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.