Hastings College Lecture Series Student Symposium
The Hastings College Lecture Series (HCLS) Student Symposium Committee focuses on one topic and brings to campus a variety of speakers, performers and experiences each year. The 2022 theme is “The New Americana.”
All presentations are Wednesday, November 9, 2022, in French Memorial Chapel, with a vintage car and motorcycle show being held in the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center/Gray Center parking lot (see below).
All sessions of Student Symposium are free and open to the public.
An overload of road trip adventures in search of classic and kitschy Americana pop culture is the focus of the enthusiastic history-based entertainer and “Ambassador of Americana” Charles Phoenix, the keynote performer at 7:00 p.m.
Phoenix is a mid-century pop culture expert, performer, author, explorer and collector celebrating classic and kitschy American life and style. He is exploring the Hastings area for a couple of days before his presentation, including spending a day at Pioneer Village in Minden, so attendees may spot a few local gems in his show!
All talks are in French Memorial Chapel.
- 8:00 a.m. – Dr. Michella Marino with a lecture titled “The People’s Sport: Roller Derby, Americana and the Struggle for Gender Equality.”
- 9:00 a.m. – Brigadier General Bob Stevenson (USAF, Ret.) with a discussion of “The U.S. Military and American National Identity.”
- 10:00 a.m. – Lt. Brent Bockstadter of the Nebraska State Patrol
- 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. – “Show and Shine” vintage car and motorcycle show in the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center and Gray Center parking lot – American identity through the vehicles that made America.
- 11:00 p.m. – Faculty Panel: The Immigrant Experience with Dr. Eleanor Reeds, Dr. Glenn Avent and Dr. Pedro Vizoso discussing what it means to be American from a newcomer’s point of view.
- 1:00 p.m. – Dr. Patricia Oman, director of the Hastings College Press, with a talk on “Resisting Americana: Forgotten Writers and Forgotten Stories.”
- 2:00 p.m. – Dr. William Avilés, professor of political science at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, with a lecture titled “Immigration and Identity: How do we Construct a Nation?”
- 3:00 p.m. – Terri Sanders with a lecture titled “Mildred Brown: Founder of Omaha’s African-American Newspaper.”
- 7:00 p.m. – Charles Phoenix performing “Addicted to Americana.”
Detailed Schedule and Speaker Bios
All speakers are in French Memorial Chapel.
8:00 a.m. — The People’s Sport: Roller Derby, Americana and the Struggle for Gender Equality with Dr. Michella Marino
This talk, based upon DrMarino’s new book, Roller Derby: The History of an American Sport, explores the ways in which roller derby has been championed and spurned by the American public and media. As both a beloved staple of Americana and a derided spectacle, roller derby has challenged Americans’ views about what constitutes legitimate sport and who gets to participate in it. Marino dives into the history of roller derby to highlight how Americans have defined sport and grappled with gender equality within this cultural phenomenon.
BIO: Dr. Michella M. Marino is a 20th century U.S. women’s historian who focuses on sports and oral history. She earned her bachelor’s from Hanover College, a master’s from the University of Louisville and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was an assistant professor of history at Hastings College before relocating to her home state of Indiana to spearhead the Indiana Legislative Oral History Initiative. She is now deputy director of the Indiana Historical Bureau, a Division of the Indiana State Library, where she oversees the Public History, Digital Initiatives and Rare Books and Manuscripts departments. Her book titled, “Roller Derby: The History of an American Sport,” was published in the fall of 2021 by the University of Texas Press. She has been interviewed for podcasts connected to LeMonde, the History Channel, and the New Books Network. Her book was nominated for the 2022 Indiana Authors Nonfiction Shortlist. Marino lives in Indianapolis with her husband Tony, a high school history teacher, and her eight year old son Matty, who after frequently receiving detailed history lectures by both parents over dinner, recently informed her that history is his least favorite subject.
9:00 a.m. — The U.S. Military and American National Identity with Brigadier General Bob Stevenson (USAF, Ret.)
