Category Archives: Podcasts

Kentucky Live! presents J.D. Wilkes, artist, musician and author of “The Vine That Ate the South”

J.D. Wilkes is a native of Paducah, Kentucky. In the introduction to his first book Barn Dances & Jamborees Across Kentucky published in 2013 he writes: “as a professional harmonica player and singer in a hillbilly music group, I’ve played my share of festivals and nightclubs since the age of sixteen. You name it, I’ve played it. From a boot scoot to a prison, a barbecue joint to a Masonic lodge. From fish fries to “pig-picks, juke joints to paddle-wheelers. Pool halls, mini-malls, parades, pubs, clubs, churches, casinos, coffee shops and drag strips.”

He’s the founder of the Legendary Shack Shakers, a Southern Gothic rock and blues band formed in the mid-1990s which toured widely with the likes of Robert Plant, The Black Keys and Hank Williams III among others.  His discography includes 17 albums.  He’s been nominated for a Grammy and his music has been featured on HBO’s True Blood series and a in a long-running Geico commercial. In 2015 he was featured on the BBC original series Songs of the South, in an episode focusing on the musical history of Tennessee and Kentucky.  He’s directed a film and is an accomplished visual artist who makes wonderful drawings and banners.

In his first solo album Fire Dream released in February, 2018 by Fat Legal Mess/Fat Possum Records and recorded at Delta-Sonic Sound in Memphis, he creates a complex tapestry of styles and sounds playing banjo, harmonica, and piano.

His debut novel, The Vine That Ate the South, published in 2017 by Two Dollar Radio Press, to quote the publisher “is a mesmerizing fantasia that incorporates vampire cults, exorcisms, and the Bell Witch of Tennessee, as two friends embark on a surreal, Homeric voyage that strikes at the very heart of American mythology.”

The story follows the journey of two young men through a haunted forest in a forgotten corner of western Kentucky.  Responding to a question on regional cultures in a recent interview Wilkes comments that “regionalism is important because it gives us all our own sense of place, community, and identity.”  As to the relationship between song writing and the creation of this novel Wilkes added “my songs have always been more short stories anyway, so I’ve had years of practice in a way.”

Wilkes will be reading from and discussing his novel on Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Booksellers as part of WKU Libraries’ Kentucky Live! Southern Culture at Its Best series.

Copies of his books and music will be available for sale. Wilkes will also sign books and participate in a panel discussion (11:00 a.m.) at the Knicely Conference Center (654 Campbell Lane) as part of  SOKY Bookfest on Saturday, April 21.  For more information call 270-745-6121

 

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Far Away Places presents Soleiman Kiasatpour on “Morocco At the Crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East”

Soleiman Kiasatpour is an Associate Professor of International & Comparative Politics in the Department of Political Science at Western Kentucky University.  He received his PhD from the University of California, Riverside in 1998 for a dissertation on “Regime Transition in Post-Soviet Central Asia: The Cases of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan” which involved extensive field work in Central Asia in 1994 and 1996.

Born in the U.S. to Iranian parents he moved to Iran when he was 10 and lived there until his 20s.  He experienced a revolution, interstate war and being a “foreign” student upon returning to the United States as an undergraduate in Texas.

He’s taught at the University of California, Riverside, California State University, Dominguez Hills and South Texas College where he met his wife who taught French. He joined the faculty at WKU in 2002 and currently teaches classes on Middle East politics, international relations, comparative politics and political terrorism.

His research focuses on regime transitions, Middle East politics and public diplomacy and he’s frequently asked to comment about Middle Eastern affairs for various media. He’s lead Study Abroad Programs to Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands where he taught courses on Islam and citizenship in Europe, Middle East politics and Islam and politics.

His interest in Morocco began in Brussels, Belgium where over a quarter of the population are from Turkey and Morocco.  He taught a course there on identity politics of old and new immigrants. In the spring of 2013 a Moroccan Fulbright professor teaching Arabic at WKU enrolled in his U.S. foreign policy class.  With his help, he took his first group of student to Morocco in 2015

Last summer he lead his third study abroad program to Morocco where WKU students interacted with local public officials and upon return wrote about their experience in an article entitled, “Local Governance in Morocco During Political Instability” with a focus on Tetouan, a city of some 400,000 people near Tangier on the Mediterranean Coast. He’ll be making a return trip to Morocco this June and July.

We hope you’ll join us on Thursday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Bookstore when Sol will be talking about “Morocco At the Crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East” in our Far Away Places series sponsored by the Friends of WKU Libraries.

