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Fishwick book discusses mosaics

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 30 - May 1, 1997

Just as an artistic mosaic is a decoration made by inlaying and intertwining small pieces of glass, stone, or jewels to produce a pattern or picture, the book An American Mosaic: Refiguring American Culture Studies interweaves essays that investigate the meaning of America in the new global culture.

By presenting a series of independent thoughts and insights, editor Marshall Fishwick, a professor of humanities and communication studies, attempts to present to the reader's mind and eyes a view of our nation, now a part of the global village, that no one person or perspective could achieve. "Certain insects have `mosaic vision,'" Fishwick said. "They have compound eyes made up of many independent units so that objects viewed are not seen in isolation but as a mosaic."

The book offers such a mosaic of topics about American culture in its 16 essays by experts. With an introduction by Fishwick, it includes such topics as "Integrating the Internet Into American Studies," "`Time Warp' Triumphant: Film and Television in Mass Culture," "The Wasp: Style and Substance," "Blackface Stereotypes in American Culture," "Generation X and the Future," and "The Hero: Lost, Strayed, or Stolen?"

"Mosaics have a flow either forward or backward," Fishwick said. "If they remain static, they are in fact dead or dying. Ours, like our civilization, moves forward, since our studies must keep up with the revolutionary times."

Fishwick, recently named to receive the Ray and Pat Browne Award for lifetime achievement from the American Culture Association, is a founder and past president of the Popular Culture Association and serves on the advisory board of the Journal of Popular Culture and the Journal of American Culture. His books include Great Awakenings: Popular Religion and Popular Culture and Go and Catch a Falling Star: Pursuing Popular Culture. The book is published by American Heritage Publishing Co. of New York.

For more information about An American Mosaic, contact Fishwick at 1-5033 or the assistant editor Katherine Lynde at 1-6739.