The Union Recorder

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July 7, 2014

Flannery O'Connor Summer Institute lectures open to the public

MILLEDGEVILLE — Throughout the month of July, Georgia College will host 25 college and university faculty members as part of the Flannery O'Connor National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute.

The nearly $194,000 grant will fund the four-week summer institute as scholars delve into the works of O'Connor with this year's theme: "Reconsidering Flannery O'Connor."

"What we aim to do through the institute is inspire teachers across America to teach O'Connor more often and to do more sophisticated jobs of teaching her works," said Bruce Gentry, professor of English and co-director of the summer institute. "Our other hope for the institute is that many of our visiting university and college teachers will become more active scholars of O'Connor."

This marks the second time the college has received the grant to fund a summer institute revolving around one of the most well known alumna's works. The first grant, received in 2007, yielded results that were impressive enough to warrant a second institute.

"From that group of participants, at least three books, 20 articles and 60 papers were published," Gentry said. "That shows the impact this intense learning experience had on those who were involved."

Jordan Cofer, associate professor and head of the literature and language department at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, will be a first time attendee of the institute.

"I was really encouraged by participants who attended in 2007, so I decided to apply for this year's institute," said Cofer.

Cofer, who recently published "The Gospel According to Flannery O'Connor: Examining the role of the Bible in Flannery O'Connor's Fiction," is planning to approach O'Connor's work in a new way during the institute.

"I've done most of my work on the themes of religion in O'Connor's work, and the opportunity I get now is to explore another side of her," Cofer said. "During this institute I'm hoping to look at themes of violence throughout her work and reconsider her in that way to really understand that her body of work isn't just monolithic."

As part of the institute, selected lectures and readings are free and open to the public. Events include a lecture by Brad Gooch, author of "Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor," and poetry readings by Georgia College creative writing faculty Martin Lammon and Alice Friman

"Flannery O'Connor's growing reputation as a major writer continues to be important to the prestige of Georgia College, and the community plays a major role in that." Gentry said.

All lectures start at 7:30 p.m. and will take place at the Old Governor's Mansion Education Building.

• Monday, July 7: Gary M. Ciuba, professor at Kent State University- Trumbull, will present a lecture on "Exposing the Victim/Victimizing the Expose: Parody and Persecution in 'The Partridge Festival.'"

• Wednesday, July 9: Doreen Fowler, professor at the University of Kansas, will present a lecture on "Flannery O'Connor's Racial Politics."

• Thursday, July 10: Georgia College faculty authors Martin Lammon and Alice Friman will present readings of their work.

• Monday, July 14: Christina Bieber Lake, professor at Wheaton College, will present a lecture on "What Exactly Is 'Wise Blood'?: Flannery O'Connor, Literary Darwinism, and the Question of Human Universals."

n Wednesday, July 16: Robert Brinkmeyer Jr, professor at the University of South Carolina, will present a lecture on "Reading Flannery O'Connor Alongside Eudora Welty."

• Monday, July 21: Virginia Wray, professor at Lyon College, will present a lecture on "'So Much to Be Thankful For': Maritain Introduces Aquinas to the Modern World."

• Tuesday, July 22: Nagueyalti Warren, professor at Emory University, will present a lecture on "Flannery O'Connor and Alice Walker: A Surprising Bond."

•Wednesday, July 23: Brad Gooch, professor at William Paterson University and author of "Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor," will present a lecture on "Flannery and Brad: A Rocky Relationship."

For more information on the Flannery O'Connor NEH Summer Institute, visit


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