(Nov. 24, 2018) – SALT LAKE CITY, UT - On Saturday, November 10, 2018, Fannie Lou Hamer's America researcher and consultant, Dr. Maegan Parker Brooks, presented at the 104th Annual National Communication Association Convention. The convention, which engaged scholars in discussions about communication’s role in issues such as race, feminism, higher education, relationships, and politics, provided rich metaphorical resources for reconsidering the role and function of communication in breaking impasses, challenging cultural practice, providing perspective, and creating connections.
The convention, held in Salt Lake City, gathered approximately 5,000 attendees and the theme was “Communication At Play”. Among the more than 1,000 sessions and presentations, scholars touched on controversial, relevant, and emerging issues in the news and society, including the #MeToo movement, the influence and impact of Black Panther, refugee and immigration crises, post-truth, sex/gender politics, gaming and Artificial Intelligence, the future of the humanities, and more.
The panel Brooks was invited to present on was entitled: "Rhetorical Criticism as a Situated Practice: Notes from the Archive and Field". The panel attracted a diverse audience comprised of graduate students, college professors, and public intellectuals. During her talk, Brooks discussed the importance of public-facing digital humanities scholarship that both works with, and is responsive to, the interests of the communities it studies. She featured the Fannie Lou Hamer's America team and their extensive engagement with K-12 students and teachers in the Mississippi Delta, as well as their forthcoming Find Your Voice website, which will serve as a free and easily accessible digital archive of Fannie Lou Hamer resources, as prime examples of public-facing digital humanities scholarship.
Brooks (centered) presenting at the NCA 2018 conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo credit: Christi Moss
“I urge you, as Communication scholars, to think more broadly about the form your scholarship takes and to consider projects such as these as meaningful ways to share your research with larger audiences,” Brooks said to those in attendance.
Brooks, an Assistant Professor in the Civic Communication and Media Department at Willamette University, is a Fannie Lou Hamer historian, and has written two books about the civil rights activist and is currently working on a third. She is also designing the curriculum, Find Your Voice, for the upcoming documentary, Fannie Lou Hamer’s America.
Fannie Lou Hamer’s America is a multimodal project, based on the civil rights activist’s life, that includes a new and original documentary, an educational curriculum, an interactive website and clearinghouse for Hamer-related materials and a virtual tour. The project’s mission is to create a platform for Hamer’s voice in our modern time while addressing and promoting conversations about racial equity.
The documentary is slated for completion and release in 2019. For more information log onto www.fannielouhamerdocumentary.com, Facebook: Fannie Lou Hamer’s America and Twitter: @flhamerica.
# # #