College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

‘Back to School, Back to Books’ Event Set for Aug. 27

… Three UM professors to sign latest works

Three University of Mississippi professors will sign their latest publications in a “Back to School, Back to Books” celebration Aug. 27 at Off Square Books in Oxford.

The trio of Jay Watson, the Howry Chair of Faulkner Studies and professor of English; Joe Ward, associate professor and chair of the Department of History; and Sheila L. Skemp, the Clare Leslie Marquette professor of American history; will sign and socialize at 5 p.m.Watson’s book “Reading for the Body: The Recalcitrant Materiality of Southern Literature, 1893-1985″ (University of Georgia Press, August 2012) argues that Southern literary studies have been over-idealized and dominated by intellectual history for too long. He calls for the field to be rematerialized and grounded in an awareness of the human body as the site where ideas, including ideas about the American South itself, ultimately happen.

Skemp’s book “The Making of a Patriot: Benjamin Franklin at the Cockpit” (Oxford University Press, April 2012) presents an insightful, lively narrative that goes beyond just giving traditional information about Franklin.

“The book is not a traditional biography,” Skemp said. “Instead it is the story of one moment, an hour really, in the life of Benjamin Franklin, examining the way that this one incident — his interrogation at London’s ‘Cockpit’ — altered his view of the English empire. He went into the room an English patriot; he left as a proponent of American independence.”

In “London: A Social and Cultural History: 1550-1750″ (Cambridge University Press, July 2012), Ward provides a history of London during the period of its rise to worldwide prominence. He incorporates recent work in urban history, accounts by contemporary Londoners and tourists, and fictional works featuring the city.