Tag Article List: Popular Culture

A Touch of Grey: Personal Reflections on Teaching the Grateful Dead to Seniors

Robert Trudeau
Providence College (emeritus)
Providence, R.I.
bobtrudeau40@gmail.com

Abstract

This essay reflects on several occasions in which I was a facilitator introducing the music of the Grateful Dead to groups of senior citizens. Several themes emerge: First, there is the need to separate the facilitator’s feelings as a convinced Deadhead from the inclinations of older individuals who know little about the Grateful Dead. Second, an indirect approach that emphasizes lyrics and accessible songs seems to have the best impact, if the goal is to encourage individuals to want to learn more about, and listen to, the Grateful Dead’s music. Third, one should let students construct the framework of the information that they themselves feel they need. Finally, it takes a lot of preparation to be able to improvise in and around the structures students develop. 

Keywords: Grateful Dead, popular culture, pedagogy

Author Bio

Bob Trudeau is Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at Providence College, where he specialized in Latin American politics, with an emphasis on Central America. He is the co-author, with Barry Barnes, of The Grateful Dead’s 100 Essential Songs: The Music Never Stops (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), and he is a charter member of the Grateful Dead Studies Association.

Recommended citation

APA

Trudeau, R. (2022). A Touch of Grey: Personal reflections on teaching the Grateful Dead to seniors. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 9(1 & 2). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v9-issue-1-and-2/a-touch-of-grey-personal-reflections-on-teaching-the-grateful-dead-to-seniors/.

MLA

Trudeau, Robert. “A Touch of Grey: Personal Reflections on Teaching the Grateful Dead to Seniors.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, vol. 9, no. 1 & 2, 2022. http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v9-issue-1-and-2/a-touch-of-grey-personal-reflections-on-teaching-the-grateful-dead-to-seniors/

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What We Owe Our Students: The Good Place, Pedagogy, and the Architecture of Engaged Learning 

Shala Mills
State University of New York at New Paltz
New Paltz, New York, USA
millss@newpaltz.edu

Darrell Hamlin
Fort Hays State University
Hays, Kansas, USA
dahamlin@fhsu.edu

Abstract

Pedagogy is the architecture of a learning environment. The discipline of philosophy has often operated according to a pedagogy of conversation, clarity, and reflection, certainly since the era of Socratic dialogue in the streets of Athens. We argue that The Good Place occupies that space, re-setting this pedagogy as an architecture of learning through entertainment associated with ultimate matters of eternal disposition. A critical character driving conversation, clarity, and reflection across four seasons of the story’s arc is a philosopher – doomed by their own indecisive flaws – who teaches deep understanding of ethical development through a variety of relevant philosophic problems originating from intellectual history. Confronted with the complexities of an intricately connected world and highly motivated by the weight of ultimate choices, the protagonists bring a sense of how a well-constructed “classroom” can prepare students to meet ordinary challenges, extraordinary obstacles, and even existential crises. The Good Place is a classroom with a purposeful syllabus and highly motivated participants, structured for viewers to extract ethical insights of the highest consequence — if they are willing to keep trying to get it right. By comparison, this article unpacks how the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Global Challenges blended model course is a valuable example of high impact teaching practices which, like The Good Place, engage students through content connected to issues that confront them personally and professionally, providing them with opportunities for repetition and mastery.

Keywords: pedagogy, popular culture, wicked problems, Bloom’s taxonomy, high impact practices, global challenges, The Good Place

Author Bios

Shala Mills, Associate Provost for Academic Planning & Learning Innovation at State University of New York at New Paltz, was formerly Chair and Professor of Political Science at Fort Hays State University (Kansas).  She is the recipient of numerous teaching and advising awards. She has taught courses in the areas of law and the courts, current political issues, sustainability, food and politics, and global challenges. She served as one of the AASCU Global Engagement Scholars, was the National Coordinator for the AASCU Global Challenges Project, and was the 2017 recipient of AASCU’s Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement.  Her most recent publications have been in the areas of academic assessment and leadership and global challenges.

