The Mergen-Palmer Distinguished Lecture in American Studies
This annual lecture is named in honor of Dr. Bernard Mergen, a professor emeritus of American Studies, and Dr. Phyllis Palmer, a professor emeritus who passed away after a battle with cancer last year. Both professors played a major role as scholars and teachers at the George Washington University, and shared a broad interest in American Studies as a field, as well as specific interests in sustainability, food studies, and the environment.
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Mergen-Palmer Lecture 2015: Dr. Michael Pasquier presents "Engineering the Sacred"
(Photo: Michael Pasquier describes the susceptibility of the Mississippi River Delta to natural and human catastrophes)
This past October, the Department of American Studies held the third Mergen-Palmer Distinguished Lecture in American Studies. This annual lecture is named in honor of Professors Bernard Mergen and Phyllis Palmer. Barney and Phyllis are both professors emeriti of American studies, and each has played a major role as a scholar and teacher at the George Washington University. These two scholars share a broad interest in American studies as a field, and specific interests in sustainability, food studies and the environment.
This year's Mergen Palmer lecture was delivered by Michael Pasquier, associate professor of religion and history at Louisiana State University. Pasquier's talk, "Engineering the Sacred: Religion and Landscape in the Mississippi River Delta," is part of a larger project examining the history of religion in the Mississippi Valley. The lecture examined the history of the Mississippi Delta, one of the most engineered landscapes in the world, and observed that technological changes to the landscape have changed and shaped local religious imaginations.
The lecture concluded with a spirited round of questions from graduate students and faculty.