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The Isom Report Fall 2015


September 18 - 27

Neko Case to perform benefit concert

Beyond the Norms


elcome back! I’m excited to be returning from an inspiring year of research and on the heels of some momentous good news—the long overdue passage of marriage equality—and strides for women, including the excitement of the USA Women’s World Cup victory. At the same time, the continued race- and gender-based violence in our nation, with the recent terrorist act in Charleston fresh in my mind as I write this, serves as a reminder that we have much to do to make our campus, with its vivid emblems of our institution’s

Confederate and white supremacist legacies, more inclusive and safer for our entire community. It is time to change our state flag, and I stand in full support of the June statement by Interim Chancellor Morris Stocks that it does “not represent our core values.” Changing the flag, however, is only one step. We need to have a broad conversation here about ensuring not only that we remove the symbols of our university’s and our state’s racist history, but also that we are working towards making our institution a more just place and livable space for all of us. I

hope to have opportunities to engage openly in the year ahead about changing our campus climate, and this must include issues such as pay equity, including a living wage for our staff, and an awareness that real family leave and affordable childcare on our campus benefit

us all. There is so much work to be done, and I look forward to doing so alongside Isom’s affiliates and partners, and the broader UM, Oxford, and Mississippi community. Thanks to the hard work and creative energy of Interim Director Jaime Harker, Assistant Director Theresa Starkey, and Administrative Coordinator Kevin Cozart, 2014-15 witnessed some incredible events on our campus. And due to their continued efforts, there are a number

of exciting things planned for this fall, which are detailed in the pages ahead. Our programming theme this

year is “Beyond the Norms”—and I hope that the lectures, conferences, brown bag talks, films, and concerts ahead will help us to think about the power of oppressive norms and how we might challenge them. As always, we need your support and your ideas if we are to continue to thrive. I warmly encourage you to reach out to us—shoot us an email, give us a call, or message us on Facebook—to let us know what you’d like to see us do. We need you to help us make the Sarah Isom Center an ever more effective advocate for women (and their allies) on our campus, and a place that fully pursues the Isom Center’s mission: “integrating scholarly research on women’s and gender issues with advocacy for women in the classroom, on the campus, and in the larger community.” I look forward to seeing you in the months ahead. — Sue Grayzel

Interdisciplinary Conference to address Gender, War, & Memory in the Anglo-American World

From October 1-3, the Center for Civil War Research and the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History, in conjunction with WAR-Net and co-sponsors the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies and the Department of English, will host an international conference on “Gender, War, and Memory in the Anglo-American World.”

WAR-Net is an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on war representation, which was founded in Britain in 2010; this will be the first conference that WAR-Net has sponsored outside of the United Kingdom.

The Isom Report • Fall 2015

One of the major aims of the conference is to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War, the 100th anniversary of the First World War, and 75th anniversary of the Second World War, especially the Blitz, by bringing together scholars of gender, memory, and war on both sides of the Atlantic. Panels include historians, art historians, and literary & cinema critics, featuring the work of Ph.D. students as well as established professors from both the UK and across the U.S. to address such themes as masculinity and war memory, and gender, race and

wartime culture.

All of the events will be held in Butler Auditorium (Triplett Alumni Center) and are free and open to the public. Questions should be directed to civilwar@ For more information about the conference and the Center for Civil War Research, visit www.civilwarcenter.olemiss. edu/Conference2015.shtml For more information about WAR-Net, visit:


arahfest 2015 has been a year in the making. It sprang from last summer’s brainstorming session with Isom Center staff and was endorsed enthusiastically by gender studies students. Their genius informed much of this past spring’s programing with its emphasis on gender and popular culture. As Dr. Harker notes, the festival’s first incarnation, which occurred more than a decade ago, also stemmed from student inspiration and a spirit of collaboration. Sarahfest is a wheel in motion. Musicians, local nonprofits, small businesses, campus and student organizations, academic departments, our gender studies students, affiliates, and individual members of the Oxford community form its sturdy, supportive spokes, which meet at its hub, the Sarah Isom Center. I want to take this opportunity to give a collective thank you to everyone involved with Sarahfest, includ-

Let’s Get Rolling! ing our partners at the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, and to Neko Case for taking the time to read our email appeal last summer and for coming to town to rock for us in the most generous way with her benefit show. I’d like to invite readers to continue the creative momentum and burn some rubber with us. We may not be the easiest office to find down here in the basement of the Lyceum, but our door is always open. Come discover (or

rediscover) us. Share your ideas with us as we seek to create programing and host multi-genre,

interdisciplinary events that are engaging, dynamic and contemplative about gender. For instance, our annual Isom Student Gender conference is in the spring. Its theme is “Beyond the Norms.” Be thinking of a paper you can write, the dream

E. Patrick Johnson Returns to UM to share his “Sweet Tea”

E. Patrick Johnson is the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. A scholar, artist, and activist, Johnson has performed nationally and internationally and has published widely in the area of race, gender, sexuality and performance. He has written two books, Appropriating Blackness: Performance

and the Politics of Authenticity (Duke UP, 2003), and Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South (University of North Carolina UP, 2008). He co-edited (with Mae G. Henderson) Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology (Duke UP, 2005). He is currently at work on the companion text to Sweet Tea, entitled, Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women—An Oral History. “Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales” is based on his book, Sweet Tea, and has toured to over 100 college campuses from 2006 to the present, including the University of Mississippi. In 2010, he was awarded the Leslie Irene Coger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Performance by the National Communication Association. The performance will be October 22 at 7PM. Location to be announced.

