Scholars Delve Into Influence of European Empires on the American South

38th Annual Fortune Symposium commences Feb. 21-22

OXFORD, Miss. – The influence of European empires on the American South is the theme of a two-day symposium Feb. 21-22 at the University of Mississippi.

The 38th Annual Porter L. Fortune Jr. Symposium explores the different influences across the Atlantic on the South. Colonial American history expert Alejandra Dubcovsky opens the symposium with “New Networks, African Slaves and the Reimaging of Information in the Colonial South, 1720-39” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Overby Center Auditorium.
The free, public event is sponsored by the UM Department of History. A complete schedule is available at No registration is required.

The symposium is a major attraction for top scholars such as Dubcovsky, who converge at the university to share their research on the American South, said Joseph Ward, chair of the history department.

“The theme varies from year to year, and past symposiums have examined topics such as the Southern political tradition, childhood, religion and the role of gender in shaping public power,” Ward said. “This year, we will focus on how Spanish, French and British empires interacted with each other, with the native people, and how these empires influenced the U.S. South into the 19th century.”

Friday and Saturday sessions are slated for the Yerby Center beginning at 9 a.m.

Dubcovsky, assistant professor of history at Yale University, earned a bachelor’s and doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s in library and information science from San Jose State University. Her forthcoming book, tentatively titled “Colonial Communication, Networks of Information in the American South from Pre-Contact to 1740” (Harvard University Press), focuses on the acquisition and transmission of news in a pre-postal, pre-printing press colonial world.

The Fortune Symposium began as an annual conference on Southern history in 1975. In 1983, it was named for Porter L. Fortune Jr., chancellor emeritus, to honor his contributions to the success of the symposium.