Tag Article List: Curriculum Development

Studying Silence in Popular Culture

Kathy Merlock Jackson
Virginia Wesleyan University
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Terry Lindvall
Virginia Wesleyan University
Norfolk, Virginia, USA


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

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/

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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