Exploring TV, film, comics and more – the Popular Culture Lecture Series strikes back


October 28th, 2015

This November marks the return of the free public lecture series with a twist.

From Taylor Swift to heavy metal, professional wrestling to Harry Potter, and genetically-engineered dragons to James Bond, there’s something for everyone in this year’s Popular Culture Lecture Series, taking place at The University of Nottingham.

In this weekly series, academics from subject areas across the University will deliver a unique perspective on a range of unconventional subject areas, covering high-profile cultural phenomena from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Each talk then concludes with a Q&A in which the audience are invited to offer comments or questions on the topic.

Tackling subjects from Swift to Superman

Launching on Wednesday 4 November with ‘James Bond, masculinity and the Mother Land’, the series will end on Wednesday 4 May 2016 with ‘From author to authority: J.K. Rowling and brand guardianship in Harry Potter’. Other highlights from the programme include a look at the future of genetics in science fact and fiction, queer voices in Young Avengers, location and myth in the Batman and Superman series and ‘Taylor Swift’s Deleuzean repetition and affirmation of love’ in her music.

This year’s series follows on from the first season of the Popular Culture Lecture Series, the success of which demonstrated the high level of public interest in academic views of popular culture.

Mathieu Donner, postgraduate researcher in the School of English and organiser of the series, said: “Students and members of the general public all consume popular culture on a daily basis yet very few of them actually know you can study it at an academic level.

“The lecture series was born from my own interest in the field and from a desire to both showcase what The University of Nottingham had to offer in terms of potential for the study of popular culture and to open potential new pathways for future research. I think this year’s programme clearly demonstrates the large scope popular culture offers for study and, hopefully, some of our attendees will feel inspired to take on their own share of the work and develop new amazing research projects of their own.”

Licence to thrill

Dr Nathan Waddell, who launches the series on Wednesday 4 November with ‘James Bond, masculinity and the Mother Land’, said: “James Bond is one of those fascinating cultural phenomena that reveal where we’re headed as a civilisation – often implicitly, from what the books and films deem socially ‘threatening’, for instance, to the matter of who gets to play which roles in the film series over time.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to talk about Bond in a way that, I hope, will make audiences in and beyond the University reflect on how popular culture embodies our unspoken assumptions about the world, the legacies of empire, and the appropriateness of the spy thriller genre in the face of increasingly insidious threats to civil liberty.”

Don’t miss it

The Popular Culture Lecture Series occurs at 5.30pm every Wednesday during term time. All talks will take place in the Physics Building on University Park — building 22 on the campus map. For a full programme and more information, visit nott.ac.uk/popularculturelecture

You can also find the Popular Culture Lecture Series on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.

Image: art by Harlis Grundmanis

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