This past Thursday and Friday, students of American culture from all over the world gathered at the the McNeil Center at the University of Pennsylvania to begin to fathom and to celebrate one of the most distinctive voices in American scholarship, that of Mike Zuckerman. What these photos can't convey are the verbal performances of a series of speakers who took license and inspiration from Mike's own "unruly brilliance." But perhaps they hint at the love we hold for this remarkable man. Early Americanists are blessed that the smartest of us is also the kindest and most generous. Julia was under two when Mike and Shan befriended her, her mother, and I - three "African" refugees washed up in the harbor of Philadelphia. She couldn't quite wrap her tongue around "Zuckerman," so she referred to him as "Dr. Superman." Everything that was said at the Mikefest seemed to confirm the appositeness of that denomination.
© John Robert Pankratz