USM University Forum Spring 2022 Series Begins Feb. 8

Published 1:25 pm Sunday, January 30, 2022

How art engages life, including race and Southern culture, shapes the theme for The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) spring 2022 University Forum programming, which kicks off Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. with an online presentation by Dr. Sarah Lewis, a renowned author, art historian and curator.


University Forum lectures and programs, which are presented by the USM Honors College with support from the USM Office of the President, are free and open to the public. Updates on online access instruction for Dr. Lewis’ presentation can be found at

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Dr. Lewis is a faculty member of Harvard University’s Department of the History of Art and Architecture and the author of the widely acclaimed The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery. She served on President Barack Obama’s Arts Policy Committee and was selected for Oprah Winfrey’s “Power List,” and is a critic at the Yale University School of Art in the MFA program. An active curator, she has held positions at the Tate Modern in London and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.


University Forum Director Dr. Andrew Haley said he’s excited that this semester’s programming is dedicated to exploring the role of the arts in our lives and how artists, writers, and composers—past and present—use their creativity to explore the politics and culture of their times.


“Two of our speakers are historians who will examine the role the arts have played in creating and challenging myths of white supremacy and two are creators—an author and composer—whose artistic accomplishments challenge us to rethink the world and our responsibility for it,” Dr. Haley continued. “Forum’s commitment to engaging issues that matter has never been more visceral or timely.”


Following Lewis’ presentation, the University Forum spring 2022 schedule includes the following:

March 22 – Joyce Carol Oates, novelist, poet, playwright, essayist and winner of the National Humanities Medal and the National Book Award; 6:30 p.m., Bennett Auditorium, Hattiesburg campus. Oates’ Forum address is co-sponsored by Southern Miss’s Center for Writers and its journal Mississippi Review.

April 12 – Dr. Karen Cox, a USM alumna and historian of Southern history and culture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; 6:30 p.m., Bennett Auditorium

April 19 – Xavier Foley, a celebrated musician and composer who uses his art as a tool to help promote social justice; 6:30 p.m., Bennett Auditorium. Foley’s Forum address is co-sponsored by the USM School of Music.


For more than 40 years, University Forum has been the premier lecture series at USM. Sponsored by the Southern Miss Honors College with support from the Office of the President, since its founding in 1974, University Forum has brought some of the most respected and innovative cultural, scientific, and artistic voices in the world to the university’s Hattiesburg campus. Under the auspices of University Forum, such speakers as Stephen J. Gould, James Baldwin, Gloria Steinem, Russell Means, Susan Sontag, Kurt Vonnegut, E.O. Wilson, Art Spiegelman, Lilly Ledbetter, Barbara Ehrenreich, Rick Bragg, Bryan Stevenson, and Carl Bernstein have visited Southern Miss.


For questions or more information about University Forum, email