Penn State Harrisburg to welcome Penn State Laureate John Champagne

Penn State Laureate John Champagne

John Champagne, 2018-19 Penn State Laureate

Credit: Penn State

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The 2018-19 Penn State Laureate, John Champagne, professor of English and chair of the Global Languages and Cultures program at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, will visit Penn State Harrisburg from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Olmsted Building auditorium (C213).

Champagne will be presenting “Art and Politics: The Case of Corrado Cagli,” an examination of the problematic and contradictory relationship between Italian artist Corrado Cagli and the fascist government that supported him.  Champagne will engage his audience in a discussion of the responsibility of the artist in times of political unrest and in doing so, ask what our own obligation is to art of the past.

Champagne, who has always been an advocate for political and artistic inquiry, has never been afraid to take a stand – from writing a play titled, “A Touch of Garbage,” about his grammar school’s decision to adopt disposable lunch trays, to playing piano for a cabaret performer whose act revolved around living with HIV.

Champagne’s laureate presentation is an expansion of his research for his sixth book, an examination of artistic culture of the Italian fascist years of 1922-45 and the relationship of artistic works to the fascist regime.

“My life and career have always been marked by this kind of dual concern: What is art? What is politics? Is there or should there be a relationship between the two?" he said.

Champagne is the author of five books, the most recent of which is titled “Italian Masculinity as Queer Melodrama: Caravaggio, Puccini, Contemporary Film.” He is currently is at work on a study of Italian artists in the fascist years.

The Penn State Laureate is an annual faculty honor established in 2008 to bring greater visibility to the arts, the humanities, the honoree’s work, and the University. The laureate brings an enhanced level of social, cultural, artistic, and human perspective and awareness to a broad array of audiences. The annual honoree is a full-time faculty member who is assigned half-time to serve as the University Laureate for one academic year. The laureate appears regularly at events throughout Pennsylvania.

For more information about the Penn State Laureate, visit