Speakers

Anderson, Nancy

A native Mississippian, Nancy Grisham Anderson did her undergraduate work at Millsaps College and graduate work at the University of Virginia. After teaching in Mississippi, Germany, and South Carolina, she joined the English faculty at Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) where she taught and published on Southern and American literature and writing.

In a six-year term on the Alabama Humanities Alliance's board of directors, Anderson served as program chair and board chair. She has led teacher institutes and made Road Scholar presentations on Harper Lee’s "To Kill a Mockingbird." The 2004 recipient of the Eugene Current-Garcia Award, Anderson has received the AUM Distinguished Teaching Award and AUM Distinguished Outreach Award and an inaugural Chancellor’s Warhawk Spirit Award. She retired from the AUM English Department in 2015 and went to work as Distinguished Outreach Fellow, working with AUM Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and directing Actions Build Community.

Bailey, Richard

Since returning to Montgomery, Dr. Bailey has been a consultant for the Center for Public Television at The University of Alabama, where he was a consultant for their productions on the Lincoln School of Marion and Reconstruction black officeholders. For the Division of Telecommunication and Educational Television at Auburn University, Bailey was an advisor for the Gee’s Bend story and the Horace King documentary. He was a consultant for the award-winning radio documentary, “Remembering Slavery,” produced by the Institute for Language and Culture at the University of Montevallo. In the mid-1980s, Gov. George C. Wallace appointed him twice to the De Soto Commission to reconstruct the path of the Spanish explorer through Alabama. Kiosks along select Alabama highways identify the route of De Soto.

Among other awards, Dr. Bailey received a joint fellowship to travel and study in Europe and African from Cleveland (Ohio) State University and the University of Massachusetts.

Berry, Donald

Donald Berry is the director of the Gulf Coast Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education. The Center promotes and supports middle-school and high-school teaching of the Holocaust and genocide. Berry is recognized as a Lerner Fellow by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. His Holocaust training includes the International Seminar at Yad Vashem (2006). He retired as associate vice president for academic services at the University of Mobile in 2015. Berry attended Southern Seminary in Louisville, from which he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1978 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1987.

Bliss Wright, Sarah

Alabama native Sarah Bliss Wright spent 30 years in performing arts before quilts captured her attention. Though she grew up surrounded by quilts, it was not until 2006 that the idea of turning her talents to textile art was born. A crazy quilt that she made from her late father’s silk neckties ignited a desire to add quilting to her creative pursuits. Serious study of quilt history began after a serendipitous meeting of fellow Alabamian Mary Elizabeth Johnson Huff, well-known author of numerous quilt books.

Ms. Wright holds a B.A. in Psychology from Samford University (Birmingham) and studied at the University of Exeter, England, as a Rotary International Fellow. She is curator for “Our Quilted Past,” an exhibit of Alabama feedsack quilts and Bemis Bro. Bag Company, and her research on the subject is published in Uncoverings 2013. A member of the American Quilt Study Group, Sarah lives in Mobile.

Brown, Alan

Dr. Alan Brown earned his B.A. in English at Millikin University in 1972, his M.A. in American Literature at Southern Illinois in 1974, and his Ph. D. in Rhetoric at Illinois State University in 1985. He has been teaching English at The University of West Alabama since 1986. Dr. Brown has been a member of the Alabama Humanities Alliance's Road Scholars Speakers’ Bureau since 1990. Since 1996, he has published a number of books on Southern ghost stories, including "The Face in the Window and Other Alabama Ghostlore" (1996), "Shadows and Cypress" (2000), "Haunted Places in the American South" (2002), "Stories from the Haunted South" (2004), "Ghost Hunters of the South" (2006), "Ghost Hunters of New England" (2008), "Haunted Texas" (2008), and "Haunted Birmingham" (2009). He has also published two literary tour guides: Literary Levees of New Orleans (1997) and Literary Landmarks of Chicago (2002).

