September 13, 2022 ALL

Alumni Author Series Luncheon: Tony Szczesiul (’86): The Southern Hospitality Myth: Ethics, Politics, Race, and American Memory

Tony Szczesiul (’86) will speak about his book, The Southern Hospitality Myth: Ethics, Politics, Race, and American Memory (University of Georgia Press).

Hospitality as a cultural trait has been associated with the South for well over two centuries, but the origins of this association and the reasons for its perseverance of­ten seem unclear. The Southern Hospitality Myth looks at how and why we have taken something so particular as the social habit of hospitality-which is exercised among diverse individuals and is widely varied in its particular practices-and so generalized it as to make it a cultural trait of an entire region of the country. Tracing the concept of southern hospitality from its emergence in the early 1800s with the social practices of the elite slave-owning class up to our contemporary moment, Szczesiul raises fundamental ethical questions that underlie both the concept of hospitality and the cultural work of American memory, particularly in light of the region’s historical legacy of slavery and segregation. Szczesiul shows that southern hospitality is a national, rather than regional, mythology, one that is inextricably linked to the
fraught history of race in America.

Friday, September 23, 2022 | 11:30 a.m.
Registration required:

Hosted by the John Carroll University Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Office of Relations. Open to all members of the JCU Community, including current students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Lunch is complimentary. Space is limited.

Questions, contact Eric Eickhoff at
Tony Szczesiul (JCU ’86) is Professor of English and Director of the Race and Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he teaches courses in American literature, poetry, and southern literature and culture. He is the author of Racial Politics and Robert Penn Warren’s Poetry, which received a Choice Outstanding Academic Titled award, and The Southern Hospitality Myth: Ethics, Politics, Race, and American Memory. He is currently at work on The Routledge Introduction to the Literature of the American South, which will be published in Routledge’s Introductions to American Literature series.