Spring 2020 Additional MOCH Events 


Works in Progress Group Spring 2020

The Marcus Orr Center Works-in-Progress Group meets three times per semester to provide faculty and graduate students in the humanities with a forum to share and receive feedback on their current research projects. Works-in-progress are pre-circulated one week before the meeting. For more information or to subscribe to the mailing list, please contact Donal Harris.


Bradley Dixon (Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Memphis)

Title: "Neither Vassals nor Subjects: The Politics of the Native South, 1670 – 1700"

Time: Thursday, February 27, 4:00-5:30 PM

Location: African American Reading Room, Patterson Hall 221

This chapter reconceives the history of the "Native South" during the height of the Indian slave trade as a cross-cultural debate about the nature of the ideal political community. English colonial officials and Indian traders sought to impose various patterns of empire on the Native towns of the Southeast, claiming their inhabitants as subjects, with little agreement on what that meant. Spanish Franciscans, meanwhile, promoted the república de Indios, their own model of Indians as royal vassals living under "Evangelical Law." And an increasing number of Natives rejected these European visions and were banding their towns together to form consolidated polities of their own. Their efforts would give rise to powerful, independent Native nations that would dominate the next century. For these Indians, revolutionized in the chaos of the late seventeenth century, would be "neither vassals nor subjects" to anyone.

Brian Baaki (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of English, University of Memphis)

Title: "Collecting Black Voices: Abigail Mott and the Early African American Literary Anthology."

Time: Thursday, April 2, 4:00-5:30 PM

Location: African American Reading Room, Patterson Hall 221

This article draws attention to an important and overlooked archive of pre-Harlem Renaissance anthologies of African American literature. While anthologies have long been acknowledged as essential to the making of a Harlem Renaissance literature—with such movement-defining texts as James Weldon Johnson's The Book of American Negro Poetry (1922) and Alain Locke's The New Negro: Voices of the Harlem Renaissance (1925)—collections of African American writing from earlier periods have been relatively understudied and ignored by scholars. This article considers both the broad implications this critical work and contains a specific case study—a reading of the first published anthology of African American literature, Abigail Mott's Biographical Sketches and Interesting Anecdotes of Persons of Color (1826).

Isabel Machado Wildberger (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History, University of Memphis)

Title: "Divas, Régias, & Demolidorxs: Embodying gender normativity defiance in Monterrey, Nuevo León"

Time: Thursday, April 23, 4:00-5:30 PM

Location: African American Reading Room, Patterson Hall 221

This project investigates artists and performers who challenge gender normativity in Monterrey, Nuevo León, such as travestis (female celebrity impersonators), drag queens, drag kings, bio/faux queens, bio/faux kings, and voguerxs. It places their stories in a socio-historical context by researching LGBTQ+ history in Mexico and in Monterrey, and within a theoretical framework by dialoguing with queer and performance theories. An extensive bibliography has been dedicated to analyzing the different aspects of the history of gender and sexuality in Mexico since pre-Columbian times, However, the scarce scholarship dealing with the subject in Northern Mexico, and more specifically in the city of Monterrey, tells a story that only happens within the boundaries of respectability politics by focusing on LGBTQ+ religious groups and organized political activism. This project contributes to that conversation by considering the body as a locus of resistance, investigating instances of community building and identity formation outside of traditional organizations, and focusing on the notion of "gender as performance." Furthermore, it makes a contribution to queer history and theory that extends beyond the geographical location of this ethnographic work by exploring the liminality and the conflicts between respectability politics and the "politics of fabulousness."

Academic Publishing in the Humanities Series 

  • Wednesdays in Spring 2020
  • 4:00 - 5:00PM
  • RSVP Here

Do you have a seminar paper, conference presentation, or research talk that you want to revise for publication? Are you working on a thesis, dissertation, or monograph and want to develop a chapter into an article? Have you started research for a project and think you'd benefit from some structured support to help you write?

If so, MOCH's academic publishing series takes you from draft to submission in fifteen weeks. The program will provide the support of a detailed schedule to help you identify benchmarks, structured feedback as your writing develops, guidance on targeting a specific publication, and the collective expertise of fellow participants on best practices for managing the writing process.

This program is open to all faculty and graduate students in the humanities and related fields. It entails four general meetings throughout the semester, as well as smaller writing and revision workshops.


February 5: Starting (or Restarting) Your Revision

February 26: Choosing a Journal and Writing Toward It

**CANCELLED** March 18: Roundtable with Editors: Do's and Don'ts of the First Submission

  • James G. Thomas Jr., Associate Director for Publications at the University of Mississippi's Center for the Study of Southern Culture
  • Liz Lane, Assistant Professor of Professional Writing in the English Department, co-founder of Spark, an open-access journal
  • Remy Debes, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy, editor of The Southern Journal of Philosophy

April 15: Writing the Abstract and Cover Letter (How to Hit "Submit")

Click here to RSVP or email Will Duffy (weduffy@memphis.edu).


 Check out our Lectures this semester and WKNO's Spotlight on Lifelong Learning for a full listing of humanities events in Memphis. 

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