panel or exhibit you’d like to put together—a speaker, film, or other programming event that you’d like to see. There are so many possibilities. We’re ready to listen. We want to help you make it happen. Affiliates, keep an eye out for those stellar student papers that come across your desk and encourage those savvy writers to submit (and think about chairing a panel). Let’s get rolling! With much appreciation and heartfelt respect, — Theresa Starkey

The University of Mississippi will host its inagural Sex Week September 21 - 26 Details coming soon! For more information, contact Lindsey Barlett Mosvick, Violence Prevention Office ( or T Davis, Office of Healh Promotions (


Art takes Center Stage at Powerhouse Exhibits this September proud to host exhibits by UM Journalism Assistant Professor Alysia Steele and visual artist, musician, and Sarahfest troubadour Jon Langford.


he Sarah Isom Center and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council are

Exhibits will be on display for the month of September at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center located at 414 S 14th Street. The exhibits are free and open to the public. Please stop in and help us celebrate these amazing artists who are part of our Sarahfest line-up.

About Jon Langford:

About Alysia Steele: Jon Langford is a Welsh-born musician, visual artist, and founding member of the punk band The Mekons, whom rock critic Lester Bangs called “the most revolutionary group in the history of rock ’n’ roll.”

Since the mid-1980s, he has been one of the leaders in incorporating folk and country music into punk rock. He explains, “I heard Merle Haggard and George Jones in 1983 on a cassette tape given to us by a Chicago college DJ called Terry Nelson and it blew our minds. Classic ‘60s honky-tonk is just punk rock for old people.” An English immigrant playing country music might ruffle some feathers, but Langford approaches the music with bravado and humor: “I did my trial by fire out at the Sundowners Ranch playing with a real country band to real mean drunk rednecks so those alt-country twerps never scared me.” Langford has released a number of solo recordings as well as recordings with other bands besides The Mekons, most notably the Waco Brothers, which he co-founded after moving to Chicago in the early 1990s. Of Chicago, Langford said, “Chicago’s probably the only place I’d want to live in the States — it’s got that north of England bluecollar fuck you sort of attitude that made me feel right at home.” He is involved with the Chicago-based independent record label Bloodshot, and is part of the city’s rich alternative music scene, where he serves as father figure and salty mentor to artists.

The Isom Report • Fall 2015

For informant on exhibit hours visit http:// or call (662) 236-6429.

Alysia Steele earned her B.A. in journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and M.A. in Multimedia Management from Ohio University’s School of Communication. She is an Assistant Professor in Journalism at The University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism & New Media where she teaches photojournalism, multimedia, audio production, layout and design, and journalism writing. Her book, Delta Jewels (2015), highlights the lives of over 50 Mississippi Delta (and surrounding area) church mothers and elders. She recorded oral histories and took formal portraits of the women who lived under the harshest conditions of the Jim Crow era and through the changes of the Civil Rights Movement. Included in this collection is civil rights activist Mrs. Myrlie Evers. Steele teaches oral history workshops to churches, nonprofits, and schools. She is scheduled to present the oral history from her book to the Anacostia Community Museum of the Smithsonian in February 2016. Steele worked as a picture editor at the The Dallas Morning News and was deputy director of photography at the Atlanta JournalConstitution. She was a team member of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News at The Dallas Morning News for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Steele shot documentary photographs for Habitat for Humanity’s 25th anniversary coffee table book and was a staff photographer for The Columbus Dispatch. She worked as a newspaper photographer and editor for 12 years before teaching.

Blues Women take the Wheel on Special Episode of Highway 61 Blues Radio honored Magnolia State blues women including Cassandra Wilson, Denise LaSalle, Dorothy Moore, and Memphis Minnie.

The most famous of these is Memphis Minnie of Walls, Mississippi, one of the most popular blues performers of the 1930s and 1940s, but we’ll also feature Delta artists Bertha Lee Patton and “Mississippi Matilda,” and some of the wonderful musicians from the North Mississippi Hill Country, including Jessie Mae Hemphill, her aunt Rosa Lee Hemphill, and fife player Sharde Thomas, who fronts the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band.


Women are often absent from the stereotypical imagery of Mississippi blues, e.g., a grizzled looking male guitarist sitting on the porch of a shack, while popular culture images of blues women are often those of 1920s vaudeville blues queens such as Bessie Smith or Ma Rainey. While most practicing blues musicians from Mississippi have historically been male, there’s also a fascinating tradition of women playing in “country blues” styles that we’ll highlight in our program.



