Documentary Screening: Michael Caplan's ALGREN

Event date

Contact person: Rashna Richards

The Film and Media Studies Program at Rhodes College invites you to a screening of Michael Caplan’s ALGREN, a riveting documentary about the National Book Award-winning writer Nelson Algren. Known as “the bard of the down-and-outer,” Algren portrayed the grittier side of Chicago. His books are about drunks and pimps and prostitutes and junkies, and they capture a sense of raw, unsentimental alienation from life. Ernest Hemingway considered Algren second only to William Faulkner in the canon of American writers.

Caplan’s documentary premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2014. It has received rave reviews. The Hollywood Reporter praises the way it “weaves together Algren’s life in an absorbing blend of interviews, voiceovers and, most compellingly, a trove of Art Shay photographs.”

Michael Caplan is an Associate Professor in the Cinema and Television Arts Department at Columbia College and an award-winning independent director/producer. He will take questions after the screening.

Indie Memphis

Public Memory and Public History: The WWII Museum, Dr. Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller

Event date

Contact person: Carol Kelley

Dr. Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller, historian, former Vice Chancellor at the University of New Orleans, and Founding President and CEO of The National WWI Museum will be speaking to the Rhodes community about World War II's impact on public memory.

There will be a reception at 5:00 p.m. This talk is free and open to the public.


Unveiling of a New Historic Marker

Event date

On Wednesday, April 4 at 12 noon, Calvary Episcopal Church will host a “Service of Remembrance and Reconciliation.”  The service will include reflections by Sarah Eiland, a Rhodes history major in the Class of 2020 who worked on the project; The Reverend Dorothy Wells, a 1982 graduate of Rhodes and the rector of St. George's Episcopal Church in Germantown, Tennessee; and The Reverend Scott Walters, Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church.  The Rhodes Singers will also participate.  Near the conclusion of the service, we will read aloud the names of dozens of the men, women, and children who were sold at the site – names that a small group of Rhodes students have unearthed through careful research in local archives.  After the service, the assembled crowd will move outside for the unveiling of the new marker, at which time President Marjorie Hass will offer a few remarks.  

Fifty years ago, Dr. King came to Memphis to show solidarity with the city’s striking sanitation workers, who held signs that simply said “I am a Man.”  By remembering the names of the enslaved and respecting the dignity of their lives, we will attempt to follow King’s example of lifting up the forgotten.  We think the service and marker unveiling will be a powerful moment, intended to advance the cause of racial reconciliation in our community.  


What Students Say about History

Real comments from real Rhodes students about the Department of History:

“I worked as an Archival Studies Fellow which allowed me to tangibly work
with history in a way that was productive for the community.”

“I think the strength of the History Department lies primarily in its
professors.  They are wonderfully experienced, engaged, and definitely give
the impression of genuinely caring about the well-being of their students,

Pearce Shakespeare Symposium: Jews and Muslims in Shakespeare's World

Event date

Reception at 5:30 p.m.

In spite of enduring myths about their absence, Jews and Muslims were a complex presence in Tudor England, whether as imagined stage caricatures or actual political agents. Jerry Brotton and James Shapiro, two preeminent cultural historians of the Renaissance, both familiar faces on BBC, will engage in a far-ranging dialogue about how Judaism and Islam were — and remain — part of the British national story.

You can read more about Jerry Brotton’s recent book, The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam here. James Shapiro’s classic, Shakespeare and the Jews, was just reissued in a twentieth-anniversary edition and there is more about it here. Both are bestselling authors and prize-winning scholars. 


Baldwin Now Symposium: Keynote Lecture

Event date

This two-day symposium celebrates the life and legacy of James Baldwin. Baldwin’s work has become a touchstone in our present cultural moment. Baldwin is an intellectual forbearer of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jesmyn Ward, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and a key reference for post-civil rights discussions of race in America. As such, Baldwin continues to be a cultural catalyst for American society.

Keynote lecture by Dwight McBride, author of Impossible Witness, Why I Hate Abercrombie and Fitch, and editor of James Baldwin Now.

The Symposium continues March 30 @ 6:00 p.m. in Ellington 100 at the University of Memphis with a roundtable discussion with leading Baldwin scholars Quentin Miller, Soyica Colbert, and Magdalena Zaborowska. Moderated by Ernest Gibson.