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Speakers Bureau Roster
Randy Akers is in his 23rd year as Executive Director of The Humanities CouncilSC.Randy began work in the public humanities in Florida in 1984 and was Associate Director of the Florida Humanities Council prior to coming to South Carolina. He received his B.A. in Sociology from Illinois College (Phi Beta Kappa), a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D in Religious Studies from Northwestern University. An amateur archaeologist who has dug ten times in Israel since 1974, he is also an instructor at the University of South Carolina in the Religious Studies department.
Why I've Been Involved in the Humanities for 25 Years
Randy Akers will discuss the significance of the public humanities from his vantage point as Executive Director of The Humanities CouncilSC. Akers will illuminate the many programs of the Council and their importance in South Carolina while entertaining with anecdotes of exciting humanities projects past and present.
Lucy Beam HoffmanLucy Beam Hoffman is a business-owner and non-traditional student who returned to college in 2002 to pursue a Masters in History. She specializes in Holocaust history, and her passions are writing, speaking, and teaching.
The Seeds of the Final Solution
The Final Solution evolved slowly in the eyes of the Nazis, but with the process of the Euthanasia program and later Operation Barbarossa, the industrialization of killing began. The Euthanasia program, in which Hitler murdered the mentally and physically incapacitated of Germany, created the possibility—and incorporated the people—who could and did kill the innocent with impunity and disregard. Barbarossa commenced Hitler’s plan to kill the Jews, Commissars, and political undesirables as the Special Police Battalions and the Einsatzgruppen swept up those left behind when the German army marched through the USSR. What began as a program of Jewish emigration became one of extermination.
The Holocaust Through Film
Film is a major component of society’s understanding of history. How have films about the Holocaust changed over time, and how have these films changed our understanding of the Holocaust? Films such as The Diary of Anne Frank in 1959 hardly touched on the Jewish catastrophe and, in fact, eliminated much that was Jewish in the film, while Schindler’s List in 1993 graphically displayed the tragic issues of the Jews. Other films, such as Holocaust (the TV movie), were homogenized to the experience but opened up the German youth consciousness for what had happened in their country. With a discerning eye, one can gain a greater knowledge of the Holocaust through film studies.
The Holocaust - In the Beginning
The years 1933-1939 must be studied to enable an understanding of what came later. The Final Solution, implemented in late 1940-1941, was slowly realized through these early years. Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor in January 1933 paved the way for the Nazis to continue on their path of human destruction, but the economic woes of Germany are an important clue as to what later became state policy. What happened to allow a cultured but devastated society the willingness to take part in one of the most heinous events of the 20th Century? What are the many scholarly viewpoints regarding the German consciousness, and how do these conflict with or support the evolution of the Nazi’s Final Solution?
Irene Nemirovsky - A One Woman Play
Irene Nemirovsky was an important French writer in the 1920s and 1930s. First, however, she was a Ukrainian Jew, who immigrated to France with her family following the Bolshevik state takeover and the subsequent Jewish pogroms of 1917. Later re-establishing their family in Paris, Irene’s father again became a successful banker while Irene embraced her Frenchness. She married another Jewish emigrant and started a family. Nemirovsky became a successful writer but was heavily criticized as an anti-Semite, using stereotypical characters in her writing. Unfortunately, she never became a French citizen, and, though her writing was compared to Tolstoy, it could not save her. She was arrested in June 1942 and died in Auschwitz six weeks later. This one-woman show offers Beam-Hoffman as Nemirovsky to the audience, allowing them to decide on her guilt or innocence.
In 1961, Ed Beardsley left the field of chemical engineering to pursue a Ph.D in American history, enrolling at the University of Wisconsin in 1966 and afterwards taking a post in the history department at USC, where he taught and did research for the next 32 years.
His dramatic portrayals—launched in the 1980s—include one-man shows as Ben Franklin, Teddy Roosevelt, and FDR (for which he has three scripts, covering the New Deal 1930s, the WWII Homefront, and D-Day). Undertaken initially to enliven his history classes, Beardsley soon began to take these four shows “on the road,” and to date he has performed some 250 times in over 25 states and Canada. He has especially enjoyed playing the “mother Chautauqua,” several local Chautauquas, CCC reunions, a D-Day cruise in the Atlantic, and the “little White House” in Warm Springs, GA, where he shared the stage with a Roosevelt grandson.
**Ed Beardsley requests an additional honorarium to the $150 contributed by The Humanities CouncilSC.
Ben Franklin and the Constitution
This show discusses the making of the 1787 Constitution, including sketches of the leading delegates, the origins of the Philadelphia convention, and the key divisions and issues facing the framers (eg., over slavery and the slave trade). “Ben” also looks at the working (and shortcomings) of the Constitution in the era since its adoption in 1787-88. (50 minutes)
FDR and the New Deal
This show looks at the impact of the Great Depression and FDR’s leadership in seeking to combat it with more vigorous federal government action (his New Deal). The views of his critics on the left and right are also discussed. The program includes accompanying visual images (via slides) and voices and music of the Depression era.
FDR and the WWII Homefront
This show traces not just the wartime domestic policies (eg. Race, Japanese-American internment) of the Roosevelt administration but also the significant impact that WWII had in reshaping American society, economy, and foreign policy. The program includes a multi-media presentation with a focus on the WWII era and after. Show time: 45 minutes.
FDR Discusses D-Day
This program imagines what FDR would say to the press about the great invasion some two months after June 6, 1944. With great candor, FDR discusses the conflict between the United States and Great Britain over grand invasion strategy. The near disaster at Omaha Beach is discussed as are the primary factors in the Allies’ ultimate victory at Normandy. Show time: 37 minutes with multi-media.
Frustration of High Hopes: Woodrow Wilson, the Great War, and the American Rejection of the League of Nations
In this performance, "Woodrow Wilson" will discuss US intervention in World War I, Wilson's post-war hopes for permanent world peace, and his frustration at the Senate's refusal to approve American entry into the League of Nations. Includes a powerpoint show with images drawn from war era cartoons. (34 minutes)
Teddy Roosevelt: Life and Times
This program is an examination of Teddy Roosevelt's life and his influence on national policy and the workings of the federal government. The pre-presidential years are covered, as are his progressive domestic leadership and his ability to strengthen America's role in the world.
A native of both Low-Country (Kingstree) and Up-Country (Greenwood) South Carolina, Professor Brockington received his Bachelor's (1966), Master's (1969) and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of South Carolina (1975). He is married to the former Celeste Williams of Rock Hill [now retired but who taught mathematics, including AP Calculus, for 30 plus years]. They have two sons, Will and Robert.
Teaching history was, for Bill, never a job; his teaching career spanned 43 years, with 35 years at USC Aiken [retiring - though not shy! - 31 December 2008]. For his love of teaching, ‘Dr. B’ was honored with the Teaching Excellence Award in 1990 and was named the South Carolina Professor of the Year in 1991. Long recognized for his active and dedicated promotion of history, he received the Community Service Award in 1988 and the prestigious Research and Scholarly Activity Award in 2001. ‘Doc Brock’ has long served as an energetic and creative leader in various historical organizations (from local to international) and has an extensive list of publications and presentations.
Most importantly (to him), Bill has made literally hundreds of lectures and talks to community groups on a variety of topics – in particular, those listed below. He refuses to limit himself to mundane topics however and thoroughly enjoys creating talks for specific audiences. He loves a challenge, especially when it enhances his own understanding of history. Some of his more creative topics include: war movies, historical preservation, capturing history (using the camera), Civil Warriors, history through literature (or music such as Jazz or R&R), religion & politics, humor in Southern literature, and Gullah culture.
Y'all Come Back Now, Y'heah?
What is a Southerner? Are there – really, now – identifiable characteristics which separate a Southerner from other Americans? Is ‘Southern-ness’ merely a Jeff Foxworthy caricature, or is truly an actual-factual reality? Well now, you’d best be believing it’s real, ‘cause Southerners and their ways were and, despite rapid change, still are beholden to their roots for their being just a tad different from folks from elsewhere. “Y’all Come Back Now, Y’heah?” is a humorous look at the history, social characteristics and regional foibles that have long made the South and its denizens a distinctive – and often derided – world unto itself.
South Carolina: A Crock-pot Culture
The collisions of various European, African and Native-American cultures have, over time, created loosely-defined regions within the Palmetto state, each with its own regional flavors. Like a crock-pot stew which has simmered for ten hours, original ingredients are recognizable but the flavor of each is new and different. As with cooking, when ingredient proportions are changed, the end result also changes. Any attempt to define (or to fathom) the personality and character of South Carolina/Carolinians begins with ‘roots’. Participants quickly realize that cultural collisions of the past are no different from today – change will take place. In this presentation, South Carolina becomes a case-study of how a new culture begins, evolves & matures and continues to change.
Paths, Docks, Rivers, Railroads and Superhighways
Understanding the history, evolution and ultimate impact of transportation systems in South Carolina provides insights into the patterns of development of the Palmetto State. Each phase and technological advance - from paths followed by Native Americans to colonial water routes to modern rail, highway & air traffic – shaped settlement patterns, economic growth and the evolution of South Carolina's cultural infrastructure. Visual images and hands-on materials will enhance your understanding and awareness of this often overlooked influence.
Are they Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish?
For the most part, these Ulster Protestant Brits came to America largely in the eighteenth-century, settling primarily in the piedmont regions of the South. Who were they, why did they come, where did they settle and what was their impact? These, and other questions, will be answered (at the very least, enough information will be provided to get you going) via a visual walk through the history of the Scotch/Scots-Irish in South Carolina and surrounding states.
