From: Richard A Koenigsberg <[log in to unmask]> Mon 9:06 PM "America at the Third Century and Millennium: Where We Have Been, Where We Are Going, and What Does It Mean?" A Community Forum of the Louisiana State University American Studies Program, October 5-7, 2000. Phi Kappa Phi Lecture, Thursday, October 5, 2000, 11:10 a. m. to 12 noon, University Center Ballroom, LSU at Shreveport: "I MOVE, THEREFORE, I AM: ELVIS PRESLEY, ROCK 'N' ROLL, AND THE LIBERATION OF THE AMERICAN BODY," Richard Koenigsberg Popular culture is replete with images of sensuous bodies in motion. In the academic world, sexuality is studied intensively and "embodiment" is a popular topic. It was not always this way. America, a Christian Civilization, put spirit above flesh and associated the body with sin. What happened to change all of this? Though it is rarely articulated by scholars, Americans know that something revolutionary occurred in the mid-Fifties. Why are Elvis Presley's 1956 television performances still discussed and why did he become an icon? Elvis symbolizes, I suggest, the emergence of the excited American body, struggling to throw off civilized constraint and release its repressed energies. Contemporary America evolves out of the "great ball of fire" that exploded in the mid-Fifties. Everything is still hot and we're still trying to come to terms with the radioactive fallout. This presentation traces the history of rock 'n' roll as both cause and effect of societal change, focusing on the relationship between rock 'n' roll and the breakdown of traditional morality. Elvis, hips gyrating, body shaking, represented America as it began to throw off its shackles, discovering unknown energies and pleasurable excitations that had been locked within. For further information call: 718-393-1081.