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Academic Speakers

José F. Blanco

Distinguished Academic Speaker, Professor José Blanco  

José F. Blanco was born in San José, Costa Rica. He is an associate professor in the Department of Fashion Merchandising and Design at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. His research focuses on dress and popular culture in the second half of the twentieth century, with an emphasis on male fashion. He is also interested in fashion and visual culture in Latin America. José has contributed numerous chapters in readers including The Fashion Reader, The Handbook of Masculinity Studies, The Fashion Business Reader, The Meanings of Dress, Transglobal Fashion Narratives: Clothing Communication, Style Statements and Brand Storytelling. He has published essays in journals including Fashion Theory, Fashion, Style and Popular Culture, Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, Dress, and The Journal of Popular Culture. He has co-authored with Raúl J. Vázquez-López several articles and book chapters on Puerto Rican dress, costume, and fashion. José is also the general editor of the multi-award winning four-volume encyclopedia Clothing and Fashion: American Fashion from Head to Toe, a co-author for the textbook Guide to Producing a Fashion Show, and co-editor of the recently published book Fashion and Post-Postmodernism.

Joy Sperling

Distinguished Academic Speaker and Professor Joy Sperling

Joy Sperling is Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at Denison University. She is recipient of numerous grants and two major teaching awards; she served as president of the Popular Culture/American Culture Association. She is currently working on a book manuscript on a re-evaluation of the contributions of New Mexico Anglo Women artists to New Mexico’s cultural and artistic history and heritage, as well as to their contributions to the e national visual discourse of twentieth century American Art. Her books include Double Visions; Claudia Esslinger. Columbus, Ohio: Double Vision Press and Ohio Arts Council, 2015): Jane Gilmor: I’ll be Back for the Cat (Iowa Arts Council, 2012), Jude Tallichet: Fragonard’s Shoe (Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York, 2010), Famous Works of Art in Popular Culture (Greenwood Press, 2003), and Out of Belfast (Three Women Artists from Belfast): Herbert, Kelly, and O'Baoill (Denison University Museum, 1999). She revised Book 6: 18th -21st Century of Art History by Marilyn Stokstad (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2010).Sperling has also published numerous book chapters, including, “Genres of Visual Culture and Art: An Historical Analysis.” In A Companion to Popular Culture. Edited by Gary Burns. (Wiley-Blackwell Press, 2016); and “Women, Tourism, and the Visual Narrative of Interwar Tourism in the American Southwest.” In Encounters With Popular Pasts by Mike Robinson and Helaine Silvermann (eds.) (Springer Verlag, 2015); and ‘“Wot is to Be?” The Visual Construction of Empire at the Crystal Palace Exhibition, London” (In Fear and Loathing in Victorian England (Ohio State University Press, 2013).

Jessica Strübel

 Distinguished Acamdeic Speaker, Professor Jessica Strübel

Jessica Strübel is an Assistant Professor at the University of Rhode Island in Textiles, Merchandising & Design, where she teaches research methods and courses on the social psychology of dress and appearance. Her research interests stem from her collective interest in anthropology and psychology. She is particularly interested in the psychological processes that culminate in realizing appearance behavior needs and understanding how material culture acquires value and meaning. Her primary research area in psychology is body image and appearance management, and social media usage and subsequent comorbid psychopathologies. In cultural studies, Jessica researches British and American popular culture as a means for fashion and cultural diffusion. She primarily examines deviant subcultures and youth cultures (e.g., music subcultures) as mechanisms of socialization and resistance to class and social structure. Dr. Strübel is an editor for the international journal, Fashion, Style, and Popular Culture. She is a member and area chair for the Popular Culture Association, and a member of the American Psychological Association.

Anne Peirson-Smith

Distinguished Academic Speaker Anne Peirson-Smith, PhD. 

Anne Peirson-Smith, PhD is Senior Lecturer and Course leader of the Masters in International Fashion Management at Nottingham Trent University with an industry background in the creative industries. She teaches and researches fashion studies, fashion marketing and communication and the creative industries. She has published numerous scholarly articles and book chapters on the cultural and communicative significance of fashion and style. She is the co-author of Public Relations in Asia Pacific: Communicating Effectively Across Cultures (John Wiley, 2010). She is an associate editor of the Journal of Fashion, Style and Popular Culture (Intellect Books) and The Journal of Global Fashion Marketing. In addition, she is co-author of Global Fashion Brands: Style, Luxury & History (Intellect Books, 2014), Transglobal Fashion Narratives: Clothing Communication, Style Statements and Brand Storytelling (Intellect Books: 2018), Planet Cosplay: Costume Play, Identity and Global Fandom, (Intellect Books, 2019) and The Fashion Business Reader (Berg/Fairchild Publishing 2019).

Thomas Piontek

Distinguished Academic Speaker, Thomas Piontek. 

Thomas Piontek is Associate Professor of English at Shawnee State University, where he teaches Literature; Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Culture and Media Studies; and Writing. He is the author of Queering Gay and Lesbian Studies (U of Illinois P, 2007) as well as numerous articles, book chapters, translations, and reference materials. His article on Black Panther and the ridiculous fashion of superheroes is forthcoming in The Journal of Popular Culture later this year.