WMU News

Bailey and Joslin are keynote speakers at international conference

April 8, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Two Western Michigan University professors have been invited to travel to Lisbon, Portugal, as keynote speakers for the 24th annual Portuguese Anglo-American Studies Association Conference.

Drs. Katherine Joslin, director of WMU's American Studies Program and professor of English, and Thomas C. Bailey, director of the Environmental Studies Program and professor of English, are visiting Lisbon until April 14 as guest lecturers and keynote speakers in American studies. The United States Consulate in Portugal has paid for their trip.

This invitation was extended to the WMU duo as a result of their involvement in the Fulbright Summer Institute in American Studies, which took place on WMU's campus in 1999, 2000 and 2001. The institute brought American studies scholars and instructors from around the globe to Kalamazoo for intensive education in American history and culture. Joslin and Bailey, along with more than 100 other researchers and educators from the United States, Europe and the Middle East, are gathering in Lisbon to continue this international exchange of ideas, designed to improve the quality of teaching in international universities.

The APEAA conference, titled "Landscapes of Memory," will run April 10-12. The major themes discussed will include public memory and public history; engendering identity through memory; remembering modernism, postmodernism and hypermodernism; and memories in painting, sculpture, dance, music, film and video.

Joslin's presentation, on remembering times of war and peace, will examine the effects of war on the landscape of individual and collective memory. She will speak from the pacifist perspective of Jane Addams, who organized a movement to end conflicts between world powers leading up to World War I, and became the first woman to be honored with the Nobel Peace Prize. Joslin's essay is timely, given the mixed responses around the world triggered by the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001, and the United States' current attacks on Iraq.

Bailey will speak about public memory from an environmentalist's perspective. His essay examines the works of Wendell Berry, a fiction writer and advocate against contemporary American consumerism. Bailey's presentation considers the discipline of memories as a means of preserving old-fashioned American values. The topics addressed in Bailey's discussion can be linked to protests against big business and the high level of corporate acquisitions and mergers currently taking place.

Throughout the week preceding the conference, Joslin and Bailey are serving as guest lecturers for the Catholic University of Portugal.

Media contact: Tonya Hernandez, 269 387-8400, tonya.hernandez@wmich.edu

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