Article List by Author

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

Richard L. Mehrenberg, PhD
Millersville University
Millersville, Pennsylvania, USA
rmehrenberg@gmail.com

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
jtatlock@georgiasouthern.edu.

Abstract

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:

APA
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) http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v6-issue-1/human-sacrifice-and-propaganda-in-popular-media-more-than-morbid-curiosity/

MLA

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. 1http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v6-issue-1/human-sacrifice-and-propaganda-in-popular-media-more-than-morbid-curiosity/

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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
jweiner@hamilton.edu

Abstract

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

APA:
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). http://journaldialogue.org/uncategorized/every-time-i-write-a-rhyme-these-people-think-its-a-crime-persona-problems-in-catullus-and-eminem/

MLA:
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. http://journaldialogue.org/uncategorized/every-time-i-write-a-rhyme-these-people-think-its-a-crime-persona-problems-in-catullus-and-eminem/

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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
Editor-in-Chief

Scarlett O’Hara, Solomon Northrup, and Ta-Nehisi Coates: Helping Students Grasp the Relationship between Popular Culture and Contemporary Racial Politics

Allison D. Rank
SUNY – Oswego
Oswego, New York, United States of America
Allison.rank@oswego.edu

Abstract

The post-racial perspective of many millennial college students can make it challenging for faculty to engage students in serious conversations about race in America and the relationships among popular culture, political culture, and race-conscious policies. This article outlines a three-week unit from a course entitled Popular Culture and Politics that uses Gone with the Wind (1939) and 12 Years a Slave (2013) along with academic and popular articles to walk students through three interconnected concepts: (1) the conflicting images of slavery as a system in American political history; (2) the role of popular culture in constructing and disseminating those images; and (3) the connections between the cultural understanding of America’s racial history and the contemporary political landscape. This piece provides an overview of the objectives of each section of the unit, including summaries of readings, sample discussion questions, and a summative assignment–all of which can be adapted for a variety of disciplines. 

Keywords: Political Culture, Ideology, Reparations, Gone with the Wind, 12 Years a Slave

Author Bio 

Allison Rank is an assistant professor of Political Science at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego. Her research interests include the political history of youth, youth political organizing, American political development, the intersection of politics and popular culture, and political science pedagogy. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Political Science Education, PS: Political Science & Politics, and Citizenship Studies. Rank’s work can also be found at Academia.edu, https://oswego.academia.edu/AllisonRank. 

Suggested Citation 

APA

Rank, A. D. (2019) Scarlett O’Hara, Solomon Northrup, and Ta-Nehisi Coates: Helping Students Grasp the Relationship between Popular Culture and Contemporary Racial Politics. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy 6(1). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v6-issue-1/scarlett-ohara-solomon-northrup-and-ta-nehisi-coates-helping-students-grasp-the-relationship-between-popular-culture-and-contemporary-racial-politics/

MLA

Rank, Allison D. “Scarlett O’Hara, Solomon Northrup, and Ta-Nehisi Coates: Helping Students Grasp the Relationship between Popular Culture and Contemporary Racial Politics.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy 2019, vol. 6, no 1. http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v6-issue-1/scarlett-ohara-solomon-northrup-and-ta-nehisi-coates-helping-students-grasp-the-relationship-between-popular-culture-and-contemporary-racial-politics/

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Making the Case for Teaching Character Change in Complex TV: The Closer and Major Crimes

Emily C. Hoffman
Arkansas Tech University
Russellville, Arkansas, USA
ehoffman1@atu.edu

Abstract 

Jason Mittel’s 2015 book Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling offers enough material to sustain a semester-long undergraduate course. Because of its approachability and students’ interest in discussing characters, his chapter devoted to viewers’ parasocial relationships and characters’ potential for change is among the most teachable. However, teaching complex television that relies on intensely serialized story elements can make choosing televisual texts for study and discussion challenging. Therefore, series that skew episodic yet still incorporate serial elements, like police procedurals, can prove to be a practical alternative for classroom study. This article describes how using the interrelated police procedurals The Closer and Major Crimes, offers a rare opportunity to analyze long-term, meaningful character growth through the character of Captain Sharon Raydor. Key scenes across the two series demonstrate the unusual process of transforming Sharon Raydor from a one-dimensional antagonist on The Closer to a dynamic protagonist on Major Crimes. This transformation directly engages students with foundational terminology from Mittell’s chapter, such as alignment, access, attachment, and allegiance. Moreover, it allows them to weigh the evolution of Sharon Raydor against the four types of character change Mittell describes. The article shows how this can be effectively accomplished by viewing one full episode from each series plus an isolated scene from an intervening episode of The Closer.

