[UPDATE] Changes in Bullying in Pop Culture

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Abigail Scheg

Bullying has been a hot topic in recent years in terms of education, social media, and garnering awareness and protection of all persons from bullying. While being bullied or picked on used to be considered something of a rite of passage of elementary and high school, it is now considered a serious offense and can result in school expulsion and criminal charges. The scope of bullying within popular culture has also changed radically; depicting scenes in television or movies regarding bullying is now considered offensive and come with a warning at the start of an episode.

This proposed collection would seek voices of a number of authors to share their thoughts and critical analyses of bullying within popular culture and the changes that have occurred in its depiction. An example is to look at the dramatic chases in movies such as Back to the Future or Forrest Gump in which the male protagonists are mercilessly chased and assaulted by bullies. Another example is to consider the bullying that takes place in the Harry Potter series (books and movies) and to consider how it is used as a tool and why, in its minimal use, it is deemed acceptable for children. Authors can also look critically at the role of race, gender, ethnicity, or other factors in bullying. Ideas outside of these categories or inquiries generally pertaining to the topic at hand can certainly be submitted.

The purpose of such a collection is multifaceted. As a faculty member at a university, one of my teaching assignments is that of Adolescent Literature courses. Understanding the role of bullying and other childhood behavioral concerns is a significant focus of a young adult literature course and anti-bullying programs have become such a phenomenon that entire courses can (and are) being developed around this theme. The text that I am proposing could serve as a reader for any type of similar course: popular culture, young adult literature, children's literature, popular American culture, and many more.

There has also been an increase in the number and scope of books depicting (fictionally or non-fictionally) bullying behaviors among children, teens, and adults. But, to my knowledge and research there is not a collection of scholarly essays addressing these concerns within the scope of popular culture and American society. I believe that such a collection could have a potential place with a variety of readers: teachers, teachers in training, graduate students, high school students, and undergraduate students. Undoubtedly this collection could also be used as a research tool for those interested in the subject area.

Any inquires or 250 word abstracts on their topic of interest can be sent to Dr. Abigail Scheg (Elizabeth City State University) at bullyingpopculture@yahoo.com with an extended due date for abstracts August 10, 2013. McFarland Press has expressed interest in publication of this collection.