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Home:  >News & Events   >News Archives   >2001
Delta Blues Symposium VIII:
The Sacred and the Secular
Arkansas State University
Jonesboro, Arkansas
April 11-13, 2002

Each year the Department of English and Philosophy at Arkansas State University (Jonesboro campus) sponsors an interdisciplinary Delta Blues conference, bringing together scholars and performers to celebrate this rich musical tradition. Symposia also have provided a broader context for understanding the history and culture of the seven-state Mississippi River Delta region, extending the focus beyond the blues to other musical genres as well as to the literature, politics, religion, folklore, and art of the area.

Past symposia have featured such speakers as David Evans, Trudier Harris, Elizabeth Payne, Barry Lee Pearson, Michael S. Reynolds, William Wiggins Jr., Joel Williamson, and Dr. Joycelyn Elders. Among creative writers who have read from their works have been Ellen Gilchrist, Barry Hannah, Yusef Komunyakaa, Ellen Douglas, and Lewis Nordan. Musicians who have performed include Johnnie Billington, Sid Selvidge, Lemuel Shepard, John Weston, Joyce Cobb, and CeDell Davis.

The eighth annual conference promises to provide a forum for similar luminaries. The focus of Delta Blues VIII will be “the Sacred and the Secular in the Delta.” While we solicit papers on the Delta Blues, we also encourage presentations on any spiritual or secular aspects of the Delta. Possible topics include the development of gospel quartet music and other religious music, liturgical and extra-liturgical religious expression, the role of religion in political and social activity such as the Civil Rights Movement, and spiritually inspired visual and verbal art. Scholarly papers, organized panels, creative presentations, and multimedia demonstrations may come from any humanities and social sciences discipline, especially American studies, anthropology, folklore studies, history, history of religion, literature, musicology, popular culture, and sociology.

Proposals for academic panels and presentations should be about 250 words in length. Those for creative presentations should include a sample of previous work. Deadline for proposals is 15 January 2002.

Address inquiries to

Delta Symposium Committee
Dept. of English & Philosophy
PO Box 1890
Arkansas State University,
State University, AR 72467
Phone: 870-972-3043;
FAX: 870-972-3045

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