Summersell Center Pushes Forward with Numerous Groundbreaking Initiatives

Summersell students and faculty attend the Queer History South Conference in Dallas, TXThe Frances J. Summersell Center for the Study of the South’s (SCSS) fall 2022 semester marked new developments in its southern queer history project. Dr. John Giggie and Vivian Malone Fellow and doctoral student Isabella Garrison co-instructed the Southern Queer History course, the only course of its kind in the SEC dedicated to southern queer history research. Thirty undergraduates in the course worked with the Summersell Scholars, all returning undergraduate and graduate students, as they met with community leaders to prepare for the oral history collection process. The course also hosted a community mapping tent at this fall’s Druid City Pride Festival, working with community members to create a new map of queer West Alabama.

In October, the Summersell Scholars in Southern Queer History – Callum Campbell, Kathleen Kelley, and Lewis Zannis – joined Dr. Giggie and Garrison at the national Queer History South conference in Dallas. The team presented on their research in oral history and community mapping.

Dr. Giggie and Garrison reviewed the course’s research thus far at the Women and Gender Resource Center’s October panel, “Using Our Voices: LGBTQ+ Research and Identity.” They presented alongside other UA faculty and graduates from across disciplines who are engaged in research on queer issues and identities.

Summersell Scholars in Alabama Memory Lynching Research – Alex Barnes III and Mariska Perdick – worked with Giggie and Garrison this fall to continue their efforts to memorialize lynching victims from Tuscaloosa County. Their work will be published on the Alabama Memory website, which is re-launching in spring 2023, thanks to the efforts of Summersell Scholar Nick Daria, whose efforts to create a new data system for the project will continue into the spring 2023 Alabama Memory course.

In October, the SCSS co-sponsored the “Rethinking Alabama Politics from the Civil War to the Present” symposium, which was led by Drs. Lesley Gordon, Kari Frederickson, and John Giggie. Dr. Giggie presented “Forgetting and Remembering Bloody Tuesday, June 9, 1964,” drawn from his forthcoming book on Bloody Tuesday, as part of the panel entitled, “From Civil Rights to the Present,” with Garrison and doctoral student Joshua Sander moderating.

Before the semester’s end, Dr. Giggie will co-host a project with the Book Arts Program and Bryant High School’s History of Us class, currently taught by SCSS alumna Margaret Lawson. History of Us students will create broadsides about local Black history to display across the city school system. The Center will also travel to the Elmore County Black History Museum in Wetumpka to continue its work with community leaders to memorialize local victims of racial terror.

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