Jessie Mae Hemphill by Steve Gardner

on Sunday, the 13th at 6:00 p.m.

n honor of Sarahfest, the Mississippi Public Broadcasting radio program Highway 61 will produce a special edition on Mississippi country blues women. The show will help publicize this wonderful celebration by airing the weekend prior to Sarahfest—on Saturday, the 12th at 10:00 p.m, and again

I’ve been the host of the program for over a decade, and otherwise work as an instructor of sociology at the University of Mississippi, where I teach a course on the blues. My other blues work includes serving as a writer/researcher for the Mississippi Blues Trail, which has


Highway 61 is on the eight stations of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, and listeners can also enjoy it online at programs/radio/listen-live/. — Scott Barretta

UM Archives and Special Collections Highlight Legacy of Blues Women The first real recording stars of the blues weren't Robert Johnson or Charlie Patton; they were women. The Classic Blues era of the 1920s were dominated by the sounds of the Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Alberta Hunter, and other powerful female blues singers. The legacy of these and other blues women will be highlighted in a display on the 2nd floor of the J. D. Williams Library. Pictured are Memphis Minnie (left) and Bessie Smith. Images courtesy of the UM Archives and Special Collections. — Greg Johnson


Sarahfest Schedule Saturday, September 12th @ 11 PM

Tuesday, September 22nd @ 6:30

Special HWY 61 Radio Show Mississippi Blues Women broadcast focuses on Memphis Minnie, Bertha Lee Patton, and others.

Documentary Screening: Girls Rock: The Movie. Free and open to the public.

(Rebroadcast on Sunday the 13th @ 6 PM)



a Sar

Friday, September 18th @ 10 PM Lamar Lounge

Performance by Marcella & Her Lovers. $10 Cover

Saturday, September 19th @ Noon



ah Sar

Wednesday, September 23rd @ 5 PM Tupelo Room, Barnard Observatory

Brown Bag by Dr. Michael Bibler entitled “Tin Roof Rusted: The Silliness & Ecstasy of the B-52s.” Hosted by Southern Studies. Free and open to the public.

Powerhouse Community Arts Center

Wednesday, September 23rd @ 9 PM

Artist Talk: Megan Abbott interviews Jon Langford. Free and open to the public.

Effie Burt performs. No Cover.

Saturday, September 19th @ 5 PM

Thursday, September 24th @ 7 PM

Thacker Mountain Radio Special Pop-up Show with Jon Langford, Kelly Hogan, Amy Ray, and Tenament Halls. Free and open to the public.

Documentary Screening: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, September 19th @ 10 PM

Sunday, September 27th @ 3 PM

Rowan Oak

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Powerhouse Community Arts Center

Powerhouse Community Arts Center


Paris-Yates Chapel

A performance by the UM Gospel Choir. Free and open to the public.

Sunday, September 20th @ Noon

Sunday, September 27th @ 6 PM

A Day of Local Music at the Lamar Lounge featuring The Blues Doctors, Jimbo Mathus, and Slow Rollers. $5 cover charge.

Monday, September 21st @ Noon

Faulkner Room, J. D. Williams Library

Brown Bag by Drs. Jennifer Ford & Greg Johnson entitled “‘Bang Her Well Peter’: Gender Studies in the Kenneth Goldstein Broadside Collection at The University of Mississippi.” Free and open to the public.

The Isom Report • Fall 2015



209 Bryant Hall

Special Performance by Jon Langford, Kelly Hogan, Amy Ray, Tenement Halls, Jim Mize, & Laurie Stirratt. Advance tickets for YAC, Isom Affiliates, Thacker members $5, general public $7 and at door $10.

Lamar Lounge


(Doors open at 5:30) The Lyric Oxford







Neko Case performs benefit concert with special guests Tear Drop City featuring Laurie Stirratt. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at door.

Find out more about these events at!

For assistance related to a disability for these events, please contact the appropriate venue except for events on campus. For those events, please contact Kevin at 662-915-5916 or

t s e f h a r Sa o t s n r u t Re rd Oxfo



usic festivals have a hallowed place in the annals of Women’s Liberation. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; women’s liberationists understood how interrelated culture and politics are, how what possibilities we can imagine and rights we can claim are connected to the stories we tell and the images we see. In the 1970s, marginality, lack of air-play and limited access to major labels caused feminist singer-songwriters like Cris Williamson and Meg Christian to release records through feminist labels, notably the 1973 Olivia Records (created by former members of the D.C.-based Furies Collective). Numerous music festivals popped up all over the country, like the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, enabling artists to connect directly with fans

by creating dynamic sites for community building, liberation, and political activism. Women’s music festivals continue to emerge, including the Lilith Fair in the 1990s and the recent incarnation of Burger Records’ “Burger a-Go-Go” that launched in 2014. Women’s music festivals grew out of a larger cultural rebellion, marked by Woodstock and rock music. And that anarchic spirit inspired many women in the punk scene—an environment not exclusively for women but creating an alternative to conventional life that was particularly nurturing to women. Deborah Harry, Joan Jett, Patti Smith, and many more broke conventions of traditional beauty and feminine behavior as they jammed at CBGB and other sketchy downtown venues. The riot grrrl movement and punk bands Slaeter-Kinney, The Donnas, and L7 have all continued this tradition. Sarahfest emerged from a

The African sounds of Ajita, Bebe K Roche’s master drummer, drift welcoming me to the San Diego Women’s Festival. I slowed down t session of guitars, kazoos, and a washboard encircled by an audien breathed in our lavender Woodstock. –Jeanne Cordova, When W

The Isom Report • Fall 2015

brainstorming session of an Isom Center student group in the early 2000s. With the help of former director Deborah Barker, Kirsten Dellinger, and Annette Trefzer, these students organized a benefit concert at Two Stick and featured door prizes from local businesses.

want to support us in our work. Sarahfest, like the feminist movement, has moved beyond the “women only” ethos of early music festivals; a broader valuing of diverse coalitions governs the festival, but the revolutionary potential of community-building through the arts remains.

