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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.

Upcoming Events 

Dr. John Cable, Throwing People Away: The Enclosure Movement in Mississippi

Thursday, April 25 | 7:00 PM

Howard Auditorium, Tifton Campus

In the mid-twentieth century, the cotton South's most vulnerable farmers left the land in droves. Mechanization and consolidation left no place for these sharecroppers, tenants, and small landowners. To understand how and why southern elites and farm leaders displaced so many people in so short a time, we have to talk about the region's settler-colonial past and present. Focusing on Mississippi, this presentation asks how settler invasion and Indian removal should inform our view of the so-called "southern enclosure movement."


Past Events

Dr. Rachael Price, Henry and Katherine Bellamann: Rediscovering the Lost "Power Couple" of WWII America

Thursday, October 5, 2023 |  7:00 P.M.
Howard Auditorium, Tifton Campus

Henry and Katherine Bellamann were a force to be reckoned with in 1930s and 1940s Manhattan. Their Manhattan apartment in the Ansonia hotel, with two grand pianos in the living room, was an epicenter of arts and culture. Henry was the bestselling author of Kings Row (1940) and a founding faculty member of the Juilliard School, while Katherine was the vocal coach for Desi Arnaz and Barbra Streisand while writing best-selling novels of her own. This presentation explores why and how their legacy has been largely forgotten, and why their work is worth revisiting in the 21th century.


Diantha Ellis, J.D., It Takes a Village to Provide Quality Food  for Our Pets

Monday, October 30, 2023 | 7:00 PM
Howard Auditorium, Tifton Campus

For those of us who have pets who we love as family, it is deeply concerning when reports are issued about the dangerous chemicals or toxic levels of vitamins in their food. Our pets love and trust us. When we discover that what we have fed them has poisoned them, we feel as if we have both hurt someone we love as well as neglected our moral duty to keep those who are vulnerable and depend on us for survival safe from harm. Professor Ellis addresses one of the largest food recalls in history; the reactive solutions that followed; and the need for proactive, uniform standards in the pet food industry.


Monday, April1, 2024, 7:00 P.M.
Howard Auditorium, Tifton Campus

How and why do ideas spread in societies? Why do some ideas, like fads--i.e., Gangnam Style and Cabbage Patch dolls-- spread far and wide quickly, only to fade, seemingly overnight; while other ideas, like many religious beliefs and political ideologies, remain so durable? Put more succinctly, why do some ideas die out, while others live on? Dr. Baldwin will present an ecological view of mental life that considers human communication as a Darwinian reproductive process, ideas and their struggle for existence.


Dr. Jay Baldwin, How Ideas Have Sex: An Account of Human Communication 


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