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Review of Digital Madness: How Social Media is Driving Our Mental Health Crisis – and How to Restore Our Sanity by Nicholas Kardaras

Dr. Douglas MacLeod
State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology
Cobleskill, New York, U.S.A
MacLeoDC@cobleskill.edu

Kardaras, Nicholas. (2022). Digital Madness: How Social Media is Driving Our Mental Health Crisis-and How to Restore Our Sanity. St. Martin’s Press. 273 pages, $23.99

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Book Reviews: The Benefits of Book Reviews and a Note from the Book Review Editor

Editor: Miriam Sciala

Call for Reviews

In Dialogue, The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, book reviews play a crucial part in the introduction to the public of newly-written books that provide analyses of popular culture and the way it reflects current social conditions. These publications can serve to educate not only the general reader, but also researchers and educators. Indeed, by providing insight into a particular book that goes beyond what the title – be it catchy or not – provides, the reviewer lays out the main components of a book to the potential reader and can be instrumental in convincing that reader to choose that particular book for a future read.

Hence, by describing the main gist and viewpoint on a book of popular culture for our journal, which caters to social scientists/researchers and educators, the reviewer is placed in a position whereby they can reach out to our readers and pique their interest in a book that is pertinent to their interests. For instance, an educator reading one of these books may be induced to translate the knowledge gained from the book into practical methodologies that can be applied to their pedagogy. Ultimately, this will help them guide students towards more salubrious perceptions of social issues and a deeper understanding of the various existences among various social groups, thus engendering a kinder and more tolerant society.

Academics involved in the social sciences also appreciate reading our book reviews as they search for sources to support and enhance their own research. A book review could help them save time as they can then more rapidly decide whether the book in question is suitable for their endeavours in explaining the way popular culture reflects our society.

Writing a review of one of the books on our list would be beneficial to our readers. By helping them to ascertain the genre of popular culture under discussion and the angle in which the information is presented, the reviewer places the readers in a position whereby they can better judge whether reading the entire book would be beneficial to them and whether it could lead to potential applications within their respective fields.

The books on this list have a focus on a specific genre of popular culture, be it fiction, film, television, music, video games or technology. They have been written with the aim of helping the reader understand popular culture and its assistance and limitations towards the generation of a deeper comprehension of society. If you are interested in reviewing one of these books, we invite you to contact us letting us know which book you would like to review. We look forward to collaborating with you.

A note from the Book Review Editor – Miriam Sciala

For me as a reader, or more specifically, as a bookworm from a very early age, book reviews open up possibilities as they guide me to the next set of books on my lengthy “to be read” list. Realistically, though, despite the best of intentions, I never will read all the books on that ever-expanding list as life is much too fleeting. Therefore, for all those that will remain unread, book reviews serve a different purpose – that of providing a synopsis – a brief description that offers me a view of the author’s stance, the context within which the book was written and a few choice details that enable me to gain a sense of the subject matter; in truth, it is a condensed account that nonetheless provides some information, opening a window into the narrative. In fact, a perspicacious review on its own can provide me with a few precious moments of reading pleasure. And after turning that page, I will have gained knowledge and the possibility of applying it in my work.

The act of writing a book review, in my experience, is extremely rewarding, too. This type of writing has done more than afford me the opportunity to read a particular book; it has engendered a perusal with intent – a deeper reading than that done merely for pleasure. Book reviews are my mini-research projects where I approach the book from the angle of the chronicler who endeavours to comprehend and explain the content and point of view of that book, connecting these to the context in which it was written. It is an exercise in objectivity to outline the strengths and limitations that form the features of the book. Penning a book review for the reader activates my creative side as I communicate the salient information appearing in the book to an imaginary fellow reader, albeit without giving too much away, in an attempt to prompt that reader to pick that book up and experience it through their own eyes.

Call for Book Reviews

Dialogue would like to invite experienced academics to review new books for our readers. We are currently seeking reviews of the following books:

      1. Allen, Craig. Univision, Telemundo, and the Rise of Spanish-Language Television in the United States. University of Florida Press. 2020.
      2. Allen, Paul V. I Can Read It All by Myself: The Beginner Books Story. University Press of Mississippi. 2021.
      3. Bordwell, David. Perplexing Plots: Popular Storytelling and the Poetics of Murder. Columbia University Press. 2023.
      4. Dorney, John; Regan, Jessica; and Salinsky, Tom. Best Pick a Journey through Film History. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2022.
      5. Frymus, Agatha. Damsels and Divas: European Stardom in Silent Hollywood. Rutgers University Press. 2020.
      6. Giannini, Erin. Supernatural: A History of Television’s Unearthly Road Trip. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2021.
      7. Gomer, Justin. White Balance: How Hollywood Shaped Colorblind Ideology and Undermined Civil Rights. The University of North Carolina Press. 2020.
      8. Gonzalez, Aston. Visualizing Equality: African American Rights and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century. The University of North Carolina Press. 2020.
      9. Mahdi, Waleed F. Arab Americans in Film: From Hollywood and Egyptian Stereotypes to Self-Representation.Syracuse University Press. 2020.
      10. Manno, Andrew. Toxic Masculinity, Casino Capitalism, and America’s Favorite Card Game: The Poker Mindset.Palgrave Macmillan. 2020.
      11. Mitchell, James G. Watching in Tongues: Multilingualism on American Television in the 21st Century. Vernon Press. 2020.
      12. Turzi, Mariano. The International Politics of Superheroes. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2022

