Jess Usher Lecture Series

The Jess Usher Lecture Series features a carefully curated slate of dynamic presentations, drawn from a wide range of disciplines and delivered by distinguished members of the ABAC faculty as well as distinguished guest lecturers. Formerly known as the ABAC Lecture Series, this special collection has been renamed in memory of Dr. Jess Usher, a beloved ABAC
professor and former lecturer in the series, who passed away in June 2021. Each event is
held in Howard Auditorium on the Tifton campus and is free and open to the public with no
ticket required.

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Dr. Jeff Newberry l The Right Kind of Tradition: Seamus Heaney, Irish Identity, and the Southern Problem

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

7:00, Howard Auditorium

Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney was raised in Northern Ireland, site of the infamous troubles of the 1970s and 80s. His move to the Republic of Ireland represents his movement to a sense of Irish heritage that’s anchored in both locale and local culture. Heaney’s writing about Ireland demonstrates a kind of tradition that isn’t exclusionary. This tradition provides an effective model for the contemporary American Southeast, a place of changing demographics that complicate the notion of “heritage.”

Free
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Cordell Lecturer, Jim McSweeny l Our National Experience, The National and Federal Archives

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

7:00, Howard Auditorium

These archival documents and images of the National and Federal Archives allow us to hear the voices of our past and provide physical evidence of actions taken, considered or avoided.  Most importantly, the National Archives provides a comprehensive historical narrative, encompassing the stories of Presidents and foot soldiers of the Civil Rights movement, war heroes and pop culture icons, rocket scientists and farmers, engineers and bootleggers, the famous and the “average Joe.”  All are welcomed and represented at the National Archives!

Free
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Dr. David Nelson l Microbes and Xenophobes: Scotland’s Moral Panic Over Italian Ice Cream, 1880-1920

Thurday, November 17, 2022

7:00, Howard Auditorium

Starting in the 1880s, Scottish newspapers began publishing accounts of poisonings by a new food fad – ice cream. Made from milk, cream and ice in an age before modern refrigeration and health regulations, and often in insanitary conditions, the cool confection could indeed by a dangerous dessert. Ice cream’s dangerous reputation was not helped by the Scottish public’s perception of its producers and sellers – newly arrived Italians. Debates over Sunday trading, how best to control the sexual and antisocial behavior of Scottish teenagers, and the rise of the temperance movement became interwoven with xenophobic immigration fears and genuine concerns over ice cream’s effect on public safety. This talk traces the development of the ice
cream wars from the 1880s through the 1910s through newspaper accounts and the national and local government responses.

Free
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Cordell Lecturer, Abdur Rahman Muhammad l Journey for Justice in the Malcolm X Assassination Case

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

7:00, Howard Auditorium

How One Man's Quest and a Netflix Documentary Changed the Pages of American History and Exonerated Two Innocent Men After a Half Century! Abdur-Rahman Muhammad is an independent scholar based in Washington, DC. He is a historian, journalist, writer, and activist, widely regarded as one of the most respected authorities on the life and legacy of the civil rights-era black leader Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik El Shabazz).

Free
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Thomas Grant & Kaci West, Literature and the Landscape

Monday March 13, 2023

7:00, Howard Auditorium

We live in a world shaped by the stories we tell, and nowhere is that more more apparent than on the trail of King Arthur in England and Wales. ABAC professors Tom Grant and Kaci West followed that trail in 2021 and returned with a new view of the liminal space between myth and world. The stories of Arthur, Merlin and Morgan Le Fey have been written and re-written like fan fiction on standing stones, seas and mountain summits for more than thousand years. Grant and West's lecture examines how the landscape is transformed by the imagination of those we read and the individual perspective we bring to both story and place

Free
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