Isom News Archives

Money Matters: More than 77¢ on the Dollar

0The Sarah Isom Center is proud to welcome to The University of Mississippi Attorney and Advocate Noreen Farrell in April for her lecture on the pay gap, in recognition of Equal Pay Day.

The next Equal Pay Day is Tuesday, April 14, 2015. This date symbolizes how far into 2015 women must work to earn what men earned in 2014. Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages.

From WhiteHouse.Gov on Equal Pay:

Despite passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which requires that men and women in the same work place be given equal pay for equal work, the "gender gap" in pay persists. Full-time women workers’ earnings are only about 77 percent of their male counterparts’ earnings. The pay gap is even greater for African-American and Latina women, with African-American women earning 64 cents and Latina women earning 56 cents for every dollar earned by a Caucasian man. Decades of research shows that no matter how you evaluate the data, there remains a pay gap — even after factoring in the kind of work people do, or qualifications such as education and experience — and there is good evidence that discrimination contributes to the persistent pay disparity between men and women. In other words, pay discrimination is a real and persistent problem that continues to shortchange American women and their families.


2015 Lucy Somerville Howorth Lecturer David Simon to deliver Isom Student Gender Conference Keynote on Friday

By Jaime Harker

 David Simon, Paul SchiraldiI came late to The Wire, but when the series came out on DVD, I sat down to watch the first episode. A young man explained to a homicide detective why “Snot Boogie” lay dead in the street. Every week, Snot came to the craps game and tried to steal the pot. “Let me get this straight,” asked McNulty, the homicide detective, “Every week he snatched the pot and ran? Why did you let him in the game? Why did you let him play?” “Got to,” answered the witness. “It’s America, man.”

From that moment, I was hooked. In my binge watching of The Wire over the next few weeks, I was immersed in a world that usually gets only self- righteous buzzwords on the nightly news, a world populated by characters full of rage, buffeted by injustice, often exploding in frightening violence, but characters who were nevertheless brave, funny, resourceful, and deeply invested in a code of conduct that was invisible to the mainstream but meaningful to members of the community. The Wire insisted on the flawed yet glorious humanity of all its urban dwellers: drug dealers, crackheads, corrupt cops, sleazy politicians, and snitches. Though much of its terminology continues to inform my own speech—“juking the stats,” for example, remains a depressingly relevant concept no matter what one’s station of life—it is The Wire’s embrace of people usually dismissed in pejoratives that still resonates. This gripping, complex, often hilarious world emerged from the distinctive genius of our 2014-2015 Howorth Lecturer David Simon.


March 16th ~ Keyword 'Katrina' -- How Blogging Reconnected a Hurricane-Crushed City

Spring Brown Bags - JoyceCynthia Joyce has been a writer, editor, and web producer for more than 15 years and has contributed to several regional and national publications, including The Washington Post, Newsday,, Entertainment Weekly, and, where she was a senior producer from 2007-2011;, where she worked briefly as a producer post-Katrina; and Salon , where she was arts and entertainment editor from 1995-2000. She received her BA from Duke University in 1991, and her Masters of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University in 1993. She joined The University of Mississippi faculty in 2011.


Cabbagetown: a Retrospective on Space and Place - Thursday, March 19th - Powerhouse

cabbagetownThe Southern Foodways Alliance and Sarah Isom Center are partnering to host “Cabbagetown: a Retrospective on Space and Place” at the Powerhouse on Thursday, March 19th. This event is free and open to the public.

In Atlanta, beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth-century, Cabbagetown was a working-class enclave centered around the textile industry. Its inhabitants were largely Appalachian migrants employed by the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill. In 1978 the Mill closed, but many descendants of the original workers still called the neighborhood home as property in the area would go up for sale to the rest of the city.

By the early 1990s, the neighborhood had become an important hub for struggling artists and musicians. Atlanta bands such as Smoke, Opal Foxx Quartet, the Rock*A*Teens, and singers like Cat Power’s Chan Marshall and Kelly Hogan were participants who actively helped shape the city’s alternative music scene.

The neighborhood’s long historical narrative exposes how social, economic and cultural forces produce demographic change. In a space like Cabbagetown, one disenfranchised group can replace another. Dislocation and invisibility are often the byproducts of the process of gentrification. With each neighborhood transformation, complex issues of class, gender, sexuality, race, and foodways intersect to produce the shifting face(s) of place.

The evening line-up includes a photography exhibit by Oraien Catledge (a native Mississippian who started to visually document the Cabbagetown neighborhood and its people in the late 1970s into the early 1990s), a themed food tasting, and a screening of the documentary Benjamin Smoke (2000), which is an intimate exploration of the band Smoke and its members. Smoke member Bill Taft will appear live to perform his music. Poet Caroline Young, a longtime member of the community, will read. Food scholar Edward H. Davis will discuss foodways and place, including the humble ingredient that gave Cabbagetown its name.