From the Revolutionary War to the Persian Gulf, Americans revere their military forces. The influence military conquest and war have had in that period, and more specifically in the last 80 years, has shaped our culture, our industry and our world view, as well as how we are viewed and received by the rest of the world, including allies and adversaries.
BIO: Maj. Gen. James R. (Bob) Stevenson Jr. (Retired) served most recently as the deputy director of operations for Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations, and the Mobilization Assistant to the Director of Operations, U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. Prior to that position he served as the assistant adjutant General for the Nebraska Air National Guard. Stevenson received his commission through Officer Training School in 1989 after graduating from the University of Nebraska Omaha. He flew C-130E’s and KC-135R Tankers, including in combat operations, before promotions gradually forced him out of the cockpit. He holds an MBA from Bellevue University.
10:00 a.m. — Lt. Brent Bockstadter of the Nebraska State Patrol
BIO: Brent Bockstadter is a lieutenant with the Nebraska State Patrol assigned to the Investigative Services Division in Troop C – Grand Island. Bockstadter leads the Criminal and Drug Investigative units in the Troop C area in south central Nebraska and serves the State Patrol as the agency’s Crash Reconstruction Coordinator and the sUAS Drone Program Coordinator. As a 26-year member of the Nebraska State Patrol, Bockstadter has worked in the McCook, Hastings, Kearney and Grand Island areas throughout his career in both uniform patrol work and most recently in Investigative Services. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a master’s in management from Doane University.
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. — “Show and Shine” vintage car and motorcycle show (JDAC/Gray Center Parking Lot)
American identity through the vehicles that made America
11:00 a.m. — Faculty Panel: the immigrant Experience
Featuring Dr. Eleanor Reeds, Dr. Glenn Avent and Dr. Pedro Vizoso discussing what it means to be American from a newcomer’s point of view.
BIO: Dr. Eleanor Reeds is an assistant professor of English at Hastings College, where she now teaches courses across a range of genres, periods and national traditions. Having studied at the undergraduate level at the University of Cambridge, Reeds received her doctorate at the University of Connecticut. Her scholarly interests span Romantic and Victorian British literature, genre theory, children’s literature and creative writing.
Dr. Glen Avent is professor of history at Hastings College. His interests include Latin America, especially modern Mexico, gender history, and world History. He received a bachelor’s in international relations and master’s in history from the University of British Columbia, and a doctorate in Latin American History from the University of Arizona.
Dr. Pedro J. Vizoso is professor of Spanish at Hastings College, teaching Spanish at all levels, ranging from courses for beginners to capstone courses for majoring students, focusing not only in language studies, but also in the Hispanic culture at large. His area of specialization is Transatlantic Hispanic Modernism. Other areas of great interest include translation studies, Hispanic crime fiction, the Spanish poetry of the Restoration period and the poetry of French Symbolism. Originally from Spain, Vizoso received a bachelor’s in Hispanic philology from the UNED (Madrid, Spain), a master’s. in Spanish from New Mexico State University and a doctorate in Hispanic literature from the University of Arizona.
Prior to CivicMakers, Brown worked as a Design Strategist with Collective Invention, a social innovation firm working primarily in education and community development. She honed her applied design thinking and public involvement skills while working on survey development and evaluation services for Zawadisha, a micro-lending fund benefiting female entrepreneurs in Kenya. She also taught the MPA Capstone class at Presidio Graduate School where she earned a Master’s degree in Sustainable Public Administration and Policy.
Brown’s areas of expertise include Applied Human-Centered Design, Service Design, Curriculum Design, Consensus Building, Project Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Impact Evaluation and Facilitation.
1:00 p.m. — Resisting Americana: Forgotten Writers and Forgotten Stories with Dr. Patricia Oman
The American literary canon is a useful invention. It helps to cultivate for students of literature a sense of American identity and literary achievement. It also, in previous years, helped to shape English studies as a discipline. What it doesn’t do, however, is tell the whole story of American literature. In fact, it tells just a tiny fraction of that story. This presentation explores several titles in Hastings College Press’s “Forgotten Texts” series. The titles in this series all resist or contradict the “official” story of American literature and show why it is important to question and re-evaluate what we think we know about American identity.
