SWOSU Student and Faculty Shine at National Scholarly Conference

Four members of the Southwestern Oklahoma State University community made outstanding contributions to the recent biennial conference of the William Gilmore Simms Society held in the Orangeburg (SC) area.

“Simms Studies: The Past into the Future” was the focus of the conference.

SWOSU sophomore English major Montgomery Long of Marlow read his research paper, “The Road’s Promise: Simms’s Roving Protagonists,” one of only three undergraduate student papers to win cash prizes in a national contest sponsored by the Simms Society.  Long’s paper is now a finalist for a greater prize, publication in The Simms Review, recognized by MLA International Bibliography in 2011 as a refereed scholarly journal.

Dr. Kevin Collins of the Department of Language and Literature, in his role of president of the Simms Society, was the organizer of the event, and he expanded the usual scope of the biennial conference—literature and history—to include political science, philosophy, archeology and art.  He also presented his paper, “Shifting Sexual Identities in Vasconselos.”

Dr. Helen Maxson of the Department of Language and Literature, a newcomer to Simms studies, presented her paper, “The Presence of Hamlet’s Ghost in ‘Grayling,’” and she was also a respondent in other conference sessions.

Dr. E.K. Jeong of the Department of Art, Communication, and Theatre presented an artistic analysis of “Woodlands Shots: The Photo-Collages of Ann Simms,” a series of altered photographs by a descendant of Simms.  These photos had been taken on the grounds of Simms’s home, the Woodlands plantation, the site of Dr. Jeong’s presentation.

The conference included the works of scholars from such research universities as Purdue, Indiana State, Clemson, Arkansas, North Carolina @ Chapel Hill, North Carolina @ Greensboro and South Carolina.  In addition, nine different teaching universities and two colleges were represented.  With the exception of the University of South Carolina—the repository of Simms’s papers—no institution was represented by as many scholars as was SWOSU, according to Collins.