Political Pandemonium is the third in a series of exhibits displaying popular artifacts associated with recent presidential campaigns. The first two were: 3-Ring Political Circus in 2008 and Political Sideshow in 2016, with all sponsored by Florida Atlantic University Galleries. The artifacts from all three are collected in the FAU Libraries Special Collections and University Archives in Wimberly Library. We believe that these items are not only of interest now, but will be as well to future scholars of history, political science, visual and popular culture, and presidential politics. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History collects election-related “material culture” in order to document “the infinite richness and complexity of American history [and] help people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future.” We share this goal.
About the Curators
Jane Caputi is Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Communications & Multimedia at FAU. In 2016, the Popular Culture Association named her the Eminent Scholar of the Year and in 2020 Association for the Study of Women in Mythology gave her their annual Saga Award for contributions to women’s history and culture. She has made two educational documentaries: The Pornography of Everyday Life (2006) and Feed the Green: Feminist Voices for the Earth (2015). Caputi’s books include The Age of Sex Crime (1987), Gossips, Gorgons and Crones: The Fates of the Earth (1993), Goddesses and Monsters: Women, Myth, Power and Popular Culture (2004) and Call Your “Mutha’” A Deliberately Dirty-Minded Manifesto for the Earth Mother in the Anthropocene, 2020, in a series for Oxford University Press on “Heretical Thought,” edited by Ruth O’Brien. She first conceptualized and then co-curated the three exhibits on presidential popular culture sponsored by the FAU Schmidt Galleries: Political Circus (2008) (with assistance from Sika Dagbovie-Mullins), Political Sideshow (2016), co-curated with AdrienneRose Gionta, and Political Pandemonium (2020)
Sika Dagbovie-Mullins is an Associate Professor of English at FAU where she specializes in modern and contemporary African American Literature, Critical Race Theory, and Critical Mixed Race Studies. She is author of Crossing B(l)ack: Mixed Race Identity in Modern American Fiction and Culture (U of Tennessee P, 2013) and is co-editor of Mixed-Race Superheroes (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming April 2021). Her articles have appeared in journals such as African American Review, The Journal of Popular Culture, The Lion and the Unicorn, and Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International.
Robert Caputi received his PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2011, and before joining the FAU faculty in January 2019, he taught at Borough of Manhattan Community College and Long Island University, Post. His dissertation was an ethnographic study of the sexual aesthetics and sexual politics of the bear community, a gay male subculture. Dr. Caputi is currently teaching undergraduate courses in Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Mass Media, Research Methods, and Sociology of Masculinities. His teaching is driven by the feminist belief that the personal is political and the claim by cultural studies scholars that the roles of culture and representation are often under-theorized in social science departments. He runs a highly interactive classroom, but continually seeks ways to ensure that it is also intellectually rigorous. At the beginning of the semester, he and the students discuss the classroom etiquette they desire and the learning goals and expectations they have. In all courses, he emphasizes critical thinking skills and starts with a review of key sociological concepts and methodologies. Throughout the semester, he explicitly explains the skills he is helping them to develop by utilizing Benjamin Bloom's "Taxonomy of Educational Objectives", and they discuss the ways that the writing assignments and oral presentations that they do are preparing them for their future in graduate/professional schools and/or their work lives.
Sofia Honekman is a graduate student in the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies department at FAU. Her research specializes in post-war and contemporary art in the Americas, and its intersection with philosophy. Exploring themes of temporality, memory, history, and virtuality, her writing seeks artworks that reveal alternative ways of corporeality and embodiment. She received her B.A. in Art History from FAU in 2019, and is due to receive her M.A. in the Spring of 2021.
About the Web Designer
Born in Providence, Rhode Island (U.S.A.) in 1996, Dominique Northecide is a full-stack developer and designer. After earning a BFA with a concentration in Graphic Design from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, he aims to obtain a master’s degree in UX/UI Design. His designs derive from a spirit of expression. He is methodical about the moods and aesthetics of his work. Northecide aims to highlight important topics such as sustainability and renewable resources, as well as spark interest/shed light on the various design opportunities in the STEM fields.
Website Designer: Dominique Northecide
Galleries Staff Support: Ashley Utley, Dominique Northecide, Annette Martinez, Luis Montenegro, Daniela Andrade
FAU University Galleries Director: Rod W. Faulds
To Sofia Honekman for her superb work as Project Manager and Curatorial Assistant and to the excellent assistance from Victoria Thur, Assistant Dean for Research & Distinctive Collections. Thanks also to Dominique Northecide for designing our website, Caroline Parker for editing and proofreading and Cristina Pimenta for compiling the citations, and Jasper Araujo for his contributions. Thanks to all of the University Galleries student and full-time staff for their behind the scenes support. Special thanks to Rod Faulds for supporting us all along the way.
This exhibition has been made possible with sponsorship from the FAU Peace, Justice and Human Rights Initiative and the FAU Feminist Fund. The initial work on the exhibit benefited as well from a number of faculty members and graduate students who read and commented on the original proposal. Special Thanks to Michael J. Horswell, Dean DFSCAL for support of several graduate students who contributed to this project.
This exhibition is part of FAU | University Galleries Presents: A Four Exhibition Look at Our Past, Present & Future Politics. The collaborative project received generous financial support from the Peace, Justice and Human Rights program as well as collaboration from the Department of Visual Arts and Art History, both in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at FAU. To view the other exhibitions part of this project, visit the FAU University Galleries' website fau.edu/galleries
University Galleries exhibitions and programs are supported by the Isadore and Kelly Friedman University Galleries Fund; Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs and Florida Council on the Arts; Cultural Council of Palm Beach County; Museum Education programs are made possible in part by the Kaye Arts Integration Endowment.
University Galleries Museum Education Program provides arts education services through School Partnerships and Artist Mentorship Program – (AMP), a program providing studio art activities to youth in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. These programs are continuing virtually Fall 2020. For more information, please contact our Museum Education Coordinator, Ashley Utley via email: email@example.com.
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton