StarTalk Program Gives High School Students Education in Chinese

Classroom instruction, cultural activities create enjoyable summer learning experience

Students enrolled in Mississippi StarTalk, an intensive Chinese language camp on the Ole Miss campus, practice their Chinese reading and writing skills. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Thirty high school students from across the nation are learning how to fluently speak Mandarin Chinese thanks to an intense summer program at the University of Mississippi.

Mississippi StarTalk, which began June 28 and runs through July 28, is a federal program for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors. Besides studying Chinese inside and out of the classroom, students participate in a cultural program introducing them to China, its people and its culture.

All students who complete the program receive college and/or high school credit in Mandarin Chinese.

“The University of Mississippi has one of the premier undergraduate Chinese language programs in the country and it receives special federal funding to send students to study in China,” said Donald Dyer, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs and professor of Russian and linguistics in the College of Liberal Arts.

“Students who have become highly proficient speakers of Chinese during their high school and college careers will find themselves with unlimited career opportunities when they finish their education over the coming decade.”

In its 11th year, StarTalk provides three levels of instruction. Instructors are Lynn Tian, Yiwen “Abbie” Wang and Cheng-Fu Chen. Ole Miss Chinese students Liz Newsom, Dean Ramsey and Wesley Hale are serving as tutor-counselors.

“Ms. Tian teaches at the Hutchison (Middle) School in Memphis,” Dyer said. “Ms. Wang teaches at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, and Dr. Chen is joining our Chinese faculty this fall after several years of teaching at Framingham State University in Massachusetts.”

Days consist of classes, workshops and Summer College activities. Students learn Chinese calligraphy, cooking, paper cutting and Chinese tea culture. Other activities include dinner at a Chinese restaurant, shopping in a simulated Chinese market, tai qi (martial art) instruction and a panel on studying abroad in China.

“Mississippi StarTalk is a chance to begin or continue the study of Chinese under ideal circumstances and with opportunities to continue during the coming year and into college,” said Brendan Ryan, a UM Stamps leadership scholar who serves as program coordinator. Both Ryan and Hale participated in the StarTalk program in 2013 and 2012, respectively.

A mathematics and Chinese major, Ryan participated in the Fulbright Hayes Group Project Abroad in Xi’an, China and will return in August to partake in the Capstone year of the Chinese Flagship Program.

StarTalk program participants said they have benefitted already from being in the program.

“I love this program and its intensity,” said Mary Entrekin, a Level 1 student from Gulfport. “I catch myself saying things in Chinese that I did not think I knew how to say simply because of all of the exposure that I’m getting to the language and the culture.”

Entrekin said she plans to keep up her Chinese skills with a tutor since Chinese is not offered at her high school.

“I also plan to be able to communicate with Chinese-speaking students in a more efficient way,” she said. “I love learning foreign languages and their corresponding cultures, and this program was the perfect opportunity to do just that.”

Other StarTalk program participants are Robert Anderson, Cara Calhoun, Tabitha Ellis, Abigail Melssen and John Tichenor IV, all of Edmond, Oklahoma; Donald Beck of Sikeston, Missouri; Briana Berger Slowinski of Clinton; Aristide Brown and Yurik Warren, both of Charlotte, North Carolina; Rachel Cieplak of Culpeper, Virginia; Madison Conroy of Miami Beach, Florida; Johanna Cooper of Knoxville, Tennessee; Samantha Fabian of Omaha, Nebraska; Daniel Ferro of Rockville Centre, New York; Harrison Fox of Gulfport; Quinn Gordon of Brandon; Taliya Harman of Gaithersburg, Maryland; Sophia Hellams of Miami; Mackenzie Huffman of Houston; Ethan Joss of McLean, Virginia; Emily Lambert of Hattiesburg; Lucy Meehan of Worcester, New York; Madeline Meyer of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Avery Pearson of Dallas; Sophia Ranck of Eugene, Oregon; Sebastian Rouse of New Orleans; Olivia Saunders of Tallahassee, Florida; Francena Sekul of Biloxi; and Alex Yang of Appleton, Wisconsin.

