The Middle Tennessee State University Honors College is presenting its spring lecture series, helping students grow in the area of critical thinking when hearing from faculty and outside experts.
“Life Writing,” a concept developed by professor and Honors Associate Dean Philip Phillips, takes place at 3 p.m. every Monday (except March 6 for spring break) through April 3 in Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building Room 106.
The Honors Lecture Series has been a fixture each fall and spring for more than two decades, featuring topics and presenters from multiple disciplines on and off campus.
“Our invited speakers will address the topic of ‘Life Writing,’ a phrase that encompasses a wide range of approaches to recording or narrating a life, or a slice of life, whether one’s own or that of another person,” Phillips, an English professor, said.
From the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, Phillips found this about the subject:
“Life-writing includes every possible way of telling a life-story, from biography and autobiography, through letters and memoir, to bio-fiction, blogs, and social media such as Tweets and Instagram stories. Writers and researchers are increasingly recognizing how much of writing is life-writing, including poetry and fiction. Through life-writing, we can find out more about each other and we also understand ourselves better in relation to the past.”
An MT Engage class to enhance student academic engagement, this semester’s honors lecture series is offered by the Honors College in partnership with MTSU’s Albert Gore Research Center. Gore Center Director Louis Kyriakoudes, a history professor, gave a Jan. 30 lecture titled “Understanding Lives through Letters” based on center archives.
Political Science professor Kent Syler give a Feb. 6 lecture titled “Letters That Make History.”
“Students taking this class will learn about the Gore Center and participate in a beyond-the-classroom project involving hands-on work with original documents and artifacts from its rich collection of primary materials, including historical documents, letters, photographs, memoirs, oral histories and more,” Phillips said.
Students will also produce creative life writings of their own, whether about themselves, a family member, a friend or a historical person based on their own interests and informed by what they learn from the lectures, Phillips added.
Upcoming topics in the series will include songwriting, history, historical figures and subjects and more.
In addition to MTSU faculty, off-campus presenters will include John Gruesser of Sam Houston State University and Arleen Tuchman of Vanderbilt University.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)