November 18, 2009

Conference to focus on Delta Region’s heritage

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Center for Delta Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale welcomes presentations and workshops from Southern Illinois and the greater Delta community for an interdisciplinary, multi-faceted conference on the lower Ohio and Mississippi river valleys.

The conference, “Roots and Branches: Migrations to the Lower Ohio and Mississippi Valley,” is March 4-6, 2010, at SIUC. The deadline for contributions to the schedule is Dec. 1.

Jane Adams, director for the center and a professor of anthropology, said she hopes to hear from historical societies, performance groups, artists, and more to help round out the conference, particularly with posters, workshops, exhibits and performances.

“Last year we had a barbershop quartet,” she said. “We have room for re-enactors, those in eco-tourism or agri-tourism. We are looking for anything that might represent the cultural or natural heritage of the Delta Region.”

Adams offered a few suggestions for those interested in participating. She said those interested in genealogy might share what they’ve learned with a research poster. An historical preservation society might present its success stories or offer a workshop. Artists who work in local clay might collaborate with someone familiar with the history of the pottery industry in Anna, Ill. Those with an interest in local ecology could discuss natural landmarks, preservation or reclamation efforts.

Several papers and presentations are already on the schedule for the conference, with topics including migrations from pre-contact Native Americans to the present day, with a panel set to discuss some of the unintended consequences of migration, such as disease and ecology shifts.

Workshops will last about one and a half hours and may include more than one presenting group.

The Delta area in question corresponds to the Delta Regional Authority recognized by the federal government -- 252 counties and parishes in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

For more information about the conference and to see more examples of possible workshop or presentation topics, go to

Contact Jane Adams at 618/453-5019 or