Folksinger Philip Cheney has been performing for audiences for over forty years. For the past decade he has been presenting two programs to groups in the upstate: General Stephen D. Lee and Songs of the War Between the States. In the last two years he has been expanding his audience, presenting programs to elementary school children in Walhalla, Belton and Honea Path. He also presents traditional Appalachian folk tales, songs and ballads. He has worked as a public librarian in
General Stephen D. Lee Remembers
When he died in 1908,
Songs of the War Between the States
Dressed in a Confederate uniform, Mr. Cheney performs period songs, accompanying himself on a five-string banjo and guitar.
Ballads, Songs, and Stories of the Southern Appalachians
Mr. Cheney, dressed in overalls and hat, presents traditional tales and songs accompanying himself on five-string banjo and guitar.
Private J. Miles Lee from Spartanburg
First person presentation in Confederate uniform. Private Lee was a master carpenter who joined the Confederate Army in late 1861. Mr. Cheney is a direct descendant.
Dr. George F. Root and his songs of the Civil War
This first-person presentation will have Dr. Root speaking to the audience about his philosophy of music for the people and his work as a music teacher and composer. Emphasis is on the songs he composed during the Civil War, and Dr. Root will perform some of the more than thirty different songs he wrote during the war. The audience will be furnished song sheets and encouraged to sing. Some of the songs: "The Battle Cry of Freedom"; "Just Before the Battle, Mother"; "The Vacant Chair"; " Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!"
Emily L. CooperEmily Cooper is the author of the 2011 book, Queen of the Lost, the story of Lucy Holcombe Pickens. This book of fact-based fiction covers the life and times of the “Queen of the Confederacy” who charmed governors, generals, the czar, Tolstoy, Freemasons and filibusters, but who ignored the human costs that were to continue for more than 100 years. Cooper is a former newspaper reporter, editor and publisher. She also served as press secretary on Capitol Hill and has been public affairs/relations manager for national and state trade associations. She also wrote Eulalie, the story of Aiken suffragette, realtor and raconteur, Eulalie Salley.
The Life of Lucy Holcombe Pickens and Other Society Matrons during the Civil War
As wife of the South Carolina’s secession governor and the recently returned “ambassadress” from Russia, this Texas belle was introduced to Pickens’ kin in Charleston and the Upcountry and rapidly accepted by S.C. society. Mary Boykin Chesnut, a member of that society who left much of what we know about the female side of Confederate hierarchy, readily gave us her opinions about Lucy as well as other topics of the day. Did the war hamper society women’s lives as it did those of the enlisted men or even officers’ wives? Were they fearful of the carnage to come?
Freemasons, filibusters and the Knights of the Golden Circle
These three groups were intricately involved in activities they hoped would keep slavery in place. Yet today, except for what they may have learned in Dan Brown’s celebrated novel The Da Vinci Code, most people do not know much about these men and their roles in the 10 years prior to the Civil War.
The Queen of the Confederacy
Like a beautiful jewel, the life of Lucy Holcombe Pickens was multi-faceted. She was first involved with filibusters (and Freemasons) who wanted to conquer Cuba and, from that experience, she wrote a published novella celebrating a martyr of the filibuster cause. Her marriage was a little late but important; it was to South Carolina’s Francis Pickens, just as he was about to leave for his new post as ambassador to Russia. She was especially wooed by the czar – and the czarina. They returned just in time for Pickens to become governor in December 1860 and her coronation as “Lady Pickens” and “Queen of the Confederacy.”
Sharon Cooper-Murray is a native of South Carolina raised in Florence County. After attending college in Tennessee, she returned to South Carolina and has resided Charleston County, South Carolina. When she arrived on Wadmalaw Island, SC, it was the first time she heard the Gullah language, and she was fascinated by the tone and rhythmn of this Creole language. That was the beginning of what has become her life-long passion: the Gullah culture, their stories, folk music, crafts, food ways, religious folkways … their way of life. She has traveled throughout the east coast of the United States as an advocate of the preservation, conservation and development of the culture through workshops, lectures, storytelling, special events and artist in residency programs.
**Sharon Cooper-Murray requests an additional honorarium to the $150 contributed by The Humanities CouncilSC.**
The Gullah Language: History and Evolution of a Creole Language
This lecture presents in narration and interpretation an introduction to the Gullah language. The presentation, partially in storytelling form, is spoken in the Gullah language with the English translations.
Traditional Gullah Folk Music: Call and Response
This presentation begins with the introduction of Christianity to the West African slaves and travels from the hush harbors, Praise house to children’s ring play songs. This interactive program affords the audience the opportunity to participate in the hand clapping, percussion instruments and movement.
Rag Quilting of the Rice, Indigo and Cotton Plantations of the Lowcountry
This presentation travels the road of survival, the adaptation of material for uses other than its original design. This presentation uses narration, interpretation, exhibits and hands-on activities to allow one to experience the rag quilting social gathering.
Dolls of the Antebellum Period on Johns and Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina
The desire for dolls and playthings knows no bounds in the minds of children. This presentation introduces the age-old art form of doll making from grass dolls to Twiss up dolls. The use of exhibits and interpretation brings this art form to life.
The Haunts, Hags and Ghosts on the Sea Islands of the Lowcountry
What are the origins of the stories and superstitions so prevalent on the sea islands southwest of Charleston, SC? These stories are the explanation of the other world experiences, and this presentation explores these phenomena.
The Rice Culture of the Lowcountry
This program looks at West Africans and their methods of rice cultivation and the West African slave on the rice plantations of the lowcounty during the antebellum period. We explore one year on a rice plantation utilizing the antebellum tools used for harvesting the rice through its shipment to Europe.
Thomas Moore Craig, Jr.
Tom Moore Craig is a lifelong resident of Spartanburg County. He is a graduate of Davidson College, has an MAT degree from Converse College and has completed course work for a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of South Carolina. He was a teacher, principal, and guidance counselor in Spartanburg District Seven Schools for 30 years.
Long active in community activities, he has served in the S.C. House of Representatives and on two State Commissions. Locally he has been active with the Spartanburg County Historical Association, Hatcher Garden, and Upcountry History Museum.His first book, Upcountry South Carolina Goes to War: The Letters of the Anderson, Brockman, and Moore Families, 1853-1865, based on a collection of family Civil War-era letters, was published by the University of South Carolina Press in April, 2009.
Upcountry Letters: 124 Civil War Era Letters (1853-1865)
This presentation looks at 124 Civil War era letters (1853-1865) written by members of three families from Greenville and Spartanburg Counties from the homefront and the battlefront. Edited by a descendant, Tom Moore Craig, they were published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2009 entitled Upcountry South Carolina Goes to War. A third printing, a softcover, will be released in Feb., 2011. Topics such as dealing with shortages, women’s voices, military camp life are themes that can be explored in a presentation, as well as how the letters were preserved and prepared for publication.
David DamrelDr. David Damrel teaches World Religions / Comparative Religion at the University of South Carolina Upstate, with research interests in Islam, Religion in India, and Islam in South Asia. He received his Ph.D. from Duke University in the History of Religions in 1991 with a dissertation based on fieldwork in India and Pakistan studying the “saints” and “miracle-workers” of popular Islam in India. His undergraduate work was at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied Arabic and Persian (including a year abroad at the University of Isfahan, in Iran) and earned an MA in Middle Eastern Studies.
After his doctoral work, he was a research fellow for nearly three years at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in the UK, contributing to an atlas of Muslim social and intellectual history in India. On his return to the U.S., Damrel taught at Arizona State University in Tempe for over ten years in the department of Religious Studies before coming to USC Upstate in 2006 to help create a program and minor in Religious Studies.
In 2007 Damrel received a Fulbright Award to teach Islamic studies and Comparative Religion at a Muslim University in Indonesia for seven months. His research interests are in popular religion and the dynamics of religious change, particularly individual conversion.
An Introduction to Modern Islam
Damrel will explore some of the key elements of Islam and Muslim society, with a focus on ritual, law, authority and modern issues within Muslim communities globally and the U.S.
L.M. DruckerAn archaeologist over 30 years, Dr. Drucker is based in Columbia where she operates a business, teaches at area colleges, develops cultural resource management workshops, and writes educational and business materials. She earned a BA in Anthropology at USC and a Ph.D. in Archaeology at Tulane University. In addition to serving as adjunct faculty at Columbia College and USC, she is a member of the American Cultural Resources Association, a business group that advocates for support and preservation of community heritage. She is also past President of the Council of South Carolina Professional Archaeologists and served for nearly 10 years as Coordinator of the annual South Carolina Archaeology Discovery Weekend, an event co-sponsored by three state agencies.
Dr. Drucker has authored over 250 archaeological studies of South Carolina and North Carolina sites, as well as several major journal articles. She is co-editor of a nationally distributed book about South Carolina’s historic landscapes. She is also the author of Archaeology for Business People: A Handbook for South Carolina Developers and Planners, now in its 3rd edition.
Workshop: Teaching Archaeology to Children
Get an overview of the scope and depth of archaeology in the classroom. Working with slides, posters, brochures, handouts, and hands-on discovery of artifacts, learn how you can design lesson plans about archaeological topics that encourage students to use verbal, math, reasoning, analytical, judgment (ethics), and teamwork skills to link life in the past with life in the present and to think like “detectives in time.” Bring your book bag!
Earth Clues: Geology, Soils, and the Human Past
The science of archaeology is basically detective work. It involves understanding and “reading” earth science clues that are collected using careful, explicit techniques. If your interests range from map reading to digs or from cultural artifacts to radiocarbon dating, this workshop will prepare you to enter the world of amateur archaeological sleuthing.
