Dr. Jeremy Ecke, assistant professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, is taking classroom learning to new heights as he prepares his students for an up close and personal Southern experience.
Students taking Ecke’s Literature of the South course will participate in Little Rock’s fifth annual Cornbread Festival, set to run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, on South Main Street in Little Rock.
“This Southern literature class hasn’t been taught for a while, so I wanted to teach it around home, community, and food,” Ecke said.
Ecke moved to Little Rock five years ago. After attending the Cornbread Festival for the past four years, he thought that it would be a great opportunity for his students to join the festivities.
“Through this experience, I hope that the students will get a sense of how literature in the classroom connects to the community,” Ecke said. “This will show them that they can have fun and make real world connections outside of the classroom.”
During the festival, the English Department will sponsor a booth that allows attendees to use a typewriter to type brief poems, recipes, and flash fiction stories.
While students from different areas within the department work the booth, Ecke and his class will compete in the cornbread recipe contest, with their own twist on a classic recipe.
“The entire department is excited about this event,” Ecke said. “We have several professors who think that their recipes are sure winners.”
The students and faculty, who will compete in the amateur division, will prepare enough cornbread to feed more than 3,000 people.
Ecke wants his Southern literature students to learn by doing and trying things they never thought they would.
“It’s interesting the way in which the course is put together, like an exploration of the South through my eyes,” Ecke said. “I also want to allow the students to teach me, too. I’m in this class to learn from them.”