NCTC faculty to present program on Dust Bowl

by Darin Allred | Nov 18, 2014 <p> </p>

The North Central Texas College Humanities Department is presenting "Blowing in the Wind: Drought, Dust and Disaster-How the Dust Bowl Changed America," Thursday, November 20, 2014, at 6:00 in the Little Theater. The program will explore America's Dust Bowl era from the perspective of history, science, literature and art. Four NCTC professors will lead the panel discussion: Crystal Wright-history, Lisa Bellows-science, Pat Ledbetter-literature, and George Neal-art.

The professors are interested in exploring this topic with both community members and college students because of its relevancy to our own times. As Professor Wright noted, "With the recent economic downturn and our state's much-discussed water problems, we can gain insight into our present by looking at this past disaster. As Mark Twain put it, 'History doesn't repeat itself but it rhymes.' This is a topic that 'rhymes' well with our own times." Professor Bellows added, "Because of the Dust Bowl experience, we have some hard-earned lessons on the necessity for preserving the fertility of the soil that feeds us all. We'll be discussing some past mistakes that must be avoided to secure our future."

Professors Ledbetter and Neal will be looking at the impact of this tragedy on America's creative arts. According to Professor Neal, "The art of the 1930s helped Americans both confront and escape the pain of the Depression. We will be discussing the haunting beauty and the deeper meanings of paintings by such significant artists as Alexandre Hogue." Professor Ledbetter will explore the literature of the age, including John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. It served as both relief and social commentary for these difficult times.

Wright, Chair of the Humanities Department, explained that Thursday night's program will serve as a preview to a much larger project that the department will be undertaking in the spring. "We are offering an exciting new course during the spring semester, designed to provide an interdisciplinary exploration of this critical part of the American experience. The course is open for academic transfer and for anyone in the community that would like to participate. Everyone is invited to attend all or any part of the course. We are especially interested in our students having the opportunity to interact with people who either experienced this tragedy or whose close relatives did. We know sharing an interdisciplinary and inter-generational experience will make this course an enriching opportunity for all of us."

The course will be offered on Tuesday afternoons in the spring from 1:00 to 4:00. Contact one of the NCTC professors at phone number 940-668-7731 or the Lifelong Learning at 940-668-4272 for more information about Thursday's program.

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