Ozarks Studies Symposium draws largest crowd to date
Paying tribute to the “grannywomen” who took care of their isolated communities in the rural Ozarks was the theme of the keynote address by Dr. Dawn Larsen at the 16th annual Ozarks Studies Symposium at Missouri State University-West Plains in September. Larsen, a Taney County native who now teaches theater at Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C., told the story of these women who served as healers, seers and midwives in their communities through word and song. Dr. Jason McCollom, one of the event’s organizers, said Larsen’s performance was the highlight of the three-day event. The symposium had its largest attendance ever this year, with an estimated 120 attendees taking part in the presentations and exhibits. Presenters from across the Ozarks, and some from out of state shared their current research and investigations into a variety of facets of Ozarks history, culture, architecture, oral history, the environment, literature, poetry and music. McCollom said the theme of next year’s event is “The Political Economy of the Ozarks” and all are invited to attend.