Plenaries

Thursday, March 10

"Appalachian Music and Dance: The Confluence of Diverse Traditions."

Phil Jamison, Warren Wilson College

Phil JamisonPhil is nationally known as a dance caller, musician, and flatfoot dancer. He also plays old-time fiddle, banjo, and guitar. For thirty years he has been calling dances, performing, and teaching at music festivals and dance events throughout the US and overseas. Since 1987 he has been a columnist for The Old-Time Herald contributing many articles on traditional dance. From 1982 until 2004, he performed with Tennessee fiddler, Ralph Blizard and the New South Ramblers, including performances at Merlefest, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and the Library of Congress. His flatfoot dancing was featured in the film, Songcatcher (2000), for which he also served as Traditional Dance consultant.

In Hoedowns, Reels and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance (U Illinois P, 2015) Phil Jamison journeys into the past and surveys the present to tell the story behind the square dances, step dances, reels, and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia, tracing the forms from their European, African American, and Native American roots to the modern day, and reinterpreting an essential aspect of Appalachian culture.

In addition to music, Phil teaches mathematics at Warren Wilson College, where he is the coordinator of the Appalachian Music Program and serves as Assistant Director and Coordinator of the Old-Time Music and Dance Week at The Swannanoa Gathering, a nationally acclaimed summer program in traditional music.

Phil will be accompanied by old-time fiddler, Rayna Gellert.

Friday, March 11

Towards a Strategic Presentism: a V21 Collective Roundtable on the 21st-Century Urgencies of 19th-Century Study

Although "presentist" generally functions as a slur, this roundtable considers the possibilities for affirmative valences. "Presentist" might after all describe any number of historicist projects --from Hegel, Nietzsche, and Benjamin, to pick just three-- that, however incommensurate with one another, are all organized around some critique of forms of historical thinking solely committed to the past. In our own moment, "presentist" might name projects in postcritique and affect studies that explore the complexities of transtemporal attachment; it might name projects organized by "deep time" and concepts like "the anthropocene" insofar as these historical orientations are framed by long durées encompassing the present rather than by discrete periods sealed off from it; it might name work on historical texts concerned to critique current problems that originate in the past, such as climate change, imperialism, and economic inequality; it might name comparative work on abiding forms, like "the novel"; it might name experiments with articulating the resonance, relevance, and value of the past without recourse to instrumentality. What would be the strategies of reading and strategies of argument that these and other possible presentisms commend? What might presentism strategically accomplish for the humanities? What might it strategically accomplish for 19th century studies?

Participants:

  • Tanya Agathocleous, CUNY Graduate Center
  • S. Pearl Brilmyer, University of Oregon
  • Nathan K. Hensley, Georgetown University
  • Anna Kornbluh, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Benjamin Morgan, University of Chicago
  • Jesse Rosenthal, The Johns Hopkins University
  • Emily Steinlight, University of Pennsylvania

Roundtable Organizers and Moderators:

  • David Coombs, Clemson University
  • Danielle Coriale, University of South Carolina