponsored by Mercer’s Program in Southern Studies, the Office of the Provost and the College of Liberal Arts, and supported by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. 

Full Schedule of the Intellectual History Circle Public Events 

Thursday, February 21

Woodruff House 

5 p.m.
Conference Keynote Address 
"A Retrospective on the Southern Intellectual History Circle, 1988-2013"
Dr. Michael O’Brien
Professor of American intellectual history, Jesus College, Cambridge University


Friday, February 22

Conference Panels
Presidents Dining Room
University Center 

9 -11 a.m. Responses to the Keynote Address 
Chair, Dr. David Moltke-Hansen
Dr. Jane Dailey, history, University of Chicago
Dr. Susan Donaldson, English and American studies, The College of William and Mary
Dr. Michael Kreyling, English, Vanderbilt University
Dr. Steven Stowe, emeritus professor of history, Indiana University 

11:15 a.m. -1:15 p.m. 
Chair and respondent, Dr. Mitchell Snay, Denison University
Dr. Jonathan Wells, history, Temple University
“Charles Dickens, Slavery, and the American South”
Dr. Ian Binnington, history, Allegheny College
“Confederate Americanism; or, the Imagined Nationalism of the South in the American Civil War”
Dr. Michael Bernath, history, University of Miami
“The Confederacy as a Moment of Possibility” 

2:30 - 4:30 p.m. 
Chair and respondent, Dr. Houston Roberson, University of the South
Dr. Patricia Sullivan, history, University of South Carolina
“What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement?”
Dr. Trudier Harris, English, University of Alabama
“From Realistic Scoundrel to Magically Real Hero: Martin Luther King in Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop” 


Saturday, February 23
Hardeman Art Gallery

3:30-4:30 p.m.
Gallery Talk
“Hard Times on the Georgia Chain Gang: Photographs of John Spivak”
Dr. David A. Davis, English, Mercer University

Coleman Hutchison

Dr. Coleman Hutchison gave a talk titled “Apocalypse Then: Slavery, Civil War, and Southern Speculative Fiction, 1836-1860” at 3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2, in Newton Hall. Dr. Hutchison is an associate professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Apples and Ashes: Literature, Nationalism, and the Confederate States of America published in 2012. His essays have appeared in American Literary History, Comparative American Studies, The Emily Dickinson Journal and PMLA. Dr. Hutchison currently has two books in process: The Ditch is Nearer: Race, Place, and American Poetry, 1863-2009 and a biography of “Dixie.” Dr. Hutchison's lecture was sponsored by the Georgia Humanities Council.


Civil War Memory

Mercer University’s Southern Studies Program held a year of special events in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, titled “Civil War Memory,” that included the department’s long-running Lamar Lecture Series. The Lamar lecturer for 2011 was historian and author Dr. Gary Gallagher, who presented three lectures titled “Becoming Confederates: Three Paths to a New National Loyalty.”

Dr. Gallagher, the James L. Nau III Professor of History at the University of Virginia, is the author of five books on Civil War history, including The Union War; Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War; Lee and His Army in Confederate History; Lee and His Generals in War and Memory and The Confederate War.

“Dr. Gary Gallagher is one of the nation’s leading interpreters of Civil War memory,” said Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, professor and chair of history and director of southern studies at Mercer. “His lectures serve as a fitting opening to the year-long series sponsored by the Southern Studies Program.” 

“The Civil War was a pivotal moment in American history and how we remember the war continues to be a battle,” said Dr. David Davis, assistant professor of English. “The events in this series will examine how we continue to imagine the war, and how imagination sometimes obscures memory.”

In addition to the lectures, the Southern Studies Program held a film screening and discussion of Gone with the Wind at the Cox Capitol Theatre in downtown Macon on Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. Admission is $5 for the public and $3 for Mercer students.

The series also includes two lectures during the spring semester. The first will be given by Dr. Fitz Brundage at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 in the Medical School Auditorium.  Dr. Brundage is the William B. Umstead Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and author of the Lillian Smith Award-winning book The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory. Robert Cook will present the second lecture at 7:30 p.m. on April 2 in the Medical School Auditorium. Cook is research fellow at the Marcus Cunliffe Centre for the Study of the American South at University of Sussex and author of Troubled Commemoration: The American Civil War Centennial, 1961-1965. Both spring lectures are supported by the Georgia Humanities Council.


Orville Vernon Burton

Mercer’s Southern Studies Program sponsored a lecture by historian Dr. Orville Vernon Burton, titled “The Constitution and the Age of Lincoln,” Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Presidents Dining Room of the University Center.

The lecture was part of the University’s observance of Constitution Day, a national holiday that commemorates the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. Established by federal law in 2004, Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution. The day is also designed to recognize those who have become U.S. citizens.

Dr. Burton is a prolific author and scholar, having written or edited 16 books, most recently The Age of Lincoln, and has published more than 180 scholarly articles. Dr. Burton is a professor of history at Clemson University and the director of the Clemson Cyberinstitute. From 2008-2010, he was the Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Southern History and Culture at Coastal Carolina University. He was the founding director of the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Science at the University of Illinois, where he is emeritus University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar and Professor of History, African American Studies and Sociology. Recognized for his teaching, Dr. Burton was selected nationwide as the 1999 U.S. Research and Doctoral University Professor of the Year and in 2004 he received the American Historical Association’s Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Prize. Dr. Burton’s research and teaching interests include the American South, especially race relations and community, and the intersection of humanities and social sciences. He has served as president of the Agricultural History Society and is currently president-elect of the Southern Historical Association.


