bell hooks to be Inducted Into Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame

bell hooks speakingBerea author, feminist and social activist, bell hooks, is one of four writers to be inducted into the 2018 Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame on Jan. 31 at the Lexington Carnegie Center.

“bell hooks is one of the most influential cultural critics of our time,” said Neil Chethik, executive director of the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. “She has built a worldwide readership over 40 years with unique insights on such topics as love, race and power.”

hooks, who is the Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College, is being inducted along with three posthumous awardees—John Fox Jr., Annie Fellows Johnston and Walter Tevis. The Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame was created to recognize Kentucky writers whose work reflects the character and culture of our commonwealth and to educate Kentuckians about the state’s rich literary heritage. To be eligible for induction, an individual must be a published author whose writing is of enduring stature and who is connected in a significant way to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

hooks will speak at the ceremony Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. at the Carnegie Center, 251 West Second Street, Lexington, Ky. Berea College alumnus Sam Gleaves, an Appalachian singer and multi-instrumentalist, will perform. The event will be recorded by KET-TV for broadcast at a later date.

The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning empowers people to explore and express their voices through imaginative learning and the literary arts. The Carnegie Center is a family learning and literary arts center devoted to helping all people improve their quality of life. Its open-door policy invites people young and old to learn something new. The Center offers seasonal classes in writing, publishing and world languages; tutoring for students grades K-12; vibrant youth and family programs; literary readings; and other arts-related events, designed to encourage an appreciation for all art forms, and learning in general, among all Kentuckians.

bell hooks and Crystal Wilkinson Featured Speakers at Kentucky Book Fair

bell hooks and Crystal Wilkinsonbell hooks and Crystal Wilkinson will be “In Conversation” at the Kentucky Book Fair Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. The annual event, presented by Kentucky Humanities, features more than 180 writers and speakers from across the country.

hooks is a renowned cultural critic and Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College. Wilkinson is the recipient of the 2017 Weatherford Award for Appalachian Fiction and the current Appalachian Writer-in-Residence at Berea College. During the “In Conversation” session at 1 p.m. on the main stage, they will have a candid conversation on each one’s career in writing and their experiences as Black women and writers living in Kentucky.

Other Berea College alumni and faculty whose books will be featured during the 2017 Kentucky Book Fair include:

  • Bill Best (along with Dobree Adams) –  Kentucky Heirloom Seeds: Growing, Eating, Saving
  • Loyal Jones – My Curious and Jocular Heroes: Tales and Tale Spinners from Appalachia
  • Robert G. Lawson – Who Killed Betty Gail Brown? Murder, Mistrial, and Mystery
  • Keven McQueen – Horror in the Heartland: Strange and Gothic Tales from the Midwest

Kentucky Humanities is an independent, nonprofit corporation affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. Kentucky Humanities is supported by the National Endowment and private contributions. In addition to hosting the Kentucky Book Fair, Kentucky Humanities sponsors PRIME TIME Family Reading Time, offers Kentucky Chautauqua® and Speakers Bureau programs, hosts Smithsonian Traveling Exhibits throughout the state, publishes Kentucky Humanities magazine, and awards grants for humanities programs. www.kyhumanities.org

Facebook Live Interview with bell hooks

Revolution and Revelation: An Archival Legacy

Celebrating the formal opening of the bell hooks Papers at Berea College

bell hooks reading at commencementApril 10, 2017 – Facebook Live stream starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Join the livestream on our Facebook page.

bell hooks serves as Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College. The bell hooks Institute, which celebrates her life and work, is located adjacent to Berea’s campus. bell has fostered a close and meaningful relationship with Berea College and we are grateful that she has selected Berea as the repository of her Papers.