Key Words: Complex TV, The Closer, Major Crimes, characters, change, parasocial relationships, police procedurals, gender

Author Bio

Emily Hoffman is an Associate Professor of English at Arkansas Tech University where she teaches a variety of subjects, including film and television studies, creative writing, technical writing, and composition. She has a forthcoming book chapter on Don Draper’s affinity for Michelangelo Antonioni in The Legacy of Mad Men and an article on Mad Men’s seasonal episodes has appeared in the Journal of Popular Television.

Suggested Citation

APA:
Hoffman, E. C. (2019) Making the case for teaching character change in complex TV: The Closer and Major Crimes. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy. 6(1). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v6-issue-1/making-the-case-for-teaching-character-change-in-complex-tv-the-closer-and-major-crimes/

MLA:
Hoffman, Emily. C. Making the Case for Teaching Character Change in Complex TV: The Closer and Major Crimes. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy. 2019, vol 6, no. 1. http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v6-issue-1/making-the-case-for-teaching-character-change-in-complex-tv-the-closer-and-major-crimes/

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Groupthink in the Cave: A New Perspective on The Matrix

Kelly Salsbery
Stephen F. Austin State University
Nacogdoches TX USA
ksalsbery@sfasu.edu

Anne Collins Smith
Stephen F. Austin State University
Nacogdoches TX USA
acsmith@sfasu.edu

Abstract

While analyses of the movie The Matrix abound, the authors propose a new perspective, particularly useful in the current polarized political milieu in the US. The Matrixprovides an excellent example of the phenomenon known as “groupthink,” and a pedagogically helpful way to address it. It is especially significant that the hero of the movie, with whom students identify, has to struggle to overcome groupthink within himself.

Keywords: The Matrix, The Wachowskis, groupthink, Plato, Manuel Velasquez, Irving Janis

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Studying Silence in Popular Culture

Kathy Merlock Jackson
Virginia Wesleyan University
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
kmjackson@vwu.edu

Terry Lindvall
Virginia Wesleyan University
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
tlindvall@vwu.edu

Abstract

This article explains the impetus for and execution of a team-taught, interdisciplinary class in silence using popular culture materials and practices, such as silent film, music, meditation, and mime. The course identifies individuals as possessing characteristics of introversion and extraversion and explores the role of silence in the modern world, incorporating the following: (1) Foundations for the Study of Silence, (2) The History of Silence, (3) The Role of Silence in Spirituality, Creativity and Reflection, (4) Silence in Communication Study, (5) Silent Film and Silence in Film, (6) The Role of Silence in a Highly Technological, Mediated World, and (7) Student Research Presentations. The class made students aware of the media-rich environment in which they live as well as the choices they have to seek quiet..

Keywords: Popular Culture, Silence, Quiet, Introversion, Extraversion, Spirituality, Creativity, Silent Film, Meditation, Mime, Interdisciplinary, Undergraduate Teaching, Higher Education, Curriculum Development

Author Bios

Kathy Merlock Jackson is Professor of Communication at Virginia Wesleyan University, where she teaches courses in media studies and children’s culture. She is the author or editor of eight books, four of them on Disney-related topics, and over a hundred articles, chapters, and reviews. The former editor The Journal of American Culture, she is Vice President/President-Elect of the Popular Culture Association. 

Terry Lindvall occupies the C. S. Lewis Chair of Communication and Christian Thought at Virginia Wesleyan University. His publications include God Mocks: A History of Religious Satire from the Hebrew Prophets to Stephen Colbert (NYU Press, 2016) and Divine Film Comedies (Routledge, 2016).

Reference Citation

APA
Merlock Jackson, K. & Lindvall, T. (2019). Studying silence in popular culture. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy. 6(1). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v6-issue-1/studying-silence-in-popular-culture/

MLA
Merlock Jackson, Kathy, and Terry Lindvall.  Studying silence in popular culture. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy. 2018. vol 6, no 1. http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v6-issue-1/studying-silence-in-popular-culture/

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Engaging Interdisciplinary Conversations

Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN, USA
nshpylov@iu.edu

Timothy D. Saeed
Northern Vermont University
Lyndon, VT, USA
timothy.saeed@northernvermont.edu

Petermann, Emily. The Musical Novel: Imitation of Musical Structure, Performance, and Reception in Contemporary Fiction. Camden House, 2014. $85.   

