Centennial Celebrations in the City: Philadelphia, Historical Memory and America’s Biggest Birthday Parties

Centennial Celebrations in the City Philadelphia, Historical Memory and America’s Biggest Birthday Parties

March 28, 2:30 PM, Paley Library REGISTER ON FACEBOOK 1876 and 1976 saw the launch of two massive national celebrations originating right here in Philadelphia. In 1876 we hosted America’s first World’s Fair, timed with the nation’s centennial celebration. And, one hundred years later we did it all over again to celebrate America’s bicentennial birthday. Come discuss the impact these celebrations had on Philadelphia and what large, national celebrations have to say about our culture with scholars Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska and Susanna Gold. Gold received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation is “Imaging Memory: Re-Presentations of the Civil War at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition,” and she currently teaches here at Temple in the Tyler School of Art. Rymsza-Pawlowska is a doctoral candidate at Brown University, working on a her project, “Bicentennial Memory: Postmodernity, Media, and Historical Subjectivity in the United States, 1966-1980.”

  • Susanna Gold is Assistant Professor of 19th and 20th century Art History at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, specializing in Exhibition Theory and Race Politics. She earned her MA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where she wrote her dissertation on the American Art at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. She has held research fellowships at the Penn Humanities Forum, the Winterthur Museum, the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and has given talks at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Union League Club of Philadelphia, Payne Theological Seminary in Ohio, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Maryland, the Ackland Art Museum in North Carolina, and a number of professional conferences. She is currently at work on her book on the 1876 Centennial Exhibition for Penn State University Press.
  • Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska is completing her PhD at Brown University. Her dissertation, “Bicentennial Memory: Postmodernity, Media, and Historical Subjectivity in the United States, 1966-1980,” will be completed in 2012. It examines historicity and historical subjectivity in the 1970s, arguing that this moment saw a profound change in the way that individuals, organizations, and the state conceived of and interacted with the American past, reflecting a broad shift from a cultural logic of preservation to one of reenactment. Gosia received her B.A. in American History and Sociology from Barnard College, an M.A. in Cultural and Media Studies at Georgetown University and an M.A. in Public Humanities from Brown University. She is currently a Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellow.
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