Stories Untold: Slave Life in South Carolina
From the late 1600s to 1865, the Palmetto State was built on the backs of it most numerous inhabitants. African slaves and their descendants shaped, and were shaped by, the physical and social landscapes of early South Carolina. Their diverse cultural systems have been studied from several perspectives, based on historical, archaeological, and other material evidence. This workshop explores some of the major themes and lines of evidence derived from archaeology and narrative history.
Protecting Community Heritage Through Archaeology
If you are an active member of your community or a public employee, you no doubt get involved in interesting and contentious issues from time to time. More and more, our communities’ pasts and their remains are in jeopardy or in the news. Would you like to better understand and even contribute to saving the past for the future? Learn the basics here and become a more effective voice for historic preservation and heritage tourism.
The Anthropology of Dance
What in the world are they doing? As an art form, dance is almost universally appreciated, if not always understood. Understanding, though, is basic to communication, and dance is, above all, a form of non-verbal communication. Understanding the cultural context and history around dance can create an appreciation of even its most exotic, strange, or seemingly vulgar forms. Using films, slides, and short performances, this workshop offers participants a chance to stretch their horizons by experiencing and observing dance as a form of non-verbal communication. This workshop is particularly useful for community service and program staffs, educators, and dance instructors.
Exploring Multiculturalism Through Dance
Friendship dances, victory dances, wedding dances. Dance is often the handshake that introduces people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. It is a great way to introduce young people to the different forms of non-verbal communication around them. Using films and discussion, this workshop examines how individuals and groups define themselves, their boundaries and identities, even their political history, using the dance medium. Examples include dance from cultures around the world, including American, New World Indian, Polynesian, Malaysian, and African. This workshop is particularly useful for community service and program staffs, educators, and dance instructors.
Sterling (Skip) EisimingerSterling Eisiminger is a Professor of English and Humanities at Clemson University, an accomplished poet and essayist, and the author/editor of a half-dozen books. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of South Carolina.
The Pleasures of Light Verse: Jabberwocky to Burma Shave
For the most part, this program is a poetry reading from the best comic verse of the last century or so. It seeks to restore light verse to the poetic canon which, in the lecturer’s opinion, is unfairly dominated by the seriously unfunny.
The Pleasures of Language: Malapropisms to Rhyming Slang
This audience-participation program works best with a group that enjoys language, as they will be intimately involved and asked to volunteer further contributions to the lecturer’s list of Southern dialect, contemporary slang, folk etymologies, Spoonerisms, and more.
Struck by Lightning: Ben Franklin's Rod to the Omnipotence of God
A light-hearted lecture that will appeal to everyone from the scientist and engineer to the theologian and student of literature who has an interest in the consequences of grounding Zeus’s lightning bolts. Handouts and slides illustrate the author’s main points and the history of lightning control.
The Classic/Romantic Distinction: Paintings, Sculpture, Architecture, Fashion & Gardens
This slide-and-music lecture seeks to sharpen what is perhaps the most fundamental distinction in all of art, from music to maze designs.
The Pleasures of the Personal Essay
This program includes readings of one to five short essays (average length 1,200 words) depending on the time available and the tastes of the audience. Topics include: The Importance of the Play, The Necessity of Curiosity, The Limits of Free Speech, Reflections on Jim Crow, The Common Bond, and over sixty others.
Clemson: Trivia and Significa
An informal, non-chronological overview of a distinguished school in a Socratic format from one who taught at Clemson for 42 years.
John has over 30 years of national performing experience conducting programs at festivals, schools, college’s, and camps. He is a regional favorite at the Stories for Life Festival, Stone Soup Storytelling Festival, Starburst Storytelling Festival, Hagood Mill Storytelling Festival, and Augusta Bakers Dozens Festival as well as many others.
John has produced several grant-supported research projects featuring a number of distinctive recordings of traditional/roots & ethnic musicians and storytellers:
John has several other recordings projects to his credit and has written for the Hub City Writers Project. In 1994 he self-published an instructional book on how to play simple hand-held folk instruments. John is also featured in the book Southern Appalachian Storytellers (McFarland) by Saundra Kelly.
He is a graduate of the Institute for Community Scholars, Folklore & Music Studies at
**John Fowler requests an additional honorarium to the $150 contributed by The Humanities CouncilSC.**
History of Roots and Ethnic Music in South Carolina
An interactive timeline lecture with music presentations. John connects the dots, linking music heritage relative to region, ethnicity, religion and culture. The presentation is an overview of parallels between European, Native American and African influences which played an important role in shaping American music forms and styles, from field hollers and chants to blues and gospel. Early forms of folk/country and bluegrass are also introduced.
Appalachian Stories and Songs
A combination of traditional and personal stories with music presentation on banjo, guitar, fiddle, harmonica and spoons. This program is a celebration of Southern Appalachian culture and influences. John draws on his roots presenting stories and songs from the southern mountains with a personal touch about grandparents, apron-strings and his first telephone experience. Expect historic references and some music history.
Where’d You Come From, Where’d You Go?
A program that celebrates our heritage with stories and music from around the world. John’s retelling of African and European fables & folktales is a delightful presentation that connects the past with the present, highlighting culture differences and similarities. Each story reflects simple conflict and struggle with predictable resolutions. Some stories are enhanced with the introduction of old-world instruments (jaw harp, kalimba (lamellophone), drums, mouth bow and banjo). Designed for young audiences, suited for all.
Hal FrenchHal W. French is the Retired Chair of the University of South Carolina Department of Religious Studies. He is the author of several books and an Associate Editor of the 18 volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism. He holds a Ph.D. in Religious History of India from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.
Zen and the Art of Anything
Zen (which basically means meditation and mindfulness), when combined with any life pursuit, can be lifted to the level of an art form. This lecture focuses on the everyday activities in which we all engage-- rather than on the fine arts -- to see how Zen can enable and ennoble our lives.
Beyond Religious Fanaticism: A Place of Meeting Rivers
Based on a book Dr. French published in 1990, this lecture examines the psychodynamics and theological premises of religious fanaticism. It also explores the contribution of interfaith movements and activities that seek to encounter the exclusive, divisive claims of religious fanaticism. New, harmonious methods of dialogue can be explored between faith communities.
The Truth of Non-Violence
The two most pivotal themes of the teachings of Gandhi were truth and non-violence. Each can serve as means to realize the other; each can serve as the end toward which the other is a necessary means. How can we understand the radical demands of these two imperatives? How can we practice them in our own situations?
Will GoinsWill Goins is a descendant of the Eastern Band Cherokee Indians and Chief of the Cherokee Indian Tribe of South Carolina. He is a folklorist, cultural presenter, storyteller, chanter-singer, dancer, artist, educator, and arts administrator. He has Bachelor’s degrees in Communications and Anthropology and a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.
One Nation Within the United States: The Cherokees Yesterday and Today
Throughout history, Cherokees have faced many trials in retaining their culture. Today the Cherokee nation is an important force in Oklahoma and the U.S. However, the Cherokee nation continues to face challenges to its existence, its culture, and its values.
Freedom to Worship: Native American Perspectives
For more than 90 years, Native Americans have sought to overcome societal misunderstandings and laws that have restricted their freedom of religion. This talk explores Indian religious values and controversial issues such as the use of peyote in the Native American Church and the preservation of sacred lands.
Understanding Native American Identity
Rural or urban, Navajo, Osage, or Chippewa; there is a tremendous diversity among Native Americans, yet there are also common values and concerns. This presentation touches on the issue of Native American identity -- what makes someone Indian? -- and the values that characterize Indian cultures.
The Road to Sovereignty: U.S.-Indian Relations Yesterday & Today
Why can Native American tribes operate casinos in Kansas when no one else can? Should Indians receive free health care? Controversies over Native American rights often ignore the long history of federal Indian policy and the unique position of Indian tribes as sovereign nations within the U.S.
Mother Earth, Father Sky: The Reality of Native America
Even in today's multicultural society, it's hard to comprehend the gulf that separates descendants of the original Americans to those who arrived after 1492. The Native American view of art, spirituality, and every aspect of life comprises a reality completely apart from European culture.
American Musical Theater: Portrait of a Nation
The American musical may well be our nation's most unique contribution to the world of music. From Civil War days to Show Boat and Oklahoma!, the musical reflects American values of patriotism, business success, and teamwork. Music,both recorded and live, illustrates the talk.
Images of Native America in Music
This talk will explore the use of Native America and American Indian people as the subjects of American music. Native America has been the subject of American musical compositions since the early 1800s. This lecture will highlight some of the compositions of well-known early twentieth century composer, Charles Wakefield Cadman, and will also feature music by Native American composers Louis Ballard and Brent Michael Davids. Music, both recorded and live, will illustrate this talk.
American Indians as Slaves in Colonial South Carolina
Indian slavery is an important part of South Carolina's history that many know nothing about, yet no other state has as many historic documents chronicling Native American enslaved people. As early as 1683, the settlers were making war with coastal American Indian groups in order to take captives for slavery, and natives were still fighting for their freedom and rights as late as 1838. This presentation explores both the African-American and Native-American experience in colonial South Carolina.
The Seven Organized Tribal Groups of South Carolina
This visually stimulating presentation tells the history of South Carolina's seven Native groups in their own words. Included are the Cherokees of South Carolina, the Edisto Indians, the Santee Indian tribe, the Pee Dee Indian Nation, the Waccamaw Chicora Indian people, the Chicora Siouan Nation, and the Catawba Indian Nation. Dr. Goins also offers a beautiful photography exhibition that, depending on available space, can accompany this presentation for a small donation.
