Article List by Author

Review of Ghettos, Tramps, and Welfare Queens

Debbie Olson, PhD
Missouri Valley College
Marshall, MO 

Book Review: Pimpare, Stephen. Ghettos, Tramps, and Welfare Queens: Down and Out on the Silver Screen. Oxford University Press, 2017. 376 pgs., $34.95.

Stephen Pimpare’s Ghettos, Tramps, and Welfare Queens is a unique jaunt through Hollywood films that feature society’s most marginalized and maligned, the homeless and the poor. Pimpare, PhD, is a senior Lecturer in American politics and public policy at the University of New Hampshire and has authored two previous books on poverty and political policy. And while Pimpare carefully acknowledges he is not a film scholar, his insightful examination of the way film (re)presents the poor and homeless is a valuable addition to both political science and cinema scholarship. Overall, Ghettos, Tramps, and Welfare Queens is a perceptive look at the intersections of popular imagery and public policy. Continue Reading →

Making Your Teaching a Little Sweeter: Pedagogical Implications of Nailed It!

Richard L. Mehrenberg, PhD
Millersville University
Millersville, Pennsylvania, USA

Inspiration sometimes comes from the unlikeliest of places. Educators often look to traditional resources such as in-services, graduate classes, and professional journals to improve their pedagogy. However, sometimes great teaching ideas can be found embedded in popular culture. One such example of a T.V. show that has three strong take-aways for teachers is the Netflix Original Series, Nailed It! Continue Reading →

Human Sacrifice and Propaganda in Popular Media: More Than Morbid Curiosity

Jason Tatlock
Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus
Savannah, Georgia, USA


Representations of human sacrifice, whether based upon real or fictitious events, powerfully demonstrate societal norms and fascinations related to the acceptability of slaying humans for religious or national interests, particularly given the divisive and bloody nature of the topic. Readers of eye-witness accounts, newspaper reports, and historical narratives, and viewers of cinematic productions, war posters, and political cartoons come face to face with the beliefs and agendas of the creators of popular media. Such sources represent the slaying of victims in sacred rituals, as individuals attempt to demarcate societal boundaries along the etic/emic spectrum, be they commentaries on their own cultures or on contemporary foreigners. Those who write about or portray human sacrifice have, in several instances, done so with propagandistic aims related to ethnocentrism, imperialism, and a perceived religious superiority that transfer the topic beyond the realm of mere morbid curiosity to justify forms of dominance like territorial conquest, militarism, and slavery. Moving from the ancient world to contemporary cinema, this study demonstrates both the antiquity of such propagandistic goals and their relevancy to recent portrayals of human sacrifice in film. While Apocalypto (2007) and The Wicker Man (1973) align closely with the historical examples presented, especially in relation to the issue of a perceived Christian ascendancy, The Purge (2013) largely diverges from them. The Purge counters a dominant American ideal that sacrifice for the state is valuable and accentuates the need to protect ethnic minorities from oppression. 

Keywords: human sacrifice, ethnocentrism, imperialism, religious superiority, propaganda, sati, India, West Africa, Rome, Meso-America, United States, Apocalypto, The Wicker Man, and The Purge

Author Bio

Jason Tatlock (PhD, University of Michigan) is Associate Professor of History at Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus. He specializes in the study of religious violence, the Abrahamic Faith traditions, the ancient Near East, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Reference Citation:

Tatlock, J. (2019). Human sacrifice and propaganda in popular media: More than morbid curiosity. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 6(1)


Tatlock, Jason. Human Sacrifice and Propaganda in Popular Media: More Than Morbid Curiosity. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy. 2019, vol 6, no. 1

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“Every Time I Write a Rhyme / These People Think It’s a Crime”: Persona Problems in Catullus and Eminem

Jesse Weiner
Hamilton College
Clinton, NY, USA


This essay interprets Eminem’s song, “Criminal” (2000, The Marshall Mathers LP, Track 18), as a Catullan project in establishing distance between the poet and poetic persona, accomplished through Catullan invective. Drawing upon pedagogical experience, I argue that Catullus (a Roman poet of the 1st Century BCE) and Eminem use analogous rhetorical tactics and structures to challenge accusations (real or imagined) of poor character stemming from their poetry. Catullus and Eminem vociferously articulate a separation of art from artist, using common transgressive poetics. Each poet disavows his own self-constructed stance of authenticity with similar threats of violence and postures of hyper-masculine dominance. In so doing, Catullus and Eminem challenge interpretative practices they elsewhere seem to assume and even encourage. Finally, I suggest that the programmatic poems of Catullus and Eminem construct similar readerly personae and that, ultimately, this confluence suggests not only a common poetics but also common discursive strategies in ancient and modern audiences.