UM offers the state’s only Mandarin Chinese degree program and is home to one of 12 Chinese Flagship programs in the U.S.

“We run one of the largest and most successful summer StarTalk programs in the country, from which we recruit excellent students for our flagship program,” Dyer said.

For more about UM’s Chinese Language Flagship Program, go to http://chinese.olemiss.edu/. For more about Mississippi StarTalk, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/youth/startalk/.

English Professor Wins Pushcart Prize for Best Essay

Chris Offutt also won Kentucky Literary Award for nonfiction this year

Chris Offutt. Photo by Sandra Dyas

OXFORD, Miss. – Even for someone who is already a respected, prize-winning author and screenwriter, winning the prestigious Pushcart Prize is a rewarding experience.

“The Pushcart Prize is a personal milestone,” said Chris Offutt, associate professor of English and screenwriting at the University of Mississippi. Offutt won the top annual literary honor for his essay “Trash Food,” originally published in Oxford American magazine.

“When I first started writing seriously, I read several volumes of the Pushcart Prize anthology in a public library,” he said. “It seemed far-fetched to imagine that one day I’d write something that would be in there. I’m still surprised that my commitment to writing has worked out.”

The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize that honors the best “poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot” published in the small presses over the previous year. Awarded annually since 1976, the prize is considered one of the most prestigious in its field.

Magazine and small press editors are invited to submit up to six works for consideration. Pushcart Press publishes annual anthologies of the winners. 

Offutt wrote the essay at the request of John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, which is part of the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. The essay is about race and class in the South – an issue of great importance to Offutt – and how it plays out in the food people eat.

“The award meant that I’d gotten my points across well,” he said. “It also meant more people would read it. According to the editor at Oxford American, the essay went viral online.”

Ivo Kamps, UM chair and professor of English, praised Offutt’s latest achievement.

“We’re very happy, though not surprised, that Chris Offutt has been chosen for the honor,” Kamps said. “Mr. Offutt is an accomplished and prolific writer, and winning a Pushcart Prize on the heels of the 2017 Kentucky Literary Award for a memoir about his father further underscores the power and far-reaching impact of his prose.

“For the last six years, he has been an enormous asset to our English department. It’s truly wonderful that our aspiring young writers can study with someone of his caliber and dedication.”

Offutt worked on the HBO drama “True Blood” and the Showtime series “Weeds.” His books include “Kentucky Straight,” “The Same River Twice,” “The Good Brother,” “Out of the Woods” and “No Heroes: A Memoir of Coming Home.”

His work has appeared in such anthologies as “The Best American Essays” and “The Best American Short Stories.”

“I’d like to express my deep appreciation to Ivo Kamps and to all my colleagues in literature and creative writing,” Offutt said. “I have found a home here – physically and intellectually. My experience of teaching here for the past six years has been terrific in every way.”

To read “Trash Food,” visit http://www.oxfordamerican.org/magazine/item/550-trash-food.

Whaling Research Leads UM Professor to Japan on Fulbright Award

Noell Wilson also plans to sail 40-foot vessel from Massachusetts to Japan

Noell Wilson. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi professor of history and international studies is headed to Japan on a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to work on a book about American whalers in the North Pacific in the 1800s.

Noell Wilson, chair of the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History and Croft associate professor of history and international studies, will travel to Sapporo, where she will be affiliated with Hokkaido University, for the 2017-18 academic year. She plans to complete archival work on a book about the experience of American whalers in Asia in the 1850s and 1860s, provisionally titled “The Birth of a Pacific Nation: Hokkaido and U.S. Whalers in Nineteenth Century Japan.”