Update 4/12:

In case you missed it and weren’t available to participate in the Facebook Live Q&A with bell hooks, it is available for viewing below:

View the Facebook Live presentation of bell hooks’ papers at Hutchins Library here: https://www.facebook.com/bereacollege/videos/10155199827363205/

View the Facebook Live post interviews of bell hooks’ papers here: https://www.facebook.com/bereacollege/videos/10155199976553205/

bell hooks Named Iconic Black Trailblazer, Represents Kentucky

Congratulations to bell hooks, professor in residence in Berea College’s Appalachian Center for being named as one of “50 Iconic Black Trailblazers Who Represent Every State In America” by Huffington Post.

hooks, a Kentucky native and acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, and cultural critic, has authored more than three dozen books on topics of gender, race, class, spirituality, teaching, and the significance of media in contemporary culture.

bell hooks speaking

She writes in diverse genres, including cultural criticism, personal memoirs, poetry collections, and children’s books. Her writings cover topics of gender, race, class, spirituality, teaching, and the significance of media in contemporary culture.

In 2014, she established the bell hooks Institute at Berea College. To learn more about the bell hooks Institute, visit: http://www.bellhooksinstitute.com/

To see the Huffington Post’s full list of iconic black trailblazers from each state, visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/50-iconic-black-trailblazers-who-represent-every-state-in-america_us_5890cbb6e4b0522c7d3d6cfb?amp=&ir=Black+Voices&utm_hp_ref=black-voices

Notable Black Women Authors Captivated Audiences in Berea

Ten national and regional black authors spoke recently at the inaugural Black Women Writers Symposium: Writing the Natural World, Appalachia & Beyond at Berea College. The day-long event, the first of its kind in the region, was presented FREE to the public.

Crystal Wilkinson, the Appalachian Writer in Residence for Berea College organized the symposium, stating, “I know of no other literary event in the area that focuses specially on the writing of African American Women, especially those who primarily live and work in the region.”

Along with Wilkinson, the featured writers who presented speeches, readings, and led discussions included Joan Brannon; bell hooks; Carolyn Finney; Bianca Spriggs; doris davenport; Juyanne James; Kristine Yohe; Xandria Phillips; and Amethyst Kiah.

Wilkinson pointed out that Black women are often invited to talk about race, feminism, injustice, and politics, but rarely asked to discuss the importance of landscape, nature, and the mountains and their impact on women’s writing.

“As a Black Appalachian writer it stuns me when people are surprised that I write with an eye for nature and what it means physically and metaphorically and spiritually in Black women’s writing,” Wilkinson says. “And all the writers at the symposium shared what place means in their writing.”

The symposium’s activities began with conversation, coffee and pastries and a welcome by Wilkinson. Later, Joan Brannon spoke about The Talking Drum and The Spirit of the Land. She was followed by a Keynote Conversation between bell hooks and Carolyn Finney. The afternoon sessions included Bianca Spriggs who discussed The Natural and the Supernatural; doris davenport who conducted a Reading and Discussion; and Juyanne James, Crystal Wilkinson, and Kristine Yohe who presented readings about The Fictional Landscape. The Evening Keynote featured Student Readings by Xandria Phillips. The evening ended with a performance by Amethyst Kiah, a Southern Gothic, alt-country blues singer/songwriter. For a related article with authors’ bios, see: https://www.berea.edu/news/black-women-writers-gather-berea-college-symposium/

Black Women Writers To Gather at Berea College Symposium

Noted national and regional black women authors will be presenting at the Black Women Writers Symposium: Writing the Natural World, Appalachia & Beyond, to be held Friday, October 21 at the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center on the Berea College campus. The day-long event, the first of its kind in the region, is FREE and open to the public. Refreshments will be served throughout the day.

 Crystal Wilkinson, the Appalachian Writer in Residence for Berea College who organized the symposium, says, “I know of no other literary event in the area that focuses specially on the writing of African American Women, especially those who primarily live and work in the region.”

Along with Wilkinson, featured writers who will be presenting keynote speeches, readings, and discussions include:

  • Joan Brannon
  • bell hooks
  • Carolyn Finney
  • Bianca Spriggs
  • doris davenport
  • Juyanne James
  • Kristine Yohe
  • Xandria Phillips
  • Amethyst Kiah

“Black women are often invited to the table to talk about race, to talk about feminist intersectionality, to talk about injustice, to talk about politics, but rarely are we invited to the table to discuss the importance of the landscape, nature, the mountains and what it means to our writing,” Wilkinson says. “As a Black Appalachian writer it stuns me when people are surprised that I write with an eye for nature and what it means physically and metaphorically and spiritually in Black women’s writing. And all the writers invited to the symposium are processing what place means in their writing.”

