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Release date: Jan. 29, 2001
Contact: Camille Sparkman, Media Relations Coordinator, 404-727-7020, or cshearo@emory.edu

Emory University's Great Teachers Lecture on Feb. 22 Addresses America's Fascination With the Lizzie Borden Crime

In 1893 Lizzie Borden went on trial for taking an ax and brutally murdering her father and stepmother. But don’t come to Emory University’s Great Teachers Lecture series to find out if she was innocent or guilty; that’s not the most intriguing aspect about the crime, says Emory professor Catherine Nickerson.

The most fascinating aspect, says Nickerson, is "Why, after more than 100 years, do we care?" Nickerson will discuss "Lizzie Borden and the Fascinations of the Past" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22 in Emory’s Miller-Ward Alumni House, 815 Houston Mill Rd. Free parking is available.

Evidence of the way the Borden trial has permeated the American culture can be seen in the making of a ballet, an opera, numerous stories, and even an episode of The Simpsons, says Nickerson, who has studied the Borden case for nearly four years. Nickerson will talk about not only the details and theories regarding the murders, but also the different aspects of our culture that lead to an enduring fascination with the case, including the fact that there were competing versions of the story, and that Borden never testified at her trial.

Nickerson, who received the Excellence in Teaching award in September 1999, is Emory’s director of undergraduate studies in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts, and an associate professor in the English department. Nickerson received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Yale University and has been on the Emory faculty since 1992. Nickerson has published numerous works including a book, The Web of Iniquity: Early Detective Fiction by American Women. She currently is working on a new book, Lizzie Borden and the Fascinations of the Past.

And finally, does Nickerson believe Lizzie Borden committed the heinous crimes? Now that’s a question simply begging to be asked during the "Q and A" session.


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