Wilson said the award is immensely important because it will allow her to do the archival research, and also will help her find Japanese collaborators for a public history project she is planning with curators of the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

“While in Japan, my goal is to finish collecting manuscript documents and maps related to the U.S. whaling industry’s interactions with Japanese officials, merchants and sailors in the 1850s and 1860s to add an overlooked chapter to the early history of United States-Japan relations,” Wilson said. 

Wilson is among more than 800 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research and/or provide expertise abroad for the 2017-2018 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

The program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the world. It is funded through an annual appropriation made by Congress to the U.S. Department of State. 

The program was created in 1946 through legislation offered by the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, D-Ark., and it has given more than 370,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists opportunities to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Its alumni include 57 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who have received Pulitzer Prizes and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in history from Wake Forest University in 1994, Wilson spent a year with the Japanese Exchange and Teaching program in Hokkaido, Japan, before returning to complete a master’s degree in regional studies/East Asia in 1997 and a doctorate in history and East Asian languages in 2004, both at Harvard University.

Her first book, “Defensive Positions: The Politics of Maritime Security in Tokugawa Japan,” published in 2015, focused on the influence of coastal defense on early modern state formation.

Wilson is no mere “ivory tower scholar” as her interest in long-distance sailing is not purely academic, said Jeff Watt, who will serve as the history department’s acting chair while she is away. Wilson and her husband, Gary, are planning to retrace the route of the American whalers by sailing a 40-footer from New Bedford to Hakodate, Japan.

Wilson is a star among other historians of early modern Japan, Watt said. Her first book, which dealt with the politics of maritime security during the Tokugawa regime dynasty, was innovative and very well received, but her second project looks to be even more cutting edge, Watt said.

“Delving into both American and Japanese sources, she is researching the influence of 19th century American whalers on the transformation of Japan into a Pacific nation, a major maritime power that became more focused on the vast open sea rather than on Asia,” Watt said.

“Professor Wilson is the rare complete package: a brilliant scholar, motivating teacher, and exemplary citizen to the College of Liberal Arts and the University of Mississippi.”

UM Doctoral Student Attends NEH Institute in Washington, D.C.

Justin Rogers is studying Presbyterian missions to Native Americans in Mid-South

Justin Isaac Rogers, a doctoral student in history, is attending a National Endowment for the Humanities summer institute at the U.S. Library of Congress. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – A doctoral student in history at the University of Mississippi is among two graduate students nationally studying at a prestigious institute this summer in Washington, D.C.

Justin I. Rogers of Hurdle Mills, North Carolina, is exploring how Presbyterian missionaries influenced Native Americans in the Mid-South. He is attending “On Native Grounds: Studies of Native American Histories and the Land,” a three-week institute funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and co-sponsored by the Community College Humanities Association and the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.

Twenty-two faculty, including the two graduate students, from across the nation and from diverse humanities disciplines are working to enhance their teaching and research through the residency at the Library of Congress.

“I felt honored to be selected as one of two graduate students from across the nation and across humanities disciplines for this institute, and I was eager to take full advantage of the opportunities it presented to me,” Rogers said.

“The most personally and professionally rewarding aspect of the summer institute has been daily seminars in the historic Library of Congress spent discussing Native American history and studies scholarship with peers and visiting faculty from across the humanities and social sciences.”

Ten visiting scholars in the field of Native American ethnohistory are sharing their groundbreaking research concerning Native American issues of land, sovereignty, culture and identity. Summer fellows have access to all collections.

Rogers’ research analyzes Presbyterian missions to Chickasaw Indians in north Mississippi, southwestern Tennessee and northwestern Alabama. He also examines how elite Chickasaws and Euro-Americans helped encode racial distinctions into court precedent and Mississippi law that reinforced associations of blackness with enslavement and whiteness with property holding during the 1820s and 1830s.

“Through the seminar discussions, I have been reminded about the importance of studying Native Americans, African-Americans, white Americans and race in the South, which I plan to do in my dissertation,” he said.

