August 21, 2017
Dr. B. Brian Foster, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Southern Studies, was recently commissioned to write three feature stories on Mississippi for the relaunch of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown Series. The relaunch paired old series episodes with written pieces on the historical and cultural narratives of the places that Bourdain has visited in the show’s four-year history.
“The Perfect Day in Oxford, Mississippi” is a short travelogue of the perfect “snapshot” day in Oxford, Mississippi. Foster begins with a reflection on an encounter at The Graduate Hotel and traces potential eating and tourism destinations in town. Throughout the essay, he grapples with the tensions between inviting visitors to a place that he, himself, has struggled to fully embrace.
“This Ain’t Just a Blues Place” pulls from Dr. Foster’s ongoing work in the Mississippi Delta. The essay challenges conventional depictions of the Mississippi Delta as a place with little more to offer than downhome cooking and a vibrant blues scene.
“The Black Women Who Demanded the Surrender of the University of Mississippi’s State Flag” chronicles the experiences of two former students at the University of Mississippi who led the campus movement to have the state flag removed from campus.
All three pieces—along with dozens of other new and interesting stories—can be found on CNN’s Explore Parts Unknown website.