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Muhlenberg Professor Kicks Off 2008 Faculty Lecture Series

9/15/2008 —

Penn State Lehigh Valley is pleased to present its 2008 Faculty Lecture Series, which aims to enhance the academic year by inviting scholars from a variety of disciplines to campus.  The first lecture will feature James Bloom, professor of English and American Studies at Muhlenberg College, who will present, "Civilization the Movie," on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. in the Atrium at the Fogelsville campus.  The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

Bloom’s presentation will examine the role of Hollywood movies as arbiters of what constitutes civilization.  It will begin with an account of the "civilization panic" provoked by the Great War, highlighted by the pioneers of modernism, and exploited by the emerging Hollywood studios that became the dominant cultural influence between the world wars by reflecting and refracting national aspirations and assumptions.  Bloom will conclude by tracing Hollywood's representations and exploitations of "civilization panic" through both World Wars and the Cold War up to its recent post-9/11 resurgence.

Since 1982, James D. Bloom has taught literature and American Studies at Muhlenberg College where he has held the Class of 1932 Research Professorship and won the Shire Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has chaired Muhlenberg's English Department and directed its American Studies Program. He is the author of five books: Gravity Fails (2003), The Literary Bent (1997), Left Letters (1992), The Stock of Available Reality (1984) and Hollywood Intellect. Scheduled for spring 2009 publication, Hollywood Intellect examines how movies shape, regulate, and arbitrate the collective life of the mind in American history. His essays and reviews have appeared in American Literary History, American Studies, Contemporary Literature, Style, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and other publications.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the University Relations Office at 610-285-5067.

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