University of the Ozarks will be well represented with faculty presenters at the ninth annual Ozarks Symposium, scheduled for Sept. 18-19, at Missouri State University at West Plains.
The academic symposium, "The Lure of the Ozarks," is presented by the Ozarks Studies Program at Missouri State University in Springfield.
Susan Edens, assistant professor of practice of communications, will show her short documentary film, "Peach Fever," on Saturday afternoon. Dr. Brian Hardman, associate professor of English, will present a paper titled, "Re-creation in the Ozarks: Sue Hubbell’s A Country Year," on Friday. And, Neal Harrington, an adjunct professor in the art department, will present, "Bootlegger’s Ballad and Hard Travelin’ Man: Studies in Woodcut," on Saturday morning.
Edens’ "Peach Fever," chronicles the story of a five-generation peach-growing family. The Morgan family has operated a successful orchard on the same stretch of land at the base of the Ozark Mountains for more than 100 years. Edens said the film, which was recently shown at The Offshoot Film Festival in Fayetteville, took just over three years to complete.
"I think it is always good to put one’s work out there for external review," said Edens. "As an audio and video storyteller, it is really great to work in higher education, especially at a place like University of the Ozarks where we are supported and encouraged to continue practicing our craft. When we are selected for something prestigious like the Ozarks Symposium, or when we are denied and told what could be improved upon, what better lesson and reinforcement of the value of grit is there to take back to our students in the classroom?"
Hardman’s presentation examines Hubbell’s book, A Country Year, which is considered a contemporary classic in the genre of nature writing. Hardman will connect Hubbell’s book to the tradition of nature writing and "explain how she is able, in the original sense of the word re-creation, to come to the Ozarks and ‘re-create’ her life as a farmer and beekeeper after her 30-year marriage broke up."
Harrington will present two series of works, Bootlegger’s Ballad and Hard Travelin’ Man, that explore themes of the human condition and "to show that the timeless quest for oneself is truly an external struggle." Harrington said that the "independent character of the land and the people of the Ozarks region play a distinctive role in the development of this artwork."