WMU News

New speakers series highlights scholars of American studies

Aug. 31, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- A new lecture series that will examine a variety of issues in American studies and highlight the diverse nature of experts in that field will be launched at Western Michigan University this fall.

The series, "Emerging Scholars in American Studies" will feature WMU faculty members engaged in a variety of research efforts in the area of American studies. Examining such issues as archaeology, history, religion, and popular culture in the United States, lectures will be presented every other Friday during the fall semester from 3-5 p.m. in the Meader Rare Book Room in Waldo Library. The series will begin on Sept. 10.

"So much meaningful research is being done at WMU by 'Americanists' and this series is meant to be representative of that research," says Dr. Katherine Joslin, director of the American Studies Program, which is coordinating the series. "It will also provide a venue to allow faculty and students from many disciplines to better understand the variety of scholarly projects being done at WMU."
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the American Studies Program and the College of Arts and Sciences, the series is free and open to the public. Students may earn an hour of credit by signing up for AMS 598 and attending all lectures and writing a response.

The first speakers in the series will be Dr. Michael J. Chiarappa, assistant professor of history, and Dr. Kristin Szylvian, associate professor of history, who will discuss their research in a presentation titled "Reflections on 'Fish for All': The Practice of Public History on the Great Lakes" on Sept. 10.

Chiarappa and Szylvian will describe the research efforts of a team gathering information on the history of regulation and conservation of Lake Michigan fisheries to be used in an exhibit that will travel around the Midwest next year. Funded in part by a $198,720 grant from the Great Lakes Fisheries Trust and by the Great Lakes Center for Maritime Studies, a partnership between WMU and Michigan Maritime Museum, the exhibit, "Fish For All: The Legacy of Lake Michigan Fisheries Policy and Management," will be completed by March.

"The 'Fish for All' project is driven by an interdisciplinary approach to American history and culture and the method and philosophy of public history," explains Szylvian. "Our presentation will focus on the values and policies that have shaped one of America's most prominent maritime environments."

Other topics and speakers slated in the series for the fall semester and the dates of those presentations are:

For more information about the speakers series, contact Joslin at (616) 387-2086.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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