Robert I. Strozier Faculty Lecture Series
The Strozier Faculty Lecture Series has partnered with WRUU Savannah 107.5 (wruu.org) to host the 2021 Strozier Faculty Lectures. Each lecture will air at 10 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month followed by an on-the-air discussion with Dr. Leigh Rich on the following Friday at 2 p.m. on the show The Common Good. You can listen live in Savannah on 107.5 FM or catch the shows streamed on wruu.org.
Dr. Christopher Garland
Writing and Linguistics
The Visual Rhetoric of Opioid Addiction, Abjection, and White Trash
Released in 2009 to wide acclaim, the documentary film The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia was hailed as an “outlaw celebration” of the White family’s willingness to “fuss and fight and party.” The film’s visual language incorporates a blend of handheld shots, high-speed editing, and depictions of dangerous behaviors–including the abuse of opioids. However, the film lacks any larger contextualization, and, in this way, plays into stereotypes about poor, rural white Southerners as a people apart: not only from whites who occupy a different socioeconomic status, but from the ideal American imagined community. The white family is positioned as the über–white trash: inevitably prone to violence; addicted to opioids; caught in an inescapable cycle of poverty; and tied to a place and history from which they cannot escape.
Dr. Garland close reads the film to argue that TWWWV is an important documentary as it marks a specific moment in a specific place at the beginning of the recent marked increase in opioid abuse and deaths from overdose. Moreover, he puts the representations of addiction, abjection, and white trash in TWWWV into dialogue with visual representations in film of blackness and black abjection during the crack epidemic.
Southern Evolution: Science, Religion, and Culture in the Deep South
Lecture: Tuesday, February 9 at 10 p.m.
Discussion: Friday, February 12 at 2 p.m.
The United States faces an unusual problem in science education where the unifying theory in the sciences, evolution, is shrouded in controversy among the public and in the classroom. As a result, the teaching and learning of evolution has been described as “the greatest failure of science education in the 21st century”. The phenomenon is highly visible in the South, where culture, beliefs, and science intersect in politics, classrooms, and at the dinner table. Research in evolution education in the region provides a vibrant lens through which to view how we approach controversial topics in the classroom and in our communities. Dr. Glaze addresses evolution education in the South and across the country, explores our understandings of the public controversy, and discusses ways of communicating science in and out of the classroom to support science literacy for all.
Dr. Meaghan Dwyer-Ryan
Center for Irish Research and Teaching
“It’s the Ireland of This Land”*: The History, Memory, and Marketing of an American Irish Sense of Place
Lecture: Tuesday, March 9 at 10 p.m.
Discussion: Friday, March 12 at 2 p.m.
Irish culture and identity have long been connected to a sense of place, and for many immigrants, that place was back home in Ireland. Since the late nineteenth century, songwriters romanticized an Irish landscape, advertisers marketed products that came “direct from Ireland,” and an emerging tourism industry urged Irish Americans to “come home” to Ireland. Yet as Irish immigrants adapted to their new homes in Boston, Savannah, New York, Chicago, and elsewhere, they created their own history, culture, and identity that, while having much in common with Irish America as a whole, were shaped by local circumstances. Thus, the American-born generations developed an American Irish sense of place rooted in the urban neighborhoods where their parents and grandparents settled. They became not just Irish, or Irish American, but Boston Irish, Savannah Irish, New York Irish, and South Side Irish—identities that they celebrated in songs, stories, and St. Patrick’s Day parades. In recent decades, the celebration of localized American Irishness has become a marketable commodity well beyond the month of March, enticing tourists with merchandise, Irish-themed pub crawls, walking tours, sporting events, and music festivals. Dr. Dwyer-Ryan explores the history, memory, and marketing of an American Irish sense of place, particularly in the larger context of heritage tourism.
*Taken from “St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah” (1952), by Aloysius J. Haniboe.
Dr. Virginia (Ginger) Wickline
Who’s Doing OK? What ‘College Adjustment’ Really Means
Lecture: Tuesday, April 13 at 10 p.m.
Discussion: Friday, April 16 at 2 p.m.
Students have many stressors, changes, and challenges to navigate when coming to college. Historically, college adjustment measures have been fairly limited in scope, measuring adjustment that is relevant for a clinical context with at-risk students (e.g., anxiety, depression, suicide). To better assess how student populations are adjusting to college, a broader, more holistic measure of college-life adjustment was developed: The Wooster-Wickline College Adjustment Test (WOWCAT). Consisting of ten subscales, the WOWCAT collectively assesses self-reported levels of adjustment in myriad domains: Friendship/Social Life, Living Arrangements, Extracurricular Involvement, Academic Performance/Study Habits, College-Specific Anxiety, College-Specific Depression, Problematic Substance Use, Family Relationships/Support Network, Learning to be Independent, and Coping/Resources. The WOWCAT was initially developed and successfully analyzed with a primarily White, exclusively residential student population at a small, private, liberal arts college in the Midwest more than a decade ago. However, it also validly and reliably measures college adjustment in our current, more diverse, more non-traditional, more military-involved, and partly-commuter population at Georgia Southern. Dr. Wickline introduces and advocates for the use of this measure in whole or in part by educators to enable students for a successful journey through university life.
Bridging the Partisan Gulf: Employing Compassion toward the Successful Resolution of Socioscientific Issues
Lecture: Tuesday, May 11 at 10 p.m.
Discussion: Friday, May 14 at 2 p.m.
Socioscientific issues (SSI) are contemporary, often contentious issues with ties to science, but that cannot be resolved without also considering non-science aspects of the issue (e.g., climate change, genetic engineering). Though several potential resolutions exist, none equally benefit the stakeholders involved, making the issue difficult to resolve. Given that compassion is urged across a variety of worldviews, and supported as beneficial for humans from an evolutionary perspective, then compassion might serve to bridge partisan and cultural gaps and serve as a framework from which all individuals can begin to perceive and resolve SSI.
Professor Emeritus and alumni, Robert Strozier, Ph.D., passed away April 28, in Savannah. Strozier is being remembered as a mentor, poet, acclaimed speaker and extraordinary English professor on the Armstrong Campus.
Strozier graduated from Armstrong Junior College in 1949 with a degree in liberal studies. He returned to Armstrong after getting an Applied Baccalaureate, a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in American literature from other institutions. He taught generations of students for over 40 years and also served as director of public relations.
In 2015, Strozier received the 2015 Eminent Alumni Award, and the annual faculty Robert I. Strozier Lecture Series is named in his honor. Strozier, who was active in civic leadership, was a founding member of the foundation that purchased the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home and turned it into a significant literary center in downtown Savannah.