This year’s Sarahfest is a revival of that original festival, and of the merger of activism and culture that inspired Women’s Liberation from its inception. Nationally recognized artists like Neko Case, Jon Langford, Kelly Hogan, Chris Lopez, and Amy Ray are coming because they believe in the mission of the Sarah Isom Center and

Local, non-profit groups Thacker Mountain Radio, the Oxford Film Festival, and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council are partnering in key events, local musicians are joining the festival, and local businesses are providing in-kind donations and sponsorship. We are humbled by this support and believe that Sarahfest will build key coalitions

Timeline of Women’s Music Festivals 1974: National Women’s Music Festival Middleton, Wisconsin 1975: MichFest: Michigan’s Womyn’s Music Festival Walhalla, Michigan 1989: Ohio Lesbian Festival Frontier Ranch, Ohio 1991: CampOut: Virginia Women’s Music Festival Henrico, Virginia 1993: Iowa Women’s Music Festival Iowa City, Iowa 1997: Lilith Fair Various Locations in US and Canada 1997: Gulf Coast Womyn’s Festival Ovett, Mississippi

fted over on the balmy breeze, to watch a ten-woman jam nce cathartically singing... I We Were Outlaws for a better Oxford and a better Mississippi, one that celebrates the alternatives and connects diverse people through art, education, and activism. We look forward to seeing you in September. —by Jaime Harker Images: Above: Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast (Photo by Leonard Drorian) at last year’s inaugural Burger a-Go-Go Music Festival; Opposite: Sheryl Crow (AP) performing at Lillith 2010; Right: Sarahfest Performer Marcella Simien.

2006: Fabulosa Yosemite, California 2007: Women’s RedRock Music Festival Torrey, Utah 2012: Desert Hearts Women’s Festival Bandera, Texas 2013: Stargaze Festival Barrington, New Hampshire 2014: North California Women’s Music Festival Modesto, California Burger-a-Go-Go Music Festival Santa Ana, California 9

Sarahfest Offers Special Pop-up Episode of Thacker Mountain Radio


he Thacker Mountain Radio Hour is proud to partner with the Sarah Isom Center and the University Museum to present a pop-up show at Rowan Oak on September 19, at 5:00 PM. A part of Sarahfest, Thacker's role will be to celebrate the evolving sounds and stories of a diverse South with special guests Amy Ray, Kelly Hogan, Jon Langford, and Tenament Halls — each part of the spectacular Sarahfest lineup put together by the Isom Center.

Thacker Mountain Radio Hour has long been a community event that creates the space to build similar long lasting relationships among community members, artists, and authors. The partnership with the Sarah Isom Center is a natural one, and we are pleased to be included in the Sarahfest lineup of events, taking advantage of such talented artists already in town. The historical backdrop of William Faulkner's home, Rowan Oak, as our venue is particularly exciting. This pop-up edition of Thacker pulls together lots of important elements of our community in one space and place. We are honored to be involved. — Katherine McGaw

From this mash-up of styles came her first band, The Jody Grind, whose varied genres ranging from cabaret and jazz to country and punk and everything in between can still be heard in her subtle, smoky vocals. Hogan followed with a stint playing guitar and singing back-up in the raucous rock and roll outfit The Rock*A*Teens before releasing her first solo album The Whistle Only Dogs Can Hear in 1996.

About Kelly Hogan: Kelly Hogan’s voice is so versatile it can wrap itself around any song, in any style, be it torchy jazz, country weepers, soul-fueled bump and grinders or long-lost pop nuggets, and transform them into something all her own. Think of her music as existential countrypolitan soul with a world-class voice. Her creative trajectory was formed in her twenties in a ramshackle community of dilapidated Atlanta row houses called Cabbagetown. This rough and tumble neighborhood provided cheap housing and a sense of freedom and camaraderie for the city’s impoverished creative community. It was a place where, Hogan explains “everyone played in each other’s bands” and where you could hear all kinds of music: “scrappy punk rock, arty noise stuff, skronky free jazz, hardcore traditional country music.”

The Isom Report • Fall 2015

In 1997 she moved to Chicago where she worked and recorded for the Bloodshot Label. Hogan joined Neko Case’s band in 1998, which she describes as “finding my family.” She has recorded and toured with a host of top artists such as folk-rocker Jakob Dylan, R & B powerhouse Mavis Staples, renowned gospel and blues performer Otis Clay, the Drive-By Truckers, and talented singer/ songwriter Andrew Bird. Her latest album, I Like to Keep Myself in Pain, was recorded at EastWest Studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood — in the same room where The Mamas & the Papas wrote and recorded “California Dreamin.’” She is currently touring with the Decembrists. Bio information from from artist bio Bloodshot & Anti-.