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Far Away Places presents Theresa Rajack-Talley, author of “Poverty is a Person”

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Theresa Rajack-Talley, Associate Dean for International Diversity and Community Engagement Programs in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Louisville, was featured in our WKU Libraries’ Far Away Places speaker series on Thursday, March 22, at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Bowling Green, KY. The focus of her talk was also the title of her book Poverty is a Person: Human Agency, Women, and Caribbean Households. A book signing ensued in conclusion of her talk.

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Kentucky Live! presents Ann DAngelo, author of ‘Dark Highway: Love, Murder, and Revenge in 1930s Kentucky’

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WKU Libraries’ last of this semester’s “Kentucky Live!” speaker series featured Ann DAngelo, an attorney for the Kentucky Department of Transportation Cabinet on the evening of November 16, 2017, at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Bowling Green, KY. She talked about and signed her new book Dark Highway about the case of Verna Garr Taylor’s death on the night of November 6, 1936.

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Far Away Places presents Ronald Fritze and “Egyptomania: A History of Fascination, Obsession, and Fantasy”

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Historian Ron Fritze, Dean of Arts & Sciences at Athens States University, was the featured speaker in WKU Libraries’ April Far Away Places series on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Bowling Green, KY. Fritze talked about his newest book Egyptomania: A History of Fascination, Obsession and Fantasy, which, being the 11th of his books, has been drawing international attention.

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Far Away Places presents “The Dominican Republic: The Land Columbus Loved, or the Land that Loathes Columbus”

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Bellarmine historian Eric Roorda was the featured speaker in WKU Libraries’ Far Away Places series on the evening of March 23, 2017 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Bowling Green, KY, on the topic The Dominican Republic: The Land Columbus Loved, or the Land that Loathes Columbus. His talk concluded with him signing his eponymous book.

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Far Away Places presents Clinton Lewis’ “Exploring New Zealand”

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The 2016-2017 season of WKU Libraries’ “Far Away Places” talk series kicked off with Clinton Lewis, WKU’s University Photographer, who spoke about “Exploring New Zealand” at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Bowling Green, KY on the evening of September 15, 2016.

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Bruce Richardson and “The Tea Things of Jane Austen”

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Our opening speaker in our fourteenth season of talks on Kentucky Live! Southern Culture at Its Best was one of the world’s leading tea experts Bruce Richardson, who is a writer, photographer, tea blender and frequent speaker at tea events around the country. The theme of Bruce’s talk in our series was “The Tea Things of Jane Austen,” which took place  at Barnes & Noble on the evening of September 8. Book signing ensued after his talk.

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Tracing the Unexplored: Carlos de la Torre’s “Assessing Left Wing Populism in Latin America”

lat_20160330111015507On Monday, April 11 WKU Libraries, in collaboration with the Depts. of Modern Languages, Political Science, Sociology, the School of Journalism and Broadcasting, and the Office of International Programs, hosted Carlos de la Torre, Professor at the University of Kentucky, as part of the Tracing the Unexplored speaker series. A native of Quito, Ecuador, de la Torre moved to the United States in 1979, earned his BA in Sociology in 1983 from the University of Florida, and ultimately earned his PhD in 1993 from the New School for Social Research in New York for his study of Ecuadorean Populism in the 1930s and 40s, focusing on the early career of Jose Maria Velasco.

Before coming to UK in 2011 he previously taught at Drew University and Northeastern University, was a professor in the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Sede (FLASCO) in Ecuador, was a Fulbright Scholar, a Woodrow Wilson International Center Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow. He now serves as International Studies Program Director and Professor of Sociology at UK and teaches courses on topics like Global Racism, Global Populism, and Media and Politics in Latin America. He has authored twelve books, most recently Latin American Populism of the Twenty-First Century in 2013 and Promises and Perils of Populism: Global Perspectives in 2015, as well as contributing occasionally to Spain’s leading newspaper El Pais and maintaining a weekly column in Dario Hoy, Quito’s leading newspaper.

De la Torre’s talk focused on “Assessing Left Wing Populism in Latin America: The Examples of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador”, examing why Hugo chavez Evo Morales and Rafael Correa were elected, the similarities and differences among their regimes, and the challenges to their populismand was held at 4:30 p.m. at the Faculty House.

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Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century

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The final speaker for the WKU Libraries’ 2015-2016 season of “Far Away Places” was Peter Lorge, who is an Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN specializing in the history of 10th and 11th century China, war history and military thought, guns and gunpowder, Chinese martial arts, and Chinese film. Lorge spoke about his book Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century on the evening of April 22, 2016 at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Bowling Green, Ky, a co-sponsor of the event.

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