The day’s activities begin at 9:30 with conversation, coffee and pastries. Following a welcome at 10:00, Joan Brannon will speak about The Talking Drum and The Spirit of the Land. At 11:30, bell hooks and Carolyn Finney will have a Keynote Conversation. After a lunch break,  Bianca Spriggs will discuss The Natural and the Supernatural at 1:00. doris davenport will conduct a Reading and Discussion from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m., followed by readings by  Juyanne James, Crystal Wilkinson and Kristine Yohe about The Fictional Landscape, beginning at 3:30pm. The authors will sign books from 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. The Evening Keynote will be Student Readings by Xandria Phillips at 5:00pm, following by a performance by Southern Gothic, alt-country blues singer/songwriter Amethyst Kiah.

For more information call 859-985-3140 or email cwilkinson@berea.edu

Schedule: Black Women Writers Symposium: Writing the Natural World, Appalachia & Beyond

9:30 to 10 a.m. Talk, Coffee, pastries
10 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Welcome
10: 15 to 11:15 a.m. Joan Brannon–The Talking Drum and The Spirit of the Land
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 Keynote: bell hooks& Carolyn Finney: A Conversation 
LUNCH
1:00 to 2 p.m. Bianca Spriggs—The Natural and the Supernatural
2:15 to 3:15 p.m. doris davenport—Reading and Discussion
3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Juyanne James, Crystal Wilkinson & Kristine Yohe –the 
Fictional Landscape, reading and conversation 
4:30 to 5:00 p.m. Book Signings
5:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. Evening Keynote: Student Readings/Xandria Phillips
7 p.m. An evening performance by Amethyst Kiah

For more information call 859-985-3140 or email cwilkinson@berea.edu

Biographical sketches of featured authors presenting at Black Women Writers Symposium: Writing the Natural World, Appalachia & Beyond

bell hooks is an acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, cultural critic, artist, and writer. hooks has authored over three dozen books and has published works that span several genres, including cultural criticism, personal memoirs, poetry collections, and children’s books. Her writings cover topics of gender, race, class, spirituality, teaching, and the significance of media in contemporary culture. Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, bell hooks adopted the pen name of her maternal great-grandmother, a woman known for speaking her mind. hooks received her B.A. from Stanford University, her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her books include, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-Esteem, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope, Where We Stand: Class Matters, and We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity. The bell hooks Institute was founded in 2014.

Carolyn Finney, Ph.D. is a writer, performer and cultural geographer. As a professor in Geography at the University of Kentucky, she is deeply interested in issues related to identity, difference, creativity, and resilience.  In particular, she explores how issues of difference impacts participation in decision-making processes designed to address environmental issues.   More broadly she likes to trouble our theoretical and methodological edges that shape knowledge production and determine whose knowledge counts. Carolyn is grounded in both artistic and intellectual ways of knowing – she pursed an acting career for eleven years, but a backpacking trip around the world and living in Nepal changed the course of her life. Motivated by these experiences, she returned to school after a 15-year absence to complete a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. The aim of her work is to develop greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenge media outlets on their representation of difference, and increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak to environmental issues and determine policy and action. Carolyn has appeared on the Tavis Smiley show, MSNBC, NPR and has been interviewed for numerous newspapers and magazines. Most recently an interview with Carolyn in the Boston Glove was cited as one of the top ten ideas/stories of 2014. Along with public speaking, writing and consulting, she serves on the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board that is working to assist the National Park Service in engaging in relations of reciprocity with diverse communities. Her first book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors was released in 2014 (UNC Press).

Joan Brannon founded the drumming collectives, Sisters of the Sacred Drum and the Sacred Drum Ensemble. She is also an award-winning Documentary Filmmaker, Media Artist and Oral Historian who has produced, scripted, directed, edited and served as director of photography on numerous projects as an independent, as well as in partnership with public television, broadcast stations and with independent companies producing thought provoking films. She currently teaches drumming workshops and is also program administrator for Kentucky Foundation for Women’s Hopscotch House, a retreat and residency Center located on a farm in Ky.

