Virtual Event: B. Brian Foster in Conversation with William Ferris for I Don't Like the Blues

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 5:30pm

Join Square Books for an evening of conversation between Mississippi writer B. Brian Foster and folklorist Willam Ferris as they dicuss Foster's recently published book, I Don't Like the Blueson Wednesday, Jan. 27th at 5:30 pm CST on Zoom.

To attend, email

How do you love and not like the same thing at the same time? This was the riddle that met Foster when he returned to his home state to learn about Black culture and found himself hearing about the blues. One moment, Black Mississippians would say they knew and appreciated the blues. The next, they would say they didn't like it. For five years, Foster listened and asked: How? Why not? Will it ever change? This is the story of the answers to his questions.

In this illuminating work, Foster takes us where not many blues writers and scholars have gone: into the homes, memories, speculative visions, and lifeworlds of Black folks in contemporary Mississippi to hear what they have to say about the blues and all that has come about since their forebears first sang them. In so doing, Foster urges us to think differently about race, place, and community development and models a different way of hearing the sounds of Black life, a method that he calls listening for the backbeat.

About the Author:

B. Brian Foster is a writer and storyteller from Mississippi. He currently holds a joint appointment in sociology and southern studies. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in African American Studies from the University of Mississippi in 2011, and both his Master’s Degree (2013) and Ph.D. (2017) in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

About the Host:

William Ferris is Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History and senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ferris coedited the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and is the author of Blues from the DeltaRolling Stone magazine has named him among the top ten professors in the United States. In 2010, Ferris received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.

Event address: 

Virtual: Zoom
I Don't Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9781469660424
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of North Carolina Press - December 14th, 2020