The Musical Novel: Imitation of Musical Structure, Performance, and Reception in Contemporary Fiction was first published in 2014 by Camden House. This year the book appears in its paperback edition, with Boydell & Brewer. As its author Emily Petermann notes elsewhere, the new edition contains no drastic changes: a paperback version of the book seems to be an opportunity to remind the audience of the acuteness of interdisciplinary links that literature may inspire and strengthen. However, it responds to the changes of the environment shaped by interdisciplinary dialogues. Conflating at least two fields—literature and music—The Musical Novelpotentially contributes to the ongoing conversation regarding teaching across disciplines. Continue Reading →

The Persistent Need to Look behind the Curtain

Frank Baum created the Wizard of Oz, and the grandiose man who lived behind a curtain. Perceived as holding immense power, the façade proved different than the reality. But what exactly is the reality? Daily, what are we as viewers, as students, as teachers, learning from popular culture sources around us? Trying to reach for a reality can be problematic in of itself, yet denying their existence is also a trap. The four articles in this issue bring together varied popular media outlets to uncover violence, gender, and powerful pedagogy in and out of the classroom.  

First, Becca Cragin explains in her article, “Grounded Aesthetics: Pedagogy for a Post-Truth Era,” how students are often challenged in untangling the variety and substance of information streaming into their lives. Many students feel overwhelmed with the information, the discussion of fake news, and tend to believe there is no way to determine veracity. To address these concerns, Cragin provides pertinent sources and applications of literary and critical media literacy which have led her students to see beyond the concept of  life in a “post-truth era.” 

Thus, what we see is the impact of popular TV shows, whether in desensitizing people to violence, to presenting varied cultural values, or to suggesting appropriate gendered presentations and behaviors. Just as Cragin evidences steps to expand student thought, Elizabeth Gartley provides insight into guiding middle and high school students to see different perspectives through considering The Walking Dead and the proposing the question “who would be on your zombie apocalypse team?” To ground this discussion, the article, “We All Have Jobs Here: Multiple Intelligences in The Walking Dead,”creates a connection between the characters on the show and Howard Garner’s multiple intelligences. What becomes evident in this article is the practicality of drawing popular culture into pedagogical practice to support learning. Through Gartley’s article, as readers, we are shown glimpses of the ways violence and gender intersect in media representations. 

These media representations present a key outlet for informal learning—learning that can take place in ones living room instead of in a traditional classroom. The ways then we understand what we watch can be viewed in many ways, such as seen in, Allen Culpepper’s, “A Gendered Perspective on Policing Violence in Happy Valley and Fargo. Culpepper unpacks the crimes and argues for a deep parallel between the on-screen portrayal of women in the TV series, Happy Valley and the film, Fargo. He also suggests a reflection to contemporary thought and political views, hinting at important gendered perspectives affecting (in)formal learning.

Lastly, Adam Nicks moves us to considering the media consumption of live action events, in particular that of professional wrestling in “The Many Faces of Foley: A Journey of Discovery and Influence on Professional Wrestling.” He examines the ways in which Mick Foley, a key professional wrestler from the 1990s, developed intricate personas which merged a real and “fake” world. Drawing from Foley’s autobiography, Nicks emphasizes the uniqueness of the wrestler’s “blurring of the lines between reality and fiction” while addressing concepts of gender and violence that affected audiences and professional wrestling in general.

These articles as a whole highlight the need to continue to explore and examine what is opinion and what is truth. Collectively, these articles address the persistent need to look behind the curtain and understand further. In some contexts, this plays out in representations and behaviors and others as fiction and reality. The authors here have pressed us to think differently about the influence and potential of media texts and portrayals, from TV, film, to literature and dramatic endeavors.

Finally, the vision and work to develop an issue depends upon the work of a strong team. In particular for this issue, I would like to thank Kelli Bippert (Educational Resources Editor) who provided extra assistance in finalizing this issue, Rob Galin (Copy Editor), Kurt Depner (Managing Editor), Douglas CohenMiller (Creative Director), and our peer reviewers. Moving forward, we are excited to see your contributions, encouraging you to submit for both journal articles and also critical perspectives and practices relating to pedagogy and/or popular culture. We hope you enjoy this issue and are encouraged to consider how popular culture presents both opportunities for formal pedagogy while also demonstrating inevitable dynamic effects for informal learning.

Anna CohenMiller
Editor-in-Chief

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