For nearly three decades, the American Studies Department at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, published "The Salad Bowl", a magazine of student and faculty works that celebrated a different theme in American culture each year, in recognition of the nation's great diversity. After several years without production, the decision was made to convert The Salad Bowl, a paperbound publication, into The Pie, an online journal of American Studies with the same mission of embracing the rich cultural heritage of the United States and featuring the high quality scholarly work of some of the department's finest students and faculty.
Now in its second edition, the works in this year's volume of The Pie revolve around the theme of "America and Celebrity Culture". A fascination with the rich and famous is nothing new in America, nor particularly unique to our nation, but the widespread proliferation of powerful and sometimes intrusive media technologies over the last several decades has undoubtedly raised the level of exposure given to celebrity personalities and lifestyles. In a variety of styles and theoretical perspectives, the included works of students from the American Studies Department are thoughtful and well-written analyses of various manifestations and implications of celebrity culture in American life. Each piece stands as a fine example of the valuable and relevant academic work produced every year in the dozens of courses offered throughout the department. It should be noted, as well, that the inspiration for this year's theme came from a Fall 2007 course taught by Dr. Michael Rockland, "America as a Celebrity Culture", with several of the featured writings initially penned for that class, now serving as a foundation for the 2008 edition of The Pie.
Dig in and enjoy!
Editor In Chief