Spring 2024 Symposium Schedule

Cultural Representations of African American War Experience

Department of English Biennial Conference

February 22-23, 2024

Bryant Conference Center, University of Alabama

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM

Participants arrive at Bryant Conference Center, Smith Room

8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Welcome and Orientation

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM

Session I: Lesser-Known Texts (Smith Room)
Chair: Julia Wall, University of Alabama 

“‘All which battles the reader can obtain a more perfect account of in history, than I can give’: The African American Revolutionary War Experience and Print Culture of the 19th Century” 
Anna Diamantouli, American College of Greece  

“Black Writers Answer the Call: The WWII Writings of Waring Cuney, Lucia M. Pitts, William Gardner Smith, and Alston Anderson.” 
Verner D. Mitchell, University of Memphis, and Cynthia Davis, San Jacinto College 

10:15 AM – 10:30 AM


10:30 AM – 11:45 AM

Session 2: Photography and Cultural Imagery (Smith Room)
Chair:  Lesley Gordon, University of Alabama  

“The African American Civil War Drummer Boy in Photography and Literature”
Sarah Chinn, Hunter College-CUNY 

“Pornographies of Death:  African American Experience and Photographic Representations of War”
Maggie Hazard, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

11:45 AM – 1:00 PM

Lunch (Smith Room)

1:00 PM – 2:15 PM

Session 3:  Poetry and Elegy (Smith Room)
Chair: Nikhil Bilwakesh, University of Alabama  

“Crowning Glory: Poetic Form, Cultural Memory, and the Black Civil War Soldier”
Coleman Hutchison, University of Texas at Austin  

“George Moses Horton’s Lincoln Elegies and the Tension of Voice  and Vision in Naked Genius
Robert Arbour, Spring Hill College

2:15 PM – 2:30 PM


2:30 PM – 3:45 PM

Session 4:   War and Agency (Smith Room)
Chair:  Cassander Smith, University of Alabama 

“The University of Alabama’s General Strike of 1865”
Hilary N. Green, Davidson College  

“‘Men of Color to Arms!’: African American Soldiers, the Civil War, and Douglass’ Monthly” 
Benjamin Fagan, Auburn University

3:45 PM – 4:00 PM


4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Keynote Presentation with welcome by Dean Joe Messina, University of Alabama College of Arts and Science, and Introduction by Bailee Hughes, University of Alabama (Lackey Room)

“Vietnam: Race, Memory, History” 
Jennifer James, The George Washington University

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Reception at the Bryant Conference Center (Balcony)

7:00 PM –

Participants have dinner on their own 

Friday, Feb.  23, 2024

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM 

Session 5:  Music and Video Games (Smith Room) 
Chair:  Candice Fairchild, University of Alabama  

“‘The most serious work I have ever undertaken’: Nobel Sissle, James Reese Europe, and the Biography of Racial Reclamation” 
Andrew Walgren, University of Georgia 

“Playing the Black Experience in No Man’s Land:  African American Soldiers in World War I Video Games” 
John M. Lewis, Texas A&M University 

10:15 AM – 10:30 AM


10:30 AM – Noon 

Session 6:  Combating White Supremacy (Smith Room) 
Chair:  Trudier Harris, University of Alabama  

“‘The Introduction of American Liberty’:  Edward Johnson, Charles Chesnutt, and Transnational White Supremacy” 
R.J. Boutelle, University of Cincinnati  

“A Historian Unstuck in Time: Military History, Satire, and John A. Williams’s Captain Blackman” 
Steven Trout, University of Alabama  

Noon – 1:00 PM

Wrap up and lunch (Smith Room)

1:30 PM    

Departure for Mobile (Optional field trip for preregistered participants)

7:00 PM 

Dinner in downtown Mobile after checking into the Hampton Inn

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 

8:00 AM

Departure for Blakeley State Park on Mobile Bay

9:00 AM

Presentation by Park Director Mike Bunn in the Nature Center

10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Guided tour of the USCT Heritage trail

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Catered lunch in Nature Center

1:30 PM

Depart for Tuscaloosa

6:00 PM

Arrival in Tuscaloosa