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The public is invited to the inaugural presentation of the Bert Hitchcock Graduate Award in Southern Studies on Wednesday, April 22, at 3 p.m. in the Caroline Marshall Draughon Auditorium of the Ralph Brown Draughon Library. The 2015 recipient, Lydia Ferguson, will discuss “Agency and the Aged Slave: Reality Versus Representation in 19th Century America.”

The award in Bert Hitchcock’s name is an official recognition by former students who wanted to acknowledge Hitchcock’s excellence as a mentor and a scholar. The award was organized by Regina Ammon and Kelly Gerald. Hitchcock retired from the Department of English in 2008 as Hargis Professor of American Literature.

Lydia Ferguson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Auburn University English Department, where she researches 19th Century American Literature and Cultural Studies. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Ball State University and her master's degree in Literature from Clemson University. Her research focuses on performances and representations of cultural identity, and her dissertation examines the roles and representations of aged, elder(ly) slaves in the popular culture and literature of 19th Century America.

The free public event will be followed by refreshments.

It is co-sponsored by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University and Auburn University Libraries. For more information on the program, call (334) 844-4903 or go to this website.