Darrell Hamlin, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fort Hays State University (Kansas), is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Civic Leadership at FHSU and Managing Editor for the eJournal of Public Affairs.  He previously served as Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at FHSU and as Assistant Professor of Political Science at Spring Hill College (Alabama). Hamlin was one of the original AASCU Global Engagement Scholars, and his scholarly interests relate to the culture and politics of democracy.

Suggested Reference

APA

Mills, S., & Hamlin, D. (2021). What we owe our students: The Good Place, pedagogy, and the architecture of engaged learning. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 8(2). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v8-issue-2/what-we-owe-our-students-the-good-place-pedagogy-and-the-architecture-of-engaged-learning/

MLA

Mills, Shala, and Darrell Hamlin. “What We Owe Our Students: The Good Place, Pedagogy, and the Architecture of Engaged Learning.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, vol. 8, no. 2, 2021, http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v8-issue-2/what-we-owe-our-students-the-good-place-pedagogy-and-the-architecture-of-engaged-learning/

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Society Doesn’t Owe You Anything: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas & Video Games as Speculative Fiction

Marc Oullette
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
mouellet@odu.edu 

Abstract

Since Donald Trump’s election in 2016, popular and scholarly commentators have been looking for speculative and/or dystopic literary works that might provide analogues for the Trump-era. Perhaps the most famous of these was the renewed popularity of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In this regard, though, video games remain an underexplored fictional form. With its exaggerated and parodic satire of an America ruled by the corruption and greed of extreme right-wing populism, Grand Theft Auto (GTA): San Andreas (2004) offers a speculative fiction that players can enact as well as imagine, and simulate as well as prepare. Thus, reading the game through the lens of speculative fiction shows that GTA: San Andreas offers the kinds of intertexts, allusions, and parallels that Brabazon, Redhead, and Chivaura (2018) argue is essential for making sense of a dystopic present. 

Keywords: video games, game studies, popular culture, speculative fiction

Author(s) Bio

Suggested Citation

Marc A. Ouellette teaches Cultural and Gender Studies at Old Dominion University. He is an award-winning educator and is a Hixon Fellow.

APA

Ouellete, M. (2021). Society doesn’t owe you anything: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas & video games as speculative fiction. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 8(1), http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v8-issue-1/society-doesnt-owe-you-anything-grand-theft-auto-san-andreas-video-games-as-speculative-fiction/

MLA

Ouellete, Marc. “Society Doesn’t Owe You Anything: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas & Video Games as Speculative Fiction.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, vol. 8, no. 1, 2021. http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v8-issue-1/society-doesnt-owe-you-anything-grand-theft-auto-san-andreas-video-games-as-speculative-fiction/ 

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The Power of Cool: Celebrity Influence in the Ivory Tower

Jena L. Hawk
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
Gulfport, Mississippi, USA
jena.hawk@mgccc.edu

Abstract

Since the earliest of times, student orations and student debates served as the main attractions at college or university commencement ceremonies. However, these elements faded over time, and commencement speakers, specifically politicians or academics, eventually replaced student performances. Often, the commencement speaker emphasized the students’ rite of passage into adulthood as well as the development of their moral character. During the 1800s, celebrities began to receive invitations to serve as commencement speakers, and since then, celebrity influence has increased greatly in higher education as celebrities now teach classes at colleges and universities. The use of celebrities allows colleges and universities to command the public’s attention as members of the public feel as if they have a relationship with these individuals. Using the theoretical framework of parasocial interaction theory, the researcher examines the role of celebrities in higher education, specifically those delivering the keynote commencement addresses and discusses related issues emanating from this seemingly commonplace practice.

Keywords: popular culture, celebrity, commencement speakers, graduation

Author(s) Bio

Jena L. Hawk, a life-long Mississippian, is a language arts instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. She earned a doctorate of philosophy in higher education administration from The University of Southern Mississippi. Her research interests include the portrayal of higher education, particularly community colleges, in popular culture.  

