Gordon to give two presentations on recently published book to mark Pride Month

Written by Alison Parkins on |
Dr. Phillip Gordon
Dr. Phillip Gordon; photo courtesy of Katylnn Churchill
Book cover
Image courtesy University Press of Mississippi
event poster
Image courtesy University Press of Mississippi

Dr. Phillip Gordon is scheduled to give two online presentations in the coming weeks to discuss his recently published book “Gay Faulkner: Uncovering a Homosexual Presence and Beyond” (December 2019, University Press of Mississippi). Gordon is an associate professor of English and gay studies coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, as well as a recipient of the P. B. Poorman Award for outstanding contributions to the UW System on behalf of LGBTQ+ communities. He was the first faculty member at UW-Platteville to win the award.

“Gay Faulkner” is the first book-length study of the life and works of Nobel prize-winning American author William Faulkner. According to Gordon, "The book is both a study of the life of one man, but it is also a study of a time and an identity. I place Faulkner in gay communities in New Orleans and New York as well as explore patterns of gay life in rural spaces."

The University Press of Mississippi (UPM) had arranged a short book tour for Gordon in March, but the tour was postponed due to COVID-19.

"Like many authors publishing books during this period, it has been a struggle finding opportunities to talk about my work," Gordon said. "Fortunately, online opportunities have become increasingly available and accessible, which actually means I can reach a larger audience while also being safe and helping curb the spread of the virus by maintaining social distancing."

Gordon's first online presentation will be a panel discussion on Zoom, on Friday, June 26 at 1p.m. with three other authors associated with UPM. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Jaime Harker, a professor, author and owner of Violet Valley Books in Water Valley, Mississippi, the only queer and feminist bookstore in the state. The panel, "Queer Souths: Memory, Change, Love and Marriage," is free to the public but requires registration to receive the password to join. According to UPM, the panel will feature "a wide-ranging discussion on the importance of queer identity and community in the South during these extraordinary times at the confluence of many milestones and anniversaries during Pride Month 2020.”

More information can be found at www.upress.state.ms.us/Events/Queer-Souths-Memory-Change-Love-and-Marriage2.

The second online presentation will be a lecture sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History as part of its "History Is Lunch" series. The lecture will be broadcast online on Wednesday, July 1 at noon. The lecture will feature Gordon discussing the archival research that informed his book.

"Biographers of Faulkner collected data connecting Faulkner to gay communities and identity, but they didn't publish it; it was effectively suppressed,” explained Gordon. “This talk will give me a chance to show how historians and scholars can read beyond published records to find traces and clues of minority histories, even in places we assume it must not exist.”

"History Is Lunch" is a lecture series of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. It is broadcast from the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium in the Two Mississippi Museums – the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum – in Jackson. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email cgoodwin@mdah.ms.gov. Information on the "History Is Lunch" series can also be found on the MDAH Facebook page www.facebook.com/MDAHOfficial/.

The talk will be broadcast live but also posted afterwards on the MDAH webpage: www.mdah.ms.gov/programs/history-is-lunch.