Wednesday, December 4, 2013

American Studies Senior Thesis Symposium & Annual Celebration | Monday, December 9th, 11-5:30

Please join us for all or part of the American Studies Senior Thesis Symposium and Annual Celebration next Monday, December 9th. The talks run from 11am to 4pm in the O'Hare Special Collections Room on the 4th floor of Walsh Library, and are followed by a gala reception that runs from 4 until 5:30.

Topics this year include: masculinity in the American West, hair straighteners and black identity, the rise of zombie dystopias in The Walking Dead, street art, the closure of Brooklyn's 5Pointz and other adventures in hip-hop culture, Irish dance and the Irish diaspora, the NFL and the U.S. military, the transfeminine prison experience, black Dandyism and street etiquette, disposable culture and the Solo cup, choral arrangements of spirituals, U.S. intervention in Peru, the perils of the "Hastert Rule," critical analyses of Breaking Bad, Beverly Hills 90210 and Gossip Girl, and much, much more.

Faculty discussion moderators will include Seminar Directors Professors Christiana Z. Peppard (Theology) and Dennis Tyler (English) along with Professors Margaret Schwartz (Communications), Kirsten Swinth (History), O. Hugo Benavides (Anthropology) and American Studies Director Micki McGee (Sociology).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Peppard on Pope Francis: ". . . he's a lot more Karl Marx's economic analysis meets Jesus in the underbelly of 21st century capitalism."

Christiana Peppard on Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium
Earlier this week Pope Francis released an apostolic exhortation denouncing economic inequality and free market ideology, noting that:

"While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation."

Fordham American Studies and Theology Professor Christiana Z. Peppard, who specializes in ethics, joined Bloomberg TV's Street Smart to discuss the Pope's Evangelii Gaudium and summed up the Pope's position: "He's not Milton Friedman — he's a lot more Karl Marx's economic analysis meets Jesus in the underbelly of 21st century capitalism." Peppard praised the potential of the Pope's exhortation to turn Catholic's toward "the broader swath of Catholic social teaching." See the full interview with Professor Peppard on Bloomberg TV.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

American Studies Professor Dennis Tyler, Jr. on "What Ralph Ellison Can Teach Us About Trayvon Martin"

Ralph Ellison
Read American Studies Professor Dennis Tyler, Jr. on "What Ralph Ellison Can Teach Us About Trayvon Martin" at Feminist Wire. Tyler notes . . .

"In light of the recent decision by the school board of education in Randolph County, North Carolina, to ban Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man from their libraries—partly because of a parent’s complaint that the book is not age-appropriate material for teenagers and partly because one board member claimed he could not “find any literary value” in the text—I cannot help but reflect on a few of the key lessons I’ve learned from the novel, particularly as I attempt to cope with the verdict in the Zimmerman trial." Continue reading at The Feminist Wire . . .

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Message from the New Director

Welcome back, American Studies Majors and Minors!

Dr. Micki McGee, 
Director, American Studies

I am thrilled to have been elected to direct Fordham’s Program in American Studies and looking forward to an exciting year ahead. I want to thank the American Studies affiliated faculty and the Executive Committee for their confidence in my leadership and for this honor.

As those familiar with the American Studies Program know, I am stepping into a position previously filled, in turn, by three remarkable scholars: Dr. Oneka LaBennett, Dr. Glenn Hendler, and Dr. Kirsten Swinth (and others before them!). Professor LaBennett recently accepted a position as Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University. Congratulations to Dr. LaBennett, whose contributions to American Studies during her tenure were significant. LaBennett organized important programs on racial formations and forged alliances with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library, and with the African and American American Studies Program here at Fordham. We are fortunate that Professors Hendler and Swinth continue with us at Fordham, chairing the Departments of English and History, respectively. These three leaders have developed and sustained a remarkable program that is well-respected throughout the field for its interdisciplinary rigor and commitment to social and economic justice.

In the coming year, I plan to follow in the direction instituted by our previous leadership, continuing to raise the regional and national prominence of Fordham’s American Studies Program. I come to this position with a rich work experience as a curator and cultural critic and as an Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, with an emphasis on the sociology of culture. My scholarly work includes research on artists communities, autism, and American self-improvement culture. I draw on theories and methodologies from sociology, digital humanities, media studies, cultural studies, women’s studies, American studies, curatorial studies, and art and aesthetic theory. As an instructor, I have taught numerous courses crosslisted in American Studies, among them Popular Culture (SOCI-2960), Art and Society (SOCI-3003), and Art Worlds (SOCI/ANTH-3004), and have advised countless graduate and undergraduate students working on American Studies topics. I have found the American Studies students enrolled in my courses at Fordham to be exemplary in both their intellectual curiosity and engagement in contemporary social issues.