Suggested Citation

APA

Hawk, J. (2021). The power of cool: Celebrity influence in the ivory tower. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 8(1), http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v8-issue-1/the-power-of-cool-celebrity-influence-in-the-ivory-tower/

MLA

Hawk, Jena. “The Power of Cool: Celebrity Influence in the Ivory Tower.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, vol. 8, no. 1, 2021, http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v8-issue-1/the-power-of-cool-celebrity-influence-in-the-ivory-tower/

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Pop Culture and Politics: Engaging Students in American Government through Art, Music, and Film

Laura Merrifield Wilson
University of Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
lmwilson@uindy.edu

Abstract

Strategically and thoughtfully employing popular culture in teaching political science can enable students to better understand, analyze, and relate to the material. In a discipline that can be viewed by students as too boring, too distant, and too polarizing, the use of relevant music, TV/film clips, toys, memes, and other popular culture artifacts can engage otherwise unengaged students in a meaningful way. This paper argues that using popular culture in teaching political science can demonstrate relevance, serve as a generational translator, expose the bias of experience, and enable an expression of self. In demonstrating relevance, popular culture makes material fresh and applicable for students; by operating as a generational translator, the material transcends the time in which it originated; biased experiences are exposed through popular culture mediums through which students are comfortable projecting new and different ideas that challenge what they already know and believe; finally, students can learn to express themselves in relationship to the material by using these mediums with which they are already familiar but in a new and intentional way. Watching clips from the hit TV show “Parks and Recreation” (2009) can illuminate the complexities of the bureaucracy and the role of regulation in everyday life; likewise, listening to the award-winning Broadway musical “Hamilton” (2015) with clever lyrics regaling the debates of federalism demonstrate the passion and ideas behind such constitutional conflicts. This paper first provides an overview that establishes the value of applying popular culture specifically to political science pedagogy before reviewing the relevant literature. It then charts the four ways in which popular culture can be beneficial to teaching and learning political science, concluding with a larger analysis of the advantages and potential for such approaches.

Keywords: political science, politics; government, TV/Film, music, memes, cartoons, popular culture

Author Bio 

Laura Merrifield Wilson is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Assistant Director of the Strain Honors College at the University of Indianapolis. Her research specializations include American political behavior, campaigns and elections, and politics in popular culture. She hosts and produces “Positively Politics” on WICR 88.7 “The Diamond” as well as serves as a regular political analyst and commentator in various news outlets. She believes politics is important and should be accessible and easy enough for anyone to meaningfully engage. Wilson completed her Bachelors in Theatre (2008) and Masters in American Politics (2010) from Ohio University and her Masters in Women’s Studies (2014), Masters in Public Administration (2012), and PhD in Political Science (2014) from the University of Alabama. 

Recommended Citation

MLA

Wilson, Laura M. “Pop Culture and Politics: Teaching American Government through Art, Film, and Music”. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy. vol. 7, no. 3. http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-3/pop-culture-and-politics-engaging-students-in-american-government-through-art-music-and-film/

APA

Wilson, L. (2020). Pop Culture and Politics: Teaching American Government through Art, Film, and Music. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy. 7(3).http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-3/pop-culture-and-politics-engaging-students-in-american-government-through-art-music-and-film/

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D&D Beyond Bikini-Mail: Having Women at the Table

Daniel Carlson
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico, United States.
danielcarlson7071@gmail.com

Abstract

Dungeons and Dragons represents a space that is often treated as an echo chamber for young (usually white) men to act out fantasies of power and control, which makes up for their inability to perform such actions in the real world. Using the work of Sherry Turkle and Michelle Dickey, I posit that this game is a nuanced location acting as a safe space for people to act out different aspects of their identity or life experiences in a low-risk environment enhanced by the connections made between the players and their characters. In this work, I have utililzed feminist frames of criticism and analysis developed by Gesa Kirsch, Jacqueline Royster, Sonja Foss, and Cindy Griffin to show how the developers of the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons have made a feminist intervention on their own product. This feminist intervention, comprised of changes to rules and art policies, invites players to consider their preconceptions of race, gender, and sexual orientation. These challenges now materializing from within a space traditionally associated with the toxic masculinity of western popular culture are designed to make players think about the nature of the imagined worlds of gameplay while also considering the ways that their own world’s norms and expectations have been constructed. Hence, through this game, players are offered the opportunity to learn and understand complicated concepts that impact their daily lives. 