The Isom Center's Women in the Film Industry Series Presents: Joey Lauren Adams' "Come Early Morning"



The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at The University of Mississippi and Oxford’s Powerhouse Community Arts Center are proud to present a screening of actor-writer-director and former Oxonian Joey Lauren Adams’s film Come Early Morning (2006). Adams will introduce the film and participate in a Q&A session with the audience. This program is part of the Sarah Isom Center’s series Women in the Film Industry.

The screening is free and open to the public. Tickets for the post-show reception with Adams are ten dollars. Ticket price includes food by the Main Event and a cocktail. Tickets for the reception will be available at the door.


"Ghosts in Gloves" with Dr. Derrick Harriell - Monday, March 2nd at Noon

Spring Brown Bags - HarriellAbout Derrick Harriell:

Derrick Harriell was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, but currently resides, with his wife and son, in Oxford MS where he teaches in the English and African-American Studies programs at The University of Mississippi. His poems have been widely published in numerous journals and anthologies. His first collection of poems, Cotton (Aquarius Press- Willow Books 2010), traces his southern familial roots. His most recent collection, Ropes (Aquarius Press- Willow Books 2013), won the 2014 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Book Award and is steeped in a historical conversation between heralded African American prizefighters Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, and Mike Tyson.



Don't Just Change the Channel

Bitch Media was an unprecedented merger of feminist cultural commentary and popular culture when it launched in 1996.  Andi Zeisler, a recent graduate of Colorado College, founded the magazine with a friend, initially with a distribution of 300.  The magazine was meant to be “a fresh, revitalizing voice for feminism. One that welcomes complex arguments, showcases witty and whip-smart critiques of popular culture, and refuses to ignore the contradictory and sometimes uncomfortable details that constitute the realities of life in an unequivocally gendered world." Recent explosions of feminism, both in popular culture and online, have built on the pioneering work of Bitch Media.

We see Andi Zeisler’s visit as a perfect way to extend and complicate the conversation Camille Paglia started in the fall of 2014, in her sometimes controversial musings.  The Honors College generously agreed to co-sponsor this event as way to add diverse perspectives on feminism and popular culture. We are pleased to welcome Andi Zeisler to The University of Mississippi campus to speak on the following topic:

Don't Just Change the Channel: Why Pop Culture Matters to Feminism, Activism, and Social Justice


Provocateur and National Treasure John Waters to Visit

John Waters dropping off 16mm prints of his early works at the Film Society. Photo by Eugene Hernandez. (Borrowed from

To experience a John Waters movie is to experience the carnivalesque. No other filmmaker can make his audience laugh till their eyes water, cringe in their seats, and potentially throw up -- all in the same moment. To watch one of his films is to experience a delicious delirium that makes you realize that he has turned your world and expectations topsy-turvy.

Dennis Lim, the Film Society's Director of Programming at the Lincoln Center, says it best when he observes that John Waters is "a lifelong provocateur and by now a national treasure. John Waters is a singular, even prophetic figure within not only American cinema but also the broader landscape of American popular culture. From his early underground sensations to his subversive work within the mainstream, no filmmaker has done as much to blur and challenge the distinctions between high and low culture, and between good and bad taste.”

We are excited to welcome John Waters to our campus. This student-inspired event was made possible by generous support from the University Lecture Series, numerous university entities, and private donations.

Tickets will be free and available from the UM Box Office by mid February.


Reading by Lisa Howorth

howorthbymaudeschuylerclayFebruary 9th ~ 5:30 PM in Bondurant 204C - A Reading from Flying Shoes

Lisa Howorth was born in Washington, DC, where her family has lived in the area for four generations. She moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where she married her husband, Richard, and raised their three children. They opened Square Books (named by Publishers Weekly as the 2013 Book Store of the Year) in 1979. Flying Shoes is a work of fiction, but the murder is based on the still-unsolved case of Lisa's stepbrother in 1966.

-- Taken from Bloomsbury Publishing


Women in the Film Industry with Maggie Renzi

renzi_poster-01February 19th at 6:30 PM, Bryant 209
Reception to follow in Farrington Gallery

About Maggie Renzi:

Maggie Renzi has been John Sayles' creative partner since 1978 and she has produced nearly all of his movies. She has also acted in many of them.

For John Sayles, Maggie Renzi produced Lianna, The Brother from Another Planet, Matewan, City of Hope, Passion Fish, The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star, Men With Guns, Limbo, Sunshine State, Silver City, Honeydripper, and Amigo. She produced many of these films with either Sarah Green or Peggy Rajski.