Ethnomusicology: Native American Music
This presentation includes taped and live musical performances in a lecture/recital on Native American musical heritage.
Cherokee Indians of South Carolina
Present-day Oconee County was home to Native American peoples since as early as 300 A.D., and the Cherokees arrived around 1500. From the 1600s to 1800s, the Cherokees occupied the extreme northwest portion of South Carolina, and during early colonial times, they dominated much of the midlands and upcountry. Hundreds of years later, the Trail of Tears took many Cherokees out of South Carolina, but some of the tribal members and their extended families remained in the Upstate. Those that remained never forgot their culture, history, and heritage. This is their story and the story of their ancestors.
Lumbee Indians of the Cheraw Nation
The Lumbee Indians are the largest American Indian community east of the Mississippi. At 65,000 people, they are also one of the larger and more progressive Indian communities, and they have a diverse heritage that includes Tuscarora, Croatan, Hatteras, Cherokee, and Cheraw ancestry. Dr. Goins is part Lumbee Indian and has a slide presentation that accompanies this historical talk.
Native American Arts and Crafts
This presentation explores Native American aesthetics from ancient times to present. Participants will learn about Native American artistic and cultural expression through a slide presentation and have the opportunity to learn more through "hands on" experience.
A Journey Through Time: Sequoyah
In this dramatic one-person show, Dr. Goins appears as Sequoyah, who created the written langauge of the Cherokee Indians. The presentation, which uses an original script by Dr. Goins, has been well-received across the state.
From Barbeque to Grits: The REAL Native Cuisine of South Carolina
A historical look at the foods and culinary traditions that were among the indigenous people of South Carolina and the Americas at contact with Europeans. This program will also look at how these Native American Indian foods and traditions have influenced and contirbuted to what is known as southern and regional cuisine.
Native Foods, Plants, and Native Myths
This presentation looks at the use of Native plants and foods in Cherokee and other Native American Indian traditions. It explores that special relationship that Native American Indian people have had with all of the living and especially plant life.
Native Foods Used in Healing
This program investigates the thousands of years of traditions of Native American Indian goods and plants in healing of the people. It will also look at the role of the medicinal health practitioner (Medicine Man or Medicine Woman) in tribes in ancient times and in contemporary times.
Cooking with a REAL Indian Chef or Chief
This presentation includes the making of a Native American Indian dish and is a hands-on lecture which must be held in an appropriate location for cooking. Have you ever wanted to learn to make Frybread, Indian Tacos, Fried Corn, or Cherokee Bean Bread? Learn about Native American Indian food preparation by doing it and also learn the history and traditional value of sharing a meal and food preparation. Will Goins is a champion cook and has published a South Carolina Native American Indian cookbook.
Service, Honor, Heritage, Pride? The Ethics of Native American Indians that Participated in the Civil War
More than 20,000 American Indians fought in the Civil War for both the Union and the Confederacy, though they were often overlooked in both armies. Most of the Indians who served were members of the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, Creek, Chickasaw) and probably the best known were the Cherokee soldiers of General Stand Watie, who sided with the Confederacy in the Trans-Mississippi West. Why did these men, who were neither citizens nor subject to the draft, leave the primeval pine forests and sparkling lakes where their people had lived for thousands of years to fight and die on the killing fields of the Civil War? What motivated a people accustomed to white & black racism and government duplicity to send its fathers, sons and brothers to fight in a war to free black slaves while they themselves were not completely free? How could men, characterized by dominant culture as "demi-savages" and "a poor, ignorant, and dependent race" resolutely stand their ground on the South Carolina's battlefields? Dr. Will Goins will examine the involvement of American Indians in the Civil War, looking at the various reasons that they fought, how they became aligned to the Confederacy or the Union, and the ethics of their participation in a war that was not theirs to fight. In the end, the words service, pride, honor, and heritage can help explain the participation of American Indians in America’s Great War.
An UNTOLD Story of Native American Contributions to America's Roots Music
American Indian music is the music that is used, created or performed by Native Americans Indians, not only traditional tribal music, but all music. In addition to the traditional music of the Native American tribal cultures, there now exist pan-tribal and inter-tribal genres as well as distinct Indian subgenres of popular music including: rock, blues, hip hop, classical, film music and reggae, as well as unique popular styles like waila ("chicken scratch"). Native American Indian culture has influenced everything from the music of Disney's cartoon hit "Pocahontas" to the popular hip hop group OutKast's "Hey Ya!" which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks, from December 6, 2003 to January 31, 2004. Many Native Americans have been involved in various forms of popular music—from jazz and blues to folk, country, and rock. Dr. Goins will also delve into the history of the development of the various roots music genres. The native heritage of so many blues, jazz, and popular musicians and singers is practically unknown; the music world and audiences have assumed them to be African American or European American descent. Yet many of them had Native American Indian heritage as well. In this presentation, Dr. Will Moreau Goins, an ethnomusicologist, singer, Native American Chanter, and a musical song stylist, will offer a perspective that will stimulate thinking about Native American contributions to African American/American music culture, American popular music, American Folk music, American Indian music of the 60's and the development of Jazz in American.
Ginetta V. HamiltonGinetta V. Hamilton is a native of Alvin, SC and a proud graduate of the University of South Carolina, where she received both her BA in Elementary Education and a Masters of Elementeray Education degrees. Mrs. Hamilton recently retired after serving as an educator for 25 years in Richland School District 2 at Joseph Keels Elementary. Mrs. Hamilton is passionate about motiviating youth and empowering students to strive for success. She has written two books: Black History: Someone Forgot to Teach the Children and Waverly: A Historic Perspective Through the Eyes of Senior Citizens in the Waverly Community District.
Black History: Someone Forgot to Teach the Children
Ginetta V. Hamilton will share important facts from her book Black History: Someone Forgot to Teach the Children. She will address the struggle and contributions of African Americans both in South Carolina and in the country.
The Tuskegee Airmen - A Closer Look
This presentation will focus on the 5 Ws (Who? What? When? Where? Why?) of the Tuskegee Airmen as well as their plight to prove their abilities.
Jim JordanJim Jordan received a BBA and MBA from
Soon after moving to the South, Jim began a second career as a historian, speaker, and tour guide in
Jim has lectured at historical societies and adult education organizations along the east coast on the colonial and antebellum history and architecture of
Knocking on the Gates of Hell; the South Ponders Civil War
Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the
Savannah Survives Sherman’s March to the Sea
Perhaps the most famous campaign of the Civil War was
Robert E. Lee Prepares South Carolina and Georgia for Civil War
When the leaders of the southern states defiantly seceded from the
The Amazing Saga of the Slave Ship Wanderer
In 1808 the federal government outlawed the importation of persons bonded to labor from foreign countries or territories, giving rise to a flourishing illegal slave trade. Subsequently, however, there were no documented landings of Africans on American soil. That changed in 1858 when a group of southern gentlemen acquired the fastest luxury yacht on the high seas, sailed to the Congo River, purchased a human cargo, and deposited 409 Africans on
Georgia and South Carolina Survive the Revolutionary War
When the British army stalled in the North in 1778, its generals developed a new strategy—attack the South and drive northwards. Their first target was
Classicism in Southern Architecture; How it Got from Ancient Greece and Rome to Here
You can tour the grand buildings of Europe, then return home and see similarities in the houses, churches, and public buildings of the Lowcountry. This is not surprising, as much of 18th and 19th century American architecture came from across the
Marquis de Lafayette; Hero of Two Worlds, Casualty of Two Revolutions
Many American cities, parks, schools, counties, and monuments are named in honor of a man named
Northern Journalists Report the Secession Crisis Undercover in Charleston, SC
After Abraham Lincoln’s election on November 6, 1860, South Carolina took the fast track to secession. Criticism of her actions from the North would not be tolerated, and northern reporters were not welcome, especially in the largest city,
Kevin LewisBorn in
The Neglected Inheritance of American 'Lonesomeness'
"Lonely" is a depressive condition. By contrast (not always observed), "lonesome" transforms or transfigures the merely "lonely," if only in the American cultural tradition. Our shrinks own "lonely." Our poets, singers, artists, and fiction writers own "lonesome" - and we should be more deliberate in owning it too. It is a culturally embedded, gifted but unbidden solitary experience, lifting us away from our confining selves in a perception of "otherness." Audience response solicited.
Walter LinigerWalter "Wale" Liniger, a Swiss native, has been living in Mississippi and South Carolina for over twenty years. In 1989 he received a W.C. Handy Blues Award for his musical partnership with Mississippi bluesman James Son Thomas (1926-1993). Since 1993 Liniger has been a Distinguished Lecturer with the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina. Liniger continues to perform for American and European audiences, constantly exploring the challenges of cultural and linguistic exile through music and creative writing. He is the recipient of the 2006 Swiss Blues Award.
**Walter Liniger requests an additional honorarium to the $150 provided by The Humanities CouncilSC.
This presentation is a collage of music and story. The music reflects the teachings of Liniger’s mentors, and his stories are about struggles with cultural migration. His Blues are hardly about anything new; they have been around for a while. Every im/migrant brings an established cultural and emotional understanding of life to his/her new country. We examine some of the challenges connected to this process by using one of America's most profound musical voices, the Blues. American culture has been influenced by im/migration paths and destinies, and they continue to challenge our imagination.
Matt MatthewsMatt Matthews’ first novel and winner of the South Carolina Arts Commission First Novel Prize, was published in May 2011 by the award-winning Hub City Press; it won an honorable mention from the 2012 Library of Virginia Literary Awards and a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Bronze Award. Fritz and Christine and Their Very Nervous Parents, a children’s story about vocation and illustrated by Adrienne Davis, was published in the fall of 2010 by Avenida Books.
