Miss America at Rowan

Miss America at Rowan

Miss America and Pageantry Conference 2023: Gowns, Crowns, & Contradictions

Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey
September 29, 1pm, 2023
Keynote: Margot Mifflin, author of Looking for Miss America
Live Stream Here!

This one-day conference is intended to generate public and scholarly conversations about the complex social, cultural and political meanings of Miss America and other pageants, and to showcase Rowan’s Miss America digital archive.

The conference, held on Rowan’s Glassboro campus and streamed, will include 2-3 panel sessions, a keynote speaker with lunch, a “poster session” including both physical and digital posters, and a student work showcase. It will be both streamed and in-person. 

As scholars, we come here neither to praise the beauty pageant, nor to bury it. Our intention is to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and understanding of this American institution. We especially hope to:

  • highlight perspectives from people and groups traditionally excluded from pageantry
  • integrate the history of mainstream pageants such as Miss America with nontraditional pageants (Black, indigenous, queer, etc)
  • explore the dialectic between pageant organizers, participants, and critics
  • interrogate the competition’s impact, as a largely female-organized institution focused on female participants, on women’s social, cultural, and political status
  • explore pageantry through theatrical, performance, and artistic lenses

Dr. Katherine Turner
Project Lead, Miss America Digital Archive