Mercer University Southern Studies Center to Host Symposium on ‘Excavating the Native South’

Statue of Jesse Mercer on the Mercer campus.

MACON – Mercer University's Southern Studies Center will host “Excavating the Native South,” a symposium on the past and present of Native Americans in the South on April 19 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. in Macon.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature presentations by prominent scholars from nine different colleges and universities on topics that consider the resonance of Native American culture in Southern history. These presentations will all take place in the Medical School Auditorium.

“The area that is now Middle Georgia has been inhabited for thousands of years. Generations of indigenous people lived here, and built enormous mounds and massive cities. Native Americans were forcibly removed to make way for cotton plantations, but their legacy and their descendants remain. This symposium will explore Native Americans' role in the South's history and culture,” said Dr. David A. Davis, assistant professor of English at Mercer and organizer of the symposium.

Dr. Eric Gary Anderson, director of Native American and indigenous studies at George Mason University, will deliver an opening keynote address, titled “Reading and Writing Earthworks,” at 9 a.m.

A panel of presentations on Native American history will be offered from 10-11:20 a.m. by Steven Peach of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, John C. Winters of CUNY Graduate Center and Jonathan Fairchild of the University of Houston.

Janet McAdams, an Alabama Creek poet and Robert B. Hubbard Professor in Poetry at Kenyon College, will give a reading from her work from 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m.

Following a break for lunch, a second panel of presentations on Native Americans in the contemporary South will be offered from 1:40-3 p.m. by Dr. Gina Caison of Georgia State University, Dr. Courtney Lewis of the University of South Carolina and Dr. Matthew Jennings of Middle Georgia State College.

Dr. Claudio Saunt, Richard B. Russell Professor in American History at the University of Georgia, will deliver a closing keynote address, titled “Excavating the History of Southern Indians,” at 3 p.m.

Following the closing address, a reception will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. at Ocmulgee National Monument.

The symposium is sponsored by the Georgia Humanities Council.

Kyle Sears
Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​