Bianca Lynne Spriggs, is a writer and multidisciplinary artist from Lexington, Kentucky. She is the recipient of the 2016 Sallie Bingham Award, a 2013 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry, and grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Bianca is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Call Her By Her Name (Northwestern University Press, 2016), and The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor (Argos Books, 2016), as well as the co-editor for Circe’s Lament: An Anthology of Wild Women (Accents Publishing, 2016) and Undead: Ghouls, Ghosts, and More(Apex Publications, 2017). Bianca is the Literary Arts Liaison for the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning and creator and program director for The SwallowTale Project: Creative Writing for Incarcerated Women, as well as the Managing Editor for Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Art & Culture and Poetry Editor for Apex Magazine.

doris davenport saysAs an undergraduate, around 1968, i first wrote my name in all lower case letters, as well as the word “i.” (Both had to do with a poetic stance against egoism and the influence of the Black Arts Movement.) Similarly, at a time before time, in our magical community on a hill in Cornelia GA, i totally identified as “Affrilachian” before the wonderful creation of that term. Working against all the isms for all my life, i use caustic humor, satire and hyperbole to achieve my (artistic and activist) ends. i am a 67 year old Scholar-Educator / Writer / Performance Poet; a lesbian-feminist bi-amorous anarchist; working class iconoclast from Northeast GA; with a BA in English from Paine College and a Ph.D. (African American literature; University of Southern California). i love teaching and have taught at colleges and universities in at least 12 states, but i am presently “semi-retired.” Although i have published numerous articles and essays, one of the best known is in THIS BRIDGE CALLED MY BACK (“The Pathology of Racism”). i recently published my tenth book of poems, performance pieces and am now happily back home, in the hills of Northeast Georgia. And i am totally delighted to be a part of this conference!”

Juyanne James is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Holy Cross. She is the author of The Persimmon Trail and Other Stories (Chin Music Press, 2015), her debut collection of 17 stories in which she interprets the African American experience in Louisiana. One of 11 siblings, James grew up on a farm in southeast Louisiana, about seventy miles north of New Orleans, where she left at 17 to join the U. S. Navy. She received a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature (University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana) and later an M.F.A. in Writing (Spalding University, Louisville, Kentucky). Her stories and essays have been published in journals such as The Louisville Review, Mythium, Bayou Magazine, and Eleven Eleven, and included in the anthologies New Stories from the South: 2009 (Algonquin) and Something in the Water: 20 Louisiana Stories (Portals Press, 2011). Her essay, “Table Scraps,” was a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2014. She was commissioned to write a story for Symphony Space’s Selected Shorts Project. James has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times.

Crystal Wilkinson is the author of The Birds of Opulence, Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries. Nominated for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, she has received recognition from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and is a recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. Her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in the Oxford American and the Appalachian anthology Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean.  She currently teaches at Berea College where she is the Appalachian Writer in Residence and in brief residency MFA in Writing program at Spalding University. She had her partner, poet and artist Ron Davis, own Wild Fig Books & Coffee which is located in the North Limestone neighborhood in Lexington.

Xandria Phillips is a poet from rural Ohio. She was raised on corn, and inherited her grandmother’s fear of open water. She received her BA from Oberlin College, where she studied writing and Africana Studies. Currently, Xandria is Winter Tangerine’s associate poetry editor and an MFA candidate at Virginia Tech. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and Callaloo. Her poem “For A Burial Free Of Sharks” was selected by Lucas De Lima as the winner of the fifth annual Gigantic Sequins poetry contest.

Amythyst Kiah is a Southern Gothic, alt-country blues singer/songwriter that has found a way to fuse traditional roots music with a contemporary style that does not take away from the integrity of the original song, and transforms them into powerful, soulful renditions. Amythyst has played places such as the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in Washington, D.C., Southern Fried Festival (Perth, Scotland), Cambridge Folk Festival (Cambridge, England), Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (Edinburgh, Scotland), and recently played at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She draws heavily on Old Time music (Mississippi Sheiks, Son House, Roscoe Holcombe, Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers), and is inspired by vocal stylings of R&B and Country music from the ’50s-’70s (Big Mama Thornton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Nina Simone, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn).