The institute’s emphasis on in-person access to resources allows Rogers to augment his existing source base with first editions of travelers’ accounts, church records and mission reports, as well as artifacts and manuscripts that pertain to the Chickasaw people in 19th-century Mississippi. Rogers said his seminar experience will both advance his scholarship and improve his classroom teaching.

Rogers, who earned his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from North Carolina State University, said that the courses he has taught at Ole Miss, as well as those he has developed for the future, focus on indigenous people’s experiences and perspectives and how they transform wider narratives of United States history.

One new course Rogers has developed will contextualize the historical experiences of Native Americans alongside changing notions of race, nation, culture and religion.

“I tend to emphasize the local histories of the Native American groups who inhabited and once inhabited Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee,” he said. “The institute’s kaleidoscopic regional range, however, will allow me to more fully incorporate issues of land, sovereignty, culture and identity in the Great Lakes, the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest.”

UM administrators and faculty said Rogers’ selection for the summer institute is well-deserved.

“A ferocious work ethic combined with a fantastic topic and elegant writing paved the way for Justin’s success in applying for prestigious research fellowships at the national level,” said Elizabeth Payne, UM professor of history. “In addition, he organized a panel session at the Southern Historical Association and presented a paper at the Society for Historians of Early American History about his research.

“Because of his work with these organizations, historians across the country know about and appreciate his work on north Mississippi as a tri-racial society.”

For more information about UM’s Arch Dalrymple III Department of History, visit http://history.olemiss.edu/. For more information about the NEH Summer Seminar Program, go to http://nativegrounds2017.com/.

Annual Conference to Explore ‘Faulkner and Money’

July 23-27 event expected to draw hundreds from around the globe

William Faulkner’s typewriter, along with copies of a few of his best-selling novels and those of some of his African-American contemporaries, are on display at Rowan Oak. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – “Faulkner and Money: The Economies of Yoknapatawpha and Beyond” is the theme for the University of Mississippi’s 44th annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference, set for July 23-27.

Five days of lectures, panels, tours, exhibits and other presentations will explore the multifaceted economies of Yoknapatawpha County, the Faulkner oeuvre and the literary profession. Besides three keynote lectures, the conference program will include panel presentations, guided daylong tours of north Mississippi and the Delta, and sessions on “Teaching Faulkner.”

“This year’s theme was actually suggested a decade or more ago by one of the legendary figures of Faulkner studies, the late Noel Polk, who often mentioned how fascinating, and entertaining, a conference would be on Faulkner and money,” said Jay Watson, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies and professor of English who serves as director of the conference.

“More recently, the program committee had contemplated building a conference around the slightly wider theme of Faulkner and economics. So two years ago, we decided to combine both the specific subject of money and the more general topic of economics and came up with ‘Faulkner and Money: The Economies of Yoknapatawpha.'”

This year’s subject is rewarding for a number of reasons, Watson said.

“First of all, William Faulkner spent his first 25 years or more as a serious writer of fiction in almost constant financial difficulty,” he said. “He had trouble supporting his extended family off his writing alone, and he worried all the time about money.

“His own financial arrangements, both personal and professional, his relationship to the literary marketplace and his search for other sources of income available to established writers all have the potential to shed important light on the profession of authorship in 20th century America.”

Additionally, and for some of the same reasons, Faulkner’s fiction is especially rich in economic content: money problems, elaborate business arrangements, convoluted bets and wagers, get-rich-quick schemes and con games.

“His people – and sometimes individual characters – run the gamut from enormous wealth to miserable poverty,” Watson said. “Many are unduly preoccupied with money, much like their creator.

“There’s a lot to learn from Faulkner’s work about the economics of rural and small-town life, of the South and of modern America. We’ll be exploring all of these issues in July.”

This bronze statue of William Faulkner near City Hall is a popular attraction for Faulkner enthusiasts visiting Oxford. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications.

The conference will begin with a reception at the University Museum, after which the academic program of the conference will open with two keynote addresses, followed by a buffet supper on the grounds of Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak. Over the next four days, a busy schedule of lectures and panels also includes an afternoon cocktail reception, a picnic at Rowan Oak, the guided tours and a closing party on Thursday afternoon.