About Tenament Halls: Tenament Halls (Chris Lopez) has been an active part of the thriving underground Atlanta music scene since the days of the legendary Opal Foxx Quartet, perhaps reaching a pinnacle with his band The Rock*A*Teens. Will Sheff, from the band Okkerville River, is effusive about this band:

I often make the outrageous drunken claim that the Rock*A*Teens were the best rock and roll band of the 1990s. It’s sort of ridiculous to say . . . but I just cross-referenced with all the other 1990s rock and roll bands in my iTunes and I’m pretty much ready to double down…. They had more great records than Nirvana, were (a tiny bit) smarter and had more at stake than Pavement, were more consistent than Guided By Voices, and had better all-around songs than Galaxie 500. So, though I love all those other bands, I’m going with them. Tenament Halls is to songwriting and musical arrangement what Hollywood director Douglas Sirk is to gut-wrenching, blow-your-mind melodrama. Philly-based music critic Doug Wallen describes Lopez’s solo album Knitting Needles & Bicycle Bells as “a slow-burning showcase of everything

the guy does best, from shivering reverb and tricky wordplay to crackly vocals and forlorn Southern soul.” And his live performances are legendary. A reviewer writing for BrooklynVegan about the 2014 Rock*A*Teens show at the famous Poisson Rogue in New York describes the lead singer as “a howlin’ sweaty true-believer.” Seeing him live—whether with the Rock*A*Teens, recently reunited for a new album, or solo as Tenement Halls—makes you believe in the power of rock-n-roll with its incredible capacity both to save and emotionally to destroy you all at once.

About Amy Ray: Amy Ray’s progression as a singer/songwriter has taken her up and down all of the switchback trails of the South, from the dive bars of Saturday night to church on Sunday morning, with some coffeehouses and arenas along the way, too. “Although Southern Rock was standard fare at my high school in Decatur, Georgia, I didn’t really grow up with the country music I love now,” she says. Instead, she and her high school friend, Emily Saliers, would sneak into bars with fake I.D.s and play covers until they began writing their own poetically rich folk material that make the Indigo Girls one of the most successful and enduring duos in contemporary music. Meanwhile, Ray, a selfdescribed “workaholic,” also has established a solo career. Her extracurricular forays, musical curiosity, and jams and late-night conversations with other artists led her to conclude that punk and country are, in fact, kissing cousins. “The Southern punks I knew listened to and got their swagger from classic country as much as anything else,” she says. “Simple country tunes, mountain songs, and heartbreaking honky-tonk sounds held the same populism and rebellion that I loved about punk rock. Neko Case and Loretta Lynn were cut from the same cloth. The Clash and Hank Williams were the heartbeat of populist songwriting.” In 1993 Ray moved to North Georgia to a town she had gone to church camp in as a kid. “The rich Appalachian culture and music started seeping into my life and songs,” she explains. During this time she began approaching other musicians who caught her ear – high-lonesome vocalists and other players who knew their way around a banjo,

dobro, mandolin, fiddle, and pedal steel. Some, like her, also claimed punk roots. “I wanted to get just the right mix of musicians together, and stay true to old recording styles, using old microphones and old reverb plates, and the right set-up, like an old-school Nashville studio,” she says. “I knew the music would fall into place then and take on a life of its own.” “The bloodlines and kinships in music feel pretty powerful and infinite to me these days,” Ray says. “I’ve heard some folks say that country is where punks go to die. I don’t know about all that, but I imagine the last mile is the most lonesome, and there’s nothing like the sound of a pedal steel to keep you company.”

energy into stockpiling songs and occasional live performances. Mize says his “big break” came in 1994, when he was cutting some demos at Fat Possum’s studio in Water Valley, Mississippi. “Cary Hudson and Laurie Stirratt from the band Blue Mountain were there, and when they heard my song ‘Let’s Go Runnin’ they decided to record it,” he recounts. Mize plans to become a guitar-toting road dog in just a few years. “When I retire I’ll have a good pension so I can stay in decent hotels and eat good food. By then, I’ll have a bunch more songs, too. I’ll be ready to roll the dice and live my dream!”

Taken from artist’s web-page Note: Jon Langford’s biography is on page 4.

The following artists will join Hogan, Langford, Lopez, and Ray for a performance at the Powerhouse at 10 PM.

About Jim Mize: Jim Mize is a primal rock ’n’ roll visionary who colors his music with hues borrowed from blues and garage psychedelia, and writes with a stark brevity that punctuates every heartbeat of the characters who draw the attention of his pen. He has spent most of his 57 years wandering among such characters. As an insurance adjuster traveling the South and West for more than 30 years, he’s seen people at their most resilient and at their most vulnerable. “I’ve been through nine hurricanes and I don’t know how many tornadoes, and seen way too many car wrecks where people got killed,” Mize says in his big, bawling voice. “All of my tunes boil down to one thing, and that’s observations.” He developed his style playing juke joints, sock hops, and dive bars around his native Conway, Arkansas. And while the dirt road he grew up on is now paved, little else has changed. Mize didn’t enter a recording studio until his late 30s, instead channeling his creative

About Laurie Stirratt: New Orleans native Laurie Stirratt began playing music at 15 years of age and by the time she was 20 years old in the late 80s she was touring full-time playing bass and singing in the Oxford, MS-based band The Hilltops. Along with her twin brother John (longtime Wilco bassist) and Cary Hudson, they toured extensively and released two full length records, Holler in 1989 and Big Black River in 1990. They disbanded in 1990. John went on to join Uncle Tupelo and Laurie and Cary formed the seminal alt-country band Blue Mountain. After 20 years of world-wide touring and nine full length albums, Laurie and Cary parted ways. Laurie now plays with Oxford, MS-based Teardrop City and with Conway, Arkansas, and Fat Possum artist Jim Mize. Over the years, Laurie has also played with Tyler Keith and the Preacher’s Kids, Chicago based Healthy White Baby, and as a duo with her brother John, billed as Laurie & John, and has played and sung on numerous artist’s records.


