Welcome to Arkansas State University!

2023 Schedule of Events

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

Delta Symposium XXVIII: Labor History and Contemporary Laborlore

Events will be on campus with on-line components. Unless otherwise notated, all events will be held at A-State's Carl R. Reng Student Union’s Mockingbird Room


Thursday, March 30

8:30 – 9:15  Legendary Laborlore

Opening Plenary Talk

Alan Brown (University of West Alabama): “Still on the Job: Lessons Learned from Workplace Hauntings”

Introduced by Rachael Isom (Director of Graduate Studies)

9:30 – 10:45  Laborlore and Public Presentations of History

Panel Session

Penny Toombs and Donna Shelton (Arkansas State University Heritage Sites) and Alexander Cole (Williams Baptist University): “Presenting and Interpreting Labor History Connected to the Southern Tenant Farmers Union”

Lauren Adams Willette (Arkansas Folk & Traditional Arts): “Community Minded: A Holistic Approach to Outreach and Programming”

Moderated by Adam Long

11:00 – 12:15   Media Representations of History

Research Presentations

Abigail Mock and Jacob Wicinski (Arkansas State University): “Perceptions and Political Views of Gen Z: An Exploratory Study”

Lillie M. Fears (Arkansas State University): “Phillips County, Arkansas: A Mecca for Black Blues and Entrepreneurship in Radio”

Moderated by Leslie Reed

1:30 – 2:30   Shop Talk on Documentary Film with Streaming Video

Screening of Bearskin, film by Tom Davenport and Mimi Davenport

Tom Davenport (Folkstreams) will be featured in an on-line discussion moderated by Gregory Hansen

3:00 – 4:45   Labor and Literature

Research Presentations

Amy Schmidt (William Baptist University): “The Twine that Binds: Race, Rice, and Land in Julie Peterkin’s Black April and Scarlet Sister Mary”

James Stannard (University of Essex): ‘The Southern Trickster and Capitalist Consumption”

Emmaline Williams (Arkansas State University): “Our Bodies, Our Selves: Women as Technology and the Annihilation of the Self in Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives”

Moderated by Marcus Tribbett

5:00 – 5:45  Some Sweet Day and Labor History

Readers Theatre

Presentation on a musical written by Si Kahn by the Delta Symposium Players

Coordinated by Jessica Tran and Emmaline Williams

Friday, March 31

8:00 – 8:45  Peeking into the Past in the Moment of Now – Three Locations in the Mississippi Delta

Research Presentations

Revis Edmonds (Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism): “The Disunion of a Timber Town: The Great Georgia-Pacific Crossett Strike of 1985”

John C. Fisher (Independent Scholar, Kennett, MO): “The 1939 Southeast Missouri Sharecroppers Demonstration”

Moderated by Ed Salo

9:00 – 10:30   Music History, Labor History, and Laborlore

Research Presentations

Olga Ponomareva (Mississippi Valley State University): ““Slave Songs and the Origin of Delta Blues”

Andrew Scheiber (University of St. Thomas): “The Un-Hunger Artist: Elvis as a Working Class Hero”

Joshua Youngblood (University of Arkansas Libraries): “‘We Do What We Can’: Lee Hays, ‘America’s Disinherited,’ and the Media of Arkansas Labor in the 1930s”

Moderated by Lauren Adams Willette

10:45 – 1:15 Keynote Presentation

Screening of Documentary Film Descendant

Kern M. Jackson (University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL)

Introduced by Cherisse Jones-Branch (James and Wanda Lee Vaughn Endowed Professor of History and Dean of Graduate School)

1:30 – 3:00   Labor Histories Across Delta Regions

Research Presentations

Vanessa Charlot and Marquita Smith (University of Mississippi): “Visual Representations of Black American Labor in the Mississippi Delta”

Gary T. Edwards (Arkansas State University): “Striving for the American Dream in the Antebellum Delta: A Story of Family Migration and Farming in Tennessee and Arkansas”

Ashley Steenson (University of Alabama): “Theodore Roosevelt and the Louisiana Delta”

Moderated by Faisal Mohammed

3:15 – 4:00  Musical History and Labor History

Research Presentation and Panel Discussion

Riva R. Brown (University of Central Arkansas) and Timothy Edwards (University of Arkansas at Little Rock): “‘Work to Do’: A Content Analysis of Songs about Workday Realities and Labor Relations”

Moderated by Bill Clements

4:15 – 5:30  Poetry Meet-Up and Tributary Preview

Poetry Reading

John Zheng (Mississippi Valley State University), Guest Poet

Creative Writing and Poetry Readings

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

Session Introduced by Kerri L. Bennett, Tributary Faculty Advisor

Moderated by Jessica Tran

7:00 – 8:00  Poetry Reading

Readings by Ed Madden

Introduced by Bryan Moore (Assistant Chair, Department of English, Philosophy, and World Languages, Arkansas State University)

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

Reception to follow in Vaughn Lounge

Saturday, April 1

9:00 – 11:30  Tombstone Talk and Cemetery Tour

Presentation and tour by Jennifer Hardaway (Arkansas State University)

Visit to Jonesboro City Cemetery during this session

For those who only will take the tour, meet at 10:15 at the parking lot of St. Bernards Auditorium, 505 E. Washington Avenue

10:00 – 5:00  A-State Museum

Guests are invited to visit the university’s museum throughout the day

36th annual children’s art exhibition Through a Child’s Eyes on display

The Delta Symposium and the Arkansas Roots Music Festival are made possible with support from KASU 91.9 FM, A-State Heritage Sites, Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts, Native Brew Works, Judd Hill Foundation, Mississippi County Hospital System, and the Osceola/South Mississippi Chamber of Commerce.