For eight years Matt has been pastor and head of staff at St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC, where he preaches weekly and works with a great staff of creative, devoted folk. He occasionally updates a webpage at www.MattMatthewsCreative.com.
In the summer of 2011, Matt and his family followed his dad’s WWII footsteps from Glasgow to Belgium where his dad was captured in the Battle of the Bulge. His book One Thousand Miles, which explores growing up in the shadow of unspoken horrors of war, is being shopped.
Matt and Rachel are the parents of Joseph (20), Benjamin (16), and John Mark (13). They live in Greer.
A Part-Time Author's View Into The Writing Life
E. B. White said writing was a good way to spend one’s days, but for most writers it’s no way to make a living, so they do it part time, in fits and starts, hunched over the page because they feel compelled to be, and, sometimes, because it brings compelling joy. This talk is for those who secretly call themselves writers, for those who dabble in the craft, and for those who write full time but would like to come up for air to talk about why writing matters and why the writing life can be so rich.
A Reading From and Discussion Of The Novel "Mercy Creek"
This talk could be geared to teenagers, senior citizens, or an intergenerational crowd.
Bret Lott, formerly of The Southern Review, wrote that “Mercy Creek is . . . about the deep and slow-moving river that is History, and the darker story of a past the town won’t reveal for fear its shadow will overwhelm those parties involved in its making; it’s also about murder, and arson, and baseball, and all the worries, worthy and unworthy, real and imagined, every teenager experiences in the course of growing up. Most importantly, though, is the fact there beats inside this book a heart bent not toward the literary fashion of the day—existential pointlessness, or edgy doom, or snarky self-righteousness—but toward redemption and forgiveness in the face of the twin specters of guilt and loss. Peopled with characters that matter to us, Mercy Creek is—dare I say it?—fun to read, and reminds us of why we started reading in the first place: the joy of finding out what happens.”On his first day out of school, 16 year-old Isaac doesn't feel that events of June in a town on Virginia's Eastern Shore could threaten his life or even change it. But there are signs. His girlfriend just gave him a geranium for his birthday. His mom, who died the year before, is fading into catch phrases. His dad is romancing a woman Isaac likes but doesn't want to like. And a clutch of self-righteous vigilantes offers a $5,000 reward for conviction of the felon or felons vandalizing town homes.
Isaac's summer job is to sweep and straighten the warehouse of the town's hardware store. It's the place where the vigilantes congregate. It's also where unexplained puzzles swirl like dust motes around coworker Crazy Eddie, an acerbic 77-year-old.
By the middle of a sultry July, Isaac has discovered that small towns in which everybody knows everybody else's business often hide the most vicious secrets. By solving mysteries of a twisted communal past, laying bare the stains of a history that includes the Klan, Isaac has resolved where he belongs in the world, opening the future. Included in that future is a new girlfriend who would never give him a potted plant.
In this quietly suspenseful story with splashes of manic humor, the eccentrics, the recluses, the bigots and the bores join the human parade. The beat of march for that parade, however, is the heart-stirring strains of forgiveness.
Joseph McGill, Jr.
Joseph McGill, Jr. is a native of Kingstree, SC and is currently a Program Officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He works in the Southern Office in Charleston, SC and is responsible for the states of Alabama, Louisiana, and South Carolina.
Mr. McGill received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional English from South Carolina State University. He spent six years in the United States Air Force and has been employed by the National Park Service, Penn Center, and the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa.
Mr. McGill is the founder of Company "I" 54th Massachusetts Reenactment Regiment in Charleston, SC. The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was the regiment portrayed in the award-winning movie Glory. As a Civil War reenactor, Mr. McGill participates in parades, living history presentations, lectures, and battle reenactments.
Mr. McGill is a member of the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission and the African American Historical Alliance.
**Joseph McGill requests an additional honorarium to the $150 contributed by The Humanities CouncilSC.**
African Americans in the Civil War
A brief history of the approximately 180,000 African Americans that served in the Union Army and Navy during the Civil War.
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
The history of the regiment that was portrayed in the award-winning movie, Glory. This presentation is given in a Civil War uniform and includes a first-person characterization.
Slave Cabins of South Carolina
Joseph McGill will chronicle nights spent in several slave cabins in South Carolina.
Caroline McIntyreCaroline McIntyre is a former history teacher, theater manager, and corporate presenter with a Masters in American History. She recreates the roles of three of her heroes - Frances Perkins, Rachel Carson and Mary Draper Ingles. She weaves the stories of these heroic women and, in Chautauqua fashion, inspires the audience to ask questions directly to the characters.
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962
Rachel Carson is depicted just after the publication of Silent Spring and 18 months before she dies of breast cancer. Warning of dangers of pesticides and pollution, Silent Spring races to the top of the bestseller list, and Rachel Carson is attacked on all sides by the chemical industry. Proclaimed founder of the Environmental Movement, she is still maligned today. To many of us, she was Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, and Lois Lane all rolled into one. For the young women of the 1960s, Rachel Carson was our first hero.
Mary Draper Ingles, Survivor of the Wilderness, 1755
Talk about a hiking challenge! How about a 500 mile wilderness trek, without food, fire, or weapons, in early winter and while wearing a summer dress? Captured by a Shawnee war party in the French and Indian War and taken more than 450 miles from her home to what is now Cincinnati, Mary Ingles escaped through an untamed wilderness with the Ohio River as her only guide. Returning home skeletal and almost naked, she recovers to bear four more children and live to a robust 83 - an ordinary woman of extraordinary courage. The program is told Chautauqua-style.
Frances Perkins, Woman Behind the New Deal (1933-1945)
Perkins became the first female cabinet member, FDR's Secretary of Labor, at the rock bottom of the Great Depression. She came with a "To Do List" - workman's compensation, unemployment insurance, old age and health insurance; a minimum wage, a maximum work week, and the abolition of child labor. When she left office 12 years later (longest serving Cabinet Member), she had accomplished all but one - health insurance. Who wouldn't want to ask her how it was done?
Stephanie Y. Mitchem, Associate Professor at University of South Carolina, is a joint appointment in Religious Studies and Women’s Studies. Mitchem holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University-Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary and a Masters from St. John Provincial Seminary and focuses her research on exploring the rich religious contexts and meanings of African American women and men, while critiquing social injustices structured into American society. Her forthcoming book is African American Folk Healing (New York University Press, June 2007). She is author of Introducing Womanist Theology (Orbis Books 2002), African American Women Tapping Power (Pilgrim Press 2004), and numerous articles.
African American Women, Literature, and Spirituality
Literature is a rich source for comprehending African American women’s lives. Through literature, black women discuss their experiences and analyze society. In these discussions, black women also express their sense of the religious and define aspects of a spirituality. This talk will explore ways African American women create communal meaning and personal identities while naming their concepts of faith and salvation. We will consider various authors’ works, ranging from earlier writings of Zora Neale Hurston to the contemporary with writers such as Alice Walker, Barbara Neely, and Octavia Butler.
Creative Power of African American Religion
The religious experiences and understandings of African Americans are unique, born of a combination of historical, cultural, social, and political realities. Diverse religious and theological meanings have been crafted, sometimes within Christian denominations, sometimes not. This lecture aims to increase the listeners’ appreciation of the creativity and complexities of black religious life in the United States.
African American Women and Spiritual Autobiography
Autobiography is an important facet of spirituality in any faith tradition, pointing to how faith is lived. Autobiography is a literary genre that has been important to women in general, giving information about lived experience that is often missing from formal historical records. African American women have found this genre especially important for expressing the depth of faith, often in light of oppressive personal experiences. This talk will combine a focus on historical and contemporary black women’s spiritual autobiographies while inviting listeners to consider aspects of their own.
African American Culture
Culture is often thought of in terms of its products—music, visual, art, literature. But culture is also a process, that of making the products at different times under different conditions. This presentation invites the audience to look at some of the different products from African Americans at different times in order to consider this question: what defines black culture?
Margaret OakesMargaret J. Oakes is Professor of English at Furman University and has been teaching at Furman since 1996. Her academic areas of teaching and research are English Renaissance literature, including such authors as George Herbert, William Shakespeare, John Milton, and Margaret Cavendish. Her avocational interests include British detective fiction and children’s fantasy literature, and she has published on mystery writer Dorothy Sayers and Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. Prior to her academic career she practiced securities regulation law in Chicago. An Illinois native, she is a graduate of the University of Illinois (BA and JD) and Stanford University (PhD).
The History of Liberal Arts Education
The history and practice of the liberal arts in the western tradition fundamentally underlie how we think about education in America. This wide-ranging talk explores educational institutions from the classical period to the present, focusing on the development of universities from medieval monastic houses to the colleges of Oxford to the American system based on German universities.
Flying Cars, Floo Powder, and Flaming Torches: The Hi-Tech, Low-Tech World of Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series presents a world parallel to our own in many ways. We share some technological achievements such as the wheel, optics, and basic engineering principles. With the added ability to control their world through magic, however, Rowling’s wizards have opted out of advancing through science. Their powers over natural forces outstrip ours in many areas, yet they have chosen in others to retain the old ways, which require time and effort, and which inflict a fair degree of discomfort or ineffectiveness. Why do they prefer this combination of the antiquated and the advanced? This talk focuses on the creation of a fictional universe that is both believable and fanciful, and helps us reflect on the “magic” of our own technology.
