JONESBORO — With the theme of “The Haunted South,” the 2021 Delta Symposium will be online through virtual presentations that are free and open to the public with prior registration.
Participants will present research that explores the theme of literal hauntings by providing a forum for the study of haunted sites, ghost stories, legends and memorates as well as other research on the paranormal. To register for the sessions, one should contact Dr. Gregory Hansen, ghansen@AState.edu.
“The Delta Symposium Committee will offer presentations on ways that ‘haunting’ serves as a symbolic trope in creative expression,” he explained. “The theme will be explored from a range of disciplines. Presenters will explore how memories of the past continue to haunt people in our region. Other presenters will explore how the trope of the ‘haunted south’ remains salient to writers, artists, photographers and musicians in the Delta and the wider region.”
Because Delta Symposium XXVI is online, scholars, students, writers, and artists from across the nation will present in the virtual forum that A-State is offering to explore the Delta’s history and culture. The full schedule is available at the symposium website, AState.edu/delta-symposium.
The symposium will begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15, with research presentations on ghost stories and tales of traditional belief in Arkansas folklore. This session will be followed by a presentation on haunted landscapes that have been published in the university’s Arkansas Review and another session by photographers who have documented life and legacies of the region. Wednesday’s events conclude with a reading by acclaimed writers Phillip McMath and Greg Brownderville at 7 p.m.
Sessions, which begin at 8:30 a.m., will feature researchers and writers from across the nation. Panelists will include historians, literary scholars, folklorists, and researchers who will explore topics ranging from scholarship on William Faulkner and Eudora Welty to tales about the haunted houses and the Swamp Ape of Boggy Creek.
Friday’s events, which also begin at 8:30 a.m., will highlight creative writing by writers and writing teachers from across the state. Additional panels include research on hauntings in Southern literature and the theme of hauntedness in music and places.
At 12:30 p.m., Alan Brown, a professor at the University of West Alabama, will give the keynote presentation. He will be presenting on his original research into the collection of legends at Eureka Springs’ historic Crescent Hotel. Dr. Brown will focus on the tension between collecting legends and experiencing the mystery of engagement with hauntings at this legendary hotel.