Skip to main content

MARTIN, Tenn. – An in-depth look at the 21st Century South: Tradition and Change serves as this year-s theme for the Eighth Annual Festival of Southern Cultures Sept. 25-29 at the University of Tennessee at Martin. The week is sponsored by the university’s Honors Programs and other campus organizations.

Dr. William Zachry, psychology professor and Honors Programs director, said the week’s main activities deal with traditional features of the South – the arts, agriculture, sports, politics and cultural diversity.

-We want to ask `how the South and its traditional features will change in the century ahead,– Zachry said.

The festival opens at 8 a.m., Monday, Sept. 25, with WriteSouth. Participants are invited to post their comments on topics related to the 21st Century South to the Web bulletin board, or just read what others have to say on this theme.

John Shelton Reed, one of the pre-eminent interpreters of the culture of the Southern United States will deliver the keynote speech for the Festival of Southern Cultures at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 25, in the Boling University Center-s Watkins Auditorium on campus.

Reed is the William Rand Kenan Jr. professor of sociology and director of the Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A native of Kingsport, Tenn., he did his undergraduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received his doctorate from Columbia University. He has written or edited more than a dozen books, most recently 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about the South, co-authored by his wife, Dale Volberg Reed.

Reed is founding co-editor of the quarterly Southern Cultures, past president of the Southern Sociological Society, a former Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer, and member of the council of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Other festival events include a series of agriculture demonstrations; a lecture discussion on the role of race in Southern politics based on Lillian Smith-s Two Men and a Bargain; a panel presentation on -Hispanic Voices in West Tennessee;- a presentation by English professor Dr. Laura Jarmon titled -Brer Rabbit-s Evasions and Deferrals: Modality in the Black Folk Tale; a performance by Dan Knowles and His Hot Band; and a panel discussion titled -Third and Long: Audibles from the Past and the Future.- The discussion will feature sports writers and broadcasters from Tennessee and Kentucky.

All events are free except Southern Meal Night planned for Wednesday, Sept. 27 and Thursday night-s Dan Knowles concert.