Houdini and the Cult of Celebrity

Fame has always been shaped by new technologies and changing conceptions of the self. Houdini was the last of the steam-age celebrities, whose fame grew from many of the same developments – transcontinental railroads, teeming cities, and an industrialized press – that transformed American life in the industrial age.

Yet even as he thrilled crowds, the kind of stardom Houdini enjoyed, was rooted in highly-publicized live performances, which was eclipsed by new forms of mass-mediated celebrity: the screen idol, the pop star, the television personality, and the viral sensation. Join Rick Popp, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies at UWM, to explore how the notion of celebrity has evolved between Harry Houdini’s time and today.  

Information on this event can be found here.