Erskine Peters Reception and Symposium


Location: Auditorium, Eck Visitors Center

Michael Jackson is a figure who embodies the many contradictions of late 20th century American culture. He is also now the subject of the sixth annual Erskine A. Peters Fellowship Symposium, “Reconstructing Michael Jackson’s Image: Explorations of Body, Spirit, and Society.”

The symposium is scheduled for Thursday, March 25, 2010, at 7 p.m. in the Eck Visitors Center auditorium at the University of Notre Dame and will be preceded by a reception at 6 p.m. in the Eck Center. Both events are free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies, the event will feature a panel of Erskine Peters Fellows who will discuss the image of Michael Jackson from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, exploring his ongoing legacy, how that legacy will be shaped by future scholars, and the ways in which his work continues to represent America’s diverse culture. The symposium will be moderated by former Peters Fellow, Shana Redmond, assistant professor of American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

The University’s five 2009-2010 Erskine Peters Fellows are Jean Beaman, Department of Sociology, Northwestern University; Jessica Graham, Department of History, University of Chicago; Nicole Ivy, Department of African & American Studies, Yale University; Laurence Ralph, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago; and Marques Redd, Department of English, University of California at Berkeley.

The Erskine A. Peters Dissertation Year Fellowship was established in 1999 to enable outstanding African-American doctoral candidates in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and theological disciplines to experience life at Notre Dame while devoting their full energies to the completion of their dissertations.

The Peters Fellowship honors the life and academic achievements of one of the University’s most distinguished and beloved professors, Erskine A. Peters (1948-1998). Peters taught English at the University and was legendary for his commitment to scholarship, community service, and graduate education in the College of Arts and Letters.

Peters, who was 49 years old when he died, joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1987, having previously taught for 11 years at the University of California at Berkeley, where he served multiple terms as chairperson of Afro-American studies and dean of the College of Letters and Science. A specialist in American and Afro-American literature, Peters was a well-regarded teacher, author, and compassionate advocate for African American academics.

Maria McKenna, Program Coordinator, Erskine A. Peters Fellowship