The “Teaching Faulkner” sessions will be led by James B. Carothers, of the University of Kansas; Terrell L. Tebbetts, Lyon College; Brian McDonald, Lancaster, Pennsylvania School District; Charles Peek, University of Nebraska at Kearney; and Theresa M. Towner, University of Texas at Dallas.

Throughout the conference, the university’s J.D. Williams Library will display Faulkner books, manuscripts, photographs and memorabilia. The University Press of Mississippi will exhibit books of interest published by university presses throughout the country.

Faulkner collector Seth Berner is organizing a display of his collection, with books for sale. Berner also will give a brown bag lunch presentation on “Collecting Faulkner.”

Also, collaborators on the Digital Yoknapatawpha Project, a database and digital mapping project at the University of Virginia, will present updates on its progress at a special conference session.

The conference early registration fee, good through June, is $150 for students and $275 for other participants. After July 1, the fee is $175 for students and $300 for others.

To register or for more information, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/events/faulkner/.

History Professor Heads to Amsterdam for EURIAS Fellowship

Nicolas Trépanier plans to use time to collaborate with European colleagues and work on book

Nicolas Trépanier, UM associate professor of history, has received a European Institutes for Advanced Study fellowship. Photo Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Nicolas Trépanier, associate professor in the University of Mississippi’s Arch Dalrymple III Department of History, has received a yearlong research fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Amsterdam.

Trépanier was awarded the European Institutes for Advanced Study fellowship, which brings together scholars in a variety of disciplines, ranging from neurology to art history and from journalism to philosophy. Their projects are not connected to one other, but the fellows are expected to interact. 

The idea behind the EURIAS model is that creative thinkers will benefit from being exposed to other creative thinkers in fields that are unfamiliar to them. 

Trépanier says he’s grateful to EURIAS for the opportunity to collaborate with such an esteemed group. 

“Spending a year at NIAS will allow me to concentrate on that research on a full-time basis, so it’s likely to be very important in the advancement of my research career,” Trépanier said. “It will also allow me to work with a few archaeologists I know in the Netherlands, which is also a precious opportunity because historians in my field rarely engage in such collaborations.”

EURIAS’ fellowship program is part of the Network of European Institutes for Advanced Study, which brings together 22 institutes across Europe. Within the network, more than 500 researchers are hosted every year for up to one full academic year, with the goal of creating international and multidisciplinary learning communities.

Trépanier holds a doctorate in Middle Eastern studies/history from Harvard University. His first book, “Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia: A New Social History” explores the daily experiences of ordinary folk through the various parts that food played in their lives: from agricultural production to religious fasting and from commercial exchanges to meal schedules.

The fellowship will give him a chance to work on a second book, also focused on Anatolia, in medieval Turkey. This work explores the idea of landscapes, how people living at that time perceived the territory around them and what were the differences in perception between travelers, political elites, peasants and others. 

Trépanier is an exceptional scholar and teacher whose theoretical innovation and productivity in research places him within the top tier of an already accomplished Ole Miss faculty, said Noell Wilson, interim chair and associate professor of history and international studies. 

“His cross-disciplinary study of landscape in medieval Anatolia engages projects of colleagues not only within his home discipline of history, but in archaeology and the broader digital humanities,” Wilson said. “We are thrilled to see international recognition for his work beyond the U.S. academy, and the broader department will benefit from Professor Trépanier’s role as an intellectual bridge between Oxford and European scholars.”

University to Provide STEM Experience for Young Women

$20,000 grant will support environmental education in the Oxford community

Young women watch as the structural integrity of their popsicle stick tower is tested during last year’s STEM Camp for Girls on the UM campus. A grant from LRNG will allow Ole Miss educators to expand on programs such as this to provide STEM opportunities for Oxford youth. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will offer an opportunity for young women in the Lafayette-Oxford-University community to experience hands-on science technology, engineering and math research while exploring their local environment. 

