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2009-2010 Colloquia

Colloquium Series Coordinator:
Benjamin Phillips
benphil@bgsu.edu

All colloquia will run approximately from 11:00am to 12:00pm followed by an informal "brown bag lunch" from 12:00pm until 1:00pm. The Center will provide dessert and beverages. All events will take place on the Bowling Green State University Main Campus. 

Fall Semester 2008:

September 18, 2008
Location: 315 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Presenter: Dr. Jack Santino, Professor, Department of Popular Culture
Presentation Title: "Parades, Protest, and Popular Culture: Performative Commemoratives and the Ritualesque"
Abstract: Northern Ireland has recently endured an extended period of what amounts to a civil war. While bombings and shootings were the most-reported aspect of this civil strife, identity politics based on religious affiliation, political beliefs, and territory were played out largely through expressive forms such as parades, and other forms of traditional popular culture. Based on first-hand folkloristic field research, this presentation will analyze the role of emergent tradition and commemoration. It will also touch on the terminologies and methodologies employed in the talk itself--i.e., "folklore," "popular culture," and "mass media."

October 16, 2008
Location: 315 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Presenter: Dr. Marilyn Motz, Associate Professor, Department of Popular Culture
Presentation Title: "Loyalties, Lies and Moral Ambiguity: Counterinsurgency and the Civilian Population in the American Civil War"
Abstract: This talk will examine how citizens of a small community in the border state of Missouri during the Civil War used oral narratives of tricksters and atrocities to understand the rapidly changing situations of guerrilla warfare, military occupation, counterinsurgency tactics, and the imposition of martial law.  As the institutions of civil society collapsed and neighbors claimed allegiance to different governments, individuals drew on remembered cultural resources to redefine their identities, loyalties and moral principles.

November 20, 2008
Location: 315 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Presenter: Mr. Nathan Crook, Instructor, Department of Sociology & Doctoral Candidate, American Culture Studies Program
Presentation Title: "Food that Matters: Constructing Place and Community at Food Festivals in Northwest Ohio"
Abstract: Food festivals in Northwest Ohio rarely focus on the strange or the exotic, but rather, tend to play up the local and the familiar. The majority of the festivals in the region are organized around locally produced foods, however; the local cuisine is stereotypically viewed from the outside, and frequently perceived from the inside, as mostly bland and boring. Moreover, there is a perceived absence of recognizable food traditions in Northwest Ohio. Ethnographic research with cultural producers responsible for originating, maintaining, and perpetuating these festivals can help peel back the layers of meaning wrapped up in these community events and provide insight into the politics of community image making. 

December 11, 2008
Location: 207 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Presenter: Dr. Montana Miller, Assistant Professor, Department of Popular Culture
Presentation Title: Rites of Blocked Passage: The “Silver Ring Thing” Sexual Abstinence Movement
Abstract: Public ceremonies in which teenagers pledge to remain sexually abstinent until marriage are currently surging in popularity. “Silver Ring Thing” events do not serve as rites of transition to adulthood but instead represent the postponement of that coming-of-age, at least sexually. Evangelical Christian ministries, framing themselves as underdogs in the moral battle for adolescent souls, have constructed intense, dramatic events, employing elements and trappings of rites of passage, to showcase the ring purchase. Those who orchestrate the proceedings strive to manufacture a ritual that effects the transformation they desire. But surveys reveal consistently that abstinence pledges only delay sexual activity; most teenagers break their pledge before marriage. The virtuous status they assume through the ceremony is a performance for an audience whose agenda is preventing and postponing transition to adult status. On that stage, donning the purity ring is a gesture of resistance to the carnal temptations of growing up—a rite of blocked passage.