Cauthen, Joyce

Joyce Cauthen is the director emeritus of the Alabama Folklife Association, a statewide organization that sponsors research, promotion and preservation of Alabama’s folk culture. She is the author of "With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow: Old-Time Fiddling in Alabama," published in 1989 by the University of Alabama Press, and has served as the producer of numerous recordings of traditional music of Alabama, including “Possum Up a Gum Stump: Home, Commercial and Field Recordings of Alabama Fiddlers.” She served as editor of "Benjamin Lloyd’s Hymnbook: A Primitive Baptist Song Tradition" and produced the accompanying CD. Her last project was a CD and booklet entitled "Bullfrog Jumped," which features recordings made across Alabama of children’s folksongs and games in 1947. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University and has a master’s degree in English from Purdue University.

Davies, Catherine

Catherine Evans Davies is professor of linguistics in the English Department at the University of Alabama. She served as president of the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics in 2003. Her articles on Southern American discourse have appeared in various collections, and in the Journal of Pragmatics. She is co-editor of “English and Ethnicity,” published by Palgrave in 2006, and is co-editor with Professor Michael Picone of the forthcoming “Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.”

Davis, Rebekah

Since 2010, Athens native Rebekah Davis has been preserving and sharing the history of her hometown and county as the archivist at the Limestone County Archives. In addition to keeping centuries-old documents in good shape, helping people research their history, and working to keep the historic 1905 L&N Passenger Depot standing, she shares the community story online, in print, and through special exhibits and presentations. She gained a unique insight into Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys as a result of working with the papers and the family of Judge James E. Horton Jr., and with the effort to erect a monument in his honor. A University of North Alabama graduate, Rebekah has had previous careers as a journalist, co-owner of a frugal-living website, and domestic engineer.

Davis, Robert

Robert Scott “Bob” Davis is director of the Family and Regional History Program, Wallace State Community College, Hanceville, Alabama. His program pioneers local and family history research in a college environment. The American Association for State and Local History gave his program the Outstanding Leadership in History Award of merit for 2006.

Bob holds a Master of Education degree in history from North Georgia College and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His has more than 1,000 publications on records and research include a number of books and more than 100 articles and reviews in professional historical, library, education, and archival journals. He has been quoted in or by Time, Smithsonian, CNN, NBC, and the Wall Street Journal. In Alabama and Georgia, Bob has worked to raise public awareness on saving local government records and has been a member of the Alabama governor’s historical records commission.

Davis, Roderick

A Guntersville native, graduate of Samford, Boston, Yale, and Columbia universities, taught at Rutgers and the City University of New York’s John Jay College for twenty years before coming back in 1990 to Samford as the Dean of A&S. As dean, increased faculty by one-third, established departments of Classics, Philosophy, Political Science, and Geography. Davis guided major core curriculum reform at Samford. He left administration in 2001 to return to full-time teaching until retiring in 2012. He is the winner of several teaching and administrative honors, widely published on Twentieth Century English and American literature. He received presidential appointments to the boards of the Harry S. Truman Foundation and the Selma-to-Montgomery Historical Trail.

Davis is currently writing the first biography of Dr. John Allan Wyeth — also of Guntersville and New York — who revolutionized American medical education.

Fisk, Scott

Scott Fisk is a graphic designer and educator. Fisk has taught at Memphis College of Art, American Intercontinental University, and Samford University. He graduated first in his class from Memphis College of Art with an MFA in computer art and received his BFA in graphic design from Henderson State University. Fisk’s interests include web design, typography, photography, motion graphics and multimedia. Fisk has lived and worked in the United States and Britain. His work is part of permanent collections in numerous galleries and museums, including the U.S. National Archives. Fisk enjoys traveling with his wife, Timarie, who shares his peculiar interest in broadsides, ephemera, and antique printing processes.

Fritze, Ronald

Professor Ronald H. Fritze was born and raised in Indiana. He earned a Ph.D. in history from Cambridge University. Currently, he serves as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Athens State University in Athens, Alabama. He is the author and editor of eleven books including "New Worlds: The Great Voyages of Discovery, 1400-1600" (Sutton/Praeger, 2003) and "Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science, and Pseudo-Religions" (Reaktion Books, 2009). Professor Fritze appeared in the series "The Conquest of America" on the History Channel. Among his awards, he received the Phi Kappa Phi teaching award and was selected the eighth Distinguished Faculty Lecturer at Lamar University. He is currently vice president/president elect of the Society for the History of Discoveries.