“Conversating: Black Men Speak”

conversating: Black Men Speak

The bell hooks Institute at Berea College will be hosting events called “Conversating: Black Men Speak” on April 9, and April 11-13, 2016.

Acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, cultural critic, artist and writer bell hooks will hold conversations with the following guest speakers:

  • Cornel West, April 9
  • Darnell Moore, April 11
  • Kevin Powell, April 12
  • Oman Frame, April 13

Each “conversating” event will be at the bell hooks Institute, 300 Center Street, Berea, Kentucky, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. The events are free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.

hooks selected Berea College as the site for the bell hooks Institute, which documents her life and work. Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, bell hooks adopted the pen name of her maternal great-grandmother, a woman known for speaking her mind. The Institute promotes ending domination through understanding the ways systems of exploitation and oppression intersect through critical thinking, teaching, events and conversation. The writings of bell hooks cover topics of gender, race, class, spirituality, teaching and the significance of media in contemporary culture. The Institute periodically brings together regional and national scholars and thinkers, such as Gloria Steinem, with local community members to study, learn and engage in critical dialogue.

For more information contact: bhi@berea.edu

Berea Women: In Synch With Success

Women in Science

Berea’s female students completely SWEPT the undergraduate category of the poster session at the recent Tri-State Women in Computing Conference held in Cincinnati. They took all three top places! Raunak Shona Thakur received Honorable Mention (Third place) in the Undergraduate Category for “Using Web Technologies to Improve Application Process.” In Second Place in the Undergraduate Category, Phyo Phyo Kyaw Zin was awarded a $300 scholarship for “Developing Dashboard Management System (DMS).” The First Place Award in the Undergraduate Category went to Amber Tolleson and Ashley Aiken for “The Detection of Gas in Fracking Contaminated Water,” for which they received a $1,000 scholarship to be split between them.

Students and Dr. Pearce at the 2016 Tri-State Women in Computing Conference

Students with Dr. Jan Pearce (center) at the 2016 Tri-State Women in Computing Conference.

Although there were more than 200 people in attendance at the Conference, no other schools placed in the undergraduate category even though students were present from large public universities as well as a number of technical colleges and smaller institutions. Jan Pearce, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science said, “I could not be prouder of our amazing students as well as of my tremendous colleagues.”

Women in Culture and Public Dialogue

Gloria Steinem and bell hooks

Gloria Steinem and bell hooks

Acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, cultural critic, artist and writer bell hooks selected Berea College as the site for the bell hooks Institute, which documents her life and work. Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, bell hooks adopted the pen name of her maternal great-grandmother, a woman known for speaking her mind.

The Institute strives to promote the cause of ending domination through understanding the ways systems of exploitation and oppression intersect through critical thinking, teaching, events and conversation. Her writings cover topics of gender, race, class, spirituality, teaching and the significance of media in contemporary culture. The Institute brings together regional and national scholars and thinkers, such as Gloria Steinem, with local community members to study, learn and engage in critical dialogue.

Women in Administration

During Berea’s 160-year history, women have provided numerous leadership roles. Alumni can recall names such as Bowersox, True, Butwell and Wolford in roles as Dean of Women, Dean of Students, Dean of Labor and Student Life. Gail Wolford pioneered the way for women on the College’s Administrative Committee, followed by others such as Browner, Newton and Kirby. Today, with Vice Presidents such as Strong-Leek, Douglas and Chen, women continue to provide outstanding administrative leadership in key facets of the College.

Women in the World

Berea student Moondil Jahan won the 2016-2017 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship prize of $30,000. Berea is the only school in the Commonwealth from which The Watson Fellowship accepts candidates. As one of 152 finalists who competed at the national level, Jahan receive one of the 40 fellowships offered.

For her fellowship, Jahan will engage in purposeful exploration— traveling the world for 365 days — after she graduates in May. Her project, “Journey through Rhythmaculture: Grieving and Rejoicing through Indigenous Drumming and Dancing,” will take her through Germany, Morocco, Spain, Peru, Ghana, Suriname and The Netherlands.