Ellen Shelton, director of pre-college programs for the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, has been awarded a $20,000 grant to support a project to reimagine traditional education, specifically for young women interested in STEM fields. 

Shelton’s proposal, titled “Green is the New Pink: Young Women Environmentalists in Action,” will focus on exploring environmental issues in a local context, beginning this fall. A collaboration among the Office of Pre-College Programs, the UM Writing Project and Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, the program will introduce real-world research strategies and generate curiosity about the natural environment, Shelton said.

“Even though Mississippi is predominantly a rural state, with more than 56 percent of students living in rural areas, we rarely take time to explore and appreciate the immediate environment beyond our classroom and office walls,” Shelton said. “The program’s intense focus on area birds, plants, and insects will reinforce the interconnectivity of all habitats and creatures in an environment.

“The participants will learn to explore the world around them; they will understand that great inquiry starts in the local space.”

In August, students in grades 8 to 11 can apply for the program and will participate in it on four Saturdays throughout the academic year. The cross-disciplinary partnership between English and science will allow students to conduct their own research, create a project and deliver a presentation.

Students will be guided through four field experiences of data collection, data exploration, analysis and interpretation of data, and drawing conclusions. In the fall, students will focus on migration patterns and the impact of birds in north Mississippi by visiting Strawberry Plains and exploring the forests, wetlands and prairies of the area. In the spring, students will observe plants and insects while learning how each help the local environment and how climate change affects plants. 

The award, a grant from the LRNG (short for learning) Educator Innovator Challenge, will connect learning with student interests. Shelton’s proposal was among only 10 chosen for funding, which will support 12 to 15 young women and their research into environmental inquiries.

This program is an extension of the STEM Camp for Girls, created several years ago at Ole Miss.

“Our goal in pre-college programs is to make spaces for all students to explore any opportunity that they wish,” Shelton said. “We are excited about this funding because our goal is to continue support for young women scientists as they move from Ecology Day Camp into STEM Camp for Girls to Green is the New Pink and then into more of our STEM summer offerings: Environmental Conservation Leadership Workshop, Code Monkeys Camp, Engineering Camp, Summer College or UM’s ARISE program.”

Scott Knight, director of the UM Field Station, is co-investigator on the grant and will work alongside Shelton with Oxford High School teacher Angela Whaley, Oxford Middle School teacher Martha Tallent and Lafayette Middle School teacher Katie Szabo to enhance education for students.

“Because science, engineering and math are often perceived as hard subjects, it can be a pretty tough sell to convince young people to consider careers in STEM,” Knight said. “This program will demonstrate, through hands-on participation, that while science can sometimes be challenging, the chance to discover something new is fun, rewarding and well worth all the hard work.”

Funding for the project comes from the support of the National Writing Project, John Legend’s Show Me Campaign, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Collective Shift.

J.D. Williams Library Hosts Opening Reception for Bicentennial Exhibit

Reception includes keynote address by UM alumnus and author W. Ralph Eubanks

Greg Johnson arranges an exhibit featuring the Mississippi Bicentennial at the Archives and Special Collections in J.D. Williams Library. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Department of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library will host an opening reception for the exhibit “Mississippi: 200 Years of Statehood” from 5 to 7 p.m. June 21.

The exhibit features a wide variety of items that defined Mississippi over the course of its history, including historical Mississippi textbooks, early territorial documents, 18th-century maps of the South by European cartographers, materials related to the women’s suffrage movement and civil rights movement in the state, sound recordings, Mississippi-themed sheet music and photographs of the state throughout the years.

The reception includes a welcome from Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, a video statement from former Mississippi Gov. William Winter and a keynote address by W. Ralph Eubanks, UM alumnus and author. The event will be held in the Faulkner Room within Special Collections on the third floor of the library. It is free and open to the public.

