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Poker and Pop Culture: Telling the Story of America’s Favorite Card Game

By skennedy on June 13, 2019 4:18 PM | Permalink
  • Martin Harris
     Martin Harris

Please join us for Eadington Fellow Martin Harris’s talk “Poker & Pop Culture: Telling the Story of America’s Favorite Card Game” on Friday, June 14 at 3 p.m. in the Goldfield Room, Lied Library.

Harris’s presentation will focus on his newly published book Poker & Pop Culture, a comprehensive study of poker’s history with a special emphasis on the role the game has played in American popular culture, generally speaking. The book demonstrates how portrayals of poker in film, literature, art, drama, music, radio and television programs, and elsewhere reveal how mainstream America has viewed poker over the last two centuries -- both positively as emblematic of “American” values like individualism, self-reliance, and the frontier spirit, and negatively as a game for outlaws associated with other morally objectionable activities and detrimental to society. The book additionally explores instances where poker’s story has intersected with the history of American politics, warfare, business, law, and technology. By highlighting the many deep-rooted connections between poker and American history, Poker & Pop Culture shows how the story of poker serves as a lens through which to examine numerous aspects of American history from the early 19th century to the present day.

Martin Harris earned a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University at Bloomington after having earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a graduate student and during a decade of teaching full-time at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina before leaving as an associate professor, his research interests included Restoration and 18th Century British Literature, popular culture, and film, with publications in the Journal of Popular Culture, the Journal of Popular Film and Television, Film Literature Quarterly, and elsewhere. More recently he has taught part-time as an adjunct in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte where his classes include “Poker in American Film and Culture” and “Tricky Dick: Richard Nixon, Poker, and Politics.” For the last dozen years he has worked as a writer and editor for numerous poker outlets, including reporting on tournaments in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.