logo

2011-2012 Colloquia

Colloquium Series Coordinators:
Brian Keilen & Myc Wiatrowski

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. Lectures are hosted by the Center for Popular Culture Studies and co-sponsored by the Department of Popular Culture and the Popular Culture Student Association.

FALL SEMESTER 2011:

September 22, 2011
Location: 207 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Presenter: Dr. Jeremy Wallach, Associate Professor, Department of Popular Culture
Presentation Title: “Like a Real Dinosaur!”: Notes on the Quest for Authenticity in Popular Culture
Abstract: Many regard the academic study of popular culture as a frivolous pursuit. And what could be more frivolous than studying dinosaur toys? This presentation seeks to demonstrate that this seemingly trivial topic can in fact illuminate the fundamental dynamics of popular desire and industry practice that drive American popular culture. Through an exploration of how a discourse of “realness” is employed in the marketing of simulated dinosaurs even while such representations simultaneously take on key characteristics of fictional dragons, I argue that audiences find popular culture compelling not because it transports them to an impossible world of pure fantasy, but because it tantalizingly suggests that their most deeply held fantasies might actually be realizable in a modern, disenchanted world. After all, if the dragons of medieval lore really did walk the earth as dinosaurs, then anything is possible, right?

October 20, 2011
Location: 308 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Presenter: Dr. Matthew Donahue, Instructor, Department of Popular Culture
Presentation Title: The Heavy Metal T-Shirt in Popular Culture and Beyond
Abstract: Rock ‘n’ roll music memorabilia plays a key role in the lives of fans of popular music. The memorabilia tradition associated with popular music spans five decades and ranges from rockabilly to heavy metal, from Elvis to Metallica. For fans of heavy metal music, the heavy metal t-shirt gives an instant symbol of support for their favorite groups, provides entry to communication with other fans, and serves as a badge of honor for concerts attended and bands appreciated. This paper will examine a few of the different visions of the heavy metal t-shirt in popular culture and from ethnographic research conducted with attendees at heavy metal concerts and festivals in the United States and England, t-shirt vendors and beyond.

November 17, 2011
Location: 308 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
PresenterMarc Sumerak, Former Writer and Editor, Marvel Comics
Presentation TitleCraft of Comics
Abstract: Words and pictures collide as BGSU alum Marc Sumerak (BFA 2000) shares insight from more than a decade of work as a writer and editor at Marvel Comics. Join him for an in-depth look into the collaborative art of making comic books and graphic novels, as well as a candid discussion about his many adventures with some of the world's most recognizable characters--including Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men, and many more!

December 8, 2011
Location: 207 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Presenter: Dr. Esther Clinton, Center Fellow, Center for Popular Culture Studies
Presentation Title: How to Train Your Dragon to be a Fairytale Character: Poetics and Parallelisms in a Modern Blockbuster
Abstract: Animated children’s films such as Dreamworks’ 2010 How to Train Your Dragon are usually discussed in terms of their dramatic visual effects. Although Dragon is indeed visually stunning, this presentation looks at the importance of the story in creating the movie’s aesthetic and emotional impact. Some of the film's themes are classic (such as relationships between fathers and sons), but some (such as questioning conventional wisdom and not fearing the “other”) are more modern. The movie follows fairy tale patterns much more closely than the book by Cressida Cowell on which it was based, which I argue renders the movie more effective. I offer an in-depth reading of the texts (both literary and cinematic), focusing on classic fairy tale characteristics such as overall plot structure, structural parallelisms, and linguistic repetition. My research suggests that the screenwriters did not consciously adapt the text so that the movie script would fit fairy tale patterns; rather, by making a few key changes such as making the hero older and making the dragon exceptional, the story seems to have naturally fallen into fairy tale narrative structure. The film’s critical and commercial success demonstrates the continued relevance of fairy tale narrative structure to popular culture and modern audiences.

SPRING SEMESTER 2012:

January 19, 2012
Location: 207 Bowen-Thompson Student Union (Mylander Room)
Presenter: Dr. Pavitra Sundar, Assistant Professor of Humanities, Kettering University
Presentation Title: "The Sound of Heroism: Bollywood Music and the History of Nation"
Abstract: This talk will focus on the articulation of masculinity, history, and nationalism in the hit Bollywood film Rang De Basanti (Paint It Saffron, 2006). The film—its soundtrack in particular—constructs its present-day protagonists as heroic, masculine avatars of radical anti-colonial activists of the early twentieth century. Our contemporary heroes do not just come into consciousness by studying and emulating historical figures. I will argue that their heroism and patriotism is latent in them, and it is Hindi film music and the technologies associated with its dissemination (e.g. radio shows, satellite television) that are responsible for the expression of that virile nationalist identity. In writing film music back into the history of nation and into the cultural discourse of manhood, Rang De Basanti reminds us, as students of (South Asian) film, postcolonial studies, and cultural studies, to listen as closely as we “read” representations of popular culture.

February 16, 2012
Location: 207 Bowen-Thompson Student Union (Mylander Room)
Presenter: Dr. Dan Shoemaker, Instructor, Department of Popular Culture
Presentation Title: Changing the Meaning of Science Fiction: The Erasure of Liberal Humanism from Sci-Fi Film Remakes of the 2000s
Abstract: This work looks at science fiction novels and films from the 1950s and compares them to recent film remakes of the 2000s. We will see that the discourse of Liberal Humanism (so crucial to post-WWII American life) that is present in the 1950s iterations of these stories has been written over with a neoliberal discourse that is more typical of American life after 9/11. We will also consider what implications this state of affairs has for public discourse and politics in contemporary American culture.

February 23, 2012 (at 12 noon in cooperation with Battleground States Conference)
Location: 314 Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Presenter: Dr. Dalton Anthony Jones, Assistant Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies
Presentation Title: Deoccupation! Colonial Settler Legacies in the Struggle for the Commons

March 22, 2012
Location: 207 Bowen-Thompson Student Union (Mylander Room)
Presentation Topic: M.A. POPC Graduate Students' Theses 
Presenters: Brian Keilen, "Echoes of Invasion: Cultural Anxieties and Video Games"
Cory Barker, "Genre Welcome?: Formula, Genre and Branding in USA Network's Programming and Promotional Content"

April 19, 2012
Location: 316 Bowen-Thompson Student Union 
Presentaton Topic: M.A. POPC Graduate Students' Theses 
Presenters: Sean Ahern, Jared Brown, and Travis Limbert