Symposium: When Rap Spoke Straight to God

Dr. Erica Dawson addressing the crowd during her February 7th Symposium

“Fearless” is a word that comes to mind for many when discussing the style in which UT Professor Dr. Erica Dawson writes. She is forward and unabashed, and that translated into When Rap Spoke Straight to Godher newest book of poetry. Dr. Dawson took the time to share her perspective and passion with Honors students in a recent symposium, in which she read excerpts from her novel and elaborated on her motivations to create it. When Rap Spoke Straight to God covers everything from the impact of the Trump administration to her experiences as a black women. Dr. Dawson walks a line between eloquence and conflict, to draw the attention of readers and listeners. Professors like Dr. Dawson inspire UT students to create art out of experience in a profound way.

Honors Symposia – Dr. Vanessa Rukholm

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On Thursday, March 1st, Dr. Vanessa Rukholm, of UT’s Department of Languages and Linguists, presented, “I can’t get you out of my head: popular music and second language learning.” Dr. Rukholm discussed some of the history of music and noted that music has long been an important element of human culture. The presentation also explored language acquisition and then combined the two, culminating in a discussion of how language may help facilitate second language learning.

Honors Symposium – Bradford Blackburn

UT Associate Professor of Music, Bradford Blackburn, recently presented some of his work on electronic music production to the Honors students. Dr. Blackburn detailed some history of electronic music production then performed three pieces for the students, two of which used a theremin. The pieces ranged from a piece using sounds made by water to one heavy on drumbeats. Afterward, students had an opportunity to try out the theremin and learn more about the software Dr. Blackburn uses for his compositions.