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University Theme Event Features Award-Winning Journalist

September 1, 2006

SELINSGROVE, (Pa.) – Best-selling author Eric Schlosser will present a lecture at Susquehanna University on Thursday, September 7. His lecture, which begins at 8 p.m. in Weber Chapel Auditorium, will be based on his book Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. The event is free and open to the public.

Reefer Madness is Susquehanna's common reading text for the 2006-2007 academic year. Selected to reflect the annual university theme, the common reading is an effort to create a shared intellectual point of engagement for first-year students. Begun in 2005, the program asks first-year students, faculty and staff to read a common text that will then be used in a variety of ways during the students' first semester on campus. The overall goal is to introduce students to life in a community of learners where all are engaged in discussion and reflection on texts and ideas.

The university theme, upon which the common reading was established, is “On the Fringes: What Fades, What Flourishes.” This theme encourages the examination of theories, beliefs, practices, and cultural and artistic developments that have been or are now on the fringes of society. It attempts to explain why certain ideas and practices, as well as those who create or promote them, remain outside the mainstream while others have become more politically and socially acceptable.

Schlosser's Reefer Madness was chosen as the common reading because of its examination of three industries that have been relegated to the fringes of American society. In the book, Schlosser charts the growth of the underground economy known as the black market. He reveals the workings of this shadow economy by focusing on marijuana, one of the nation's largest cash crops; pornography, whose greatest beneficiaries include Fortune 100 companies; and illegal migrant workers, whose lot often resembles that of medieval serfs. And in so doing, he reveals not only how the black market has burgeoned over the past three decades, but also how government intervention has reinvigorated it and even caused situations that are both preposterous and tragic.

An award-winning journalist, Schlosser is the author of the acclaimed book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal and a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly. His work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The Nation, and The New Yorker. His skills as an investigative reporter have earned him the highest praise in a cross section of industries. He has received a National Magazine Award and a Sidney Hillman Foundation Award for reporting, and all three of his books have been national bestsellers.

Schlosser has addressed the U.S. Congress about the risk of bioterrorism to the food supply and has lectured at universities across the country. In addition to writing Reefer Madness and Fast Food Nation, Schlosser co-authored the book Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food. In it, Schlosser and co-author Charles Wilson share the fascinating and sometimes frightening truth about what lurks between those sesame seed buns, what a chicken “nugget” really is, and how the fast food industry has been feeding off children for generations.

Contact: Victoria Kidd


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