BIO: Dr. Patricia Oman is associate professor of English and chair of the Languages and Literatures Department at Hastings College, and director of the Hastings College Press. Her research interests include regionalism (especially the Midwest), popular culture and forgotten texts. She has published academic articles on a variety of novels and films, including F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!, Edna Ferber’s Show Boat and its many stage and film adaptations, and the Nebraska-set horror film The Children of the Corn. Recently Oman edited and co-wrote the introduction for The Rossmoyne Renaissance, a collection of poetry by early 20th century writers Clara Ann Thompson, Priscilla Jane Thompson and Aaron Belford Thompson. With the help of dozens of Hastings College students, she also recently published for the first time Carolyn Renfrew’s novel The Shining Road, which was written in the 1920s or 1930s and is set in a fictional version of her hometown, Hastings, Nebraska. Oman received her bachelor’s degrees in comparative literature and classics from the University of Illinois, a master’s in modern literature from the University of Leicester and a doctorate in English from the University of Oregon.
2:00 p.m. — Immigration and Identity: How do we Construct a Nation? with Dr. William Avilés
The political scientist and historian Benedict Anderson argued that the “nation” represents an imagined community, one that is so large that its members who do not know each another on a face-to-face basis must be imagined to some degree. Dr. Avilés’ talk will focus on how the idea of a “nation” is constructed, with a particular focus on the role that immigration has played historically and today in that construction. Ultimately, political institutions and actors as well as civil society have all been important in the process of “constructing” “Americans” and in determining who is not included in this socialization process.
BIO: Dr. William Avilés is professor of political science at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. His teaching and research interests include Latin American politics, globalization, illegal drug policy and political violence. He has published three books on these topics as well as many journal articles. The first generation college student is the son of an immigrant (his mother), and grandson of immigrants on his father’s side. He earned a Ph.D from the University of California at Riverside and a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University.
3:00 p.m. — Mildred Brown: Founder of Omaha’s African-American Newspaper with Terri Sanders
BIO: Terri Sanders is publisher of the Omaha Star, a newspaper founded in 1938 by Mildred Brown and her husband S. Edward Gilbert. The Omaha Star is the only remaining African-American newspaper in Omaha and the only one still printed in the state of Nebraska. Saunders has a bachelor’s degree in public relations and journalism from Creighton University and is a self-described “serial entrepreneur” with successful ventures ranging from event management to technology concierge services. She’s been associated with several North Omaha entities, including the Great Plains Black History Museum and the Omaha Economic Development Corp.’s Fair Deal Village MarketPlace.
7:00 p.m. — Addicted to Americana performed by Charles Phoenix
A mega mashup of retro road trip adventures inspired by found vintage photography, Phoenix launches classic and kitschy pop culture into the stratosphere! With his keen expertise, unbridled enthusiasm and eagle eye for oddball detail, Phoenix shares stories and glories of his epic adventures in search of mid-century marvels, space-age style, unsung attractions, overlooked landmarks, roadside wonders, local foods, and futuristic transportation, lost treasures and more galore. Prepare for your national pride to swell, imagination to be inspired and spirit will soar!
BIO: Charles Phoenix is a mid-century pop culture expert, performer, author, explorer and collector celebrating classic and kitschy American life and style. He is known for his spirited live retro “slide show” performances, classic car JOYRIDE videos, colorful coffee table books, and fun “field trip” tours. The New York Times says: “Call him the King of Retro.” He has appeared on Jay Leno’s Garage, Martha Stewart, Conan and the Queen Latifah Show; also judging on Cake Wars Christmas and Nailed It, and vintage appraiser Storage Wars.
Student Symposium Committee Members
- Emma Downing, co-chair
- Emma Severson, treasurer
- Effy Widdifield, secretary
- Alyse Anderson
- Brandon Hamel
- Natalie Watson
- Kyle Collins
- Max Griffel
- Riley Lanning
- Tymia Thompson
- Victoria Caplinger
- Dr. Robert Amyot
- Dr. Grant Bachman