WEST PLAINS, Mo. – “Marginal Voices of the Ozarks” is the theme of the 11th annual Ozarks Studies Symposium set for Sept. 21-23 at the West Plains Civic Center.
Hosted by Missouri State University-West Plains, the event celebrates various aspects of Ozarks culture through a variety of presentations and performances. Funding is provided by Missouri State-West Plains’ Annual Fund, the West Plains Council on the Arts and Carol Silvey, West Plains, a long-time history professor and director of development at Missouri State-West Plains and current member of the Missouri State University Board of Governors.
“Ozark history and culture have often been marginalized in the larger American story, and within the Ozarks different groups, peoples and movements themselves have been marginalized, overlooked and forgotten. This year’s symposium aims to pull back the curtain,” said Dr. Jason McCollom, assistant professor of history at Missouri State-West Plains and coordinator of the symposium.
“There will be a great variety of long-hidden stories, overlooked music and unexplored culture placed under the microscope,” he added. “(Professor of English) Dr. Phil Howerton built up and maintained the symposium, and I’m excited to follow in his footsteps and continue this tradition.”
OPENING RECEPTION SEPT. 21
The symposium will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, with a free opening reception at the Gallery at the Center on the civic center’s mezzanine sponsored by the West Plains Council on the Arts, with partial funding from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. Those attending can view the exhibit “Ventures in Art – Mixed Media” featuring works by area artists, several of whom will be on hand to discuss their pieces. Refreshments will be served.
The symposium’s keynote address will be given at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, by Susan Young, outreach coordinator at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale, Arkansas. Young’s presentation, “Good Times and Sorrow: An Oral History Project,” will highlight stories of Ozark women whose common threads of family devotion, a strong work ethic, courage in the face of loneliness, and an abiding faith in the Lord provide a fascinating window through which to examine the region.
Young is a lifelong resident of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and a fifth-generation Ozarker. She is the author of So Big, This Little Place, a history of the founding of Tontitown, Arkansas, and editor of Memories I Can’t Let Go Of, a collection of life stories from this same community. Young serves on the boards of the Arkansas Historical Association and the Ozark Folk Cultural Center Commission.
OTHER SYMPOSIUM PRESENTATIONS
• “Not Coming Gently: Hipbilly Babies, Small Farm Voices, and Environmental Advocacy” by Dr. Jared Phillips, clinical assistant professor, University of Arkansas;
• “From the Outside to the Margin: German Jewish Refugees in the Ozarks” by Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, senior instructor, English Department, Missouri State University;
• “The Purple People of the Ozarks” by Dr. Thomas Kersen, associate professor of sociology, Jackson State University;
• “‘Refugee’ Bradford & Backcountry Radicals” by Lynn Morrow, former director of the Local Records Preservation Program, Missouri State Archives;
• “‘Paranoid People’: Live Original Songs by Creek Stink” by Eric Tumminia, adjunct professor of English, Missouri State-West Plains;
• “The Legend of the Albino Farm” by Steve Yates, associate director/marketing director, University Press of Mississippi;
• “A ‘whole ‘nother side of life:’ Setting as Character in Daniel Woodrell’s Ozarks Novels” by Carla Kirchner, assistant professor of language and literature, Southwest Baptist University;
• “Broken” by Diana Fox Bentele, former writing instructor at Missouri State University, Ozarks Technical Community College and Lebanon Technical & Career Center;
• “Will and Testament” by Dr. Craig Albin, professor of English, Missouri State-West Plains;
• “A Journal of Ozarkian Gothic” by Stanley Fick and Andrew Dietz, creators of Feral;
• “A Wind from the East: Haiku in the Ozarks” by Dr. John J. Han, professor of English and creative writing, Missouri Baptist University;
• “Towards an African-American History of Olden and West Plains, Missouri” by McCollom and Dave Malone, author of Ottawa University: 150 Years of Significance;
• “The Language of Trees” by Dr. Steve Weigenstein, author of Slant of Light: This Old World and The Language of Trees;
• “Parlor Music and Musicianship in Early Springfield, Missouri” by Dr. James S. Baumlin, distinguished professor of English, Missouri State University;
• “The War on Poverty and a Closer Look at Anti-Government Defiance in the Arkansas Ozarks, 1960s-70s” by Dr. Blake Perkins, assistant professor of history, Williams Baptist College;
• “Dr. W.A. Jaquith and His 1906 Tour of the Ozarks” by Tim Nutt, director of Historical Research Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences;
• “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, instructor of English, Arkansas State University.
For more information about the symposium, including a complete schedule of presentation times, visit http://ozarksymposium.wp.missouristate.edu/.