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 Neel Ahuja, an Associate Professor in Feminist Studies at the University of Santa Cruz. Ahuja's talk, "Staging Smallpox: Racial Speculation, State Secrecy, and the Environmental Logics of the Iraq War," examined the public health, literary, and journalistic constraints of the Iraqi smallpox invasion of 2003.
The lecture concluded with a spirited round of questions from graduate students and faculty.