Neko Case rocks the House for Sarahfest Finale ed in the indie rock and alt-coun“but make no mistake what I’ve invested in: try worlds, Neko Case has built a the woman’s heart is the watermark by which career defined by both strong will I measure everything.” In an interview with and musical the Guardian in 2013, versatility. Her Neko Case @NekoCase she explained those chief attribute and her larger “HONORED 2 play a benefit lyrics is her astonishapproach to gender: ing, siren-like 9/27 4 Sarah Isom Center for voice, which she think I just want Women + Gender Studies at ‘“I applies to songs balance. I want to be that are simulta- U of Mississippi” equal parts man and neously rugged woman, no matter and heartbreaking. what I am at the gynecologist,” she says now, sitting back at her kitchen counter. “ She The Canadian label Mint released goes on to reflect “how quickly things have Neko Case’s first solo album, The changed for women since I was a little girl – Virginian, in 1997. Around the same it’s like we went from using a rock to smash she joined Carl Newman some shit to being on the moon.” BENEFIT CONCER and Destroyer’s Dan T FOR THE SARAH Bejar and several other “And I want ISOM CENTER Canadian musicians to to tell younger FEATURING form the New Pornogwomen that,”


eko Case will play a benefit show for the Sarah Isom Center at the Lyric Oxford (1006 Van Buren Avenue) on Sunday, September 27th. For show and ticket information visit We thank the Lyric for their generosity, professional & community support, and for hosting the event. A special thank you to Anti-, The Billions Corporation, to Rachel Flotard, and local supporters Laurie Stirratt & Tear Drop City. About Neko Case: Like Loretta, Dolly, and Lucinda before her, she retains her core aesthetic no matter what stylistic garb she adopts, translating her ache through shades of gospel, Motown and surprisingly sophisticated pop. But unlike those songwriters, Case displays a cagey self-awareness that informs every creative turn she takes, revealing and pulling back parts of her contrite yet confrontational persona just before you can take them for granted. —Matt Fink, Paste Magazine Equally well-regard-

The Isom Report • Fall 2015

raphers, with whom Case continues to collaborate

Neko Case

she ploughs on. “Tell them that our momentum is huge. Keep it With Case has eight solo albums going. Don’t stop Special G uests Tear Dro to her credit. She has been here and fight p City (featurin g Laurie Grammy-nominated, about why you’re Stirratt) critically feted, and profiled calling yourself in the New Yorker, Rolling a feminist or not. Stone, and other publiDon’t get into these cations. Her last album, bitchy little fights D THE LYRIC OXFOR 2009’s Middle Cyclone, about who does debuted at No 3 on the what, where. Because U.S. Billboard chart. She the women who is famed as a storyteller, marched and fought Doors 5:3 her songs drawing on so we could vote, they Sunday, 0 • Show 6:00 Septemb For show er 27 $ 30 Adva and ticke dreams and fables, on didn’t do it so we could t $ 35 Day nce Tickets vi in 9.27.1 sit www.thelyr formation, DOORS OofPEShow 5 icoxford.c N AT 5:3 om sit around bickering her love and fascination 1006 Van 0, SHOW ST Bure ARTS AT Oxford, Mn Avenue 6 PM ississ for the animal kingdom. 662.234. ippi about what we 5333 She is noted, too, as a great interpreter, called ourselves. Move. having covered tracks by Tom Waits, Loretta Forward. Move forward. Lynn and Hank Williams, among others. In Decide you’re equal. Don’t take anything less. 2013 Pitchfork placed her latest album The And don’t stop.”’ Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You on their Find her on Twitter @NekoCase. best albums’ list of 2013: “Her most vulnerable and human record to date, is also her From Rolling Stone best…she remains miraculous.” & the Guardian (abbreviated with The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The supplemental details Harder I Fight, The More I Love You contains a included by Isom song that addresses the subject of gender and staff). suggests why Case is donating her time to do a benefit concert for the Sarah Isom Center: “I’m a man’s man, I’ve always been,” she sings,

Meet our Local Sarahfest Performers About Marcella & Her Lovers: Marcella René Simien is making a name for herself and her band in Memphis’s thriving music scene and is gaining a following throughout the larger South and beyond. The talented, bold artist is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana and graduated from the Memphis College of Art and Design in 2013. In that same year she met guitarist David Cousar, drummer Rory Mills Sullivan, and bassist Dirk Kitterlin; together they created Marcella & Her Lovers. The group immediately landed coveted regular performances at some of the city’s hippest music rooms and festivals. Chris Herrington of the Commercial Appeal calls Simien “one of the most interesting artists to emerge on the Memphis scene in years.” In 2014 Simien released her debut EP, titled The Bronze Age. — Composed by Kristin Johnson

helped Mathus write songs for the album and encouraged him to delve into a darker side of himself that he had always kept private. The result was a classic rock sound in which, Malthus explains, “the piano is pounded as hard as the guitars.” On April 21, 2015, Mathus released Blue Healer, his 11th solo album, and is touring with throughout the summer and fall. — Composed by Kristin Johnson

