Conference at Baylor Will Feature Author Donna Johnson, a JFK Documentary, Poetry Readings and Panel Discussions on Timely Topics

donna johnson author
Author Donna Johnson (Courtesy photo)
Nov. 11, 2013

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Contact: Terry Goodrich,(254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Nov. 11, 2013) -- Donna Johnson, author of Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir, will speak about coming of age as the daughter of a famous tent-revival evangelist during the American Studies Association of Texas Conference Nov. 14 to 16 at Baylor University.

Conference attendees and the public also may attend a screening of a documentary called The Day JFK Died, presented by the department of journalism, public relations and new media in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences.

The American Studies conference will include more than a dozen presentations dealing with topics ranging from reality television to the history of ghost stories for children to the aftermath of a racial hate crime in a small community. The event also will include readings of poetry and creative works.

Johnson's lecture and the film screening are free, but attendance at the other sessions requires a registration fee of $20 for the public and faculty; $10 for students.

The American Studies Association of Texas is an interdisciplinary organization that includes journalism, history, English, libraries, social work, sociology and other disciplines.

In Johnson's memoir, which rose to the Publishers Weekly list of the top 10 memoirs for 2013, she writes about her childhood as the daughter of Brother David Terrell, a popular apocalyptic tent preacher during the 1960s and 1970s. She was age 3 when her mother became an organist for him, and Johnson had a front-row seat for the miracles, exorcisms and KKK face-offs that were common under the revival tent.

A review by Publishers Weekly said that Johnson "eloquently recounts this uncommon upbringing shaped by constant upheaval and her increasingly fraught conception of faith. Leaving the tent circuit for good at 16 gave Johnson the perspective she needed for this fascinating tale of life with a 'con man, a prophet, a performer.'"

She will speak at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, in Kayser Auditorium of the Hankamer School of Business, 1428 S. Fifth St.

The documentary about Kennedy, narrated by Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey, includes rarely-seen film, photographs and eyewitness accounts of President Kennedy's assassination. It will be shown at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Kayser Auditorium.

Registration will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Hankamer School of Business Lobby. For more information, contact

Highlights will include:


Kayser Auditorium

POETRY AND CREATIVE WORKS READINGS: 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Kayser Auditorium by Elizabeth Bates, Ph.D., assistant professor of journalism, public relations and new media in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences; Cassy Burleson, senior lecturer in Baylor's department of journalism, public relations and new media; and Kathleen Hudson of the department of English at Schreiner University; author Donna Johnson; Jenuine Poetess (Jennifer Alumbaugh), founder of the first chapter of In the Words of Womyn writing circle and chair of Waco Cultural Arts Annual WordFest; poet/artist/essayist June Zaner; and Richard Zaner, retired Stahlman Professor Emeritus of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine at Vanderbilt University.


Cashion Academic Center, 1400 S. Fourth St., Room 409


• 9 to 10 a.m.: "Faulkner's Bear: Squirrels, Timber and the Ecological Self." Ken Hada of East Central University's department of English and languages will discuss author William Faulkner's The Bear. Hada argues that the book should be considered for an eco-critical reading because it goes beyond history, culture and myth to connect readers to contemporary social problems, particularly lack of responsibility toward the environment.

• 9 to 10 a.m.: "Poe and the Blackwood's Tale," a presentation by Brooke H. Smith, a ninth-grade teacher in San Antonio Independent School District. The essay evaluates differences that contribute to Edgar Allan Poe's enduring success over his contemporaries as well as literary trends in the mid-19th century, including the popularity of periodicals and sensationalism.


Cashion, Room 410

• 10:15 a.m. to noon: "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism in True Grit: The Loveland Character of Mattie Ross," presented by Lloyd M. Daigrepont of the department of English and modern languages at Lamar University.

• 10:15 a.m. to noon: "Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War: Military Science Fiction, Texas Style," presented by Charles L. Etheridge Jr. of the department of English at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He will explore Moon's work as one of the handful of women writers in the genre of military science fiction.

