Hosted by Missouri State University-West Plains, the event celebrates various aspects of Ozarks culture and history through a variety of presentations and performances. Funding is provided by Missouri State-West Plains’ Philanthropic Women for Education; the West Plains Council on the Arts; the University of Arkansas Press; and Carol Silvey, West Plains, a long-time history professor and former director of development at Missouri State-West Plains and current member of the Missouri State University Board of Governors.
“The 12th annual symposium focuses on social aspects of the Ozarks,” said Dr. Jason McCollom, assistant professor of history at Missouri State-West Plains and coordinator of the symposium. “Presenters will explore topics as varied as religious communities, popular literature and music, people’s relationship to the land, and much more.
The Journey of Schoolcraft symposium also a part of the event
“In honor of the bicentennial of Henry Schoolcraft’s exploration of the Ozarks, we are also pleased to host the Missouri Archaeological Society and their symposium, ‘The Journey of Schoolcraft.’ It’s an exciting collaboration,” he added. “And the public is invited to a social hour at Wages Brewing Company starting at 7 p.m. on Sept. 21. Our presenters will be there to enjoy conversation, drinks, food and music by local band Creek Stink.”
The symposium will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, with a free opening reception at the Gallery at the Center on the civic center’s mezzanine. The event is 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 “Rocks and Red Clay” by local artist Barbara Williams. Refreshments will be served.
Keynote address set for Friday evening
The symposium’s keynote address will be given at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, by Dr. Brian D. Walter, professor of English at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. His presentation, “Sage and Osage: Donald Harington and the Long History of the Ozarks,” examines how the work of the “Faulkner of the Ozarks” dealt with the Native American presence in the region.
Walter’s book, “The Guestroom Novelist: A Donald Harington Miscellany,” is expected in spring 2019 from the University of Arkansas Press, which also distributes his two feature documentaries, “Stay More: The World of Donald Harington” (2013) and “Farther Along: The World of Donald Harington, Pt. 2” (2015), which have screened at film and literary festivals.
His work also appeared in, among others, Boulevard, The Southern Quarterly, North Dakota Quarterly and CineAction. His areas of scholarly interest include modern English and American literature, the novel, film and literature, children’s film and literature, and the Holocaust.
Other presentations during the symposium include:
- “Adventures of a Nature Novice: Henry Rowe Schoolcraft in the Ozarks” by Dr. Mark Morgan, associate professor, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri;
- “The First Families: Foundation of the Jewish Ozarks” by Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, D.S., senior instructor, English Department, Missouri State University, and president of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association;
- “Spiritual Medicine in the Hills: The Catholic Churches, Hospitals and Communities of the Arkansas Ozarks” by Timothy G. Nutt, director of the Historical Research Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences;
- “At the Source: Stories of the Hires, Wilson, Kilby, McKedy and Williams Families in Taney County” by Dr. Kevin L. Jones, associate professor of English, rhetoric and writing, University of Arkansas-Fort Smith;
- “The Gettysburg of the West: The Utility of Public Archaeology to Supplement and Enhance Public Interpretation and the Reversal of Ozark Stereotypes at Pea Ridge National Military Park” by Jamie Middleton, University of Arkansas;
- “The Captain and the Judge: Building Camps, Forts, Dams, Bridges and Character Across the Ozarks” by Lisa Irle, former curator, Johnson County Historical Society, Warrensburg;
- “Harold Bell Wright as an Inspiration for Guy Howard and Ronald Reagan” by Dr. John J. Han, professor of English and creative writing, Missouri Baptist University;
- “Debating Social Foundations in Parson Brooks: A Plumb Powerful Hardshell” by Dr. Phil Howerton, professor of English, Missouri State University-West Plains;
- “Rugged Terrains and Wilderness Arcadias: A Comparison of Missouri’s Rougher and Flatter Counties” by Dr. Benjamin G. Rader, James L. Sellers Professor of History, emeritus, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Dr. Roger D. Kirby, professor of physics, emeritus, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Dr. John Comer, professor of political science, emeritus, University of Nebraska-Lincoln;
- “A Biography of H.R. Schoolcraft and His Visit to the Lead Source Near Springfield” by Dr. Michael J. Fuller, professor emeritus of anthropology, St. Louis Community College;
- “Utilizing GIS Technology to Trace the Route of Schoolcraft’s Journey” by Curtis Copeland, G.I.S.P., geographic information systems coordinator, City of Branson;
- “In Search of an Osage Indian Hunting Camp” by Jack H. Ray, assistant director, Center for Archaeological Research, Missouri State University;
- “Schoolcraft at Smallin Cave: Then and Now” by Eric Fuller, archaeologist, Smallin Civil War Cave;
- “The Widow Harris Cabin” by Jennifer A. Rideout, project supervisor, Center for Archaeological Research, Missouri State University;
- “On the Trail of H.R. Schoolcraft in Southeast Missouri” by Rusty Weisman, senior historic preservation specialist, Missouri Department of Transportation;
- “Here or There: Community and the Ease of Navigating the Criminal World in Daniel Woodrell’s ‘Winter’s Bone’ and ‘Give Us a Kiss’” by Leslie Reed, instructor of English, Arkansas State University;
- “The Witch and the Wizard: Writing Ozark Characters in Contemporary Fiction” by Carla Kirchner, assistant professor of language and literature, Southwest Baptist University;
- “When Electric Music Came to Arkansas” by Dr. Thomas Kersen, associate professor of sociology, Jackson State University;
- “The Social Panoply of the Ozarks: Appreciating the Writing of John Mort” by Dr. Steve Wiegenstein, author of “Slant of Light,” “This Old World” and “The Language of Trees”;
- “Mountain Midwives: Midwifery Practice and Culture in the Arkansas Ozarks During the 20th Century” by Dr. Jared Phillips, clinical assistant professor, University of Arkansas;
- “Rose of Sharon” by Dr. Craig Albin, professor of English, Missouri State University-West Plains;
- “In Search of Schoolcraft: The Hunt for Potato Cave and the Role of the Unlock the Ozarks Project” by Dr. Jason McCollom, assistant professor of history, Missouri State University-West Plains, and Jim McFarland, Trillium Trust.
For more information about the symposium, including a complete schedule of presentation times, visit the event website.