Spring Semester 2009:

January 22, 2009
Location: 207 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Presenters:
Ms. Ekawati M. Dukut, 2008-2009 Fulbright Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellow, American Culture Studies Program
Mr. Sudiran, 2008-2009 Center for Popular Culture Studies Fellow, Department of Popular Culture
Moderator/Commentator:
Dr. Jeremy Wallach, Assistant Professor, Department of Popular Culture
Presentation Title: "Indonesian Perspectives on American Popular Culture"
Abstract: The presenters in this Colloquium are doctoral candidates in American Studies at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Ms. Dukut is examining American cultural values in three mainstream American women's magazines and Mr. Sudiran is researching the significance of American basketball in Indonesian culture. Both Ms. Dukut's and Mr. Sudiran's presentations will include comments about Indonesian popular culture, their dissertation projects and research grants, their reasons for studying American popular culture, and their research objectives while in residence at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Wallach, an expert in Indonesian popular music, will moderate the panel and comment on the presentations.

February 19, 2009
Location: 315 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Presenter: Dr. Maisha Wester, Assistant Professor, American Culture Studies & Department of English
Presentation Title: Uneasy Feminisms: Re-thinking (Wo)men in Eli Roth's Hostel Films
Abstract: While I hesitate to call either of Eli Roth's Hostel films “feminist” or to say they truly participate in any of feminisms projects, they nonetheless clearly critique and mock patriarchy and its structures of power. In a postmodern culture where the notion of dichotomy is so problematic that even the “post” in “postmodern” is challenged, perhaps it is possible to be anti-patriarchy without being a feminist.  Eli Roth’s films Hostel and Hostel 2 present just such a challenge and complication to conventional dichotomies, despite the popular appraisal of the second film as “feminist.”  The film repositions George Bush’s (in)famous declaration “if you’re not with us, your against us” on a commodified body that loses stable gender positioning in the face of consuming capitalists, and thus explodes the dichotomous for/ against categories that seem inherent to feminism as well.  Roth’s mocking portrayal of the psychotic patriarch and equally monstrous heroine suggests that we become equally villainous in our participation in capitalist economy.

March 19, 2009
Location: 207 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Presenter: Dr. Glenn Sheldon, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies & Adult Learning Services Coordinator, I.S.P./UT Learning Collaborative, University of Toledo
Presentation Title: "From Low-Brow Inclusion to High-Brow Exclusion: Popular Culture Issues in the Classroom"
Abstract: Popular culture is a field of study, or more correctly, fields of study that I incorporate into all my classes; more and more, I incorporate it into my own critical writing and creative nonfiction. In any case, pop culture is a vernacular that allows me to make bridges between generations as well as between disciplines and ways of understanding; most importantly for me personally, it is a bridge between the intellectual arena and the working class. Pop culture is a rich area of study in our Adult Liberal Studies (ALS) courses, where I teach our Humanities Seminars. They are interdisciplinary in nature and popular  culture helps to not just bridge transdisciplinary issues but to map, web-like, complex interactions. Dominic  Strinati characterizes popular culture through various lenses in his book, An Introduction to the Theories of Popular Culture. It is in the arena of populism where I, perhaps optimistically, find the incentives to include the study of popular culture into a wide variety of my ALS courses. “According to populism, popular culture cannot be understood unless it is viewed, not as in imposition, but as a more or less genuine expression of the voice of the people” (Strinati 234). It is here that I begin with a general overview of some of the issues I encounter, or expect to encounter, as I teach popular culture. Here I believe I can move students out of the realm of high-brow exclusionism to low-brow inclusionism, thus engaging them in profound ways. 

April 16, 2009: Graduate Student Research Colloquium& Graduate Student Appreciation Day Reception
Location: 207 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Description: Please join us for the last  Popular Culture Colloquium Series lecture featuring graduate students Sarah Lafferty, Benjamin Phillips, and Stephanie Plummer. Ms. Lafferty will discuss the contested role of the female FBI agent and the ambiguity of the 'relay' gaze in her thesis, "Holding Out for a Female Hero: The Visual and Narrative Representation of the Female FBI Agent in Hollywood Psychological Thrillers, 1991-2008." Next, Mr. Phillips will illustrate the role Penn State football fandom plays in the creation of identities and communities in his thesis, "A Community in a Cow Pasture: Football at Penn State." The Series will conclude with Ms. Plummer's discussion of the role food contamination narratives hold in the defining of identity and community in her thesis, "Food Contamination Narratives in US News Media."