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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 3, 2004

Lectures, Discussions, Performances Highlight American Studies YAH Project

A yearlong project examining the role of the arts in America kicks off Friday, Sept. 10, with UI English professor Barbara Eckstein speaking on "The Spectacle Between Piety and Desire: The New Orleans Black Panther Party and Ishmael Reed's Neo-Hoodoo Aesthetic." The lecture begins at 4 p.m. in Room 704, Jefferson Building and is free and open to the public.

The lecture series, "The Arts in America: History, Politics, Practice" has been organized by the American studies department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as part of the UI Year of the Arts and Humanities (YAH). Five lectures are scheduled for the fall semester with three in the spring. All will be held on Friday afternoons in the Jefferson Building.

In addition to lectures, the department will co-host with Joan Kjaer of KSUI's music program "Know the Score" a public performance and conversation on the history and politics of American musical performance, featuring two local musicians, Dave Zollo and Dan Knight. This program is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 10 at the UI Museum of Art.

In April, American studies faculty and graduate students will collaborate with local junior high school teachers to offer class tours and discussions of three New Media artworks by Kelly McLaughlin, a doctoral student in intermedia and American studies.

The overall goal of the yearlong project is to illuminate the vital role of the arts in shaping American culture. Since the 1930s, when American studies emerged as an academic discipline, the arts have been central to its effort to interpret American culture and society. Expertise among UI American studies faculty represents a broad range of 18th to 20th century art forms, including painting, architecture, photography, dance, performance, theater, literature, cinema, and television.

Additional lectures during the fall semester include:

Friday, Oct. 1: "Thomas Moran, Louis Prang, and the Chromo-Controversy," by Joni Kinsey, associate professor of art and art history

Friday, Oct. 15: "Feeling in the Dark: Empathy and Inextricable Whiteness in Monster's Ball," Aimee Carrillo-Rowe, assistant professor of rhetoric

Friday, Nov. 5: "Strange Bedfellows: The Politics of Late-Night Television Comedy," Russell Peterson, doctoral candidate in American studies

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please call 319-335-0320 in advance.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,