Friday Forums

Millsaps College Friday Forums

All Forum events are free.
Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex, Room 215 at 1pm
Unless otherwise noted

For more information about the Forums, please contact 
Kenneth Townsend,, 601.974.1061


Reflections on Constitutional Litigation – Federal Law Clerks from the Southern District of Mississippi Federal Court

Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, 1 PM - AC 215

U.S. Federal Court Judge Carlton Reeves has heard a number of high-profile constitutional cases in recent years, including on topics ranging from Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban and gay adoption ban to Mississippi’s controversial “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” also known as HB 1523.

For the 2016 Constitution Day program at Millsaps former federal clerks of Judge Reeves will offer their reflections on what it is like to serve on the front lines of groundbreaking constitutional cases such as those Judge Reeves has decided in recent years.

Contact: Kenneth Townsend


Poem, Place, Public: Citizen and Civic Life in Mississippi – A panel featuring, Ralph Eubanks, C. Liegh McInnis, Anita DeRouen, and Adria Walker

Friday, September 23 2016, 1 PM - AC 215

This panel discussion explores Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric (2014) in light of William Faulkner’s famous axiom, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.” At first glance, Rankine’s book is less about any one place in particular than about what she calls an “apparatus” that infects all places, from the U.S. Open to the Superdome, from subway to suburb. Yet Rankine’s title underscores her commitment to location: our word “citizen” comes from the French citoyen, meaning “an inhabitant of a city or town who possesses civic rights or privileges” (O.E.D.). Suppose, then, that we start from the obverse of Faulkner's insight: How might Citizen spur us to understand better our own world, the rights and privileges we enjoy as citizens of Millsaps, Jackson, Mississippi in 2016? Why has Rankine chosen the subtitle "An American Lyric" for her account of the racial inequities that can structure even the most seemingly trivial interactions between well-intentioned people? How does lyric poetry work differently than other genres to draw us into dialogue about civic life?

This program is co-sponsored by the Visiting Writers Series at Millsaps.

Contact: Michael Pickard


Southern Religion During the Great Depression – Alison Greene

Friday, September 30 2016, 1 PM - AC 215

In No Depression in Heaven, Alison Collis Greene demonstrates how the Great Depression and New Deal transformed the relationship between church and state. Grounded in Memphis and the Delta, this book traces the collapse of voluntarism, the link between southern religion and the New Deal, and the gradual alienation of conservative Christianity from the state.

At the start of the Great Depression, churches and voluntary societies provided the only significant source of aid for those in need in the South. Limited in scope, divided by race, and designed to control the needy as much as to support them, religious aid collapsed under the burden of need in the early 1930s. Hungry, homeless, and out-of-work Americans found that they had nowhere to turn at the most desolate moment of their lives.

Religious leaders joined a chorus of pleas for federal intervention in the crisis and a permanent social safety net.  They celebrated the New Deal as a religious triumph. Yet some complained that Franklin Roosevelt cut the churches out of his programs and lamented their lost moral authority. Still others found new opportunities within the New Deal. By the late 1930s, the pattern was set for decades of religious and political realignment.

More than a study of religion and politics, No Depression in Heaven uncovers the stories of men and women who endured the Depression and sought in their religious worlds the spiritual resources to endure material deprivation. Its characters are rich and poor, black and white, mobile sharecroppers and wealthy reformers, enamored of the federal government and appalled by it. Woven into this story of political and social transformation are stories of southern men and women who faced the greatest economic disaster of the twentieth century and tried to build a better world than the one they inhabited.

Contact: Stephanie Rolph


Arts & Humanities Symposium

Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, 1 PM - AC 215

Millsaps students whose research papers have been judged the best in the arts and humanities will present their work in fifteen-minute talks, with a question-and-answer period to follow. These students are semi-finalists competing for the prizes of best presentation and best research paper of the year in arts and humanities.

Topics will be diverse and intriguing. Titles will be announced in mid-October once the semi-finalists have been chosen.

Contact: Anne MacMaster


The Book Traces Project: How will books survive in the digital age – Andrew Stauffer

Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, 1 PM - AC 215

How will books and reading survive in the digital age? The Book Traces project looks to the past for answers by unearthing unique and endangered nineteenth-century volumes in library collections. Marginal inscriptions left by vanished readers help to write the history of the reading experience and predict its possible futures. After the talk, join us for a scavenger hunt through the Millsaps-Wilson stacks to find these traces of readers and lost time.

Book Traces ( is a nationwide crowdsourcing project that aims to re-discover and preserve the physical traces of past readers, their reading habits and their personal lives, left behind in the pages of nineteenth-century books: writings, drawings, flowers and other souvenirs.  

Andrew Stauffer is the Director of NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-century Electronic Studies), a hub for online discovery and scholarship, and a peer-reviewing organization for digital projects, and the founder of the Book Traces project, a crowd-sourced web project aimed at identifying unique copies of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century books on library shelves. He is an associate professor of English at the University of Virginia.

Contact: Michael Pickard


How Jackson Moves: Understanding the Infrastructure of Mississippi's Capital City – Catherine Moore Lee

Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, 1 PM - AC 215

Jackson’s urban fabric is composed of many elements, but its infrastructure has been one of the most influential forms dictating the city’s historical development. Catherine Lee, Outcomes Broker at Green & Healthy Homes of Jackson, discusses how environmental factors, technology, and culture have shaped Mississippi's capital city, as well as ideas for how to apply smart growth principles to future planning of Jackson.

Contact: Kenneth Townsend


The Economic Case for Addressing Climate Change – Dominika Dziegielewska

Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, 1 PM - AC 215

The problem of climate change, argued by the large majority of climate scientists to be anthropogenic, is a result of market failure. The consequences of rising global temperatures impose costly impacts that are likely to continue at an increasing rate.  These effects range from local to global and affect relatively easy to quantify losses such as agricultural revenues or infrastructural damages along with more complex and ethically challenging public health and species extinction effects. These impacts hurt the most vulnerable, low income populations, who are often already struggling in the hottest, politically and economically unstable areas.  So, what can be done?  The economic prescription to this market failure is carbon pricing, which can be achieved through a revenue neutral and bipartisan solution of fee and dividend.

Contact: Kenneth Townsend