Third Interdisciplinary Conference to Focus on Transformative Movements in Society

February 20, 2023


  • More than 35 panel discussions will take place during the “Movements in a Dynamic World: Interdisciplinary Perspectives” conference, covering social, political, artistic, physical and economic angles.
  • The panels were organized around specific themes over two days, grouping proposals from different disciplines together. 

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Transformative movements in our society will be studied during a Feb. 24-25 interdisciplinary conference at Winthrop University.

More than 35 panel discussions will take place during the “Movements in a Dynamic World: Interdisciplinary Perspectives” conference. The discussions will cover social, political, artistic, physical and economic angles. Organizers expect more than 200 faculty members, students and members of the public to attend, including academics from Wingate University, University of North Carolina Charlotte, the University of South Carolina and Coastal Carolina University.

The panels were organized around specific themes over two days, grouping proposals from different disciplines together. So a single panel may feature presentations from a variety of different academic disciplines, making it a truly interdisciplinary experience for conference participants, organizers said.

“There have been so many important social movements in the past decade which have played a major role in our society, such as the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements,” said History Professor Ginger Williams, who chaired the planning committee. “This gives us a chance to explore these important topics.”

Also being discussed during the conference are: epidemics of yesterday and today, fostering art education, Palestinian and Ukrainian nationhood, navigating relationships with North Korea, sports and politics, LGBTQIA representation in television and film, and women in literature and film.

This is the third in a series of interdisciplinary conferences hosted by Winthrop. The first conference in 2015 focused on water while the 2019 conference covered food.  

Keynote Speaker Addresses Hip Hop’s Messages

The keynote speaker for this latest conference is Winthrop alumna Lakeyta Bonnette-Bailey ’04, who is an associate professor of Africana Studies at Georgia State University.

In her presentation about the relationship between Hip Hop and the Black Lives Matter movement, she’ll discuss the ways that songs were created to uplift those who protested. The song lyrics also shared information about those who were victims of police brutality. 

“I also cover the ways that Hip-Hop artists participated in protest and supported protesters through other means,” Bonnette-Bailey said. “It is important to understand the role of Black popular culture in these movements because Black popular culture has always participated in Black movements, and we need to connect that history.” 

From abolition to the civil rights movement to the Black power and women’s rights movement, Black popular culture has disseminated information and worked to uplift and support participants, she said. “Because the Black community has been alienated from the traditional political power structure, they have sought and utilized other means to ensure that they participated, and that their voices were heard.”

A Look at Past Movements

An important component of the movement conference will be discussions of the Rock Hill civil rights activities during the 1960s and how those events pushed Rock Hill to the forefront of the civil rights movement. Guest speakers Phyllis Hyatt and Olivette McClurkin were part of the City Girls, who joined forces with other civil rights protesters, including the Friendship 9.

On Jan. 31, 1961, the City Girls were present at a Rock Hill lunch counter sit-in that resulted in the arrest and incarceration of the Friendship 9 and led to the “Jail, No Bail” strategy. The women were not arrested because the county jail did not have adequate facilities for females. 

One of the Friendship 9 members, David Williamson, also will speak on the panel.

Value of the Movement Conference

Alice Burmeister, an associate professor of fine arts, will moderate two panels during the conference and present a paper based on her research of the Hausa hunters bird decoys in Niger, West Africa. 

“The hunters wear bird-shaped decoys on their foreheads, kneel behind bushes and imitate the graceful movements of birds in order to be more effective hunters,” Burmeister said. “While my presentation will explore the use of physical movements in African art, other presenters will be focusing on historical movements, movements of people via migration, literary trends and political movements.”

She added that the value of this type of conference for presenters is in having the opportunity to view their research through multiple lenses, helping them to make conceptual connections that they may not have had the chance to consider before now. The value for attendees lies in having the opportunity to witness the juxtaposition of different approaches to movement in unexpected ways that expand our understanding of movements across different time periods, expressive forms, and global communities.

The Movement Conference also gives students a chance to participate. Devon Ralston, an associate professor of English, will moderate a panel on “What We Can Learn About Dead Media.” Students Amber Nelson and Sarah Costner from Ralston’s Digital English Studies course will talk about historical media that flourished and then faded from popular view.
Registration for the conference varies between $15 and $35, which includes lunch on Saturday.  Register for the conference here.

There also will be a separate event, a Rock Hill Walking History and Brew Trail, which will cost an additional $25. Register for this event here

For more information about the conference, contact Williams at

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