Special Issue of The Journal of Popular Culture: Popular Culture and Public Scholarship
Art Herbig, Purdue University, Fort Wayne, IN
Andrew F. Herrmann, East Tennessee State University
The popular in popular culture is, as it always does, changing. Definitions of popular culture have always been confounded by issues of high and low, mass and public, public and counterpublic, and beyond. However, while we continue to conceptualize and reconceptualize popular culture, we must also seek to better understand our relationship to it as scholars. For instance, call it convergence, transmedia, polymedia, or something else, but what is clear is that what we think of as “media” has changed. Inside that environment, what is considered popular has changed as well. Gone are the days where 30, 40, or – in the case of the series finale of M*A*S*H – 50 million Americans gathered around their televisions to watch a single episode on the same night. Replacing those ephemeral moments is a sense of archival and retrieval, an aversion to spoilers, and a community where the meanings of events and content can change and shift in the time it takes for a single tweet. Importantly, in this environment, hashtags such as #OscarsSoWhite and #MeToo have produced important political, social, and cultural change that requires us to rethink how discourse and social movements are constructed. At the same time, politicians use “fake news” to challenge the authority and credibility of journalism. So, what is our role in these changes, contexts, and discourses?
This issue of The Journal of Popular Culture examines the questions: What is the role of the popular culture scholar in popular culture? Have/should the expectations change based on the shifting contexts provided by modern media? What are the limits and potentials of contemporary popular culture scholarship? Can/should popular culture scholarship exist in multiple spaces and across contexts? Does the notion of a popular culture activist exist? Is it our responsibility to confront in public the public perception by some that what we do is vapid? What directions can popular culture scholarship go from here?
How to Submit
Manuscripts fitting this issue’s theme are sought from a broad array of disciplinary orientations, including (but not limited to) film and television studies, new media studies, the humanities, history, political economy, communication, cultural studies, sociology, and marketing.
Accepted articles of between 5000 and 7500 words in length will be due October 4, 2019. Authors should consult The Journal of Popular Culture’s Submission Guidelines for details on format and citation style.