The Letters of Queen Elizabeth I: the Humility of Power
Elizabeth I was regarded with awe by her people in her own lifetime, but she frequently communicated with her subjects as well as her fellow monarchs and counselors. Her avenues of communication were much more limited than those used by most politicians nowadays; Elizabeth only had at her disposal official written communications and public appearances. However, we also have the benefit of being able to read dozens of Elizabeth’s letters from throughout her life. This other means of communication – written messages, in the form of personal, diplomatic, and political letters – were created with the same attention to the delicacy of the situation, her relationship with the speaker, and, most importantly, her underlying objective in writing the letter in the first place. This talk will explore the surprisingly distinctive voices in Elizabeth’s letters as she assesses the relative degrees of power between her and the recipient of the letter, plays the recipient’s desires and weaknesses, and offers the right mixture of praise, conciliation, advice, and sometimes veiled threats, depending on the situation.
A Comfortable Murder: British Detective Fiction of the Golden Age
The 1920’s and 30’s were the highlight decades of the British “cozy”: the relatively bloodless type of murder mystery that one can read curled by up by the fireplace with a strong cup of tea. This talk will trace the development of the genre of British detective fiction from its antecedents such as Wilke Collins and G.K. Chesterton to its masters, including Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, and Margery Allingham. Tea and biscuits provided!
Kate Salley Palmer
Kate is a native of Orangeburg and a graduate of USC. Her career started when she did a cartoon strip for The Gamecock, entitled “Terrible Tom and the Boys”, which satirized the school’s administration. She began doing free-lance editorial cartoons for the local Clemson Messenger and then later for The Greenville News. In 1978 she became the first full-time staff editorial cartoonist for a SC newspaper at The Greenville News. Kate’s political cartoons were nationally syndicated in over 200 newspapers - one of only two women. In 1980 she won the Freedom Foundation’s George Washington Honor Medal for Editorial Cartooning. And in 2000, one of her cartoons made Newsweek’s Special Edition of “100 Years in Cartoons” – the only woman political cartoonist featured.In the 1990’s Kate began writing and illustrating picture books for children, and has had over 25 published by national and regional publishers. Her interest in political commentary with cartoons has remained intense, however. She still does very popular political cartoon Christmas t-shirts and occasionally posts a cartoon on the website: editorialcartoonists.com. In 2006 Clemson University’s Digital Press published her cartoon memoir and retrospective entitled, Growing Up Cartoonist in the Baby Boom South.
Kate has done political commentary with cartoons and special op-ed columns for over 30 years. She is a member of the AAEC (American Association of Editorial Cartoonists) and the National Cartoonist Society’s Southeastern Branch. She is often asked to speak at schools, civic clubs and various conferences about political cartooning – where it is now and where it’s going. She has donated all of her original state cartoons and papers to USC and her national cartoons and papers to Ohio State University.
**Kate Salley Palmer requests an additional honorarium to the $150 provided by The Humanities CouncilSC.
What's Happening to Political Cartooning?
Currently, there are no full-time editorial cartoonists working at a newspaper in South Carolina. Newspapers all over the country are cutting back on their budgets, and staff such as reporters and cartoonists are some of the first personnel to be let go. Some of the nation's largest newspapers have gone out of business. What are the trends for people getting their news? For more and more Americans, the internet, the blogosphere, "talk radio," and the "24/7" TV news channels have become their primary source of news AND opinion. What does all of this mean for the future of political cartoons and political commentary in general? Will TV shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and the various blogs be the future? Kate has definite opinions and regularly discusses these issues with other political cartoonists through her membership in the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists.
Political Cartoons - Past, Present, and Future
What is satire? What makes for a good political cartoon? Who are some of the pioneers of political cartooning? What will tomorrow's political cartoons look like? Will animated political cartoons be on TV? Kate wrote about these topics in her memoir and is available to discuss them with interested groups.
Gerald Y. Pitts is the only South Carolina member of ALP, the Association of Lincoln Presenters. ALP is a national organization of approximately 166 members whose purpose is to further knowledge and appreciation of the 16th president of the United States. Lincoln was a boyhood hero of Mr. Pitts (along with Joe DiMaggio, Roy Rogers, and Mark Twain). When Mr. Pitts read about ALP in 2007, he realized that he, like Lincoln, was 6'4" tall, wore a size 14 N shoe, and had four sons, so he became a Lincoln presenter.
Gerald Pitts has appeared in schools, libraries, civic meetings, conventions, and other venues throughout South Carolina, from Walhalla to Charleston. He was also featured in the two-hour PBS documentary, Looking for Lincoln that aired on February 11, 2009. "The Peggy Denny Show" devoted a 30-minute interview to Lincoln on Chanel 16 in Greenville on May 24, 2010.
Mr. Pitts spent 30 years in the Army on active duty and in the reserve and was awarded The Soldiers Medal in the name of President Reagan in 1985. He graduated from Presbyterian College on a National Merit Scholarship and holds graduate degrees in microbiology and counseling psychology. He taught every science course in the curriculum from grades 7 through 12 during 12 years at Cambridge Academy.
He is married to Jymmie Nell, owner of the Bootery, and they have six grandchildren. Even though they were married on a Friday the 13th, they celebrated their 46th anniversary in December 2009. Jymmie sometimes appears as Mary Todd Lincoln at evening programs.
**Gerald Pitts requests an additional honorarium or travel reimbursement to the $150 contrinuted by The Humanities CouncilSC.
An Afternoon with Abraham Lincoln
Gerald Y. Pitts performs an original one-act play as Abraham Lincoln. You will hear Abe recount stories of his life from boyhood to presidency. Programs are available for any grade level and of any length.
The Classroom Civil War Museum
A traveling display of Lincoln and Civil War memorabilia and artifacts is available as a separate program. It requires a dedicated classroom for the day and at least six folding or library size tables. One or more classes can be rotated through the exhibit during a period of perhaps four repetitions; commentary and historical explanation will be given by the presenter who may or may not dress as Lincoln. Some of the objects can be seen nowhere else and include items of high value like Lincoln-signed documents to tintypes, cannonballs from Charleston harbor, goose quill pens, CDVs, a Confederate knapsack, original Currier & Ives prints, surgeon's kits, letters, battlefield dug artifacts, over a thousand minie balls, an extensive exhibit of drummer boys and powder boys, and many other objects.
Aïda RogersAïda Rogers is the former editor of Sandlapper, a quarterly magazine about South Carolina's people, places, history, and culture. Along with those topics, she covered more than 200 of South Carolina's favorite restaurants in her "Stop Where the Parking Lot's Full" column. Entries from that column, which she wrote for 15 years, appeared in a book by that same name in 2008.
Aïda graduated from USC's journalism school and worked for newspapers in Myrtle Beach and Savannah before returning to her hometown of Lexington, where Sandlapper formerly was published. She notices that since she retired from the restaurant column—it was taken over by veteran writer/food connoisseur Tim Driggers—she’s dropped at least one dress size.
South Carolina: Ain't We Got Food!
"There's no need to go hungry in South Carolina." In a state rich in produce, seafood, and "land food," residents can grow, catch, and hunt their own supper. But if you'd rather hop in your car and do some sightseeing, you can easily find a wonderful restaurant that can make the dining experience a lot easier. Join Aïda Rogers, former editor of Sandlapper Magazine and creator of its popular "Stop Where the Parking Lot's Full" column, and Tim Driggers, the humor writer/lawyer who took over the column when she just couldn’t eat professionally anymore, on a food-finding jaunt across the Palmetto State. There's a lot of exploring to do, and plenty of good eating places to plunder.
Ron Roth is former director and CEO of the Reading Public Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania, and director of the Nebraska Museum of Art of the University of Nebraska. He has curated or co-curated numerous exhibitions from the Patriotic Paintings of N.C. Wyeth to a major exhibition with international glass artist Dale Chihuly. More recently as an independent curator and consultant he researched and wrote the script for the permanent exhibition area of the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania and its exhibit on the Underground Railroad in central Pennsylvania. Most recently he curated and designed an exhibition for the Historic Beaufort Foundation in Beaufort, South Carolina, on the history of the Beaufort Volunteer Artillery, one of the United State’s first organized, military units.
Roth curated the exhibition, John James Audubon in the Mid-Atlantic, for the Reading Public Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania, and organized an exhibition of the work of Audubon for the Museum of Nebraska Art of the University of Nebraska in Kearney, Nebraska. Roth researched and purchased major original works of Audubon for the creation of a gallery devoted to Audubon’s art for the Museum of Nebraska Art.
As an educator he has made many presentations for diverse audiences including high schools, universities, service clubs, Elder Hostel and most recently the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of the University of South Carolina, Beaufort.
He wrote and narrated a popular statewide weekly radio program on the arts for Nebraska Public Radio, and has been a seasonal historian and licensed battlefield guide for the Gettysburg National Military Park. His publications include non-fiction, fiction, poetry, museum catalogues and educational publications. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, and a Masters-At-Teaching degree in Museum Studies from George Washington University, Washington D.C.
Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the African American Quest for Freedom
The story of the Underground Railroad is one of the most epic in American History. This presentation describes the heroic efforts of African Americans and whites to hide and guide runaway slaves in their desperate journeys to freedom in the north and in Canada. Highlights of the presentation include first person narratives of escaping runaway slaves and their encounters with slave catchers and kidnappers; the courageous work of railroad “conductors” like Harriet Tubman; and the role of plantation slavery, African American churches and slave uprisings like the Stono Rebellion in South Carolina in generating the growth of the Underground Railroad.