Gandy, Maurice

Maurice Gandy is a teacher and writer who finds “news” in history, especially oral history. Gandy recently retired after three decades as a journalism, literature, and creative writing instructor at Bishop State College in Mobile. He continues to teach American literature and technical writing as an adjunct English instructor at the University of South Alabama. In 2007, iUniverse Publishers released Gandy’s book, "The Capocalypse," a coming-of-age allegory set on the West Coast in the late 1960s. The work earned a Publisher’s Choice award from iUniverse. In addition, he has been a longtime feature correspondent for the Press-Register newspaper in Mobile. His specialty as a journalist is oral history, drawing on interviews with long-time residents, military veterans, and their descendants, to preserve stories and share them anew.

Hydock, Dolores

Dolores Hydock is an actress, storyteller, and writer. Her one-woman shows and presentations bring to life the voices and spirits of a wide range of characters from life and literature. Her work has been featured at conferences and special events throughout the Southeast, and her ten CDs of original stories have all received awards from Storytelling World Magazine for excellence in storytelling.

Originally from Reading, Pennsylvania, Dolores moved to Birmingham in 1974 after completing her studies in American Folklore at Yale University. She has a Master of Arts in Story Arts/Communications from East Tennessee State University. She is a founding member of ACME, Birmingham’s Association of Cajun Music Enthusiasts, and has taught Cajun and Zydeco dancing through the Vestavia Hills Parks and Recreation Board. She has taught acting and storytelling at Birmingham-Southern College and has been the teller-in-residence at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tenn.

Lang, Christopher

Christopher Lang graduated from the College of Wooster (Ohio) with a double-major in History and Art. He trained in furniture conservation at the Smithsonian Institution in Suitland, Maryland, and the Conservation Laboratory of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, in Williamsburg, Virginia. While at Colonial Williamsburg, he worked for several years at the Anthony Hay Shop as a cabinetmaker and historical interpreter.

For eleven years, Mr. Lang was master cabinetmaker at the Walker Allen Cabinet Shop at Alabama Constitution Village, Huntsville, Alabama. He provided historical interpretation and demonstration of early 19th century customs and crafts. He also served as curator of collections and exhibits of the EarlyWorks Museums in Huntsville. Included among his projects was a special exhibit and lecture series on Alabama-made furniture at the Humphreys-Rodgers House.

Today, Christopher builds on his woodworking experience of over two decades through research and interpretation.

Leader, Anne

An Auburn resident since 2013, Anne Leader, Ph.D., is a visiting fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, where she is developing Digital Sepoltuario, an interactive website that chronicles the memorial landscape of medieval and Renaissance Florence, Italy.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Dr. Leader holds a History-Art History B.A. from Emory University, and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in the History of Art and Archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She was Rush H. Kress Fellow at Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, where she completed her monograph, The Badia of Florence: Art and Observance in a Renaissance Monastery (2012). Dr. Leader has taught art history at the University of New Hampshire, Kean University, The City College of New York, and SCAD-Atlanta. She’s currently an instructor at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University.

Mebane, John

John Mebane, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of English at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Originally a specialist in Renaissance literature and culture, for the past 20 years he has also pursued interdisciplinary studies in religion and warfare, especially the conflicts among pagan heroic ideals and Christian ideas concerning pacifism and principles of justice in warfare. His interest in this topic stems in part from his experience in combat in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1969-70. He has published two books and a number of articles on Renaissance literature and culture, including a study entitled “’Impious War’: Religion and the Ideology of Warfare in [Shakespeare’s] Henry V.” He is currently expanding his research into the history of principles of justice in warfare in the West in recent history. Mebane holds a bachelor’s degree from Presbyterian College and a Ph. D. from Emory University.

Metress, Christopher

Christopher Metress is university professor at Samford University. His special interests include Southern literature and history, and his work on Harper Lee is part of a larger interest in southern writers and the modern Civil Rights Movement. His 2002 anthology, "The Lynching of Emmett Till" was published by the University of Virginia Press and was featured in new stories in The Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and The Nation magazine, as well as on ABC World News Tonight. He has lectured widely on the intersections of literature and history, including talks at New York University, Brown University, the University of Connecticut, and Wolfson College, Oxford. In 2019, he received the Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Distinction in Literary Scholarship from the Association of College English Teachers of Alabama.

