Panel at the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) Conference Las Vegas: “City of God, City of Destruction”

Presiding Officer: Michael Borer (University of Nevada - Las Vegas) 

The between how the city is perceived and how locals live in is is a prominent feature of any “tourist city” aimed at producing “the extraordinary and unusual” for consumers away from home. This is perhaps nowhere more evident and harmful than in and about Las Vegas, a city that started life as a tourist resort but transformed into a formidable metropolis. Both belle of the ball and redheaded stepchild, Las Vegas has been revered as “the last honest place in America” and reviled as “the grandest current enclave of non-reality.” Yes, the Strip might be the pinnacle of postmodern simulation or post-cinematic hyperreality. But to assume that style trumps substance runs the risk of seeing the city as devoid of anything substantial. Panelists will discuss a host of elements that make up the culture(s) of Las Vegas that are often overshadowed by the dominant imagery and presence of the Strip.