About the Slow Rollers: Shaundi Wall and Wendy Jean Garrison together cultivate a rich yet spare sound as the Slow Rollers, featuring Shaundi’s jazzy vocals and percussion, with the complementary mournful voice of Wendy’s slide guitar.

the Texas-to-Chicago axis with some New Orleans funk thrown in. They’re a two-man band with a full-on sound: Gussow on harmonica and drumset, Gross on guitar, with both men sharing vocal duties. In November 2013, the Blues Doctors released Roosters Happy Hour, their debut album as a duo. It includes blues standards and a handful of originals by Gussow, including a funky chromatic harp workout, “Staten Island Hurricane Blues,” and the Hooker-style boogie, “I Need Your Love.” — Composed by Kristin Johnson About Effie Burt: Oxford native Effie Burt was raised in a large, musical family and has been performing since the age of 13 with her family at churches and local musical events in Mississippi and Tennessee. Her life-long love of gospel and blues influences her unique sound. In 1999, Effie released her first original gospel song, “Written Amongst the Tears,” to accompany the novel of the same name by author Beverly Johnson. The well-rounded musician’s talents are not confined to vocals; Burt is a renowned composer and songwriter.

The two first played together at a gospel performance in 2014. After the performance, Shaundi was invited to join the prestigious Burns choir, and Cassandra Johnson, a descendant of the late slide guitar player “Mississippi” Fred McDowell, introduced herself to Wendy, noting similarities in the playing. This boded well for their sound. Slow Rollers look forward to specializing in happy hours at smaller venues. About Jimbo Mathus:

About the Blues Doctors:

Southern rocker Jimbo Mathus has spent his life surrounded by music. He describes his father as a “wild banjo” musician and recollects a childhood filled with “alcohol-fueled music and all night singing.”

Adam Gussow and Alan Gross, a.k.a. the Blues Doctors, are Mississippi-based blues veterans who play a mix of downhome Delta standards and urban grooves from

Dark Night of the Soul, Mathus’ ninth album, was released in February of 2014 and sparked a new interest in the seasoned performer, who had previously been a member of the bands Metal Flake Mother and Squirrel Nut Zippers. Malthus collaborated with Bruce Watson of Fat Possum Records on the album to create a new sound showcasing influences like Van Morrison and The Band. Watson

Singing R&B, blues, and gospel make her one of the most interesting and versatile artists in the area. Her powerful vocals are reminiscent of Aretha but it is her friendly demeanor which wins the affection of her audiences. Burt has been the headlining performer at the International Jazz Festival in Jamaica as well as a performer at high profile events for political figures including Former-President Bill Clinton, and President Barack Obama. — Composed by Kristin Johnson


Meet our Brown Bag Lecturers Diane Marting

October 14th ~ Director Maria Novaro, Gender, and Hispanic Heritage

Dr. Diane E. Marting is Associate Professor of Spanish and has been teaching for nine years, after holding positions at UCLA, Columbia, and other research institutions. Prof. Marting earned her degrees in Comparative Studies from Ohio State (B.A. with Honors) and in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University (M.A., Ph. D.). She primarily teaches courses in literature, film, and culture from Spanish America, but also enjoys teaching Spanish language, literature in English, and gender studies. Her research interests include Spanish American and Brazilian literature, film, and culture (especially by women writers and directors or about women’s lives), feminist literary criticism, and European-Latin American cultural relations.

Michèle Alexandre

October 26th ~ What’s in a Name? Who Are You Calling A “B. . .” ?

Michèle Alexandre was named one of Ebony Magazine’s Top 100 influential African Americans of 2013 and one of the 50 “Most Influential Minority Law Professors 50 Years of Age or Younger” by Lawyers of Color Magazine. The first black woman valedictorian of Colgate University, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 2000. She has received Fulbright and Watson Fellowships. Alexandre is Professor of Law and Leonard B. Melvin, Jr., Lecturer at the UM School of Law. She joined the law faculty at the University of Mississippi in 2008, from the University of Memphis School of Law. She has published numerous articles on issues related to race, gender and human rights. Alexandre’s latest book is entitled Sexploitation: Sexual Profiling and the Illusion of Gender (Routledge 2014)

Caroline Wigginton November 2nd ~ Very Delicate Work: Katherine Tekakwitha, Mohawk Material Culture, and Textual Print

Caroline Wigginton is Assistant Professor of English and teachers early American literature, gender and sexuality studies, and Native studies. Her first book, In the Neighborhood: Women’s Publication in Early America, is forthcoming from University of Massachusetts Press in Fall 2016. She has just begun a new project about the intersection of commodities, material culture, and book history in the early Americas. Her work has appeared in such venues as Early American Literature, Studies in American Indian Literatures, and Legacy: The Journal of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers.

Josie C. Nicholson

November 9th ~ Athlete Wellness in the Culture of Win

Josie Nicholson is a Licensed Counseling and Sport Psychologist and a Certified Consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. A native of Oxford, MS, Dr. Nicholson joined the University of Mississippi Health and Sport Performance Staff in 2012. She received a B.A. in Psychology and Visual Arts from Loyola University New Orleans where she was a student-athlete. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi and has worked in a variety of settings including community mental health, substance abuse treatment, diagnostics and assessment, and different university counseling centers. She has trained extensively in the use of hypnosis, and is also trained in the specialty areas of EMDR, group therapy, and sport performance.

