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2004 - American Sociological Association Pages: 19 pages || Words: 7094 words || 
1. Dryden, Neil. "The Legend of a Question About a Tree: Celebrity Interviews, Crowds, and Modern Space" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Hilton San Francisco & Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco, CA,, Aug 14, 2004 Online <.PDF>. 2019-11-21 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Stuart Hall’s assertion that “the great stable collectivities of class, race, gender, and nation” in which “the whole adventure of the modern world” was played out, “have been, in our times, deeply undermined by social and political developments is a widely accepted narrative (Hall, 12). However, it falls short of articulating the basis for community and place today. The very social process that have undermined the traditional categories around which identity was produced, have created the conditions for a new type of identity, based around consumption. Presenting the self to an anonymous crowd is the key problem in building an identity in this late capitalist world. The epistemological mode that mode that arises to deal with this problem is shopping, but beyond an emphasis on consumption I believe that a consumer logic is deeply implicated in the way that individuals relate to the crowd, to strangers. People are the new “place,” and the primary vehicle for this sort of place is the celebrity interview. The interview is a technique used, by both the social sciences and journalism, in creating the social space of the crowd as an intelligible place. Specifically, I examine the media reaction to an interview given by Katherine Hepburn to Barbara Walters, in which Walters reputedly asked Hepburn, “if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” The overwhelmingly hostile response to this question, and it’s entry into popular culture, indicate that something more is at stake than simple entertainment.

2006 - Association for the Study of African American Life and History Words: 294 words || 
2. James, Ervin. "“Re–examining the Leadership and Legend of Prince Hall, 1770-1808”" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, NA, Atlanta, GA, Sep 26, 2006 <Not Available>. 2019-11-21 <>
Publication Type: Individual Paper
Abstract: “…It is our duty to sympathise with our fellow men under their troubles.”

Prince Hall, 1797

Despite the extraordinary leadership Prince Hall provided as America’s earliest community activist of African descent, academics have not devoted the requisite time and resources necessary to bring his legendary contributions from the periphery of early American History. This paper is the first of a series of initiatives necessary to offset the current deficit of original academic scholarship concerning Prince Hall. Another aim is to counter the disproportionate number of flawed historical works exalting Prince Hall to mythical proportion.

During the twentieth century several U.S. Colonial and New Republic era historical accounts reduced Hall’s existence to merely founding the first Masonic Lodge for people of African descent. Several books written by notable American historians contain erroneous information concerning Prince Hall’s existence. Typically, Masonic historians have provided the most reliable insight, but scarcely do their works contextualize the significance of Hall’s being within one of America’s most fascinating eras in history.

Using primary and secondary source material, this paper serves as the foundation for further scholarly inquiry. It relies on scarce tangible evidence to establish factual assertions about Prince Hall’s character, conduct, and unwavering commitment to his community. An attempt to contextualize the aforementioned as an Americanist historian, this paper, and subsequent research associated with it, is distinguishable from previous works that either focus solely on Prince Hall’s Masonic ties or briefly allude to his existence merely as a by-product of their main subject interest.

2009 - ATE Annual Meeting Pages: 3 pages || Words: 640 words || 
3. Jensen, Traci., White, Cameron., Shulsky, Debbie., Marsh, Sabrina., Witschonke, Chris., McCormack, Susan. and Wisenbaker, Kathy. "Urban Legends: How Teaching Myths Strangle Progressive Education in Urban Settings" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ATE Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency Dallas, Dallas, TX, Feb 15, 2009 Online <PDF>. 2019-11-21 <>
Publication Type: Roundtable Format
Abstract: Critical pedagogy educators describe how myths permeate teacher education and investigate why these myths should be countered within the context of social education.

2010 - American Studies Association Annual Meeting Words: 495 words || 
4. Nickerson, Catherine. "Lavinia Fisher and the Legend of the 'First Female Serial Killer in America'" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Grand Hyatt, San Antonio, TX, <Not Available>. 2019-11-21 <>
Publication Type: Internal Paper
Abstract: This paper examines the cultural uses of the life-story of Lavinia Fisher. Hanged alongside her husband in 1820 in Charleston, South Carolina, she is often called the “first female serial killer in America.”

Almost every aspect of her life and death are matters of dispute, and the facts and myths of her crimes are woven and rewoven by Charlestonians into multiple stories. The plastic nature of her biography is interesting in and of itself as an originary tale of the serial killer.

That tale runs something like this: John and Lavinia Fisher ran an inn six miles from downtown Charleston, catering to the wagon traders traveling the main road to Charleston’s markets and seaport. In early 1819, a fur trader staying at the inn reported that the couple had attempted to drug, rob, and murder him; the Fishers were arrested when many bodies were found in shallow graves around the property. The couple was convicted of capital highway robbery and murder, and was hanged in 1820.

Although the variants are many and evolve over time, a few things remain consistent across almost two hundred years of retelling, and my investigation uses these as its starting points.

First, Lavinia Fisher, not John, is the focus of the story. All the versions show her trading on her extraordinary, racialized white beauty: bamboozling her potential victims or piquing the romantic interest of the judge who tried her case. In all the tales, she was hanged wearing, at her request, a wedding dress; whether that detail was initiated by Lavinia or added by her folk biographers, it bears heavy symbolic freight. In other words, one of the central and stable elements of this originary story is Lavinia’s sexiness.

Second, the tales always include the fact that the victims were on the road, trading furs and other raw materials for cash in the city. The story is about economic tensions and paradoxes in the Low Country in the decades after the Revolution; the unique features of slavery in South Carolina (both of Africans and Indians) are hinted at in some of the details of the story. The story of highway robbers lurking on the road to market also functions in interesting ways in the defining history that Charleston has told about itself since even before secession: that it is a place apart, a city-state within the Atlantic economy.

Third, the story of this female serial killer invariably includes the information that she haunts the jail where she was incarcerated and/or the graveyard in which she is buried. Lavinia-as-ghost is a major star in the Charleston tourist industry. This paper explores the usefulness of ghost stories as sources for both the characteristics and the intensity of a sense of place.

This particular ghost story is fascinatingly also one of our earliest serial-killer legends. It, like other persistent stories about crime, tells us who we were once afraid of and, in the retelling into the present, what scares us about the past.

2011 - International Communication Association Pages: unavailable || Words: 11907 words || 
5. Geise, Stephanie. "Modern Society Through the Looking Glass: An Analysis of the Visual Construction of Urbanity and Its Meaning in the Movie “I am Legend”" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, Boston, MA, May 25, 2011 Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2019-11-21 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: While the movie I am Legend presents an impressive visual arrangement of a lifeless, deserted city, urbanity is disclosed as a fragile model of modern civilization. The idea that the fictional visual construction constitutes a medium of social reflection that can be applied to the analysis of contemporary urban society, will be illustrated by three lines of argumentation. First, the concept “urbanity” will be sketched out from a socio-cultural perspective, focussing on the fact, that urbanity manifests itself in the material, objective characteristics of urban structures as well as in the immaterial, social and cultural dimensions of society – whereby both facets interact. Second, the central visual metaphors of the movie are examined through a qualitative, hermeneutical film analysis. Third, the study therefore explores how the visual social construction of New York is used as a crystallisation surface of central dichotomies of urbanity that mirror developments in our contemporary urban society.

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