WEST PLAINS, Mo. – “Isolation and Connections in the Ozarks” is the theme of the 10th annual Ozarks Studies Symposium set for Sept. 22-24 at the West Plains Civic Center.
The event celebrates various aspects of Ozarks culture through a variety of presentations and performances. Funding will be provided by the Ozarks Studies Symposium Committee, Missouri State University-West Plains’ academic affairs office, the West Plains Council on the Arts, and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
“This is a special year for the symposium in two ways: It’s our 10th anniversary, and we have a record number of presenters,” said Dr. Phillip Howerton, professor of English at Missouri State-West Plains and coordinator of the symposium. “There are 23 presentations on the program exploring a wide variety of topics, and popular author and speaker Abby Burnett is offering the keynote address, ‘Gone to the Grave: An Examination of Ozark Burial Practices, 1850-1950.’ The full reality of a place can never be depicted, and the Ozarks has often been purposely caricatured. In the shrinking world of this new millennium, all places and peoples must be understood better and taken seriously, and the presentations scheduled for the 2016 symposium look seriously at the Ozarks and explore how this one small corner of the Earth is, like most everywhere else, the crossroads of human experience.”
The symposium will begin with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, on the mezzanine at the West Plains Civic Center. The reception will feature work by four regional artists, Kelli Albin, Bruce Carr, Dennis Crider and Patty Ingalls, whose pieces make up the art exhibit “Isolation and Connections in the Ozarks,” which is being held in conjunction with the symposium. The reception is free and sponsored by the West Plains Council on the Arts, with financial support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.
The symposium’s keynote address will be given at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, by Abby Burnett, author of Gone to the Grave: Burial Customs of the Arkansas Ozarks, 1850-1950. In her presentation, “An Examination of Ozark Burial Practices, 1850 – 1950,” she will walk the audience through the old-time burial process by using early photographs, items from various museum collections, and photos she has taken in cemeteries across the Ozarks.
Other presentations during the two-day symposium include:
• “From Camp Clark to Laredo and Beyond: The Ozark Dawg Song and Group Solidarity” by
Dr. Sue Attalla, former associate professor of developmental English, Tulsa Community College.
• “Close Encounters in the Ozarks: The Exploration of Anomalous Experiences and Socialization in Eureka Springs, Arkansas” by Dr. Thomas Kersen, associate professor of sociology, Jackson State University.
• “At Wood’s Edge” by Dr. Craig Albin, professor of English, Missouri State-West Plains. Dr. Albin will read his short story “At Woods’ Edge” from his new short story collection Hard Toward Home.
• “Legends, Lore & Outlaws” by Kim McCully-Mobley, adjunct professor of English, Drury University.
• “Thomas Hart Benton in the Ozarks” by Steve Sitton, site administrator, Thomas Hart Benton Home State Historic Site.
• “Sandy and Wayne: A Novella” by Steve Yates, assistant director and marketing director, University Press of Mississippi.
• “Foreign Knowledge Economy in the Ozarks: Opportunities and Challenges” by Dr. Rajiv Thakur, associate professor of geography, Missouri State-West Plains.
• “Belonging to the Commune, but the Ozarks” by Dr. Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, senior instructor of English, Missouri State University.
• “Combat at Burnett Spring: Lessons for Ozarkers” by Lynn Morrow, former director of the Local Records Preservation Program, Missouri State Archives.
• “Ozark Political Dynasties: The Carnahan Family and Their Connections to Public Service” by Alex Primm, oral history and independent scholar.
• “Ozarks Outdoors: A Collection of Huntin’ and Fishin’ Folklore” by Mark Morgan, associate professor, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, University of Missouri-Columbia and Dr. Henry Hughes, professor of English, Western Oregon University.
• “Thomas Callahan: Ozark Cosmopolitan” by Dr. Jason McCollom, associate professor of history, Missouri State-West Plains.
• “Hipbillies and Guerilla Presses: Forging a Social Network across the Ozarks and Beyond in the 1970s” by Dr. Jared M. Phillips, adjunct professor of history, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.
• “Beyond the ‘Bluff Dweller’: Isolation and Connection in Prehistoric Bluff Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks” by Dr. Jamie C. Brandon and Lydia I. Rees, Arkansas Archeological Survey.
• “Isolated from the Church, Closer to Christ: Harold Bell Wright’s The Calling of Dan Matthews” by Dr. John J. Han, professor of English and creative writing and humanities chair, Missouri Baptist University.
• “Hardwood Hop: The Songs of Eric Bogwalker” by Eric Tumminia, adjunct professor of English, Missouri State-West Plains.
• “Isolation and Connection in the Ozarks: The Poetry of Miller Williams” by Dr. Brian Hardman, associate professor of English, University of the Ozarks.
• “This Land Isn’t Your Land: The Rhetoric of Public Land Acquisition on the Current and Eleven Point Rivers” by Dr. Steve Wiegenstein, program director for humanities, American Public University System.
• “William “Coin” Harvey and His Monte Ne Resort” by Allyn Lord, director, Shiloh Museum of Ozark History.
• “Life on the Fringes: The Desperate Reactions of Isolation and Marginalization in Daniel Woodrell’s Tomato Red and The Death of Sweet Mister” by Leslie Reed, English instructor, Arkansas State University.
• “From Myrtle to Dora” by Barbara Williams, art instructor, Missouri State-West Plains.
• “The History of Tree Roots: Poems” by Dr. Phillip Howerton, associate professor of English, Missouri State-West Plains.
For more information about the symposium, including a complete schedule of presentation times, visit the symposium website.