“Spotlight on Lifelong Learning” with Laura Loth, is a weekly look at some of the exciting public conversations upcoming around Memphis. Laura Loth is a professor at Rhodes College.
You may have asked yourselves more than a few times this week what in the world is this 2021 purgatory we’re living in, with the pandemic, boil alerts, and burst water mains in Memphis. If anyone comes to mind when we think about hell, it’s medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri, who moved on 700 years ago this month. On Thursday at 5 pm, the University of Memphis presents a talk on Dante and American Popular Culture with Elizabeth Coggeshall of Florida State University and Dennis Looney of the Modern Languages Association. Coggeshall will discuss her website called Dante Today: Citings and Sightings of Dante’s Works in Contemporary Culture. Looney will address the African American reception of Dante that he has traced in his book Freedom Readers: The African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy.
If you’ve still been feeling a lingering touch of Mardi Gras nostalgia and have the Big Easy on your mind, Novel Bookstore has you covered with a talk by author Fatima Shaik, who will be discussing her first work of non-fiction, entitled Economy Hall: The Hidden History of a Free Black Brotherhood. Her work follows one Creole man, his family, and friends through landmark events from the 1804 Haitian Revolution to the birth of jazz—events that shaped New Orleans and the United States. This event is also on Thursday, at 6pm.