Desperate Hours: Understanding the Legacy of the Battle of Gettysburg through the Sculpture of its Battlefield Monuments
The battlefield monuments at the Gettysburg National Military Park that were sculpted and dedicated in the decades following the Civil War include some of the most powerful and expressive works of 19th and 20th Century American sculpture. The work of some of America’s leading sculptors is represented on the battlefield including Augustus St. Gaudens and Gutzon Borglum—the sculptor of Mt. Rushmore. This presentation explores the sculptor’s and stone mason’s art at Gettysburg and how this art expressed the public’s changing perceptions and sentiments related to the battle and its significance.
The Entrepreneurial Artist: John James Audubon in the Lowcountry
John James Audubon’s Birds of America ranks as one of the greatest achievements in American art. Its groundbreaking format depicting 435 of North America’s known bird species life-size and in habitat captured the imagination of the public and catapulted him into international fame. This presentation provides audiences with insight into Audubon’s ambitious, self-styled role as adventurer, artist and natural scientist. In addition to providing an overview of Audubon and his era, the presentation focuses on his work in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Mischievous Angels, Dancing Saints
An eccentric tour of the art of Rome and Venice. Participants will explore ways to enrich and expand their experience of art, viewing the sculpture, painting and watercolors of artists from Michelangelo to Whistler and the art they created in two of the world's greatest centers of art.
Undaunted Valor: The Beaufort Volunteer Artillery in the Civil War
The Beaufort Volunteer Artillery is one of the longest serving military units in the history of the United States. Its service includes the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I and World War II. This presentation will focus on its Civil War exploits in over a dozen military engagements.
From Samarkand to the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas: The Story of the Silk Road
The history of the Silk Road in Central Asia covers a vast panorama of history, art, religion and commerce over the past 2,500 years. A major trade route linking Mediterranean and Far East cultures, its story includes exotic ancient cities like the legendary Samarkand. Explorers of the Silk Road are highlighted in this presentation as well as the art and religion of this unique melting pot of cultures.
The Hudson River School Artists
The Hudson River School artists were a group of 19th Century American Artists who painted primarily in the Hudson River Valley of New York in the Catskills and Adirondack mountains. Their work transformed American landscape art by depicting nature realistically, while endowing it with spiritual meaning. This introduction to the Hudson River School artists includes work by Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Sanford Gifford, Jasper Cropsey and John Kensett.
The Attack Of The Giant Clothespins: Pop Art In The 60s
Coming on the heels of Abstract Expressionism--an art movement that much of the public found puzzling and inaccessible--the emergence of Pop Art in the early 1960s had the advantage for the perplexed art viewer of using everyday objects of consumerism that everyone recognized—things like soup cans, comic strips and clothespins. For a brief moment in time art was jolted off its exalted pedestal for an aesthetic that was witty, sexy, gimmicky and thought-provoking. This presentation will explore the work and ideas of some of the major, American “Pop” artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and Claes Oldenburg.
A Landscape Aflame: The Art Of The American Civil War
The art of leading American artists and photographers of the American Civil War era provides unique and compelling images of the experiences of soldiers, civilians and slaves. From the battlefield to the home front, this art includes insights into the viewpoints that motivated both sides of the conflict and eloquent depictions of the human face of the war. Many of America’s leading 19th century artists including Frederick Church, Winslow Homer and Eastman Johnson created Civil War related art, and some, like northern artist Sanford Gifford and southerner Conrad Wise Chapman were soldiers themselves. This presentation includes recent scholarship that has demonstrated how significant Civil War art can be to further our understanding of the War.
What’s Sex Got To Do With It? Women Through the Eyes of Artists
Throughout the history of art, images of women have been one of the central preoccupations of artists. Whether as a religious symbol , a penetrating study in character, or an abstract decorative element in a painting’s composition, women have inspired some of the world’s greatest and occasionally, most controversial art. The work of many artists as diverse as Leonardo DaVinci, Henri Matisse and Mary Cassatt will be considered in this freewheeling exploration of the “feminine mystique” in art.
Stuart SpragueDr. Sprague is an Associate Professor of Family Medicine, teaching at the AnMed Family Medicine Residency program in Anderson, SC. His work involves teaching behavioral medicine, ethics, and humanities to physicians in training. He also works at AnMed Health, and as a consultant in other facilities, as an ethicist preparing ethics committees, educating clinical staff, and consulting on difficult cases. He also serves as a consultant to the Medical Ethics Committee of the South Carolina Medical Association and the convener of the South Carolina Healthcare Ethics Network. Prior to his current assignment, he was a professor in the Religion and Philosophy Department at Anderson College. He received his undergraduate education in chemistry at Duke University and received the MDiv and PhD degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.
Medical Ethics: An Introductory Survey
Scientific and technical progress, political and economic forces, and a changing social climate have combined to form a new era in the practice of medicine. These trends and many of the ethical issues they have created are treated in a brief overview of a new discipline.
End of Life Decisions
The ability to extend life and the issues created by new technologies have focused increased attention and decisions that must be made as we approach the end of life. The ethical, spiritual, political, and economic issues raised in this context are the focus of this discussion. Cases are used to illustrate the issues raised.
Ethics of Health Care Reform
Economic and political factors are dramatically changing the context in which healthcare is delivered. This program will identify some of these changes and address the ethical issues that arise as a result. Cases will be used to illustrate the issues, and specific strategies for change will be addressed.
Religion and Politics
Questions about the proper role of religious ideas and beliefs in the political process have abounded since ancient times. This program addresses the modern debate on that subject and seeks to find ways in which religion can appropriately be included in political deliberation without being narrowly partisan or sectarian.
Religion and Medicine
Much research is being focused on ways in which religious practice and spirituality influence health. These findings, along with religious attitudes and values of both patients and physicians, inevitably influence medical practice. How these influences interact and strategies for a helpful relationship among them are addressed.
Literature and Medicine
Poetry, short stories, and novels often contain narratives which describe how persons deal with illness. Study of these genre can illuminate this part of the human condition and help doctors and patients understand better their interactions and the healing role of the physician-patient relationship.
Physician-Patient Relationships and Communication
Physician-patient relationships are distinct from other relationships and can have important effects on the health and wellness of all. How communication takes place in these relationships and their role in the processes of healing and preventing illness are a useful study.
Modes of Ethical Thought
In recent years much attention has been devoted to ethics, particularly in a variety of professions and in the realms of politics and business. The language of ethics is often used without reference to the history of ideas about ethics and the various modes of thinking about and making ethical decisions. Studying the ways in which ethical theories have arisen and the contributions of religious thought and philosophy to the discussion leads to much help in making difficult decisions.
Joseph StukesDr. Joseph Taylor Stukes, a native of Manning, taught American and European history at both high school and college levels. At Erskine College (1966-74), he was Professor and Academic Dean. At Francis Marion University (1974-90), he was Professor and Head of Department. He won academic awards at each institution. He also filled Visiting Professorships in four academic locations, including one in Lugano, Switzerland. Since retirement, he has led study tours to Europe and has presented portrayals of historical figures in costume. He and his wife live in Florence, SC.
The Genius of the American Constitution
A lively explanation of the circumstances of the creation of the Constitution, its compromises among delegates, its efforts to grant both powers and controls, and its care to be acceptable and workable. The presentation is set in historical context with emphasis on the document's uniqueness and the skepticism of contemporaries.
From Hot War to Cold War, 1945-1950
A step-by-step recital of US-European relations following the defeat of the Axis powers and the military and ideological face-off between the great superpowers, USA and USSR. The presentation considers domestic problems in each nation as well as major international confrontations.
Historical Impersonation of General Francis Marion
Historical Impersonation of John C. Calhoun
Historical Impersonation of James F. Byrnes
Historical Impersonation of Sam Houston
Historical Impersonation of Theodore Roosevelt
Historical Impersonation of Adolf Hitler
Historical Impersonation of General Douglas MacArthur
Historical Impersonation of Henry Laurens
Thomas Jefferson Buys Louisiana
South Carolina Goes to War
A South Carolinian remembers the steps which led his state to secede, recalling the spirit of the times and his readiness to fight for his beliefs.
The Civil War: An Irrepressable Conflict
A U. S. senator once predicted that the coming war was "irrepressible"? Was it? Dr. Joe Stukes summarizes events leading to the great tragedy.
U.S. Grant Goes to Appomattox
After the fighting is over in 1865, U. S. Grant (in costume) reviews his up-and-down life, marveling at his rise to international fame after years of dismal failure and personal humiliation.
Carolyn TaylorCarolyn Taylor is an Emerita Professor of Theater and Speech at USC-Lancaster, where she also taught English. She also taught high school history, art, civics, speech, and drama. She worked professionally in theatre and radio and is a published poet. She is the author of Public Speaking: A Basic Guide. Taylor has an M.A. in Theatre from USC.
Carolina Women: Portraits of Strength and Courage
A one-woman show done in dramatic monologues and based on the lives of six historical characters who bravely faced the economic, social and cultural challenges of their time. The figures portrayed include Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, mother of Andrew Jackson; Elizabeth Allen Coxe, a privileged Civil War-era Charlestonian; Doshia Barnes McMullen, a ninety-seven-year-old school teacher; Addie O'Brian, a southern farm woman who lived through the great depression; and three women, black and white, who were cotton mill workers. She can also perform segments on Mary McCloud Bethune, the black educator and South Carolina resident who founded Bethune-Cookman College and on a series of women called Hillbilly women. This production is an hour and twenty minutes, but the characters and situations can be divided for two shorter programs. It can be tailored to fit your particular interest and time requirements.