Jahan said, “I have chosen to explore these art forms across linguistic, cultural, and geographic border.” Delving into the rich and ancient tradition of drumming and dancing Jahan will gain firsthand exposure to the world’s most remarkable performers while learning the cathartic powers of rhythmaculture at a global level.

Moondill Jahan, winner of 2016-2017 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship prize of $30,000.

Moondill Jahan, winner of 2016-2017 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship prize of $30,000.

Gloria Steinem and bell hooks Speak at the bell hooks Institute

Noted American writer, lecturer, political activist and feminist Gloria Steinem and bell hooks, Berea’s Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies, recently spoke at the bell hooks Institute at Berea College. During the event Steinem and hooks shared memories from their distinguished careers, passages from their books and reflections about feminism and other current issues. The occasion was part of a series of ongoing events to celebrate the opening of the bell hooks Institute.

Largest Gathering of Appalachian Writers in History to Assemble at Berea College in September

The largest gathering of Appalachian writers in history will happen at Berea College on September 9 and 10. The Appalachian Symposium will be two days of public conversations focusing on the current state of the region’s literature and will feature keynote addresses by famed feminist author and activist bell hooks as well as Pulitzer Prize finalist Maurice Manning.  

The free two day event is being directed by Silas House, a writer and the NEH Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College. “The Appalachian Symposium is a gift from Berea College to the region, a chance for the public to spend time listening to their favorite writers discuss some of the most pertinent issues shaping the region right now,” House says. “Each session will be ‘front porch style,’ so that audience members feel as if they’re eavesdropping on the writers talking about these issues.”

While all sessions will focus on the contemporary state of the region’s literature, specific topics will include dialect, place, politics, religion, music, photography, displacement, the new millennium, gender roles, diversity, and much more. Besides the public conversations, three writing workshops are being offered, as well as a photography exhibit from acclaimed photographer Roger May, whose work was recently featured in The New York Times. Music from artists such as Caroline Herring and Sam Gleaves will be featured.  

Writers who will be present at the Symposium include Darnell Arnoult, Pamela Duncan, Denise Giardina, Robert Gipe, Jesse Graves, Amy Greene, Richard Hague, Jane Hicks, Ron Houchin, Jason Howard, Loyal Jones, George Ella Lyon, Linda Parsons Marion, Paula Nelson, Gurney Norman, Lisa Parker, Rita Quillen, Erik Reece, Gwyn Hyman Rubio, Anne Shelby, Glenn Taylor, Frank X Walker, Julia Watts, Charles Dodd White, Crystal Wilkinson, and Marianne Worthington.

The event is open to the public and no registration is required.  All events except the photo exhibit and workshops will happen in Presser Hall on the campus of Berea College.  For more information and a complete schedule of sessions please go to www.berea.edu/appalachian-center/as15 or look for The Appalachian Symposium on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theappalachiansymposium

 

Berea Professor, bell hooks Inducted Into Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame

Noted author and Berea College Professor, bell hooks was one of 35 people inducted into Kentucky’s Civil Rights Hall of Fame today.

The Kentucky Commission of Human Rights selects individuals for this distinction in recognition of their efforts to help improve the quality of life for Kentucky, the United States and beyond, in the areas of human and civil rights.

A native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, hooks was born Gloria Jean Watkins, but uses a lower case pen name based on the names of her mother and grandmother as a way to emphasize the substance of her writing instead of who she is.

Since 2004, she has been a distinguished professor in Appalachian Studies at Berea College, teaching Appalachian Studies and urging her students to think for themselves and to learn about other cultures, countries and living conditions. An acclaimed author, hooks often writes about racism, sexism and gender politics. Her work has been translated into more than 20 languages. She is perhaps one of Kentucky’s best known writers and is known to challenge the status quo.

For a complete list of 2014 inductees into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame visit Kentucky.gov (PDF).

Two Renowned Authors Offer ‘Advice from Appalachian Intellectuals’ to Berea College Graduates, May 4

Watch the live video stream on the day of commencement.

bell hooks, a celebrated author and social activist, and Silas House, a best-selling novelist and environmental activist, will address 271 members of Berea College’s 142nd graduating class during a special commencement service titled “Advice from Appalachian Intellectuals.” Both commencement speakers are faculty members in Berea College’s Loyal Jones Appalachian Center.

