I am seeking panelists for a proposed panel on the cultural production of authority and expertise for the 2011 OAH conference. The 2011 OAH theme for the meeting is "Americans Divided and United: Multiple and Shifting Solidarities," and the meeting will take place from March 17-20 in Houston.
My paper looks at the use of testimonials in US advertising in the second half of the 19th century and questions the ways that advertisers personalized their claims by appropriating the authority of experts (such as doctors and chemists) and conferred authority to non-expert individuals by concretizing their opinions in print in order to establish a feeling of trust with potential consumers.
The broad themes for the panel include the authority of print and images, the cultural currency of public authority figures and professionals, changing local / national affiliations through the spread of mass media, communication across geographic distance, and the cultural production of trust between strangers.
If interested, please respond by Feb 5 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PhD Candidate, History
University of Southern California
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