Olliff, Marty

Marty Olliff received his Ph.D. in U.S. History from Auburn University in 1998. He was assistant university archivist at Auburn, 1996-2002, then became director of The Wiregrass Archives at Troy University Dothan Campus in 2002. He is currently a professor of history at Troy University.

Olliff’s research concerns the Progressive Era in Alabama. He edited "The Great War in the Heart of Dixie: Alabama During World War 1," University of Alabama Press, 2008, and authored "Getting Out of the Mud: The Alabama Good Roads Movement and State Highway Administration, 1898-1930," also published by the University of Alabama Press in 2017.

Olliff is active statewide. He served as president of the Alabama Historical Association, the Alabama Association of Historians, and the Society of Alabama Archivists; has sat on the board of directors of the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, the Alabama Historical Commission, and the Alabama Humanities Alliance; and has served on numerous editorial boards.

O’Sullivan, Robin

Robin O’Sullivan received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas—Austin in 2010. Robin O’Sullivan is a lecturer in the History and Philosophy Department at Troy University. Her book, "American Organic: A Cultural History of Farming, Gardening, Shopping, and Eating," was published by the University Press of Kansas in 2015. She has presented academic papers at the American Studies Association; American Society for Environmental History; Gulf South History & Humanities Conference; Southern Forum on Agricultural, Rural, and Environmental History; and other meetings. She received the Faculty Senate Excellence in Teaching Award from Troy University in 2012.

Phone: 205.348.9944

Email: cathy@ua.edu

Pagani, Catherine

Catherine Pagani is a professor of Asian art history in the Department of Art at the University of Alabama, where she also serves as chair of the department. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto and has worked at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and the National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan. Pagani has published and lectured widely on the arts of Asia, including rural Chinese embroidered textiles, China’s first emperor, cross-cultural influences in the arts and sciences between China and Europe, and Japanese woodblock prints. In addition to three books, her work has appeared in journals that include Arts of Asia, Apollo, Burlington Magazine and Arts Asiatiques. Her book, “Eastern Magnificence and European Ingenuity”: Clocks of Late Imperial China, is the result of research conducted at the Palace Museum, Beijing, where she was the first Westerner given research access to the large collection of 18th-century elaborate clo

Robb, Frances

Frances Osborn Robb, a native of Birmingham, is a cultural and social historian with special expertise in the history of photography. She holds advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina and Yale University. She works as a consultant on exhibitions and research to archives, museums, and libraries. She has lectured widely on social and cultural history in Alabama and the South, using historic photographs to enliven her presentations, and she has conducted many workshops on dating and identifying local and family photographs. Her book, "Shot in Alabama: A History of Photography in a Deep South State, 1839-1941," was published in 2017 by the University of Alabama Press.

Schaefer, Robert

Robert Schaefer, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the Political Science Department at the University of West Georgia. He teaches classes on American government, ancient political theory, American political parties, and state and local politics. His areas of interest also include state constitutions and Shakespeare. He is co-editor of American Political Rhetoric
— a reader in American politics. While living in Alabama for almost two decades, Schaefer was very involved in a number of civic activities. He was technical advisor for Gov. Bob Riley’s Alabama Citizens’ Constitution Commission, president of the Society Mobile-La Habana, and Transition Team Associate Manager for Mobile Mayor Samuel Jones.

Scrivner, Joseph

Joseph Scrivner co-authored "A Handbook to a Grammar of Biblical Hebrew" (Abingdon), a supplemental volume to the Hebrew textbook by C.L. Seow. He has also written brief articles for Teaching the Bible (Eerdmans), The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Abingdon), The Peoples’ Bible (Fortress), and the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (de Gruyter). Scrivner’s research and teaching interests include Israelite wisdom literature, the relationship between social location and interpretation, and the interplay between a rigorous literary-historical analysis of the Bible and contemporary religious beliefs. He is an ordained minister who preaches and teaches occasionally at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, where he is a member, as well as in other churches in the area. Scrivner received his B.A. from Crichton College, an M.A. from Reformed Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Simpkins, Daphne

Daphne Simpkins currently writes "The Adventures of Mildred Budge," a series of books about church ladies of the South. Titles include "Cloverdale," "Miss Budge in Love," and "Embankment." Previously, she wrote a biography for children, "Nat King Cole: An Unforgettable Life of Music" and a memoir about caregiving, "The Long Good Night." Her most recent book is a Southern memoir with recipes for the new bride called "A Cookbook for Katie." In addition to writing and teaching English at Auburn University at Montgomery, Daphne has written over two hundred articles and essays that have been published in the United States and Canada.

