Dr. Tim Steckline, professor of mass communication at BHSU, will address the emergence of the American Cowboy as a response to the fear of over-civilization and decadence in the first Geek Speak lecture of the semester “Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Oscar Wilde: The Dialectical Cowboy.” The lecture will take place Thursday, Jan. 12 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall 110 on the BHSU campus. An encore Geek Speak will be hosted at the Jacket Zone (617 Main Street, Spearfish) Friday, Jan. 13 at 1:30 p.m.
The first Black Hills State University Geek Speak lecture of 2017 will offer a new view of the American cowboy from Buffalo Bill to Kid Rock, from Theodore Roosevelt to the Marlboro Man.
Dr. Tim Steckline, professor of mass communication, presents “Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Oscar Wilde: The Dialectical Cowboy” Thursday, Jan. 12 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall 110 on the BHSU campus. An encore Geek Speak will be hosted at the Jacket Zone (617 Main Street, Spearfish) Friday, Jan. 13 at 1:30 p.m.
Steckline says people like Theodore Roosevelt came west to become cowboys and to revive their masculinity.
“There was an insecurity of American males about becoming too civilized by urban professional life in the 1880s and after,” says Steckline. “The cowboy myth was a useful therapy.”
The “cowboy myth,” according to Steckline, is about a type of person who words hard, takes abuse without complaint, speaks only when necessary and lives by a personal code. He is the cowboy known through early folk songs, books, films, T.V. series, comics, and advertising.
According to Steckline, writer Oscar Wilde was not warmly greeted with he attempted to bring “aesthetic revival” to Rocky Mountain mining campus, cow camps and train stops during his 1882 tour of the American West.
“The emergence of the cowboy myth around this same time reflects the reaction of American males to the sort of decadence Wilde exemplified. Cowboys represent a figure of ambivalence toward civilization and its costs,” says Steckline.
The mythical cowboy does not dominate pop culture the way he did in the 1950s and 60s, says Steckline, but the American Cowboy is far from disappearing.
“Note how presidents use a cowboy pose to communicate their immunity to decadence: Regan or George W. Bush in hats and boots, riding horseback or clearing brush on their ranches,” said Steckline. “The ‘Naked Cowboy’ in New York City or ‘The Dude’ in The Big Lebowski show that the image is fragmented but still present.”
The Geek Speak lecture series, sponsored by the BHSU University Honors program, features academic discussion and topics not normally discussed in the traditional classroom. The goal of the weekly lectures is to expose students to diversity within the disciplines.
For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse Wika, director of the University Honors Program and assistant professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or email Courtney.HuseWika@BHSU.edu.
In addition to the on-campus presentations, some Geek Speaks will also be presented at the Jacket Zone store in downtown Spearfish.
The following on-campus Geek Speak presentations, which are held Thursdays at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110, are scheduled for this semester:
· Jan. 19, “Iconography of Desire (And Confusion) by Dr. Avi Jain, associate professor of management and information systems
· Jan. 26, “Panic! At the Meat Department. Food Scares as Moral Panics” by Dr. Trenton Ellis, assistant professor of human services
· Jan. 27, Special Friday Geek Speak in recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day, “Stunde Null: The Holocaust and Memory after 1945” by Dr. Adam Blackler, assistant professor of history
· Feb. 2, “Prejudice, Privilege, & Perseverance Through the Lens of Disney’s Zootopia” by Erica Whitiker, student engagement program coordinator
· Feb. 9, “Mathematical Music: Bob Dylan’s Extra-Lyrical Artistry,” by Dr. Justin Tremel
· Feb. 16, “Who is the Reluctant Celebrity? – Crazy Horse, Korczak Ziolkowski, Chief Henry Standing Bear, or a University and Medical Training Center” by Dr. Jeffrey Wehrung, assistant professor of management. Bonus Pre-Speak! "Who is the Reluctant Celebrity" will also be hosted at the Jacket Zone at 1:30 p.m. at 617 Main Street and again at 4:00 p.m. in Jonas 110 on the BHSU Spearfish campus. Contact the Jacket Zone at 717-5801.
· Feb. 23, “Truly Revolution? The Haitian Revolution and its Legacy” by Dr. Jason Daniels, assistant professor of history
· March 2, “‘One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman;’ Seminal Voices in Feminist Theory” by Dr. Laura Colmenero-Chilberg, professor of sociology; Dr. Trenton Ellis, assistant professor of human services; and Dr. Courtney Huse Wika, assistant professor of English
· March 16, “Advocating for the Protection of Native Women Through Theatrical, Spoken Word and Slam Poetry Performances” by Dr. Nikki Dragone, assistant professor of English
· March 23, “Learn Abstract Mathematics By DOING Something” by Dr. Dan May, assistant professor of mathematics
· March 30, “Bad Bureaucrats? The Future of Whistleblowing in a Post-Snowden World” by BHSU alum and Ph.D. student Cody Drolc
· April 6: “From Blake to the Beatles and Beyond: The Legacy of Romanticism” by Dr. Martin Fashbaugh, assistant professor of English
· April 20 “Metapatterns” by Dr. Liz Fayer, instructor/coordinator Project SECOND, and Dr. Joanna Jones, former BHSU professor
· April 27, “Madness in Popular Culture: The ‘Insanity’ of Women, by Dr. Laura Colmenero-Chilberg, professor of sociology