Guidelines: short articles reviewing books, films, games, conferences, etc. as they relate to popular culture and pedagogy

      • Format: MLA or APA
      • Length: 1,200 – 1,800 (inclusive of endnotes and citations)
      • Editorial review
      • To be considered for online publication on a rolling basis

Contact editors@journaldialogue.org or miriamsciala@gmail.com to coordinate writing a review for the journal.

 Published online February 2023

Review of The Missing Course: Everything They Never Taught You About College Teaching, by David Gooblar

Review of The Missing Course: Everything They Never Taught You About College Teaching, by David Gooblar

Gooblar, David. (2019). The Missing Course: Everything They Never Taught You About College Teaching. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
272 pages, Hardcover, $29.95

Tyler Sheldon
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA., USA
tyrsheldon@gmail.com

In his new book The Missing Course, David Gooblar writes toward college teachers and administrators alike when he asserts that a more student-centered learning environment is far more effective than a lecture-based classroom. Applied active learning, he asserts, is crucial to student success. Unlike much recent pedagogy scholarship, which contends that a lecture-based classroom is standard for a reason (time-honored “effectiveness,” efficiency, routine), Gooblar favors an engaged and immersive experiential style of teaching. He argues that “[i]n the not-too-distant future, it is now imaginable that researchers will refuse to study lectures as a mode of teaching because to do so would be an unethical imposition on the poor students who have to suffer through them.” He emphasizes this point by noting that some pedagogy scholars are already beginning to agree, and (like him) are treating the experiential model as a foregone conclusion, moving from “the active learning versus lecturing question and focus[ing] instead on determining what kinds of active learning work best” (p. 15). Continue Reading →

Reading Hong Kong in a New Light: Anna Tso’s Hong Kong Stories

Holly H. Y. Chung
The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
hollychung@hsu.edu.hk

 

Book 1: Culinary Charades
Alpha Academic Press, 2017. ISBN: 978-1948210010

Book 2: The Summer of 1997
Alpha Academic Press, 2017. ISBN: 978-1948210027

Book 3: Unforgettable Neighbours
Alpha Academic Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-1948210034

Book 4: Taming Babel
Alpha Academic Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-1948210041

Book 5: Herstory
Alpha Academic Press, 2019. ISBN:978-1948210058 Continue Reading →

Embracing the Darkness: A Review of Ebony Elizabeth Thomas’s The Dark Fantastic (2019)

Book Review: Thomas, Ebony Elizabeth. The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games. New York University Press, 2019. 225 pgs., $28.00.

Julia Watts
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN, USA
jwatts4@vols.utk.edu

When Ebony Elizabeth Thomas was a child, her mother told her, “There is no magic.” As a black girl, Thomas was expected to know and accept reality. For her, there were no fairies or princesses or mermaids; there were no white knights on equally white horses. These fantasies were for white people who had nothing better to do than escape into the imaginary worlds created by and for them. Thomas was taught that magical stories were not for black readers, and she, like the speaker in one of Nikki Giovanni’s (1970) most famous poems,” “…learned/black people aren’t/suppose to dream” (lines 3-4). Continue Reading →

Taking Back the ‘F’ Word: A Book Review of The (other)F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce, edited by Angie Manfredi

Laura Davis
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville, TN, USA
ldavi129@vols.utk.edu

Manfredi, Angie (Editor). The (other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce. Amulet Books, 2019. 224 pgs., $18.99.

“Your body is perfect. Yes, yours. Exactly the way it is, right now in this second.”

In The (other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce, editor Angie Manfredi brings together thirty voices, from middle grades and young adult authors to fat influencers and pioneers, to provide young adult readers with differing modes of storytelling – personal essays, poetry, and visual art – to celebrate the “fat” body. Across the anthology, authors and illustrators from diverse backgrounds convey their experiences with fat bodies. The variety of concepts throughout the anthology celebrate the uniqueness of the human body and champion owning all aspects of identity. With Bill Maher proposing “fat-shaming doesn’t need to end, it needs a comeback,” books like Manfredi’s push back against fat-shaming and encourage those who are fat to “realize there’s nothing wrong with being fat” (p. 1). Continue Reading →

Review of Ghettos, Tramps, and Welfare Queens

Debbie Olson, PhD
Missouri Valley College
Marshall, MO
olsond@moval.edu

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 →

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