The Ties That Bind

Oct. 18-20, 2018

Call for Proposals

The Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and Arkansas State University Heritage Sites invite proposals across multiple disciplines for the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival, to be held Oct. 18-20, 2018, in Dyess, Arkansas. The theme for this year’s festival is “The Ties that Bind.”

When families from throughout Arkansas relocated to the Dyess Colony in the 1930s seeking a fresh start, they formed strong connections in their new community.   Ties of friendship and family kept the community together, and through music and culture the community tied itself to the outside world.   These ties continue to bind successive generations, strengthened by the preservation of the Historic Dyess Colony and the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home.

We invite you to join us in exploring “The Ties that Bind.” Proposals in all disciplines are welcome.  Topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • The Ties of History – The socioeconomic factors that brought and kept the colonists together (the Great Depression, the New Deal, agricultural resettlement programs, etc.)
  • Dyess in its Time and Place – The cultural touchstones (art, literature, film, music) that tied Dyess to other communities and institutions of the New Deal – or the 1930s-40s more generally.
  • The Ties of Influence – The influence of earlier artists or contemporaries on Johnny Cash, or the influence of Johnny Cash on contemporaries or later artists.
  • Preserving the Ties – Preservation of New Deal colonies or the stories of colonists through restoration projects, oral histories, museums, etc.

We would especially welcome proposals for presentations that break away from the standard format of reading research papers, appealing to specialists and non-specialists alike. Research and artistic presentations that incorporate music, images, film, computer graphics, and other interactive elements will be given first preference.

The deadline for application is June 29, 2018.

The Johnny Cash Heritage Festival will feature other activities in addition to the academic panels, including free regional concerts and a major world-class ticketed concert on Saturday afternoon. Presenters are invited to participate in the weekend’s other activities.  For a full schedule when it becomes available (or to buy tickets to the concert), check in regularly at




Each entry should consist of:

  • Presenter’s name and affiliation
  • 150-word abstract of the presentation
  • Current vita (2 pages max)
  • Contact information including your address, phone number, and email address
  • The technical needs for your presentation


JCHF Symposium Committee
c/o Dr. Adam Long, Chair
Arkansas State University
P.O. Box 2050
State University, AR 72467
Phone: 870-972-2803