Peter Wood

Mercer University’s Southern Studies Program hosted a lecture by historian Peter H. Wood at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the Medical School Auditorium on the University’s Macon campus. Dr. Wood’s presentation is titled, “‘Near Andersonville:’ Winslow Homer’s Long-Lost Painting of an Enslaved Black Woman.”

Dr. Wood is an emeritus professor of history at Duke University and a leading expert on painter Winslow Homer’s images of blacks. He will share the long-hidden story of Homer’s Civil War painting, locating its setting in southwest Georgia in August 1864 and providing its military and political context.

Dr. Wood’s research interests include Colonial American history and Native American history, and he is the lead author of the United States history survey textbook, Created Equal. He received a Rhodes Scholarship in 1964 and has been awarded research fellowships from Harvard’s Charles Warren Center, the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is a recipient of the Albert J. Beveridge Award and the James Harvey Robinson Prize of the American Historical Association.

In 2002, Dr. Wood delivered the Lamar Lectures at Mercer in a series titled, “Weathering the Storm: Inside Winslow Homer’s Gulf Stream.”


Hank Klibanoff

Veteran journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hank Klibanoff will speak at Mercer University’s Macon campus on Feb. 9, 2011at 7:30 p.m. in the Presidents Dining Room of the University Center. The event is sponsored by Mercer’s Southern Studies Program as part of its year-long series of special events, “Remembering the Civil Rights Movement.” Klibanoff will speak about his work covering race in the South, in a presentation titled “The Race Beat: Then and Now.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

Klibanoff won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for history with the book The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation. Born in Alabama, Klibanoff grew up witnessing the civil rights movement, massive resistance and the evolution of race relations in the South. Those experiences, along with his 35 years as a newspaper reporter and editor in Mississippi, at The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, were key influences as he co-wrote The Race Beat.  He is the James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism at Emory University and serves as managing editor of the Civil Rights Cold Case Project, which uses multimedia reporting to investigate unsolved racial murders that took place during the modern civil rights era in the South.    


Civil Rights Film Series presented with MAGA

All films will be shown at Cox Capital Theater in downtown Macon. Admission is $5 for general admission and $3 for students.


Ghosts of Mississippi

7:00 pm, October 4, 2010

Based on the 1994 trial of Byron de la Beckwith for the 1963 murder of Medgar Evers.

Dr. Sarah Gardner will lead a discussion of the film.


Mississippi Burning

January 31, 2011

Acclaimed film about the Freedom Summer murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi.

Dr. David A. Davis will lead a discussion of the film.


4 Little Girls

7:00 pm, March 21, 2011

Spike Lee's award-winning documentary about the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham.

Dr. Doug Thompson will lead a discussion of the film.


Douglas Blackmon

Douglas Blackmon, author of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, will give a lecture at Mercer University on March 1, 2010 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Science and Engineering Building. The lecture, titled “A Persistent Past: Reckoning with a Troubled Racial History in the Age of Obama,” is free and open to the public.

Blackmon is the Atlanta bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal and earned the 2009 Pulitzer for general nonfiction for Slavery by Another Name, which brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history — when a cynical new form of slavery was resurrected from the ashes of the Civil War and re-imposed on hundreds of thousands of African Americans until the dawn of World War II.  Based on Blackmon’s research into original documents and personal narratives, the book unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after emancipation and then back into involuntary servitude. It also tells stories of courage and redemption, and the men and women who fought against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking.

The event is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, Mercer’s Southern Studies Program, Walter F. George School of Law, and the Tubman African American Museum.


Southern Disasters Film Series

The southern film series for 2009-2010 will screen films that depict southerners facing natural disasters. The series complements Dr. Mark Smith's Lamar Lectures on Hurricane Camille. The films will be shown at Cox Capital Theater in downtown Macon. Admission is $5 for general seating and $3 for Mercer students.



7:00, September 28, 2009

Set during a New Orleans yellow fever epidemic in the 1850s, Jezebel (1938) is the story of a vindictive southern belle, starring Bette Davis.

Dr. Sarah Gardner will lead a discussion of the film.


When the Levees Broke

7:00, February 1, 2010

When the Levees Broke (2006) is Spike Lee's award-winning documentary of Hurricane Katrina and the government response to the disaster.

Dr. Chester Fontenot will lead a discussion of the film.


O Brother, Where Art Thou?

7:00, March 29, 2010

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) is the Coen Brothers' story of a southern chain gang escapee racing bloodhounds, southern mythology, and a cataclysmic flood.

Dr. David A. Davis will lead a discussion of the film.


John T. Edge

One of America’s most prominent food writers and an expert on Southern cuisine, John T. Edge, will speak on the Macon campus on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 at 7 p.m. in Newton Chapel.  His lecture, “Cornpone and Buttermilk: Rethinking Southern Culinary Icons,” is free and open to the public.

Edge, called “the William Faulkner of Southern food” by the Miami Herald, is the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and regularly writes for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Oxford American.  He is also the author of A Gracious Plenty: Recipes and Recollections from the American South and Southern Belly: The Ultimate Food Lover’s Companion to the South. 

Edge has also appeared on numerous television shows, including Iron Chef and CBS Early Show, and he frequently contributes to NPR’s All Things Considered.