‘How VU Faculty Can Engage the Nashville Community’ virtual discussion is June 23

The Office of Faculty Affairs, in collaboration with Vanderbilt University Press, invites faculty to participate in a panel discussion focused on the faculty responsibilities of research, teaching and service and how Vanderbilt’s location in Nashville can impact all three areas.

The virtual event, scheduled for Wednesday, June 23, from noon to 1:30 p.m. CT, will feature Steve Haruch, author of Greetings from New Nashville: How a Sleepy Southern Town Became “It” City, and Amie Thurber and Learotha Williams Jr., editors of I’ll Take You There: Exploring Nashville’s Social Justice Sites. 

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The event will provide academic leaders with a fresh lens when viewing Nashville as an integral part of a faculty member’s experience at Vanderbilt. The panel of recent VUP authors will provide an overview of their book projects and their desire to capture the changing features of Nashville life. The panelists also will provide some content and context focused on how the Nashville represented in their books can impact the overall faculty experience.

Other topics discussed will include how Nashville can be part of a faculty member’s research agenda, how faculty can incorporate Nashville into their teaching, and how faculty can immerse themselves into what the city offers.

Registered faculty will receive complimentary copies of both recent VUP titles. Books will be sent immediately following the session.


Alex Jahangir

Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery; executive medical director, Vanderbilt Center for Trauma, Burn and Emergency Surgery; and chair, Metro Coronavirus Task Force.


Steve Haruch is a writer, editor and filmmaker based in Nashville. His work has appeared in the Nashville Scene, the New York Times, NPR’s Code Switch, the Guardian and elsewhere. He is the editor of the previous VUP volume People Only Die of Love in Movies: Film Writing by Jim Ridley (2018). He is currently producing a documentary film about the history of college radio.

Amie Thurber is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University. She completed her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. She is currently the principal investigator on a multiyear study evaluating the effects of Portland’s North/Northeast Preference Policy, which recreates housing access in a historical community of color to those displaced by urban renewal and gentrification.

Learotha Williams Jr. is a professor of African American, Civil War and Reconstruction and public history at Tennessee State University. Williams has worked as a historic sites specialist for the State of Florida, acted as coordinator for the African American Studies Program at Armstrong Atlantic State University, and served as trustee of the Historic Savannah Foundation in Savannah, Georgia. He also spearheads the North Nashville Heritage Project, an effort that seeks to encourage a greater understanding of the history of North Nashville, including but not limited to Jefferson Street and its historic relationship to the greater Nashville community.