An international career as an attorney was only the beginning for Professor S.I. Strong, the Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law at the University of Missouri. Specializing in international commercial arbitration, large scale law suits, international dispute resolution and comparative law, Strong uses her expertise in her research, teaching, and practice. In addition to her legal specialties, Strong writes about research and writing methods crucial for any lawyer. Her career remains international in scope, as she is in demand as a speaker, moderator, and expert advisor for initiatives, programs, and conferences around the world.
The life of Speer Morgan is a literary playground where fictitious dreams come true. The author of five novels and a collection of short stories, Morgan’s writings have earned him national awards and bylines in publications such as Harper’s and The Atlantic Monthly. Along with these accomplishments, he has been the editor of the renowned literary magazine The Missouri Review for over thirty years.
M. Heather Carver is framed by her clown shadow—a black mannequin head wearing a pink camouflage hat and red clown’s nose—as she joyfully begins to describe her place at MU. “I come from a background of performing,” the Associate Professor of Theatre offers. “As a means of studying something, we perform it.” As a way of studying autobiography, for example, Carver performs autobiography.
Dr. Strong discusses why research and writing are necessary skills for lawyers, and how she helps law students develop these skills.
“Being a good writer,” Dr. Strong argues, “is a critical part of being an attorney.” In this segment, she discusses why this is the case, and how law students can and should develop their research and writing skills to become better lawyers.
Dr. Strong relates how her interests shifted from literature to law, and describes her education and early career.
Schwarz talks about his teaching methods in the Writing Intensive classroom. He was awarded the MU Campus Writing Program’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2013.
Morgan’s work as an editor affects his writing in several ways, and he notes that in the end being an editor has made him more realistic about the writing process.
When it comes to writing, Morgan admits that for him the process is time-consuming and slow. He also notes that his work as an editor has made him more self-conscious about his own writing.
Performative writing is a way of writing about performance that engages the reader as one would engage the audience when performing in theatre: “So instead of performing over here and then writing about it over there, writing about the work as if the reader were not involved in any kind of audience relationship, performative writing takes the combination of audience, performer, and text and moves that into the writing of performance.” By involving those different levels, Carver suggests, writing “is more accessible to people.”
One of Carver’s research areas involves “auto-performance”—a style that “brings the self to task in writing and in performance.” Whether this involves the
autobiography or autoethnography, “performative writing is very much a part of it, because you’re writing about your_self_.” Rather than taking other people’s perspectives and points of view, Carver tries to make clear her position from the get-go: “What I try to do in my performative writing is say, ‘this is about me,’… Because I really just want to write about what I’m experiencing for people to understand as a way of opening the conversation.”
Since October of 2006, Carver has been developing Booby Prize, a comedy about the unfunny subject of breast cancer. “It’s a one-woman show featuring me [laughs],” and how she was “lucky” to be the one of every seven women to get the disease. Through Booby Prize, which is ever evolving, Carver is able to combine her interest in social activism, women’s health, and autobiography: “I decided that I could have breast cancer and still have a sense of humor, and still do my work. And so that’s when Booby Prize, you know, became born, the idea that—unfortunately—I won the prize. I won the Booby Prize, which you don’t want to win, you don’t want to be the 1 out of 7 who wins, but I won, and so that’s how I start off the performance.” Much of the performance features Carver performing actual stories that happened to her, infusing humor into the reality of her situation. At the conclusion of Booby Prize, Carver warns the audience against expecting closure and a happy ending. Despite the clean bill of health at her last medical checkup, the possibility of cancer returning lingers on, and so Carver reminds the audience, “I don’t have a pretty ending; my ending is still up in the air.” Among audience members, Carver has observed not only laughter and tears, as might be expected, but “people doing both at the same time, and not quite knowing what to do about it.” The thread that runs through Booby Prize—like Carver’s other scholarly and creative projects—is storytelling. Some of the stories are painful, and some are funny. Either way, Carver always tries “to keep it raw.”
Gallimore speaks of the obstacles to overcome when trying to speak the unspeakable, to comprehend the incomprehensible, that is genocide. Her next book involves literary criticism as well as sociolinguistic and anthropological methods, drawing upon data collected in Rwanda as well as archival data and transcripts of the testimonies of women who survived the genocide. She has been working with an organization in Rwanda called ABASA, a group made of rape survivors. (Abasa is a Kinyrwanda word that means “we are all the same.”) Interviewing women from this group, Gallimore hopes to give voice to their stories and identify their various needs so that Step Up can try to address them.
Johann Sebastian Bach was very much a tonal composer who wrote contrapuntal compositions, “which are linear in design with some vertical concepts as well.” For example, Bach would have the basses sing the melody at one point, and the altos later, creating a linear, contrapuntal design. Through such research into the work of other composers, McKenney seeks to understand how other composers have handled a certain idea, concept, or technique.