Welcome to Arkansas State University!

2022 Schedule of Events

Arkansas State University's Department of English, Philosophy and World Languages Presents

Delta Symposium XXVII: Commemoration and Reunion in the South

Unless otherwise notated, all events will be held at A-State's Carl R. Reng Student Union’s Mockingbird Room – Virtual participation also is available with prior registration


Thursday, April 14

8:30 – 9:15  Celebrating Arkansas Folklife with AFTA

Panel Session by Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts

Virginia Siegel (AFTA Coordinator): “Mission, Programs, and Key Concepts of Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts

Lauren Adams Willette (Folk Arts Survey Coordinator): Outreach, Fieldwork, and Survey Results

AFTA Program Participants: Nastajae Alderson, Pat Johnson, and Allison Williams

Moderated by Adam Long

9:30 – 10:45  Exploring A-State Publications as Commemorative Discourse

Research Presentations

Tayyab Tahir, Syed Shahzoor, Nasser Alkhulayfi, and Aya Karouni (Arkansas State University): “How ASU Yearbooks Covered the Evolution of African American Students: Snapshots from 1972-1999”

Nathan Herbst, Cori Keller, Matthew Smothers, Jake Williamson (Arkansas State University): “Firsts in Sports and Mascots at Arkansas State University: A Survey of ASU Yearbooks”

Shahzad Ahmad, Yusra Alzahrani, Keuna Darton, and Sajad Khan (Arkansas State University): “How ASU Yearbooks Covered the Evolution of International Student Life at ASU: 1941-2012”

Lillie Fears (Arkansas State University): “A History of The Herald Newspaper in ASU Yearbooks: Snapshots from 1921-2012”

Moderated by Michael Spikes

11:00 – 12:15   Ghostly Commemorations

Research Presentations

Alan Brown (University of West Alabama): “Lest We Forget: The Commemorative Function of Southern Ghost Stories”

James Stannard (University of Essex): “The Past is Never Dead: Ghostly Reunions in William Faulkner and Toni Morrison”

Moderated by Catherine Calloway

12:30 – 1:45  Perspectives and Reflections on a History of Atrocity

Research Presentation and Panel

Guy Lancaster (Encyclopedia of Arkansas/Central Arkansas Library System): “On the Need for Epistemic Humility When Confronting the History of Lynching”

Panel Discussion: Cherisse Jones-Branch (Dean of the Graduate School/Vaughn Endowed Professorship, Arkansas State University) and Gary Edwards (Arkansas State University)

Evette Allen Moore, (Assistant Vice Chancellor & Director, Multicultural Affairs, Arkansas State University)

2:00 – 3:15  Community and Commemoration in Music

Research Presentations

Robert Bishop (Sawback Sounds, Fayetteville, AR): “Digital Troubadours: Tradition and Technology in the Arkansas Ozarks”

LaDawn Fuhr (Arkansas State University): “Six Degrees of Southern Accents: Tom Petty’s Reunion with His Southern Roots”
Moderated by Richard Burns

3:30 – 4:45   Celebrate Maya!

Janis F. Kearney (Writing Our World Press, Little Rock)
Special presentation on commemorating Maya Angelou’s contributions

Sponsored by A-State’s Heritage Studies Doctoral Program

Introduced by Lonnie R. Williams, (Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, Arkansas State University)

7:00 – 8:15  Creative Writing and Poetry

Readings by Mary Troy and Claude Wilkinson

Introduced by Kelly Damphousse (Chancellor, Arkansas State University)

Moderated by Khem Aryal

Bradbury Art Museum

Friday, April 15

9:00 – 10:45  Peeking into the Past in the Moment of Now – Three Locations in the Mississippi Delta

Research Presentations

Mamie Osborne (Mississippi Valley State University): “The 50th Anniversary of Stokely Carmichael’s Black Power Speech: A Celebration in Greenwood’s Broad Street Historical Park”

Olga Ponomareva (Mississippi Valley State University): “Leland, Mississippi: Home of the Blues”

John Zheng (Mississippi Valley State University): “Itta Bena: Home in the Woods without Woods”

Moderated by Faisal Mohammed

11:00 – 12:15  Book Talk

Launch of Sustaining Support for Intangible Cultural Heritage

A conversation with the publications’ editors: Shihan De Silva Jaysuriya, Mariana Pereira, and Gregory Hansen

Moderated by Ed Salo

12:30 – 1:45 Keynote Presentation

Andrew Scheiber (University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN): To Build a More Perfect [Re]union: Commemoration and Civic Identity

Introduced by Alan Utter (Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research)

2:00 – 3:15  Connecting Memory and Place

Research Presentation

David Rotenstein (Independent Researcher): “The ‘Pittsburgh Delegation’: Hot Springs and its Ties to Pittsburgh Organized Crime History”

Moderated by Gregory Hansen

3:30 – 4:30  Arkansas Cemeteries – Commemoration and Preservation

Research Presentations

Revis Edmonds (Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism): “Symbols of Power Beyond the Grave: Arkansas Leaders Buried in Mount Holly Cemetery”

Patty S. Camp (Paragould, Arkansas): “Preserving a Cemetery on Crowley’s Ridge: What If There Is No One Left?”

Moderated by Andrew Gadberry

5:00 – 6:00  Tributary Preview and Regional Writers

Creative Writing and Poetry Readings

Student writers and contributors to A-State’s literary magazine

Moderated by Kerri L. Bennett and LaDawn Fuhr

A-State Carl R. Reng Student Union, Mockingbird Room

7:00 – 9:30  Open-Mic

Presentations by Songwriters, Musicians, Poets, Creative Writers, and Visual Artists

Kerri L. Bennett, LaDawn Fuhr, and Lauren Willette, Emcees

A-State Carl R. Reng Student Union, Auditorium

Saturday, April 16

8:30 – 9:45  Creative Writing and Poetry

Readings and Book-Talks

Khem Aryal

Michael Spikes

Lauren Adams Willette

John Zheng

Moderated by Khem Aryal

A-State Carl R. Reng Student Union, Black River Room

10:00 – 11:00  Commemorating Community and Individual Accomplishments

Research Presentations

Shanita Sanders (Arkansas State University): “Commemorating Freedoms: An Historical Review of Black Southern Traditions”

Jeffrey Condran (University of Arkansas, Little Rock): “Creative non-fiction on Delta writer, Lewis ‘Buddy’ Nordan”

Moderated by Leslie Reed

A-State Carl R. Reng Student Union, Black River Room


Arkansas Roots Music Festival

Marty Scarbrough, Master of Ceremonies

LOCATION: City, Water, and Light Park,
1123 S. Culberhouse, Jonesboro: 35.8325° N, 90.7139° W


Proclamation from the City of Jonesboro, the Honorable Harold Copenhaver, Mayor

United Voices Gospel Choir
Gospel Music


Caleb Ryan Martin with Randal Morton
Folk and Roots Music


Grace Stormont
Folk and Americana


The Gravel Yard
Bluegrass and Americana

RAIN LOCATION: Arkansas State University Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive

The Delta Symposium’s Roots Music Festival is made possible with support from KASU 91.9 FM and the West End Neighborhood Association