“The UM Libraries are deeply honored to participate and host an event on such an important anniversary for the state,” said Cecilia Botero, dean of libraries.

The opening reception is one of many events of the week that celebrates Mississippi’s bicentennial in the northern part of state. On June 19, the library will host a brown bag luncheon at noon in Special Collections featuring the publication of The Mississippi Encyclopedia with remarks by editors Ted Ownby, Charles Reagan Wilson and Jimmy Thomas, in addition to several contributors from the library.

“The week of June 19th in north Mississippi is a very special one for the region, and Special Collections is proud to be able to contribute to the exciting programming schedule,” said Jennifer Ford, head of special collections. “We are deeply indebted to the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, former Gov. William Winter and W. Ralph Eubanks for helping us to create such a great lineup of events in the archives that week highlighting the state’s bicentennial.”

On June 24, the Governor’s Concert in celebration of the bicentennial will be held on the Grove Stage headlined by country and Americana artist Marty Stuart. In addition, Special Collection’s bicentennial exhibit will have special public viewing hours from noon to 4:30 p.m. that day in honor of the festivities.

For more information about events at the J.D. Williams Library, contact Jennifer Ford at 662-915-7408 or archivesdept@olemiss.edu.

The official bicentennial exhibit reception for the library was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the Mississippi Development Authority.

To learn more about Mississippi’s bicentennial celebration, visit http://200.visitmississippi.org/.


Former Mississippi Governor William Winter comments on the significance of celebrating the bicentennial through the “Mississippi: 200 Years of History” exhibit at the J.D. Williams Library.

 

UM Visiting Professor Receives Summer Scholar Award to Vassar

Jaime Cantrell will spend three weeks studying poet Elizabeth Bishop

Jaime Cantrell, visiting assistant professor of English and faculty affiliate to the Sarah Isom Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, is studying American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Vassar University this summer. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi English professor is the recipient of a prestigious scholarship award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Jaime Cantrell, visiting assistant professor of English and faculty affiliate at the university’s Sarah Isom Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, has been selected as an NEH Summer Scholar from a national applicant pool to attend one of 24 seminars and institutes.

Cantrell will participate in “Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive,” a three-week program directed by Bethany Hicok at Vassar College. Each of the 16 educators selected to participate receive a stipend of $2,700 to cover their travel, study and living expenses.

“My reasons for participating in the ‘Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive’ NEH summer institute are interwoven,” Cantrell said. “Archival research encompasses both bodies of knowledge and embodied experiences, and I am interested in how framing ‘Bishop As Archival Theorist’ begs affective inquiries about our relationship as scholars to the literary archival past – even as it reveals reinvigorated attenuations to space, emotions and material method.”

Bishop was an American poet and author who served as a consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress in 1949-50 and won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1956 and a National Book Award in 1970.

Although Cantrell herself is not a Bishop expert, she’s a 20th century Americanist.

“In my American lit large lecture courses, students close read Bishop’s ‘One Art’ and ‘In the Waiting Room’ alongside other post-1945 female poets and their works, including Adrienne Rich’s ‘Diving Into the Wreck’ and Sylvia Plath’s ‘Daddy’ and ‘Morning Song,'” Cantrell said.

In her literary criticism courses, Cantrell stresses to students that developing the analytical skills for reading theory deeply and considering how texts continue to resonate can be difficult.

“I think, perhaps, admitting or even confessing our inner amateurs is critically germane to the evolution of our profession and to the excellence of our pedagogy,” she said. “Like our students, we don’t come to the classroom – or in this case, seminar – to learn what we already know.”

Each summer, the NEH supports these enrichment opportunities at colleges, universities and cultural institutions to allow faculty to work in collaboration and study with experts in humanities disciplines.

Cantrell said her strong desire to participate in this NEH summer seminar extends beyond pedagogical practices and into her own scholarly interests.

“As an interpreter of the humanities, I believe the slippages, overlaps and ambiguities between those (unstable) identities – teacher and researcher – are where radical potentialities lie,” she said.

