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Noted authors gather for CCU's 'Writing the South'

January 21, 2011

More than 25 authors will discuss their craft at "Writing the South in Fact, Fiction and Poetry," a symposium scheduled for Feb. 17 to 19 at Coastal Carolina University. The three-day event in Wall Auditorium will feature three Pulitzer Prize winners and an Emmy recipient. The sessions are free and open to the public.

The conference has been organized as a tribute to the career of Charles Joyner, a CCU history professor from 1980 to 2006, former president of the Southern Historical Association and author of "Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community."

Joyner, who is now retired, was the first Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Southern History and Culture and the founding director of the Waccamaw Center for Historical and Cultural Studies at CCU. He received the Humanities Councils Governors Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities for his contributions to public understanding of Southern history and culture.

The conference opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17 with a video presentation from Joyner on his career, researching and interviewing Southern subjects for his cultural and historical projects. The final event of the symposium on Saturday will feature a talk from S.C. historian Walter Edgar whose topic is "Teaching South Carolina History in South Carolina."

The conference was organized by Vernon Burton, a distinguished Abraham Lincoln scholar and internationally known historian. Burton, who is president-elect of the Southern Historical Association, was formerly director of CCU's Waccamaw Center for Historical and Cultural Studies and is currently at Clemson University.

The first session, on Friday from 8:30 to 10:15 a.m., will feature:

Josephine Humphreys, a Charleston writer whose novels include "Dreams of Sleep," which won the PEN-Hemingway Award; "Rich in Love," which was adapted for a film; and "Nowhere Else on Earth," winner of the Southern Book Award.

Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Richard J. Milbauer Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida and visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University, the author of 10 books and nearly 100 articles, as well as a former president of the Southern Historical Association. His best-known work, is "Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South."

Theodore Rosengarten, an American historian who won the National Book Award for nonfiction for his 1974 book, "All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw," which was adapted into a Broadway one-man show starring Cleavon Little.

David Hackett Fischer, Earl Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University, best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History)," a narrative of George Washington's leadership of the Continental Army during the winter of 1776-1777.

Panel 2, from 10:20 a.m. to 12:05 p.m., will feature the following:

Dan T. Carter, professor emeritus of history at the University of South Carolina (USC). He is best known for "The Politics of Rage," his biography of George Wallace. His script for the television documentary George Wallace: Settin the Woods on Fire won an Emmy and a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000.

Valinda Littlefield, director of African American Studies and associate professor of History at USC. She is co-editor of the three-volume "South Carolina Women."

James L. Peacock, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He specializes in the anthropology of religion and in both Southeast Asia and the southeastern United States.

Jack Bass, professor emeritus of humanities and social sciences at the College of Charleston, has been one of the Souths leading journalists since the 1960s. His books include "The Orangeburg Massacre," "The Transformation of Southern Politics," "Unlikely Heroes" and "STROM: The Complicated Personal and Political Life of Strom Thurmond." His "Taming the Storm: The Life and Times of Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr." won the 1994 Robert Kennedy Book Award.

Featured writers for Panel 3 from 2 to 3:45 p.m. include:

Natasha Trethewey, an English professor who holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University. She is the author of "Domestic Work," "Bellocq's Ophelia" and "Native Guard." Trethewey did a reading from "Native Guard" at CCU's Celebration of Inquiry in 2007, a few months before it won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Raymond Arsenault, John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History and co-director of the Florida Studies Program at the University of South Florida. He is perhaps best known for his award-winning book, "Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice" and his more recent "The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert That Awakened America."

David Moltke-Hansen, president emeritus of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, former director of the S.C. Historical Society in Charleston, the Southern Historical Collection and the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and currently director of the William Gilmore Simms Initiatives for the South Carolinian Library at USC. He is the author of many essays on Southern intellectual and cultural history and he currently co-edits the new Cambridge Studies in the American South series.

Rod Gragg, director of the Center for Military and Veterans Studies at Coastal Carolina University. A former journalist, historian Gragg's nine books on military history have earned him the Fletcher Pratt Award, the James I. Robertson Award and other honors, and have been selected for the Book-of-the-Month Club, the History Book Club and the Military History Book Club. He also produces documentary films.

