American popular culture, religion and gender issues to be considered at first Fairfield University American Studies conference

Image: LucasMass transit art, celebrity endorsements, post-9/11 Muslim American politics and 50 Shades of Grey are just some of the varied topics on the program at "Celebrating American Studies," Fairfield University's first American Studies conference, to be held on Sunday, April 21, at Alumni House on campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, runs from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and includes free breakfast, lunch and afternoon hors d'oeuvres and entertainment.

Registration is required. To register, go to This event is co-sponsored by The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn., The Barnum Museum, Fairfield Museum & History Center, Bridgeport History Center, Fairfield Senior Center, Connecticut's Old State House and Connecticut History.

"The American Studies Program at Fairfield University has been a well-kept secret for far too long," said Martha LoMonaco, Ph.D., professor of theatre and co-director of the American Studies Program. "We have had an active M.A. program since 1997 and our undergraduate program is experiencing a renaissance. Students are engaging in fascinating, important research that will help all of us to better understand what it means to be an American during this time of rapid globalization. We invite the public to join the conversation and engage in these critical issues on America and Americans in the 21st century."

Matthew Jacobson, Ph.D., president of the American Studies Association, will be the keynote speaker for the event. Dr. Jacobson, the William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and History at Yale University, will deliver "From the Black Panthers and Nixon to Obama and the Tea Party: Interpreting the 'Post' of 'Post-Civil Rights'" at the 12:15 p.m. luncheon.

The day is broken into three plenary sessions featuring undergraduate and graduate students and faculty who will discuss their scholarly work. Among the presentation titles are: "Jazz in the Concert Hall: Applying a Euro-Centric Standard to an American Art;" "Fracture or Fusion? The Impact of 9/11 on the Muslim American Political Community;" "The Effectiveness of Celebrity Endorsements in Political Campaigns;" and "50 Shades of Grey within Third Wave Feminism and Chick Lit."

At 5 p.m. participants and the audience will gather for a reception with music by Phantom Pluckers, featuring internationally renowned bassist/composer Brian Torff, a Fairfield professor of music, and American Studies graduate student Jamie Debicella.

For more information, contact Dr. LoMonaco at or her co-director Peter Bayers, Ph.D., at To register, go to

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Media Contact: Meredith Guinness, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950,

Posted on April 2, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 183

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