Susan Tekulve is the author of In the Garden of Stone, winner of the 2012 South Carolina First Novel Award and a 2013 SIBA “Okra Award.” She’s also published three short story collections: Savage Pilgrims, Wash Day and My Mother’s War Stories. Her stories and essays have appeared in Shenandoah, The Georgia Review, New Letters, Best New Writing 2007, The Indiana Review, Denver Quarterly, Puerto del Sol, Prairie Schooner, North Dakota Quarterly, Connecticut Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Crab Orchard Review, The Literary Review, Webdelsol, Black Warrior Review, and The Kansas City Star. She has been awarded a Sewannee Writers’ Conference Scholarship and a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Scholarship. An Associate Professor of English at Converse College, she teaches in the BFA and MFA in Creative Writing Programs.A recipient of Converse College’s Kathryn Amelia Brown Teaching Award, her teaching interests include creative writing: short fiction, novel writing, nonfiction, memoir writing, travel writing, and professional writing. She also teaches World Literature, Short Fiction as Literature and Appalachian Literature. She has taught creative writing study abroad courses in Italy.
Are there too many trees in my story?: How to harness the forces of nature in your narratives
In this workshop we will discuss ways that writers use natural landscapes to form characters, to create rhythm and structure, and to communicate themes in their writing. You don’t need to be an expert in the natural sciences to enjoy and benefit from this workshop. We will practice writing exercises designed to help you hone your observations of nature as it relates to you, and to help you to use the forces of nature as more than just backdrop to your stories.
Moments of Being and Non-Being; Finding Extraordinary Stories in Every Day Objects and First Homes
In her autobiographical essay, “A Sketch From the Past,” memoirist and fiction writer Virginia Woolf explains that narrative is encoded in objects, particularly every day objects and places from our childhood. She maintains that these “moments” often go unrecognized, and that it is our job as writers to identify and consciously shape these experiences into stories. This workshop is designed to teach fiction and nonfiction writers how to identify metaphors in seemingly ordinary childhood moments and places. Additionally, it will help writers learn how to use these details to create strong, resonant narrations.
From Fairy Tale to Literary Narrative: How to Transform Family Stories Into Fiction and Essays
This class is divided between lecture/discussion and writing exercises, and it is designed to help writers shape family stories into fictional or nonfictional narratives. We will discuss the best ways to identify “family legends” that make the richest material for written stories, novels, and essays. By reading excerpts from the work of published authors, we’ll examine several research techniques—traditional and nontraditional-- that these writers use to mine the material of their lives, or the lives of their family members, in their fiction and nonfiction. We’ll also look at the different ways to shape family stories into engaging narratives. Finally, during the writing portion of this workshop, you will practice transforming a small fragment of a story from your family or town into an essay or short story.
Crossing Borders: Travel Writing in Three Genres
In her autobiography, One Writer’s Beginnings, Eudora Welty states, “Writers and travelers are mesmerized alike by knowing of their destinations.” She argues that like travelers, writers are preoccupied with discovering sequence in experience, of stumbling upon cause and effect in the happenings of a writer’s own life as well as in the lives of others. Connections slowly emerge. “Like distant landmarks you are approaching, cause and effect begin to align themselves, draw closer together. “ Often these connections are made in retrospect, from a distance, after you have traveled to a new place and are able to look back from where you’ve come. In this writing workshop, we will discuss the elements of narration shared by fiction writers, poets and travel writers—character development, setting, point of view and dialogue. We will read classic and contemporary authors, discussing how those writers look back through a lens of distance and memory at places and people in order to create stories that make good narrative sense. We will explore our own memories through writing exercises, generating real and imagined stories that are enhanced by the element of travel.
David ThompsonDavid Thompson, a South Carolina native, is Professor of Music at Limestone College where he teaches private and group piano, music theory and history and accompanies the college-community chorus. In addition to being a Limestone graduate, he received his Master's and Doctorate in Piano Pedagogy from the University of South Carolina. He has performed as a soloist and accompanist in many different venues in the United States and in England, Germany, Korea, and Iceland, where he and his family lived and taught music for several years. He has also been involved with professional, amateur, and college theatre companies and is very active as Musical Director for productions at Limestone College. His other interest includes performing piano music of the Civil War era in period clothing. David lives in Gaffney with his wife Sharon and their children Jeanna and Will.
Confederates at the Keyboard: Southern Piano Music During the Civil War Era
Along with songs and military band music published in the South during the Civil War, a considerable repertoire of solo keyboard music written by white, black, male, and female composers also exists. This repertoire includes traditional dances such as the waltz, mazurka, schottische and polka, marches, song arrangements, and descriptive fantasies. This program, performed in period clothing, brings this unknown repertoire to modern ears. Throughout the program, excerpts from Confederate diaries, letters and memoirs are read recounting the moving effect of keyboard music in the home as well as the overwhelming grief resulting from the destruction of these prized possessions during the war.
Gail WagnerGail Wagner is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina and a respected paleoethnobotanist (one of the few in the Southeast). Her fields of study are the prehistoric archaeology of eastern North America and ethnobotany (the study of the interrelationships between plants and peoples). She is a veteran of archaeological projects in the Southwest, Israel, India, and South Carolina and has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Washington University.
Why do South Carolinians grow vegetables, and how does their ethnic background affect what they grow? You might be surprised to learn about the intangible benefits as voiced by local gardeners and to learn why some plants have special meaning.
Confitachequi: A Chiefdom
What is chiefdom, the type of society encountered by de Soto when he visited South Carolina in 1540? Find out what recent digs have revealed about the late prehistoric Indians who lived in Central South Carolina, in the vicinity of Camden.
Prehistoric Effects on the Landscape
Perhaps prehistoric Indians were not always guardians of the environment; past humans were managers of the landscape, often affecting the vegetation of the area. Find out how these groups modified their environment.
West Side Story
This exciting slide show looks at a late prehistoric (A.D. 1250) village in southwestern Ohio. The audience participates by trying to explain the intriguing distributions of structures, pits and artifacts. This talk actively involves the audience in becoming armchair archaeologists and is appropriate for all ages.
Use of Plants by American Indians
This slide show focuses on the uses of plants by Indians for food, drink, medicine, fiber, smoking, construction, even poison and is based on both archaeological evidence and historic accounts. The show can also be combined with a 1-2 hour outside walk and talk to examine local plants, or we can do a walk only, even in the city, with no slide show.
You might be surprised to learn that corn, beans, and squash were not always important and that eastern North American Indians once depended on the now-extinct crops of marshelder, goosefoot, and maygrass. Learn about Indian gardens through time and discover the role of women in the domestication process.
Can Nature Knowledge Save the World?
What are the implications of Videophilia and Nature Deficit Disorder for the future of our world? Studies of children and South Carolina college students reveal the relationship between knowing nature, knowing the names of plants, and conservation of biodiversity.
John WilliamsDr. John R. Williams has been a professor of English for twenty-five years at Spartanburg Methodist College, where he teaches Composition, Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and English as a Second Language. From 1970-1972, he spent two years in Tehran, Iran with the United States army as part of a military advisory group to the Shah. While there, he learned to speak fluent Farsi, served as a translator for a General, and traveled widely in Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. He is the author of numerous papers and articles, a major contributor to Our Appalachia: An Oral History as well as to Usable Pasts: Traditions and Group Expressions in North America. He has a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University and a M.A. in Literature from the University of Kentucky.
Stories From Our Mountain Heritage
This presentation revolves around numerous folk tales collected from Appalachian migrants to Cincinnati, Ohio. The focus of discussion is the deep-seated sense of place revealed in stories such as the Appalachian version of Cinderella. Similar to the stories of mill workers in South Carolina, these tales reflect the problems created by cultural and linguistic conflict.
Tales From the Mill Villages
Many traditions of South Carolina are being altered by modernization. With the advent of new technology and the need for more sophisticated transportation systems, the folklore of South Carolina is changing. For example, oral traditions relating to the mill village are yielding to those of modern industry. Also, folk arts such as Lowcountry basket weaving are changing to meet the demands of tourism and development. Storytelling itself, as the connective tissue of the community, has been drastically affected by television. As a result, regional identities are rapidly vanishing.
Legends and Ghost Stories from the South
The South has a rich tradition of literature that draws upon oral tradition for its substance. Legends, ghost stories, songs, foodways, customs, and unique dialects permeate the literature of South Carolina and other Southern states. By examining the works of various writers, we can appreciate the differences that make our region unique.
Understanding the Crisis in Iraq and Iran
This presentation focuses on the differences between the beliefs of Shiite Moslems and those of their neighbors, the Sunnis in Iraq. Dr. Williams spent two years in Iran studying the language and customs of this 2500-year-old nation. Understanding the roots of these customs, such as the manner in which holidays are celebrated, helps us appreciate the differences between our lives and theirs. While the focus of the discussion is primarily Iran, the background of the present situation in Iraq will also be addressed.
How To Collect Your Community Stories
This presentation focuses on Oral History and its value to a community. Dr. Williams will share stories from the Appalachian Oral History Project and the Great Smoky Mountains Project. In addition, he will discuss the theory and techniques behind designing a project in your own community. Participants will be asked to share their personal stories about their hometown.
Jack Tales from the Richard Chase Collection
In1983, while working as a scholar-in-residence for the Tennessee Committee for the Humanities, Dr. Williams had the opportunity to travel around upper east Tennessee with Richard Chase, the famous Jack Tale collector, for a week. During that time, he discussed Chase's dialect renditions of the Jack Tales he collected along with a number of Elizabethan forms of entertainment which Chase encountered in the mountains. Williams also taught English in Appalachian Kentucky in the 1970's where he studied Appalachian speech. He combines the stories Chase collected with his appreciation of mountain dialect to present Jack Tales in a highly entertaining fashion. He also adds a degree of scholarship to this presentation as a trained academic folklorist.