University of Mississippi

Ernesto Javier Martinez: “On the Queer Practice and Racial Politics of Intelligibility.” Thursday, 6 March, 6pm, Bondurant Auditorium

picture-52-024ee9967d1fcd59cc395c212ed26405Description: How do queers of color develop reliable knowledge about their lives and political possibilities despite being subject to the ideological violence of racist and homophobic societies? What importance do we attribute to the creative and subjective strategies queers of color employ to resist such violence and to negotiate levels of intelligibility, and what are the implications of such interventions for social theory?


Bio: Ernesto Javier Martinez is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon. He is an interdisciplinary literary critic interested in the ways that racial and sexual minorities in the United States acquire and produce knowledge in oppressive contexts. His research has been published in journals such as PMLASignsAztlán, and the International Journal of Diversity. He is the author of On Making Sense: Queer Race Narratives of Intelligibility (Stanford University Press, 2013). He is also the co-editor of two volumes: Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader (Duke University Press, 2011) and The Truly Diverse Faculty: New Dialogues in American Higher Education (Palgrave, forthcoming 2014).

The Works-in-Progress Seminar Series presents: Martyn Bone, Thursday, Feb. 20th 5-6pm.

Visiting Professor Martyn Bone will present “‘This Is the Place Where the New World Is’: Black Struggle from the U.S. South to the Global South in the Writing of John Oliver Killens” in the Hannah-Ford Room (Bondurant Hall 2nd Fl.) as part of the Spring 2014 Works-in-Progress Seminar Series.


In their 2001 special issue of American Literature announcing a “new southern studies,” Houston Baker and Dana Nelson cited John Oliver Killens’ definition of the United States as “Downsouth” and “Upsouth” alongside Malcolm X’s more well-known declaration that Mississippi is anywhere below the Canadian border in order to posit “the nuanced inseparability of North and South in any fruitful model of American cultural studies.” This presentation proposes that, in the years immediately before and through the publication of his second novel And Then We Heard The Thunder (1963), which narrowly missed out on that year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Killens not only put “the South” at the center of the nation, but also resituated it on transnational and black diasporic scales. As such, Killens’ writing not only has much to teach us about “the nuanced inseparability of North and South,” but also ways of situating both “Downsouth” and “Upsouth” within wider global–especially Global South—frameworks.


Dr. Martyn Bone is associate professor of American Literature at the University of Copenhagen, where he also coordinates the Center for Transnational American Studies. In the spring 2014 semester, he is a visiting professor in the Department of English at the University of Mississippi. He was previously an associate professor at the University of Mississippi (2011-2012) and lecturer in American studies at the University of Nottingham (2002-2003). He is the author of The Postsouthern Sense of Place in Contemporary Fiction (Louisiana State University Press, 2005) the editor of Perspectives on Barry Hannah (University Press of Mississippi, 2007); and the co-editor of a  three-volume mini-series with the University Press of Florida: The American South in the Atlantic World (2013), Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth Century South (2013), and Creating and Consuming the U.S. South (forthcoming).


The Works-in-Progress Seminar Series is hosted by the English Graduate Student Body and open to all. The seminars consist of a thirty-minute presentation followed by a Q & A discussion where feedback and further suggestions by both faculty and other graduate students are highly encouraged! A version of the material to be presented on will be sent out to those on the English Department listserve closer to the event. Those not on the listserve who would like a copy, or for more information about this or other Works-in-Progress series events, please contact


Congratulations, Ben McClelland on your latest publication!

Wild-Rose-copy-168x300“Lifesaving Labradors: Stories from Families with Diabetic Alert Dogs,” a collection of stories edited by Ben Mclelland.  Get the full story here.

The Edith Baine Lecture Series presents: “All Standing: Escape from Famine.” Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.

Kate MilesKathryn Miles is the author of All Standing (Simon and Schuster), which details the miraculous journeys of the famine ship Jeanie Johnston, and Adventures With Ari, a memoir recounting her year as a canine naturalist. Miles has also written about subjects that include Puerto Rican street food, eel poachers, homing pigeons, and lifesavers. Her writing has appeared in publications like Alimentum, Between Song and Story, Ecotone, History Outside, Meatpaper, and Terrain, where she is also an editorial board member and regular columnist. Her recent article on the sinking of the Bounty, “Sunk: The Incredible Truth About a Ship That Never Should Have Sailed,” was named a “must read” by The New Yorker, Longform, and The Daily Beast. Her book on the same subject will be published by Penguin in 2015.

