University Press of Kansas to partner with historic Winter School, host event with author Tai S. Edwards

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As part of an ongoing series, the University Press of Kansas (UPK) will host a discussion with author and historian Tai S. Edwards, who specializes in Indigenous studies.

The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 at Winter School No. 70, located at 744 North 1800 Road in Lecompton.


Edwards, who is an associate professor of history and the director of the Kansas Studies Institute at Johnson County Community College, will be sharing work from her book, “Osage Women and Empire: Gender and Power.” 

The 2018 book is Edwards’ first, and it was published with the UPK. It explores how gender roles contributed to the rise and fall of the Osage empire in the 18th century as well as their efforts against colonization in the 19th century.

Her 2013 journal article, “Disruption and Disease: The Osage Struggle to Survive in the Nineteenth-Century Trans-Missouri West,” explained how fatal disease among the Osage people in the 19th century was because of United States federal policy and settler colonialism.

Edwards’ talk will come three weeks after she was announced a recipient of the 2022 Association of University Presses Stand UP Award for advocating for university press publishing. Historian Farina King (Diné) was recognized along with Edwards. Both were recognized for their contributions to sharing history and their unwavering support of UPK, including participating last March in a webinar on Indigenous studies to celebrate the completion of the Kansas Open Books project.

The historic Winter School was a one-room schoolhouse that served approximately 20 families and functioned for 75 years. After construction to preserve the building, which started in 2019, the building is open as a community center and museum in Douglas County as of May of this year. The space is now meant for people to be able to learn the history of school systems and give light to fresh ideas about education.

This event featuring Edwards is the third in a new author discussion series in collaboration with UPK and the Winter School, in hopes of bringing community members together to engage with local authors.

Derek Helms, UPK marketing and publicity director, said they plan on continuing to host an author once a month.

“It’s sort of a grassroots, organic combination between the University Press [and] the Winter Schoolhouse, and we’re slowly growing it,” Helms said.

In addition to meaningful dialogue, Helms said free beer donated by Free State Brewing Company in Lawrence will be provided. The event is free to attend and does not require registration. 

The UPK, located on KU’s campus, is responsible for publishing scholarly and regional books that aid in understanding the history of Kansas, the Great Plains and the Midwest. The organization represents the six state universities in Kansas, including KU, Kansas State, Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Pittsburg State and Wichita State. Read more about the UPK’s work at this link and the history and current efforts of the Winter School at this link.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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