True Stories of the Sinful and Sultry South

southernsinSouthern Sin: True Stories of the Sultry South and Women Behaving Badly contains memoirs by 23 Southerners who have “acted up”—and who have reflected, with wisdom and humor, on what they’ve learned from their transgressions.  As Dorothy Allison asks in her introduction, “What is specifically Southern about sin?  Do we do it better, with greater abandon?  What crime of region or language marks us unique and original?”   River Jordan, Elane Johnson, and Sonja Livingston, all contributors to this anthology receiving praise from reviews, come together to consider these questions on a panel moderated by Beth Ann Fennelly.

Join them November 19th at 5 PM in the Overby Center Auditorium.

An Excerpt from Southern Sin:

“This volume contains stories of women who commit transgressions that change their lives. Many of these changes are painful (aren’t all changes painful?), but the women speaking to us from the far side of the process are schooled.

Ive always believed that through reading we educate our emotional intelligence. Just as our dreams provide a space for us to psychically rehearse our day’s anxieties, reading allows us to test alternate conclusions. We inhabit other characters and experience their choices as our own, through the exercise of empathy. By reading the memoirs collected here, we imaginatively re-experience the choices these “bad” women made. We can be cheaters and lawbreakers, liars and avengers, deviants and plotters. We can get away with murder. Will reading these tales prevent us from sinning? Not likely. But it’s enlightening, as well as entertaining, to consider the wages of sin. It’s possible our future decisions will be better informed. “

- “Running from the Lord” by Beth Ann Fennelly - Southern Sin


UM Alumna Kathy Shinnick to present "Oak Ridge after the Bomb: Interpreting a Complex Legacy" in conjunction with the Common Reading Experience

Kathy Shinnick is a 2000 graduate of the Liberal Arts department at the University of Mississippi with a double major in English and History. After working in sales for ten years she rediscovered her passion for history. In 2010 she enrolled as a Public History master's student at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She is finishing work on her Master's thesis which discusses the ways in which Oak Ridge has presented their complicated history to the public.


T COOPER to present Second Annual Queer Studies Lecture Friday, Oct 10th at Noon in the Overby Center Auditorium

COOPER is the author of four novels, including the bestselling “Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes” and “The Beaufort Diaries” (a graphic novel). His most recent book is the nonfiction “Real Man Adventures” (McSweeney’s), which Vanity Fair has called “brave and hilarious.” Cooper is also co-author of a new four-part Young Adult novel series called “Changers,” the first book of which (“Changers Book One: Drew”) was published earlier this year. Cooper was also co-editor of a politically-minded anthology of original stories called “A Fictional History of the United States With Huge Chunks Missing.” His shorter work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Believer, O: The Oprah Magazine, One Story, Bomb, Electric Literature, The Brooklyn Review, among many others. He is currently visiting professor in fiction at Emory University, and sometimes writes for television. For more info:



Meet Jaime Cantrell

Meet Jaime Cantrell, visiting assistant professor of English, who will be teaching the inaugural section of G St 444: Queer Theory


JCJaime is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at The University of Mississippi. She holds a PhD in English from Louisiana State University and an M.A. in Women¹s Studies from The University of Alabama. Her research and teaching interests focus on how queer and feminist theories illuminate and complicate the intersections between canonical and obscure, queer and normative, and regional and national narratives. She is the co-editor for "Out of the Closet, Into the Archive: Researching Sexual Histories," an edited collection under contract with SUNY Press's Queer Politics and Cultures series. This fall at UM Jaime will be teaching American Lit I and ENGL 421/GST 444 Queer Theory. See her course flyer for more information!




Joint Statement regarding the passage of #SB2681.

Joint Statement from the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation regarding the passage of #SB2681.

All those who support these sentiments in the statement below, please share freely:

Members of the University of Mississippi community are deeply concerned about the consequences of SB2681, a bill that reaffirms the ability to legally discriminate against the LGBTQ community and also gives license for all sorts of physical, spiritual, and psychic violence against LGBTQ residents of Mississippi. Such a bill compromises the civil rights of all of the state’s residents because this bill sets a precedent for legal discrimination.


Harker to become Interim Director for 2014-15

On behalf of Glenn Hopkins

Please forward this information to your faculty and staff.

harkerAs you may know, Dr. Susan Grayzel, Director of the Center for Women and Gender Studies, has received a prestigious fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and will be on leave this next academic year.  This fellowship is national recognition of her superlative, and much lauded, historical scholarship.  I know she will enjoy and benefit greatly from this year immersed in her scholarship without the burden of administrative responsibility.  Our congratulations go to Dr. Grayzel on receiving one of the 2014 Collaborative Research Fellowships of the American Council of Learned Societies.

To serve as interim director of the Center during this coming year, we are most fortunate to have Dr. Jaime Harker of our Department of English available and willing to serve.  Dr. Harker is a fine and well-published scholar and an excellent teacher who also brings significant administrative experience to this important position.  She has been affiliated with the Isom Center for many years and is intimately familiar with its several missions.  I know the Center is in good hands, and I look forward to working with her in the coming year.