Kathryn serves on the faculty of Chatham University’s low-residency MFA program. She is the founding editor of Hawk & Handsaw: The Journal of Creative Sustainability and is a scholar-in-residence for the Maine Humanities Council.  She was a professor at Unity College for 12 years, and has been a guest speaker at dozens of college and universities.

The Lecture will take place on November 20th at 7p.m at The Depot.

Patricia Smith Reading and Signing October 14th at 7p.m.

299_Smith_PatriciaPatricia Smith has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” She is the author of five books of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (2012), which won the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler (2008), a chronicle of the human and environmental cost of Hurricane Katrina which was nominated for a National Book Award; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a 2005 National Poetry Series selection published by Coffee House Press. Her poems have been published in The Paris Review and TriQuarterly, as well as many anthologies, including American Voices, The Spoken Word Revolution, and The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry. Smith also penned the critically acclaimed history Africans in America (1999) and the award-winning children’s book Janna and the Kings (2003). Her biography of Harriet Tubman, Fixed on a Furious Star, is forthcoming.

A four-time individual champion on the National Poetry Slam, Smith has also been a featured poet on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and has performed her work around the world. She has written and performed two one-woman plays, one of which was produced by Derek Walcott’s Trinidad Theater Workshop. She is a Cave Canem faculty member and has served as the Bruce McEver Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech University. She is currently a professor of English at CUNY/College of Staten Island and on faculty for the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. In 2006, Smith was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent.

The reading and signing will be on October 14th at 7p.m. in the Bondurant Auditorium.

Benjamin Bagby to Perform “Beowulf” on Halloween Night

Beowulf: The Epic in Performance


Bagby Poster (2)The Departments of English and Music announce a once-in-a-lifetime event coming to the University of Mississippi campus, as world-class performer Benjamin Bagby will sing the Old English epic poem Beowulf live, accompanied by Anglo-Saxon harp, on Thursday, October 31st at 7:30pm in Nutt Auditorium.  Mr. Bagby’s stunning reconstruction of this medieval work (accompanied by modern English supertitles) has been performed in concert from Carnegie Hall to Munich to Bruges, and has earned rave reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle, the Berkshire Review for the Arts, and the New York Times, which writes: “Mr. Bagby comes as close to holding hundreds of people in a spell as ever a man has…that is much too rare an experience in theater.”


Additionally, Mr. Bagby has generously agreed to discuss his craft of performing oral poetry and medieval music theory in a lecture entitled “Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon scop: A Visit to the Workshop of ‘A Singer of Tales,’” which will be held Wednesday, October 30th at 4:00pm in Nutt Auditorium.  Through the generous support of the University of Mississippi Lecture Series, the Department of Music, the Department of English, UM Opera Theatre, the Medieval Studies Minor, and Mr. Bagby himself, this event will be free of charge and open to the University of Mississippi community and the public.  For additional information, please contact Julia Aubrey ( or Lindy Brady (


The Edith Baine Lecture Series presents: “What Was Native American Literature?” Nov. 28 at 6 p.m.

Melanie Benson Taylor (Herring Pond Wampanoag), Associate Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth University will deliver her lecture, “What Was Native American Literature? Tribalism, Regionalism, and Comparativism, in the Age of Globalization” on November 28 at 6p.m. at The Depot.

Melanie Benson Taylor is a literary critic who specializes in U.S. Southern studies. She explored the intersections of Native, African American, white, and immigrant southern cultures in her first two books: Disturbing Calculations: The Economics of Identity in Postcolonial Southern Literature, 1912-2002 (2008) and Reconstructing the Native South: American Indian Literature and the Lost Cause (2012). She continues to examine the effects of economic anxiety on the construction of cultural identity and borders in two new books projects: Faulkner’s Doom interrogates the use of Indian tropes in William Faulkner’s modern South, and Indian Killers uncovers the phenomenon of violence and murder in texts by and about contemporary Native Americans.

This event is free an open to the public.


Denis Johnson, Fiction Writer, Wed. Sept. 25, 8pm Bondurant Auditorium

imagesDenis Johnson (born 1949) is an American author who is known for his short-story collection Jesus’ Son (1992) and his novel Tree of Smoke (2007), which won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.He also writes plays, poetry, and non-fiction. “Train Dreams”, a novella originally published in The Paris Review in 2002, was published as a novel in 2011 and was a finalist for that year’s Pulitzer Prize.


Congratulations, Joan, on your latest publication!

Conversations with Natasha Tretheway edited by Joan Wylie Hall.  See more here.9781617038792

Collecting the New Ecopoetry: A Conversation with Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street

9781595341464See the interview on the Orion blog here.