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Source: Michele Janette, 785-532-5738, mjanette@k-state.edu

Friday, March 2, 2012

Religious martyr or feminist hero: Author to discuss upcoming book on Anne Boleyn

MANHATTAN -- The author of an upcoming book about Anne Boleyn will discuss how views of the 16th-century English queen have been shaped by history and popular culture for a Women's History Month presentation at Kansas State University.

Susan Bordo will present "The Creation of Anne Boleyn" at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8, in the Alumni Center Ballroom. Bordo's lecture previews her forthcoming book with the same title, set for release in January 2013. The lecture is free and the public is invited.

In her presentation, Bordo will trace changing historical ideas about and popular representations of Boleyn, including early partisan views of her as a religious martyr to 19th-century understandings of her as a victim to a tyrannical Henry VIII; her contemporary temptress image as seen in the TV series "The Tudors" and the film "The Other Boleyn Girl"; and the most recent interpretation of Boleyn as what Bordo calls "Viral Anne," a third-wave feminist heroine for young girls today.

A groundbreaking philosopher and prominent cultural analyst, Bordo has made major contributions to feminist, cultural and gender studies, as well as to psychology, sociology, history and media studies. Her most well known book is "Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body," released in 1993. The book looks at the impact of popular culture -- including advertisements and television -- in shaping expectations for the female body, and analyzes disorders such as anorexia, hysteria and agoraphobia in relation to these representations, seeing them as complex crystallizations of culture. "Unbearable Weight" was one of the New York Times' Notable Books of 1993, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and received a Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology.

Bordo has also authored three other books: "The Flight to Objectivity, Essays on Cartesianism and Culture," 1987; "Twilight Zones: the Hidden Life of Cultural Images from Plato to O.J.," 1997; and "The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private," 1999. Her paradigm-shifting interpretation of Descartes earned her a place as a feminist archetype of wisdom in Douglas Soccio's philosophy textbook, "Archetypes of Wisdom." She has written numerous articles on contemporary culture and the body that have been translated into many languages and have been highly influential in many disciplines. Bordos also is included as one of the six major theorists who have shaped literary studies in Michael Spikes' "Understanding Contemporary American Literary Theory," and she is widely credited with having established the field of body studies.

Bordo's lecture is sponsored by the departments of women's studies, English, history, philosophy, psychology, communication studies, theater and dance, American ethnic studies, and anthropology, sociology and social work; the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education, and Human Ecology; the leadership studies and honors programs; the offices of the president and provost; and with support from the K-State fine arts fee.

More information about Bordo's upcoming book is available at her website, http://www.thecreationofanneboleyn.com.