12th annual Ozarks Studies Symposium set for Sept. 20-22 at West Plains Civic Center

Brian D. Walter, PhD., is the keynote speaker for the event. His presentation is titled, "Sage and Osage: Donald Harington and the Long History of the Ozarks."

 “Social Architecture and Foundations of the Ozarks” is the theme of the 12th annual Ozarks Studies Symposium set for Sept. 20-22 at the West Plains Civic Center in West Plains.

    Hosted by Missouri State University-West Plains, the event celebrates various aspects of Ozarks culture and history through a variety of presentations and performances. Funding is provided by Missouri State-West Plains’ Philanthropic Women for Education; the West Plains Council on the Arts; the University of Arkansas Press; and Carol Silvey of West Plains, a long-time history professor and former director of development at MSU-WP and current member of the MSU Board of Governors.

    Dr. Jason McCollom, assistant professor of history at MSU-WP and coordinator of the symposium, said, “Presenters will explore topics as varied as religious communities, popular literature and music, people’s relationship to the land, and much more. 

“In honor of the bicentennial of Henry Schoolcraft’s exploration of the Ozarks, we are also pleased to host the Missouri Archaeological Society and their symposium, ‘The Journey of Schoolcraft.’ It’s an exciting collaboration,” McCollom  added. “The public is invited to a social hour at Wages Brewing Company starting at 7 p.m. on Sept. 21. Our presenters will be there to enjoy conversation, drinks, food and music by local band Creek Stink.”

The symposium will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, with a free opening reception at the Gallery at the Center on the civic center’s mezzanine. The event is sponsored by the West Plains Council on the Arts, with partial funding from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. Those attending can view the exhibit “Rocks and Red Clay” by local artist Barbara Williams. Refreshments will be served.

The symposium’s keynote address will be given at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, by Dr. Brian D. Walter, professor of English at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. His presentation, “Sage and Osage: Donald Harington and the Long History of the Ozarks,” examines how the work of the “Faulkner of the Ozarks” dealt with the Native American presence in the region.

Walter’s book, The Guestroom Novelist: A Donald Harington Miscellany, is expected in spring 2019 from the University of Arkansas Press, which also distributes his two feature documentaries, Stay More: The World of Donald Harington (2013) and Farther Along: The World of Donald Harington, Pt. 2 (2015), which have been screened at film and literary festivals.

Other presentations during the symposium include “Adventures of a Nature Novice: Henry Rowe Schoolcraft in the Ozarks” by Dr. Mark Morgan, associate professor, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri. 

For a complete list of the scheduled presentations visit ozarksymposium.wp.missouristate.edu.


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