Smith Waters, Mollie

Mollie Smith Waters is a professor of composition, literature, theater, and speech at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Greenville. Waters writes for various publications including Bookkaholic, Southern Literary Review, The Camellia Magazine, Encyclopedia of Alabama, and Alabama Heritage. Waters is a past-participant of several National Endowment for the Humanities summer programs, including seminars on the American Lyceum, the Pilgrims & Wampanoag Indians, and the Transcendentalists. In 2008 she was a Group Study Exchange team member to Brazil. In 2013, she directed her first play, "Crimes of the Heart," and she helped to create the Greenville Community Theatre. Waters has been a teacher for fifteen years. During her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and walking. She is married to Ronald Waters, and she has a son, Reagan, and a stepdaughter, Katelin.

Thompson, Kathleen

Kathleen Thompson holds a B.S. from the University of Alabama and an MFA in Writing from Spalding University in fiction/poetry. A former teacher of high school English, she has an online editing business and has served as a consulting poetry editor for publications. She has published three books of poetry: "Searching for Ambergris" (Pudding House Publications); "The Nights, The Days" (Negative Capability Press); and "The Shortest Distance" (Coosa River Books). Her body of prose includes two novels in manuscript form and two collections of short stories. Excalibur Press nominated her short story in the anthology "Christmas is a Season! 2009" for a Pushcart Prize. Her current writing project is a memoir — the result of her interest in blogging, her return to a passion for the personal essay, and a CNF workshop with Spalding, in which she participated as a post-grad in Paris, 2012.

Utz, Karen

Karen R. Utz has a B.A. in Sociology and Marketing from Central Missouri State University, and a M.A. in History from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She serves as interim executive director of Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Birmingham.  Primary objectives include planning, directing, coordinating, and supervising the operations and maintenance of the historic site. Utz was an adjunct historian at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for 25 years and taught a variety of courses; Early and Modern American History, Southern Labor, African American Studies, and America in the 1960s. She is a contributor to "Work, Family, Faith: Women of the Twentieth Century South," "Man Food: Recipes from the Iron Trade," and "Iron & Steel: A Guide to Birmingham Area Industrial Heritage Sites." Utz has served on various committees including the Southeastern Museum Conference, Society for the History of Technology, and the American Association of Museums.

Ward, Tom

Formerly a professor at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, Tom Ward is an award-winning historian and assistant dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at Farmingdale State College-SUNY. A noted authority on issues of race and health care in the American South, Ward is the author of "Black Physicians in the Jim Crow South" (2003) and "Out in the Rural: A Mississippi Health Center and its War on Poverty" (2017), along with numerous articles and reviews. He is currently involved in a book project on health care and the Civil Rights Movement.​ A native of Annapolis, Maryland, Dr. Ward now lives in Northport, New York, with his wife and three sons. He received a B.A. in history and political science at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, M.A. in history at Clemson University, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Webb, Susan

Susan Webb, early American school historian, has become America’s Traveling Schoolmarm. Having lived in areas of the country steeped in the history of country schooling, Susan has developed a passion for the study of American education. Her 20 years as a classroom teacher, her background in theatrical presentation, and over a decade of early-American education research prompted her to develop entertaining and informative programs. These ventures have transported her to libraries, universities, conference sites, historical societies, and museums across the United States. From these journeys she has collected a small library of antique schoolbooks and an array of historical school artifacts. Susan has set foot in countless restored country schools throughout the country to engage audiences in school reenactments, utilizing her book Country School Copybook and other publications she has written, including: "Ready for Reenactment?", "School Days Lessons," and "Masterful McGuffey."