Under my direction, American Studies students can expect that we will maintain the rigorous, supportive, and dynamic program that Professor LaBennett cultivated. This course of study will continue to prepare you to engage with the world beyond Fordham. I will draw on my years of experience in curatorial work at the New York Public Library, the Whitney Museum, and New York City's Artists Space, and my research as a Draper Fellow at New York University, to continue the University’s mission of studying and serving New York City communities. We will also continue our tradition of collaboration with other departments and interdisciplinary programs including African and African American Studies, English, Theology, Women’s Studies, History, Latin American and Latino Studies, and Anthropology and Sociology, to name only a few.

This year I'll be teaching the Approaches to American Studies junior seminar, previously taught by Professor Hendler. Our work in that course will continue Professor Hendler's vision of dynamic interdisciplinary engagement and will focus on the topic of technology. We'll be using the Keywords Collaboratory for much of our research, and exploring some of the new techniques of analysis available through other advanced digital technologies. Our Senior Seminar will be directed by the remarkable team of Dr. Christiana Peppard (Theology) and Dr. Dennis Tyler (English), who will focus on the theme of "American Icons and Religiosity." (Check out Dr. Peppard's appearances on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show). Last, and possibly most important of all, our dedicated Graduate Assistant, Jamie Bolker from the Department of English, will play a vital role in keeping everything running smoothly for the Program.

I invite American Studies majors and minors, and those interested in learning more about the Program, to visit me in FMH 405D. You can stop by to chat. Or, better yet, if you want to be sure we'll have a relaxed time to talk, sign up for an appointment by visiting my office hours schedule online.

And be sure to make a note of our exciting upcoming September events: a lecture by Dr. Philip Deloria, on "American Indians in the American Popular Imagination," sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Society and co-sponsored by American Studies, English, History and Latin American and Latino Studies, will take place on Wednesday, September 25, 1:30, in the Butler Commons of Duane Library. 

And our Open House for Majors and Minors will take place Thursday, September 26th from 3:30-5:00pm with Dr. Deloria as our honored guest.  Refreshments will be served, conversation will be lively, and all are welcome!  Mark your calendars and join us for a wonderful afternoon.

For more detailed information on both of these events, visit our Program News and Announcements Page.

I look forward to meeting each of you, to many wonderful conversations, and to an exciting year ahead.


Dr. Micki McGee
Director, American Studies
Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Glenn Hendler on Gun Control

Read American Studies Affiliated Professor Glenn Hendler's thoughtful and important article "To the NRA, and to Legislatures that Submit to the NRA's Will":

I get the pleasure of guns; I really do. For a few summers in the 1970s and early 1980s I taught riflery at a summer camp. I was a pretty good shot myself, and I quite enjoyed target shooting. So much of the rest of summer camp involves running, yelling, team sports, kicking a ball, swinging a bat. Those things are fun, but the rifle range was a pleasurably different world, characterized by calm, control, patience, quiet. And, interestingly, it was not the all-male world one might expect. Girls were often better at target shooting than boys, perhaps because they didn’t tend to link the sport with the Dirty Harry and Rambo movies that were running through many boys’ heads. I liked my job. [To read more, click here . . .]

Friday, April 5, 2013

Oneka LaBennett Quoted in Elle Magazine

American Studies Director Professor Oneka LaBennett is quoted in the April issue of Elle Magazine, currently on newsstands. The issue has hip hop artist Nicki Minaj on the cover with a photo shoot and story about her inside. The story quotes LaBennett's Ms. Magazine article about Minaj. The whole article is not available online yet, but here is where LaBennett is quoted:
Anthropologist Oneka LaBennett, an associate professor of African and African American studies at Fordham University, has noted that the controversy extends far beyond loyal viewers of American Idol. "Minaj has become a lightening rod for conversations about race, youth, girls, and beauty standards," she wrote in response to some critics' claims that the rapper glamorizes traditionally white standards of beauty. "Minaj's prismatic wigs. . . defy the easy categories of 'black' or 'white' hair.  Like 'the black girl' herself, Minaj is a complex figure who 'flips' mainstream norms in a manner that often goes unrecognized." 
You can check out selected parts of the article and photo shoot with Nicki Minaj on Elle's website.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Christiana Peppard on the Melissa Harris-Perry show

Dr. Christiana Peppard
Fordham American Studies affiliated faculty member, Christiana Peppard discusses morality, the Pope, and gun control on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show! Check out Prof. Peppard's segments here:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

On "the rebirth of morality"

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"A real-world ethics test"and "practicing what you preach on a global scale . . ."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Where We Get Our Fresh Water by Christiana Z. Peppard

Check out Professor Christiana Peppard's TedEd Lesson on where we get our fresh water .  .  . Professor Peppard will be co-teaching the Senior Seminar in American Studies with Prof. Dennis Tyler in Fall 2013.

Or watch the TedEd Lesson at the TED site!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Congratulations to Kelly O'Brien!

Fordham American Studies congratulates our major, Kelly O'Brien (FCRH '13) whose project, "Contents under Pressure: The Ethnics of Graffiti and Advertising," has been selected as a finalist for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program! Best of luck to Kelly for the final selection round!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Saul Cornell Writes for CNN on Gun Control

Fordham American Studies affiliated faculty Saul Cornell writes for