Keywords: Dungeons and Dragons, D&D, Invitational Rhetoric, Rhetoric, Strategic Contemplation, Critical Imagination, Role-play, Toxic Masculinity, Popular Culture, Critical Role 

Author Bio

Daniel Carlson is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, who moved to New Mexico to pursue a master’s degree in Rhetoric and Professional Communication at New Mexico State University. He has cowritten two books with author Michael Rosen, Just My Type: Understanding Personality Profiles and Place Hacking: Venturing Off Limits. This article is an expansion of his interests in role-playing, Feminist rhetorics, and the ways that popular culture interacts with oppressive systems of power. More information can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-carlson-0064067a/. 

Suggested Citation

MLA

Carlson, Daniel James. “Beyond Bikini-Mail: Having Women at the Table.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, vol. 7, no. 3. http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-3/dd-beyond-bikini-mail-having-women-at-the-table/

APA

Carlson, D. J. (2020). Beyond bikini-mail: Having women at the table.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 7(3). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-3/dd-beyond-bikini-mail-having-women-at-the-table/

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A Heartbeat Away: Popular Culture’s Role in Teaching Presidential Succession

Jay Wendland
Daemen College
Amherst, NY, USA
jwendlan@daemen.edu

Abstract

 The role of popular culture in civic education is important. Many television viewers learn about the American political process through various dramatized depictions. The 25th Amendment has often received much attention from Hollywood, as it provides writers, directors, and producers a tool with which to further dramatize presidential succession. Through the television shows West Wing, Designated Survivor, Commander in Chief, Madam Secretary, and Political Animals, viewers are exposed to storylines revolving around the 25th Amendment. By viewing these dramatized versions of presidential succession, viewers are better able to understand the process and political science instructors are better able to elucidate the process in the classroom. 

Keywords: Presidential Succession, 25th Amendment, Popular Culture, West Wing, Designated Survivor, Commander in Chief, Political Animals, Madam Secretary 

Author Bio

Jay Wendland is Assistant professor of Political Science at Daemen College. He is the author of the book Campaigns That Matter (Lexington Press), which analyzes the role of campaign visits in presidential nominating contests along with several articles that have appeared in The Journal of Political Marketing, Electoral Studies, and The Forum. His teaching interests include American politics, campaigns and elections, public opinion, politics and the media, and politics and popular culture. He is currently working on a book-length project analyzing the representativeness of presidential nominating contests. More information regarding his research and teaching interests can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jay-wendland-a63a16165/.

Suggested Citation

APA

Wendland, J. (2020). A Heartbeat Away: Popular Culture’s Role in Teaching Presidential Succession. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 7(3). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-3/a-heartbeat-away-popular-cultures-role-in-teaching-presidential-succession/.

MLA

Wendland, Jay. A Heartbeat Away: Popular Culture’s Role in Teaching Presidential Succession. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, vol. 7, no. 3, 2020. http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-3/a-heartbeat-away-popular-cultures-role-in-teaching-presidential-succession/

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Visuality of Race in Popular Culture: Teaching Racial Histories and Iconography in Media

Joni Boyd Acuff
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio, USA
Acuff.12@osu.edu

Amelia M. Kraehe
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona USA
akraehe@arizona.edu

Abstract

The repetition of racist imagery from historical to contemporary popular culture is indicative of a lack of visual culture education among artists, designers, and other creative cultural producers working today. This paper addresses the dearth of resources for teaching visual codes and conventions of racial iconography that are recycled in popular media and contribute to the fabrication of racial differences, maintenance of racial hierarchies, and normalization of white supremacist ideology. Inspired by Critical Race Theory in art and visual culture education, the essay proposes teaching tactics and sites/sights that can support students in developing visual understandings of race in popular culture and the practices of racialized looking it invites. Because popular culture is contested terrain, students can learn to be race-conscious consumers of popular culture today. A deeper awareness of visual codes and conventions can foster critical interpretations and creative responses to popular racial constructions. We suggest key vocabulary for scaffolding dialogue and counter-visual strategies for deconstructing racial images and practices of looking.

