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K-State Today

March 1, 2012



'The Creation of Anne Boleyn' lecture by Susan Bordo

By Michele Janette

In honor of Women’s History Month, the women's studies department presents Susan Bordo, offering a public lecture that previews her forthcoming book, "The Creation of Anne Boleyn," due out in January 2013. Bordo's lecture will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8, in the K-State Alumni Center Ballroom.

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

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," which 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.  

She has also authored three other books: "The Flight to Objectivity: Essays on Cartesianism and Culture;" "Twilight Zones: the Hidden Life of Cultural Images from Plato to O.J.;" and "The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private." Bordo’s paradigm-shifting interpretation of Descartes earned her a place as a feminist archetype of wisdom in Douglas Soccio’s philosophy textbook "Archetypes of Wisdom." Her numerous articles on contemporary culture and the body have been translated into many languages and have been highly influential in many disciplines. She 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 is a well-known national speaker. Her lecture is free and open to the public, thanks to the sponsorships of 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; and the offices of the president and provost and the support of the K-State fine arts fee. More information about Bordo’s book can also be found at her website: http://www.thecreationofanneboleyn.com.