Cantrell’s recognition speaks to her own achievement and those of the Ole Miss English department, said Ivo Kamps, UM chair and professor of English.

“Selection to NEH seminars is highly competitive, and it is to Dr. Cantrell’s credit that she has been chosen,” he said. “The National Endowment for the Humanities is perhaps the most important national agency to support the scholarship of English professors, and we are proud that the NEH has selected visiting professor Jaime Cantrell for one of its prestigious summer seminars.”

Cantrell also teaches specialized cross-listed courses in English and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, including Queer Theory, LGBTQ Literatures, Introduction to Gender Studies, Gender and Culture and Women in Literature.

She earned her master’s degree in women’s studies from the University of Alabama and her doctorate in English literature with a graduate concentration in women’s and gender studies from Louisiana State University. She has been awarded library and research grants from Cornell University, Duke University and the NEH.

Cantrell is the author of essays and reviews appearing in Feminist Formations, The Journal of Lesbian Studies, Study the South, Notches: (re)marks on the history of sexuality, “This Book is An Action: Feminist Print Culture and Activist Aesthetics” (UIP Press, 2015), “The Bohemian South: Creating Countercultures, from Poe to Punk” (UNC Press, 2017) and the Journal of Homosexuality.

She co-edited “Out of the Closet, Into the Archive: Researching Sexual Histories” (SUNY Press, Queer Politics and Cultures series, 2015). “Out of the Closet, Into the Archives” is a 2016 Lambda Literary Award finalist for Best LGBT Anthology.

The approximately 537 NEH Summer Scholars who participate in these programs of study will teach more than 93,975 American students the following year.

For more information about the UM Department of English, visit http://english.olemiss.edu/.

For more information about the Sarah Isom Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, go to http://sarahisomcenter.org/.

Gretchen Bunde Named Kramer Award Outstanding Teacher

Students nominated composition and rhetoric instructor for her excellence in teaching

Jane Magruder Walman, who represents the family of the Kramer Endowment (left) is pictured with Kramer Award recipient Gretchen Bunde and Chair of the Department of Writing and Rhetoric Robert Cummings. Thomas Graning/University Communications.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Department of Writing and Rhetoric awarded the X.A. Kramer Jr. Award for Outstanding Teacher to Gretchen Bunde.

Bunde, an instructor in composition and rhetoric, was nominated by numerous students for her long history of excellence in teaching.

“Gretchen dedicates herself to improving the writing and thinking of her students,” said Alice Johnston Myatt, assistant chair of the Department of Writing and Rhetoric and chair of the awards committee. “Her work as an exemplary writing instructor goes beyond the classroom.”

Bunde also leads a teaching circle to support professional development of teachers and serves on several committees, including curriculum, assessment and planning, Myatt said.

“I was surprised and humbled to receive the Kramer award,” Bunde said. “The DWR is filled with extraordinary educators, and I know that working with them makes me a better teacher every day.

“I’m so glad to know that my students can tell how much I care and genuinely enjoy teaching them how to become better writers.”

In their nominations, students highlighted that Bunde instilled confidence in their writing abilities, encouraged active learning and built a community in her classroom.

“With the frequency of each paper, I was able to expand my writing abilities with practice,” one student said. “The way in which she organizes her assignments helps me to create and develop good papers.”

Another student highlighted the safe environment Bunde creates for open dialogue.

“She always had group discussions and encouraged everyone to respond,” the student wrote. “She would ask us to respond to recent events in pop culture and the world around us, and then asked us to propose a solution.

“It really made me think about myself and the choices I had made in the past that may have not been the best.”

The award includes a $1,000 stipend and engraved crystal memento.

Bae Magruder established the Kramer award in 1986 in memory of her brother, X.A. Kramer Jr. The Kramer endowment supports the university’s writing and rhetoric program.

Nominations for the award open Feb. 1 of each year for instructors who taught in the preceding calendar year.