University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
March 25, 2011
Contact: Alice Jackson, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6639

USA Faculty Development Council Forum to be Held March 28-April 1

Dr. Larry W. Isaac
Dr. Larry W. Isaac

Faculty and graduate students will showcase their research, scholarly and creative projects at the 18th Annual USA Faculty Development Council Forum, which will feature a speaker as well as book and poster displays, March 28-April 1 in the Student Center Lobby.

Dr. Larry W. Isaac, distinguished professor of sociology (endowed chair) at Vanderbilt University and the Southern Sociological Society’s 2011 Distinguished Lectureship Scholar, will present “’Music City’ as ‘Movement City’: The Special Place of Nashville in the Southern Civil Rights Movement” on March 31 at 1 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom.

Isaac will outline Nashville’s little-known role in the Civil Rights movement in comparison to other key movement sites such as Montgomery, Little Rock, Selma and Mississippi.

From 1958 to 1962, “Music City” went through a transformation that made it one of the most important “movement cities” in the Southern struggle, according to Isaac.

The claim that Nashville was a key Southern movement city pivots on three central moments—initial conditions for movement gestation, exemplary formation and accomplishments of the Nashville movement locally, and the role the Nashville core cadre played in driving the movement forward across the South. In general, the Nashville case illustrates the significant role of place in social movement studies, one in which a movement school created powerful countercultural leadership that served to bridge gaping structural-cultural holes in the wider movement. As such, this case continues to hold significance as a model and inspiration for contemporary social justice movements, according to Isaac.

Huss grew up in northern Ohio where he gained experience in and appreciation for the racial justice, antiwar, and labor movements in Cleveland and Akron that shaped his career as a sociologist. He received his doctorate from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1979 and subsequently joined the faculty of Florida State University where he eventually became the Mildred and Claude Pepper Distinguished Professor of Sociology until 2004 when he accepted a position at Vanderbilt.

Isaac teaches courses in social movements, political sociology, methods for analyzing historical processes of social change, historical sociology of Gilded Age America, and social change and movements in the 1960s. His research agenda is currently focused in three main areas: private elite militias as class/status formation, gender repair, and state-building in Gilded Age America (two National Endowment for the Humanities awards have supported this work);  the early Nashville civil rights movement (supported by Vanderbilt University’s Center for Nashville Studies and College of Arts & Science); and the relationship between social movements and production of cultural genes (visual and literary forms).

This past year, his “Movements, Aesthetics, and Markets in Literary Change: Making the American Labor Problem Novel,” published in the American Sociological Review (December 2009), received two American Sociological Association awards—the Clifford Geertz Prize for the best article in the sociology of labor movements.

Isaac is currently working on a book with Vanderbilt colleagues Dan Cornfield and Dennis Dickerson , “Out of the Workshops and into the Streets: The Nashville Nonviolent Movement for Civil Rights.”

Isaac is also the editor of the American Sociological Review.

Prior to Isaac’s lecture, Dr. Keith Harrison, associate vice president for academic affairs, dean of the graduate school and chair of the faculty development council, will present certificates of recognition to research students and their major professors. The program will also include recognition of the USA Thesis of the Year.

Following Isaac’s lecture, refreshment and dialog with research forum participants will be held at the forum displays in the Student Center Lobby.

The forum display is a celebration of the extensive and diverse contributions of all the University’s disciplines. It also gives the public and the University community an opportunity to talk with faculty from across the campus about their work and to take a look at the breadth of talent at USA.

Last year, USA faculty generated more than $60.4 million in external contract and grant funding. This allows USA to be involved in a wide range of important issues, including improving science and math education in public schools, making advances in health care, protecting the environment and coastline, and many others.

The deadline for poster and book applications has been extended to March 11 at 5 p.m.

For more information about the forum, contact De Patterson at (251) 460-6310.


USA Logo