Canceled: Centre County Reads Roundtable Discussion

3:30pm to 5:00pm

American Dreams: Romance & Reality

In Alice McDermott’s National Book Award-winning novel Charming Billy (1998), second-generation Irish American cousins living in Queens, NY inherit the dreams—and the American dream—of their immigrant parents. At a wake held in the 1990s for the title character Billy Lynch, a tight-knit community of mourners meditates on the romantic underpinnings of, and the darker lived realities often belying, hopes and dreams passed on from one generation to the next. In this roundtable discussion, three invited panelists will use McDermott’s novel as a touchstone for a broader discussion about how, why, and to what end immigrant dreams are passed on, taken up, and transposed across generations in American literature and history.  

Featured Panelists: 

Mary Paniccia Carden-- Professor of English and Chairperson of the Department of English and Philosophy at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches courses in American literature.   Her research has focused on literary responses to American narratives of freedom, progress, and self-determination in texts by authors such as Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, Sandra Cisernos, John Edgar Wideman, and Alice McDermott.  

Jennifer Van Hook--Roy C. Buck Professor of Sociology and Demography at the Pennsylvania State University, and non-resident fellow at the Migration Policy Institute.  Her research focuses on the socioeconomic integration of immigrants and their children.  One strand of her work uses demographic methods to estimate the size, characteristics, and dynamics of the unauthorized foreign-born population. Another strand of her work focuses on how health, education, and well-being change across generations for immigrants and their families. 

Andrew Sandoval-Strausz -- Associate Professor of History at the Pennsylvania State University and a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar and a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians. His current research analyzes people’s homes, neighborhoods, places of work and play, and use of public space in order to see how human beings reveal themselves most through their built environment. 

Following the panelists’ opening statements there will be ample time for questions and answer with the audience.

  •  Light refreshments will be served. 



No registration necessary
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