This year we kicked off our 2013 fall season with a bang–Las Vegas, that is! “Betting on Hedonism” centered around the first casino hotel built on the Las Vegas Strip in 1941. The El Rancho Vegas opened in April of that year and heralded in an unprecedented boom of chance and pleasure-seeking that has continued to this day. Is Las Vegas America’s wild west utopia or sin city dystopia? Put your money down and take a chance!
Dr. Larry Gragg – Professor and Chair at the Department of History & Political Science at Missouri University of Science & Technology and the award-winning author of Bright Light City: Las Vegas in Popular Culture. Larry’s research explores the history of Las Vegas through the lense of American popular culture.
Natasha Dow Schüll – Cultural anthropologist and Associate Professor at MIT’s Program in Science, Technology & Society. She is the author of Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas which explores compulsive gambling and game design technology. Her documentary film, BUFFET: All You Can Eat Las Vegas, has screened multiple times on PBS and appeared in numerous film festivals.
Dr. David Konstan – Professor of Classics at NYU whose research centers around Ancient Greek & Latin literature, specifically the conception of beauty and materiality. Before coming to NYU David taught at Brown University from 1987-2010, where he was the John Rowe Workman Distinguished Professor of Classics and the Humanistic Tradition and Professor in Comparative Literature.