We are pleased to present issue 4.1 of Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, in which we explore belief systems, pedagogy, and politics. Across these nine works, ranging from explorations of social justice within teaching and learning to critical analysis of scholarship within the field, these articles provide an opportunity to think about the ways in which popular culture and pedagogy can deeply engage both within the classroom and beyond, as well as within informal learning spaces.
We begin the issue with Tara Propper’s “The Pedagogy and Politics of Racial Passing: Examining the Role of Visual Literacy in Turn-of-the-Century Activist Media” and Erika Quinn’s “Eastern Imaginaries,” examining important implications for individuals and society as well as suggestions for pedagogy. Using an historical lens, Propper’s article emphasizes the importance of the media in shaping individual racial identity, speaking to current topics of concern including racial passing. Specifically, she explores the use of African American activist media in theorizing the role of pedagogy in the public sphere through historical analysis. Moving from historical perceptions of race as seen in African American activist media, Quinn’s work addresses the historical influence of Western ideas shaped by Orientialist tropes of the East. In particular, she uses the imaginary Eastern European country of Ruritania as a central example of stereotypical beliefs. Quinn uses two contemporary artifacts—Wes Anderson’s film The Grand Budapest Hotel and China Miéville’s novel The City and the City— to explore the way in which popular culture can reify harmful stereotypes or reject such racial conceptions, pushing the audience to confront “issues about collective identity, power, corruption and violence.”
While the first two articles address key contemporary concerns as seen through news media and fiction, Jonathan Elmore’s, “More Than Simple Plagiarism: Ligotti, Pizzolatto, and True Detective’s Terrestrial Horror,” considers how horror can speak to common human issues. He explores how “Nic Pizzolatto, the writer of True Detective, ‘borrowed’ sections of Thomas Ligotti’s The Conspiracy Against the Human Race” and ultimately developed a new type of horror, “terrestrial horror,” which incorporates discussion of worldwide threats such as climate change and environmental collapse. The final article in this section discusses postmodern visual dynamics in film. Andrew Urie in “ Hyping the Hyperreal: Postmodern Visual Dynamics in Amy Heckerling’s Clueless,” focuses not on the standard reading of the 1995 film as an adaptation of Austen’s Emma, but instead, conducts an examination of the postmodern visual texture of Clueless, connecting feminine teen consumerism to the time frame of the in the mid-’90s era Los Angeles.
The second section of this issue, Applications in the Classroom, features Edward Janak and Lisa Pescara-Kovach’s “Four Decades, Three Songs, Too Much Violence: Using Popular Culture Media Analysis to Prepare Preservice Teachers for Dealing with School Violence” and Jason Gulya’s “Teaching Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out within the Tradition of Allegorical Personification.” Janak and Pescara-Kovach address the role of music in the context of teacher education, providing preservice educators with approaches for countering bullying and school violence. Gulya then examines a recent Disney film as a modern iteration of the historical literary form, allegory. Though approaching pedagogy from two very different perspectives—social justice teacher education and content delivery in the classroom—the authors provide innovative perspectives on the role of popular culture for both instructors and students on how to engage with others and texts.
We conclude the issue with three reviews, of copyright laws, of a design museum, and of popular culture in the classroom. Janet Brennan Croft takes on the ever-challenging topic of copyright laws in academia and the resources used by scholars, reviewing multiple texts to unpack the dynamic sociopolitical nature of US copyright laws. As Croft examines numerous sources, Laurence Raw likewise looks across multiple texts, critically discussing the use of popular culture in the classroom in high schools and universities. Lastly, Michael Samuel engages in a review of The Design Museum in London, discussing details of the museum ranging from architectural features and exhibitions engaging the viewing public.
We look forward to your engagement with these articles tackling new topics and approaches drawing intersections between popular culture and pedagogy.
Lynnea Chapman King
Editor in Chief
A. S. CohenMiller
In addition to the new works presented here, we also find ourselves at a new crossroads with the Journal itself.
A word from the Editor in Chief:
In 2011, when the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association began discussions regarding the creation of Dialogue, we knew that there was a place in the academic publishing world for a journal devoted to the intersection of popular culture and pedagogy. Also in 2011, we were approached by Anna CohenMiller, who likewise recognized the potential for interdisciplinary scholars seeking a venue in which to share their experiences with popular culture in the classroom. The result of those conversations and negotiations is, of course, this journal, which concludes its fourth year of publication with this issue. As the profile of Dialogue has increased and as we have worked through the numerous logistics of launching a new publication, I have had the privilege of working closely with Anna, whose enthusiasm and creativity have served the journal well. As we look to our forthcoming issues, I am pleased to announce that Anna has agreed to step into the position of Editor in Chief, assisted by Kurt Depner as Managing Editor. Dialogue remains in the excellent, capable hands of this team, and I look forward to its continued growth and innovation under Anna’s direction.
Lynnea Chapman King
Editor in Chief, 2011-2017
Advisory Board, 2017-