Strip Cultures: Finding America in Las Vegas

Stacey M. Jameson, Jane Kuenz, Susan Willis and Karen Klugman


Duke University Press

On the Las Vegas Strip, blockbuster casinos burst out of the desert, billboards promise "hot babes," actual hot babes proffer complimentary drinks, and a million happy slot machines ring day and night. It’s loud and excessive, but, as the Project on Vegas demonstrates, the Strip is not a world apart.

Combining written critique with more than one hundred photographs by Karen Klugman, the book examines the politics of food and water, art and spectacle, entertainment and branding, body and sensory experience. In confronting the ordinary on America’s most famous four-mile stretch of pavement, the authors reveal how the Strip concentrates and magnifies the basic truths and practices of American culture where consumerism is the stuff of life, digital surveillance annuls the right to privacy, and nature—all but destroyed—is refashioned as an element of decor.

Project on Vegas is a team of scholars composed of Duke literature professor Willis; Jameson, an instructor of film and media at the University of Rhode Island, and daughter of Willis and Duke literature professor Fredric Jameson; and Kuenz, chair and professor of English at the University of Southern Maine.