Keywords: race, representation, popular culture, art, visual culture, racial literacy, critical race theory

Author(s) Bio

Joni Boyd Acuff, PhD is currently Associate Professor of Arts Administration, Education and Policy at The Ohio State University. Her research attends to critical multiculturalism, critical race theory, Black feminist theory, and culturally responsive pedagogy, teaching and curriculum development in art education. Acuff is co-editor of Multiculturalism in Art Museums Today, published by Rowman & Littlefield. She is the co-author, alongside Amelia M. Kraehe, of the forthcoming Davis publication, Race and Art Education. For more about Acuff and her research, visit https://aaep.osu.edu/people/acuff.12

Amelia M. Kraehe, PhD is currently Associate Professor of Art and Visual Culture Education at The University of Arizona. She researches and teaches about social justice in education, the arts and creative forms of agency, racism and intersectional processes of self-identification. Kraehe is co-editor of Pedagogies in the Flesh: Case Studies on the Embodiment of Sociocultural Differences in Education and The Palgrave Handbook of Race and the Arts in Education. Her current book, titled Race and Art Education and also co-authored with Joni Boyd Acuff, is forthcoming from Davis Publications. For more about Kraehe and her research, visit https://art.arizona.edu/people/directory/akraehe/.

Suggested Citation

APA

Acuff, J. B., Kraehe, A. M. (2020). Visuality of Race in Popular Culture: Teaching Racial Histories and Iconography in Media. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 7(3). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-3/visuality-of-race-in-popular-culture-teaching-racial-histories-and-iconography-in-media/

MLA

Acuff, J and A Kraehe. Visuality of Race in Popular Culture: Teaching Racial Histories and Iconography in Media. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, vol. 7, no. 3, 2020. http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-3/visuality-of-race-in-popular-culture-teaching-racial-histories-and-iconography-in-media/

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Hell You Talmbout: Mixtapes as method for online environmental justice pedagogy

Elspeth Iralu*
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
iralu@unm.edu

Caitlin Grann*
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
cgrann@unm.edu

*The authors wish to indicate that there is equal authorship on this article. 

Abstract

This paper takes on the mixtape as a pedagogical method for approaching urgent and critical topics within the undergraduate online classroom. Drawing on two case studies from different sections of an introductory course on environmental and social justice taught in an American studies department, we demonstrate how mixtape-inspired assignments offer a method for theorizing and enacting the connections between popular culture and critical scholarship around injustice in the humanities and social sciences while
also altering the space of the classroom to promote deeper student engagement, comprehension, and reflection. We argue that introducing popular culture as both content and method within an undergraduate course not only strengthens student understanding of key concepts and the relevance of these outside the classroom, but also acknowledges the importance of time and context within the space of the online course. Popular culture, a component of this context, enriches the online learning experience and responds to contemporary issues and events that students encounter in the material world. Mixtapes serve as a conceptual tool for understanding the contents of a syllabus and as a pedagogical tool for assessment. The practice of making mixtapes within a course on environmental and social justice opens the possibility for radical expression.

Keywords: mixtape, environmental justice, online classroom, online teaching and learning, popular culture, pedagogy

Author Bio

Elspeth Iralu is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the department of Community and Regional Planning at the University of New Mexico, where she teaches courses on Indigenous planning, environmental and social justice, and decolonial politics. Her research brings transnational American studies into critical dialogue with Indigenous geographies. Her writing has appeared in The New Americanist, the Journal of Native American and Indigenous Studies, and the American Association of Geographers Review of Books. 

Caitlin Grann is a PhD candidate in American Studies at the University of New Mexico. Her current research explores the relationality of avant-garde and alt-country via a reimagined North American Southwest as it exists in the archive of artist Jo Harvey Allen. Caitlin makes photographic artist books in tandem with her scholarly research. Several of her pieces are in permanent collections of the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Suggested Citation

MLA

Iralu, Elspeth and Caitlin Grann. “Hell You Talmbout: Mixtapes as method for online environmental justice pedagogy.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, vol. 7, no. 1. 2020http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-2/hell-you-talmbout-mixtapes-as-method-for-online-environmental-justice-pedagogy/

APA

Iralu, E. & C. Grann. (2020). Hell You Talmbout: Mixtapes as method for online environmental justice pedagogy. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 7(2). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-2/hell-you-talmbout-mixtapes-as-method-for-online-environmental-justice-pedagogy/

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