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Orr Center Event Oct. 18 Will Feature Discussion of African-American Women Writers and the Bible

For release: October 10, 2012
For press information, Dr. Aram Goudsouzian, 901-678-2520

Katherine Bassard
Katherine Bassard

Katherine Bassard, professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, will discuss her latest book, Transforming Scriptures: African-American Women and the Bible, on Thursday, Oct. 18, in the University Center Theatre at the University of Memphis. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the lecture and book signing at 6:30. The event is free and open to the public.

Parking is available in the Zach Curlin garage adjacent to the University Center.

Bassard’s book delivers the first sustained treatment of how African-American women writers have engaged with the Bible. It examines not only how the Bible initially inscribed black women as “cursed” victims, but also how African-American women writers have recast the Bible into an instrument of blessing. She reads the lives of the writers, too, from Maria Stewart and Harriet Jacobs to Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison. Their encounters with the Bible were transformational; these writers were shaped and reshaped by the scriptures.

The Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities at the University of Memphis will present this Naseeb Shaheen Lecture, an annual event sponsored by the Department of English. The Marcus Orr Center is dedicated to bringing together students, graduates, faculty, and the broader Memphis community for events that promote richer, deeper conversations about significant issues. 

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of English, the Program in African and African-American Studies, and the Center for Research on Women. It is made possible by Public Service Funds from the U of M.

More information about this event and the Orr Center’s programs is available online at, or from Orr Center Director Dr. Aram Goudsouzian at 901-678-2520 or

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