Note: All submitted events must be approved before they appear in the calendar.
Profs and Pints DC presents: “Making Sense of the 1990s,” a scholarly trip back to a perplexing decade, with W. Joseph Campbell, professor of communication at American University, teacher of a course titled “The American 1990s,” and author of 1995: The Year the Future Began.
Time to crank up some Nirvana, throw on a pair of JNCO jeans, and reminisce about the taste of Zima. Profs and Pints is powering on the Wayback Machine and taking you on a journey back through time to explore the end of the last millennium and a decade that is undergoing a surge of nostalgia and always has been a subject of debate.
Your guide, Professor W. Joseph Campbell, is a veteran journalist, author, and communication scholar whose course, “The American 1990s,” ranks as one of the most popular on campus. He will help us try to get a handle on a decade that saw the rise of the popular Internet, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the spectacle of the Clinton-Lewinsky sex-and-lies scandal, the O.J. Simpson “trial of the century,” the deadliest attack of domestic terrorism in U.S. history, and the end-of-decade Y2K scare.
You’ll learn how and why assessments of the nineties differ sharply. One commentator has described them a “holiday from history,” a mostly clueless time when Beanie Babies were popular and pressing problems were deferred. Another writer has called the nineties the best decade ever, a memorable moment of peace and prosperity in the United States, when federal budgets were balanced and we had “just the right amount” of digital technology. Challenging such assessments are recollections of the nineties as a tempestuous time, with genocide in Rwanda, a war in the Gulf, and impeachment of an elected president at home.
The talk will take up significant moments of the 1990s and consider whether or how they still resonate. It also will make a nod to some of the memorable pop culture artifacts of the time, including popular sitcoms such as Seinfeld and cinematic successes such as My Cousin Vinny, Toy Story, and The Matrix.
You might not find yourself wanting to be living back in the nineties, but you’ll probably end up with a better sense of the impact they had. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)
Image: The iconic storefront of a favorite gathering place in Seinfeld. (Photo by Wally Gobetz / Wikimedia Commons.)