The Oklahoma Experience: From Wilderness to Metropolis
The history of Oklahoma moves from the population and development of an empty place to the story of community. The fabric of this community’s survival initially depends on agricultural success in order for a town to achieve the economic and political destiny of becoming a city. Behind each town’s façade, however, lays a labyrinth of personal relationships and interrelationships, the threads of human lives woven in varied ways, in patterns of social design, from towns to cities. The readings of this program illuminate aspects of human development in our state’s history, from the emptiness of the Oklahoma prairie to its towns and two large cities of today. Participants in this Let’s Talk About It program can explore the fabric of this design in one historical work of nonfiction, two moving memoirs, and two novels teaming with the life of the small town and the large city, respectively. If you want to be an active partner in this exploration, please join us for this “Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma” reading and discussion series. Books are available for those who want to partner with us actively throughout the series.
Oklahoma City University invites participants to make these books come alive in the readings of this five-part series. At each session, a Humanities scholar will make a 30-40 minute presentation on the book in the context of the theme. Small group discussion will follow with experienced discussion leaders. At the end, everyone will come together for a brief wrap-up. Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to pre-register and borrow the reading selections and theme brochure by calling Harbour Winn at 208-5472, emailing him at email@example.com, or dropping by the Dulaney-Browne Library, Room 211 or 207. (Note the offices are located in the five-story building southwest of Walker Center.) Information can also be found on the web site of the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature: www.okcu.edu/film-lit/
The series will be held in Walker Center, Room 151, on the Oklahoma City University campus from 7:00 to 9:00 PM on Tuesdays, beginning January 10 and continuing on alternate Tuesdays through March 6. Books, services, and other materials for this series of programs are provided by Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma, a project of the Oklahoma Humanities Council with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding for this series was provided by a grant from the Inasmuch Foundation.
READINGS AND DATES
1/10/2012 Washington Irving’s A Tour on the Prairies
This historical work will launch our series as the famed Irving describes a 1830s land of frontier outposts in the present day areas of Stillwater, Edmond, Oklahoma City, and Norman. He records landscape markers still recognizable today as he observes roving bands of warrior hunters and rag-tag parties of white rangers in a heterogeneously populated world.
1/24/2012 Seigniora Russell Laune’s Sand in My Eyes
Laune’s memoir treats the development of Woodward, from the three-year-old town she found when she moved there in 1896, to the end of World War I. In her many-leveled love story, she describes her future husband’s courtship, her growing love for him, and her love for the land. She chronicles how women in early-day Oklahoma had to be feminists of necessity.
2/7/2012 George Milburn’s Catalogue
Milburn’s episodic novel examines the follies and foibles of residents in a small eastern Oklahoma town in the mid-1930s. Looking behind the façade, he uses the arrival of the Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogues to develop a story of the petty obsessions, civic concerns, shocking prejudices and surprising relationships among the town’s citizenry.
2/21/2012 Ross Thomas’s Briarpatch
In Briarpatch, winner of the Edgar Award for best mystery/suspense novel in 1984, Thomas writes a story of corruption bred by easy money and the sense of the suddenly rich in the post boom bank scandals. Set in his home town of the state capital, Thomas fills the novel with such landmarks as the milk bottle at 24th and Classen and the Skirvin Plaza.
3/6/2012 Judson Jerome’s Flight from Innocence: A Memoir, 1927-1947
In a memoir told through poetic flashback vignettes, Jerome delivers in lively fashion a frank account of how he grows into a man who lives and enjoys life, a person who can achieve independence and individuality. From his provincial background, he takes us from his crib to first haircut, from days at the University of Oklahoma to life as a cowboy, from questioning his manhood to World War II Okinawa.