Posted on March 4, 2010 by Dylan Anderson

Visiting Speaker Martha Bayles: Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture and America’s Image Abroad. Chapel 7pm March 5, 2010

By Christopher Thrall –

On March 5, U.S. cultural critic and scholar Martha Bayles will visit Augustana Campus from Boston to visit some of our classrooms and deliver a talk entitled, “Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture and America’s Image Abroad.” She promises to examine America’s cultural footprint and reputation abroad.

Since the end of the Cold War, the export of U.S. commercial culture has skyrocketed, with positive and negative impacts on many different countries. Has this export (and widespread piracy) of American films, TV shows, pop music and video games enhanced the image of the United States? Or has it added to the tsunami of anti-Americanism that arose during the first decade of the 21st century and has yet to subside?

Bayles is a lecturer in the Arts & Sciences Honors Program at Boston College. Her upcoming book, tentatively titled America’s Cultural Footprint: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, will be published by Yale University Press in 2011. She contributes regularly to The Wall Street Journal, The Wilson Quarterly, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, and other publications. Her books include Hole In Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music, and Ain’t It a Shame? Censorship and the Culture of Transgression.

For several years, Bayles has been a critic of arts, music, media and cultural policy. Her film blog, “Serious Popcorn,” appears at She also blogs on world affairs at World Affairs Journal, posting on US/Turkey relations, Obama’s pledge to send more American students abroad to study, America/China relations and media piracy. Ms. Bayles has been a Fulbright lecturer at Marie Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland, and a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.

Don’t miss Bayles’ talk on Friday evening in the Chapel at 7 p.m. It promises to be very interesting, with time for questions and discussion, as well as wine and other treats.

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