Mergen-Palmer Distinguished Lecture

Since 2014, the annual Mergen-Palmer Distinguished Lecture in American Studies has brought visiting scholars to GW to share their expertise. Recent talks covered the Iraqi smallpox invasion of 2003, the national quest for food “freshness” and the history of religion in the Mississippi Delta.


2024 Mergen Palmer Lecture Event Graphic featuring scholar Karen Tongson

2024 Mergen-Palmer Lecture
Monday, April 8, 2024

"Just When You Think It's Over: On Normporn and Neverending Bereavement"

Dr. Karen Tongson | Chair of Gender & Sexuality Studies, & Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, English and American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California

2023 Mergen Palmer Lecture Promo Image

2023 Mergen-Palmer Lecture
Wednesday, April 5, 2023

"Queer Love on Barbary Lane: The Serial Experience of Coming Out of the Closet with Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City"

Dr. Ramzi Fawaz | Romnes Professor of English
University of Wisconsin-Madison



Phyllis Palmer, Melani McAlister and Barney Mergen standing together at the inaugural Mergen-Palmer lecture
Phyllis Palmer, Melani McAlister and Barney Mergen at the inaugural Mergen-Palmer lecture

The lecture series was founded in 2014 in honor of Bernard Mergen and Phyllis Palmer, who were beloved emeriti professors of American Studies at the university. Palmer, who passed away in 2014, also taught women’s studies courses.

Both professors played a major role as scholars and teachers at the university and shared specific interests in sustainability, food studies and the environment.



Past Lectures