The Isom Report • Fall 2015

Thanking our Partners Bradley Bishop and the Lyric Oxford The Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement Center for the Study of Southern Culture The College of Liberal Arts Creative Writing Program Department of Art Department of Sociology and Anthropology R & B Feder Charitable Foundation

Honey Bee Bakery Lamar Lounge My Michelle’s Catering Office of the Chancellor Multicultural Affairs Oxford Canteen Oxford High Feminism Club The Oxford Film Festival Powerhouse Arts Center Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College

Snackbar Southern Foodways Alliance Student Activities Association Thacker Mountain Radio University Museums & Rowan Oak The Violence Prevention Office Willcoxon Foundation Yoknapatawpha Arts Council We are also grateful for several private donations.

About the Sarah Isom Center: About the newsletter: All articles were written by Isom Center staff, including 2014-15 Interim Director Jaime Harker and Summer 2015 Public Relations Intern Kristin Johnson, with biographies supplied by guest speakers, artists, or their representatives. The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies was established at The University of Mississippi in 1981 to address the changing roles and expectations of women students, faculty, and staff. The University has provided educational opportunities for women longer than any other state university in the South. When UM opened its doors to women in 1882, eleven women registered for classes. Today, women constitute half the student body.

Isom Center Staff: Susan Grayzel, Ph.D. Director and Professor of History Theresa Starkey, Ph.D. Assistant Director and Instructor of Gender Studies Kevin Cozart, M.A. Coordinator of Operations Nikki Neely Director of Development

Unless images have been credited, they are the work of Isom Center staff or supplied by guest speakers, artists, or their representatives. Layout and graphic design work by Kevin Cozart. Contact us: The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies 002 Lyceum, Post Office Box 1848 University, MS 38677 662.915.5916 15

Spring 2015 Calendar August

Aug 29 at 8:30 AM, Location TBA Queer Camp An opportunity to be welcomed to the community, connect with others, and get access to resources for LGBTQ students. Co-sponsored by the Center for Inclusion & Cross Cultural Engagement, the Department of Student Housing, the Sarah Isom Center for Women & Gender Studies, and UM Pride Network. For more information, visit inclusion.olemiss. edu/queer-camp/ or call 662.915.1689. th

22nd at 7 PM in TBA Performance: “Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales” E. Patrick Johnson, Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University 26th at Noon in Faulkner Room Brown Bag: “What’s in a Name? Who Are You Calling A “B. . . “?” Michèle Alexandre, Leonard B. Melvin, Jr., Lecturer and professor of Law



18th - 27th - Various Locations Sarahfest See schedule on page 6.

2nd at Noon in Faulkner Room Brown Bag: “Very Delicate Work: Katherine Tekakwitha, Mohawk Material Culture, and Textual Print” Caroline Wigginton, assistant professor of English

21st - 26th - Various Locations Sex Week Events to be announced

October 1st - 3rd - Butler Auditorium Conference: “Gender, Memory, and War in the Anglo-American World” Sponsored by the Departments of History and English, the Center for Civil War Research, and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies 12th at Noon in Faulkner Room Brown Bag: “Director Maria Novaro, Gender, and Hispanic Heritage” Diane Marting, associate professor of Modern Languages

9th at Noon in Faulkner Room Brown Bag: “Athlete Wellness in the Culture of Win” Josie C. Nicholson, sports psychologist with UM Athletics

December 1st - All Day World AIDS Day Events to be announced

16th at 4 PM in TBA Queer Studies Lecture: “Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, or Sex in the Age of Fordism Benjamin Kahan, assistant professor of English and Women’s & Gender Studies at Louisiana State University The above are events scheduled thus far, but please subscribe to our listserv by emailing and/or check out our website (, Facebook (, or Twitter ( for updates and news. For assistance related to a disability for these or any events sponsored by the Isom Center, please contact Kevin at 662-915-5916 or

Visiting Lecturers About Michael Bibler: Michael P. Bibler is an associate professor at Louisiana State University. His research and teaching focus on representations of sexuality, race, and gender in 19th and 20th century American literature and culture, particularly the literature and culture of the U.S. South. His monograph Cotton’s Queer Relations (2009) examines the connections between same-sex relationships and social egalitarianism in literature of the southern plantation published in the mid-20th century. His current book project, tentatively entitled Possessive Intimacy: Property, Sexuality, and Southern U.S. Slavery, looks back to the biracial literary archives of the antebellum South to understand how queer forms of desire and eroticism are connected to issues of property and the property relations of both slavery and “traditional” marriage.

About Benjamin Kahan: Benjamin Kahan is an Assistant Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Louisiana State University. He is the author of Celibacies: American Modernism and Sexual Life (Duke University Press, 2013). Kahan is currently at work on a second book project entitled Sexual Etiologies. At its broadest, this project seeks not to rationalize what Eve Sedgwick calls “the unrationalized coexistence of different models of sexuality,” but to understand how their coexistence occurred. Kahan argues that these etiologies which are often dismissed as homophobic or preposterous record now (largely) vestigial models of sexuality. This book aims to develop these models from the catalogue of what Michel Foucault describes as “minor perverts” who fit “no order.”

Fall 2015 Isom Report  

The Isom Report is the official newsletter of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at The University of Mississippi.

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