• 10:15 to noon: "Her Texas: Story, Image & Song." Presentation by Cassy Burleson, Ph.D., of Baylor's department of journalism, public relations and new media; and Donna Walker-Nixon, Ph.D., a lecturer of English at Baylor. They will preview their book, which includes the original works of 50 women, among them songsters, poets, artists and photographers.


Cashion, Room 409

• 1:15 to 3:30 p.m.: "The Positive Effects of Reality Television on Participants" by Tonya B. Lewis, Baylor University graduate student. Lewis will discuss reality TV shows from their inception with "An American Family" in 1973 through their current explosion. She analyzes how participants are able through reality TV to revive careers, create wealth, repair their public image, increase their fan base and become celebrities.

• 1:15 to 3:30 p.m.: "Guilty by Association: An Analysis of Shaunie O'Neal's Online/On-Air

Image Restoration Tactics," presented by Mia Moody, Ph.D., of Baylor's department of journalism, public relations and new media; graduate student Isla Hamilton-Short; and Kathryn Mitchell, a customer service associate at Baylor and former Baylor student. This case study looks at the image repair tactics of Shaunie O'Neal, former wife of basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, following four seasons on the television show "Basketball Wives," which helped to tarnish O'Neal's clean-cut image.

• 1:15 to 3:30 p.m.: "A Review of Texas Cyclist Lance Armstrong's Image Restoration Tactics," presented by Kyle Beam, Baylor University graduate student. Beam will focus on Armstrong's use of image repair methods after accusations that he used steroids.


Kayser Auditorium

• 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.: "The Man Behind the Movement: Frederick Douglass," presented by Malory Green, Baylor University graduate student. Green will examine the life of Douglass -- an orator, abolitionist, publisher, activist and escaped slave who became a mouthpiece for the movement for African-American equality.

• 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.: "Jasper Dragging Longitudinal Study Pre- and Post-firing of Rodney Pearson and Brewer Execution," presented by Cassy Burleson, Ph.D., and Mia Moody, Ph.D., both of Baylor's department of journalism, public relations and new media; and Danielle Brown, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. The study examines the aftermath of a racially motivated hate killing by three Jasper men who beat a man, chained him by his ankles to a truck and dragged him for miles. The three were found guilty and one has been executed. The study documents changing socio-political, racial and economic dynamics following the murder.

• 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.: "Mediating Society's Rape Culture in a New Media Environment: A Frame Analysis of the Steubenville High School Rape Case," presented by Mia Moody, Ph.D., and Sara Stone, Ph.D., both of Baylor's department of journalism, public relations and new media, as well as graduate students Malory Green, Tonya B. Lewis and Ben Murray. Social media unveiled the sexual assault of an underage and unconscious girl, and while the assault was portrayed as a rape with two assailants and a victim, the question arose of whether the onlookers and media outlets were guilty of not protecting her identity. The paper explores privacy protections, user-generated content, and traditional and new media framing of rape. Researchers will offer best practices for providing balanced and ethical coverage of an underage rape case within the confines of new media technology.



Cashion, Room 409

• 9 to 9:45 a.m.: "The Rise of The Specter: The Beginnings of The Supernatural Ghost for Children," a presentation by Sean Ferrier-Watson, a professor of English at Collin College. He will examine the history of the published ghost story over its roughly two-century run, from a time when publishers and authors feared terrifying tales would corrupt children, to the present, when the tales generally are viewed as entertainment.

• 9 to 9:45 a.m.: "Social Entrepreneurship Business Models," presented by graduate student Meredith Millard and junior Megan Grindstaff. They will examine enterprises that pursue social benefits or justices through the practical application of business methods.


• 10:15 to 11:45 a.m.: Panel Discussion: "Postmodern American Identities in the Work of Don DeLillo,

Ishmael Reed and Wes Anderson." Three Midwestern State University undergraduates -- Cody Parish, Ginger Bartush and Sarah Muschoil -- will examine works by novelists DeLillo and Reed and film director Wes Anderson.

Yearly membership dues for ASAT are $25 for a Basic Membership, $50 for a Sustaining Membership and $15 for students and retired faculty. For more information, please visit the ASAT website:


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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