Catherine Meeks, a lecturer in the English Department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, presented her original work, “Clothed with the Necessary Power,” on campus Monday, December 1, as part of the Tusculum College English Department’s 2009-2010 Humanities Series.
The work, a series of short nonfiction essays, focused on the Tennessee Valley Authority, with words and imagery depicting TVA’s beginnings in the 1930s, as well as personal recollections and connections made in her own lifetime to daily life and “power.”
Meeks, a native of the Tennessee Valley Region, read parts of two selections from her work, one focused on the a screening of the TVA documentary, “Built for the People,” and the second, a series of short vignettes titled, “Snapshots from a Walk-in Cooler.”
According to Meeks, her overall work looks at both the literal and metaphorical “power” of TVA, from the transformation of the region through the advent of access to electrical power in homes to the economic freedom provided to many by the growth in government jobs that came to the region with the project.
Meeks also looks at environmental conflict and controversy through the years and periodically raises a literary eyebrow at tactics such as “Electric Fairs” and low-interest loans offered by TVA in an effort to increase electricity consumption in the region.
Meeks teaches courses in rhetoric and composition, American literature and scientific writing at UTC. She studied environmental writing while earning a master’s degree in environmental studies at the University of Montana-Missoula, and she continues to write creative nonfiction, primarily around and about the Southern United States.
The next event scheduled for the Humanities Series will be Monday, March 22, and will feature the presentation of the Curtis-Owens Literary Awards. The event will be held in Chalmers Conference Center and will begin at 7 p.m. On hand will be author Patrick Madden who will read from his new book and announce his decisions for the Curtis-Owens awards, which honors our students original work in scriptwriting, fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
Madden will read from his first book, “Quotidiana,” a collection of essays that won second place in the 2007 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award Series in Creative Nonfiction. In addition, he has published individual essays in “The Iowa Review,” “Fourth Genre,” “Hotel Amerika,” “Portland Magazine” and many other journals.
For more information about the Humanities Series, contact Professor Wayne Thomas at Ext. 5285.