Keywords: Catullus, Eminem, hip hop, sexuality and gender studies, transgressive poetry, poetic personae, classical reception studies, poetics

Author Bio

Jesse Weiner is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hamilton College. He publishes broadly in Greek and Latin literature and their receptions in modernity and popular culture. He is co-editor of Frankenstein and Its Classics: The Modern Prometheus from Antiquity to Science Fiction (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018). He has previously received a Women’s Classical Caucus Award for his work in sexuality and gender studies. In public humanities, he has served as a program scholar for Ancient Greeks / Modern Lives, and his work has appeared in History Today and The Atlantic.

Suggested Citation

Weiner, J. (2019). “Every time I write a rhyme / These people think it’s a crime”: Persona problems in Catullus and Eminem. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy. 6(1).

Weiner, Jesse. “Every Time I Write A Rhyme / These People Think It’s A Crime”: Persona Problems In Catullus And Eminem. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy. 2019, vol 6, no. 1.

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Reinterpretations of popular culture and pedagogy

We are happy to announce our latest issue, “Reinterpretation: Situating Culture from Pedagogy to Politics.” In this sixth year of Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, we have a set of five articles that speak to the range of popular culture studies. Across the articles, the topics showcase the varied ways in which we can reconsider and (re)interpret how we conceptualize culture. 

First, Allison Rank discusses the interconnection between teaching and current political issues in  “Scarlett O’Hara, Solomon Northrup, and Ta-Nehisi Coates: Helping Students Grasp the Relationship between Popular Culture and Contemporary Racial Politics.” Jesse Weiner then draws a connection between historical and contemporary modes of poetry to address concepts of gender and sexuality in “‘Every Time I Write a Rhyme / These People Think It’s a Crime’: Persona Problems in Catullus and Eminem.” Our issue continues with Emily Hoffman’s “Making the Case for Teaching Character Change in Complex TV: The Closer and Major Crimes.” In this article, Hoffman describes how Jason Mittel’s 2015 book, Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling can be applied in a semester-long undergraduate course to analyze “long-term, meaningful character growth.” Jason Tatlock’s article, “Human Sacrifice and Propaganda in Popular Discourse: More Than Morbid Curiosity,” describes a broad historical analysis of ethnocentrism, imperialism, and expense to “demonstrate(s) both the antiquity of such propagandistic goals and their relevancy to recent portrayals of human sacrifice in film.” The issue concludes with, Kathy Merlock Jackson and Terrance Lindvall, who detail the development of an interdisciplinary course on Silence. Through an examination of multiple popular culture media texts, in “Studying Silence,” Merlock Jackson and Lindvall highlight “characteristics of introversion and extraversion” while exploring the “role of silence in the modern world.” 

In addition to the full-length articles, we are pleased to share three short online articles: 

  • Musing on Pedagogy by Bridget Goodman, on YouTube and Linguistic Variation; 
  • Book Review by Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed and Timothy D. Saeed, Engaging Interdisciplinary Conversations, which reviews Emily Petermann’s The Musical Novel: Imitation of Musical Structure, Performance, and Reception in Contemporary Fiction, and 
  • Film Review by Kelly Salsbery and Anne Collins Smith, Groupthink in the Cave: A New Perspective on The Matrix

Thank you to Robert Galin (Interim Managing Editor), Kelli Bippert (Educational Resources Editor), Karina Vado (Book Reviews Editor), Douglas CohenMiller (Production Designer), and Lynnea Chapman King (Advisory Board), for the production of this issue. 

From the five articles to the short articles addressing pedagogy, books, and films, we hope you will see new avenues of understanding popular culture and pedagogy through reinterpreting and reconsidering culture through new lenses. We encourage you to dig deep into your thinking and practice and share your unique insights for a future issue.

Anna S. CohenMiller