Panel 4 on Friday, from 3:50 to 5:35 p.m, will feature:

Hank Klibanoff, the James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism at Emory University. After reporting and editing stints at The Boston Globe and The Philadelphia Inquirer, he became managing editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His book, "The Race Beat," a portrayal of how journalists covered the Civil Rights Movement, won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History.

Richard Carwardine, formerly Rhodes Professor of American History at Oxford University, currently president of his alma mater, Corpus Christi College, Oxford. One of the United Kingdoms most prominent historians, he is an honorary life member of BrANCH (British American Nineteenth-Century Historians), a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a fellow of the British Academy. His books include his classic "Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power," winner of the prestigious Lincoln Prize, as well as "Transatlantic Revivalism: Popular Evangelicalism in Britain and America" and "Evangelicals and Politics in Antebellum America."

Anne Wyatt-Brown, associate professor emeritus of linguistics at the University of Florida. Her books include "Barbara Pym: A Critical Biography" and "Aging and Gender in Literature: Studies in Creativity." A fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, she has written essays in the Journal of Modern Literature, the Gerontologist, the Journal of Aging Studies, Journal of Aging and Identity, Psychohistory Review and Generations.

John Inscoe, the author of "Mountain Masters: Slavery and the Sectional Crisis in Western North Carolina"; "Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South"; and co-author of "The Heart of Confederate Appalachia: The Civil War in Western North Carolina. He has completed a forthcoming book entitled "Writing the South through the Self: Explorations in Southern Autobiography." He edited the Georgia Historical Quarterly for 15 years and is currently the editor of the New Georgia Encyclopedia and secretary-treasurer of the Southern Historical Association.

On Saturday, panel sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. with the following:

Dale Rosengarten, curator of the Jewish Heritage Collection at the College of Charleston Library, developed the landmark exhibition, A Portion of the People: Three Hundred Years of Southern Jewish Life, which opened at McKissick Museum at USC in 2002 and traveled to Yeshiva University Museum at the Center for Jewish History in New York in 2003. She and her husband, Theodore Rosengarten, co-edited a companion volume to the exhibit by the same title.

John Navin, associate professor of history. He teaches early American history courses covering the Colonial, Revolutionary and early national and antebellum periods Daniel C. Littlefield, Carolina Professor of History at USC. He has a special interest in American slavery and race relations, especially the American Colonial period. His books include "Rice and Slaves: Ethnicity and the Slave Trade in Colonial South Carolina" and "Revolutionary Citizens: African Americans, 1776-1804."

Eldred (Wink) Prince Jr., a professor of history and director of the University's Waccamaw Center for Cultural and Historical Studies. He wrote the prize-winning book "Long Green: The Rise and Fall of Tobacco in South Carolina," and was an associate editor of "The South Carolina Encyclopedia" in 2006.

Robert Korstad, Kevin D. Gorter Professor of Public Policy and History at Duke University. He is the author of "Civil Rights Unionism: Tobacco Workers and the Struggle for Democracy in the Mid-Twentieth South" and "Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Talk About Life in the Jim Crow South." He is also the co-author of "Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World" and "To Right These Wrongs."

Roy Talbert, who holds the Clark Distinguished Chair of History at Coastal Carolina University. His books include "FDRs Utopia: Arthur Morgan and the TVA," which led to an appearance on the History Channel; the award-winning "Negative Intelligence: The Army and the American Left, 1917-1941" and "So Much To Be Thankful For: The Conway National Bank & the Economic History of Horry County."

The conference will conclude with an 11:30 a.m. Saturday session featuring Walter Edgar, who is best known for "South Carolina: A History," and as host of Walter Edgars Journal, a weekly program about Southern history and culture on South Carolina ETV Radio.

The conference is supported by a grant from the Humanities Council, a state-based agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It will be open to students, teachers and the general public free of charge.

For more information, call Ken Townsend at 843-349-2417 or Eldred Prince at 843-349-2434.