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FAU’s John O’Sullivan Lecture Series Presents 'Making Sense of America’s Economic Crisis: Consuming Our Way to Recovery'

BOCA RATON, FL (October 15, 2012) – The department of history in FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters presents the 2012 John O’Sullivan Lecture Series with “Making Sense of America’s Economic Crisis: Consuming Our Way to Recovery.” The lecture, presented by Lizabeth Cohen of Harvard University, will take place on Thursday, November 15 at 1:30 p.m. in the Barry and Florence Friedberg Auditorium on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road. Tickets are $25 and can be obtained by calling 561-297-3185 or visiting

In the years after World War II, Americans believed that full participation in the mass consumer society promised widespread prosperity, as well as the long sought goals of a freer and more equal nation. High consumption remained the reigning strategy for achieving a democratic and affluent America until the recent recession, beginning in 2008, raised fundamental questions. Not only do rising home foreclosures and growing personal debt continue to threaten the viability of what the lecturer calls the “Consumers’ Republic,” but it is not clear how, if not through greater consumption, the United States will work its way out of recession. Can we still consume our way to recovery—or not?

Lizabeth Cohen is Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and is the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, both at Harvard University. Her interests have focused on integrating social, cultural and political history in the 20th century, probing how people’s social and cultural experiences and identities shaped their political orientations. In her current research, she is exploring the rebuilding of American cities after World War II by investigating the life and career of a major figure in urban renewal, Edward J. Logue. Over the years, she has received fellowship support from the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her current research is supported by grants from the Real Estate Academic Initiative, the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, all of Harvard University.


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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