The graduation ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m. in the main arena of Seabury Athletic Center. A live video feed will be viewable to overflow crowds in the Upper Seabury gym. The baccalaureate service will be held at 10:30 a.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel and feature the Rev. Roger Ferlo, Ph.D. He is president of the Bexley Hall Seabury Western Seminary Federation, an Episcopal center for learning and discipleship in Chicago, Columbus and Indianapolis.

Celebrated as one of our nation’s leading public intellectuals by “The Atlantic Monthly,” as well as one of “Utne Reader’s” “100 visionaries who could change your life,” bell hooks is Distinguished Professor-in-Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College. Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, she has chosen the lower-case pen name bell hooks (in honor of her mother and grandmother) to emphasize the importance of the substance of her writing. She is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on the issues of social class, race and gender.

bell hooks remains an active writer, scholar and public intellectual. She appeared with Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC’s “The Melissa Harris Perry Show” in November 2013 to a standing-room-only audience in New York City. Her recent works include a critique of the critically acclaimed film “Beasts of the Southern Wild” as well as commentaries on works such as “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg (titled “Dig Deep: Beyond Lean In,” which has received more than 20,000 likes on Facebook and 3,000 Tweets). bell has also written about her return to her beloved Kentucky in “Belonging: A Culture of Place,” and her book of poetry, “Appalachian Elegy,” received the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s Best Poetry Award in 2013.

Dr. hooks earned her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her doctorate from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her early works include the now classic “Ain’t I a Woman” (1981) and “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center” (1984). She has held teaching positions at Yale University and was a tenured professor at Oberlin College, the first interracial, coeducational college in the United States. Before joining the faculty at Berea College, she was the distinguished professor-in-residence at City College of New York.

Silas House, a native of Lily, Kentucky, in Laurel County, has served as the National Endowment for the Humanities chair in Appalachian studies at Berea College since 2010. He is an award-winning author of five best-selling novels: “Clay’s Quilt” (2001), “A Parchment of Leaves” (2003), “The Coal Tattoo” (2004), “Eli the Good” (2009) and “Same Sun Here” (co-authored with Neela Vaswani, 2012); three plays, “The Hurting Part” (2005), “Long Time Travelling” (2009), “This Is My Heart For You” (2012; premiered at Berea College); and “Something’s Rising” (2009), a creative nonfiction book about social protest co-authored with Jason Howard. House was selected to edit “Chinaberry” (2011), the posthumous manuscript of acclaimed writer James Still. He recently finished his novel “Little Fire,” which will be published in 2015.

House is the winner of numerous awards, including the E. B. White Award, the Audie Award, the Nautilus Award, a two-time finalist for the Southern Book Critics Circle Prize, a two-time winner of the Kentucky Novel of the Year, the Parents’ Choice Award, the Appalachian Writer of the Year, the Lee Smith Award, the Hobson Medal for Literature, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Jesse Stuart Award, the Chaffin Prize for Literature, and the Award for Special Achievement from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. For his social justice activism, House has been hailed as “a folk hero” by ACE Magazine and received the Helen Lewis Award for Community Service. He was also awarded the Intellectual Freedom Prize by the National Council of English Teachers.  House’s work has been published multiple times in “The New York Times” as well as in “Newsday,” “Sojourners,” “Oxford American,” and many other publications. His writing has also been widely anthologized. House is a former commentator for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

House earned his bachelor’s degree in English literature at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in 1994. He later earned his master’s degree in creative writing at Spalding University in 2004 and an honorary doctorate from EKU in 2013. He has served on the fiction faculty of the MFA program at Spalding since 2006. House lives in Berea with his partner and two daughters.

Other graduation events will be held throughout the day. A pinning ceremony for nursing graduates will be held at 8:30 a.m. in Phelps-Stokes Chapel, followed at 10:30 a.m. by the baccalaureate service. A luncheon for graduation candidates and their families will be served at 11:30 a.m. in the Alumni building.

Following the commencement service, a reception for graduates, families and guests will be held on the campus Quad or, in case of rain, in academic buildings adjacent to the Seabury Center.