Faculty of Arts

Popular Culture Lecture Series

Organisers wanted for Series III 2016/17

This year's Popular Culture Lecture Series has come to an end. We are looking for two PhD students to help organise the preparation and running of the series for its 2016/17 season. The role is offerred in a voluntary capacity. Application deadline 6 June.

Poular Culture Lecture Series II

About the series

Popular Culture Lecture Series, is a weekly series organised around a thirty-to-forty minute lecture or presentation, followed by an open Q&A in which the audience will be invited to offer comments or questions regarding the topic introduced. The series is primarily aimed at post-graduate students and research staff members but is also open to the general public.

Following on the success of the first season of the Popular Culture Lecture Series, the University of Nottingham and the Faculty of Arts are happy to announce that the series has been renewed for a second season, which means we now need your help to craft the best programme possible.

As Ray B. Browne famously suggested, popular culture encompasses “...the everyday world around us: the mass media, entertainments, and diversions. It is our heroes, icons, rituals, everyday actions, psychology, and religion — our total life picture. It is the way of living we inherit, practice and modify as we please, and how we do it. It is the dreams we dream while asleep.”

Popular culture is what we live by, breathe in, and, often literally, consume every single day, from our phones to the radios of our cars, from the circus to the stage, the street or the big screen.

What do we mean when we talk about ‘popular culture’? Are we all talking about the same thing? And how does one approach popular culture within an academic framework? In other words, can one really study Batman seriously?  Popular  Culture Lecture Series 2014: art by jasonedmiston.com


Series II 2015/16
26/10/2015 Nina Allan and Dave Hutchinson Nottngham Contemporary Thinking Worlds
04/11/2015 Dr Nathan Waddell English My name is… James Bond, masculinity and the Mother Land
11/11/2015 Pr Sean May Biosciences Designer dragons and transgenic triffids, or the power of the (genetic) imagination
18/11/2015 Patrick Henderson American and Canadian Studies Underground Resistance, Afrofuturism and the technonarrative of blackness
25/11/2015 Dr Catrin Rutland Veterinary Medicine and Science Science fiction vs science fact, imagining the future of genetics
02/12/2015 Dr Katie McGettigan American and Canadian Studies He says he's innocent: Journalism and story-telling in the Serial podcast
09/12/2015 Tom Bishop American and Canadian Studies Bunker mentality, The family fallout shelter in U.S. thought and culture
27/01/2016 Dr Helen Lovatt Classics Caroline Lawrence and the power of sadness, or Virgil for reluctant readers
03/02/2016 Ibtisam Ahmed Politics and international Relations Am I the only person on the team who's straight? Queer Voices in Young Avengers
10/02/2016 Edmund Downey English The Swinish Multitude: Popular politics in the Age of Revolution.
17/02/2016 Dr Mark Bradley Classics Greed, Grit and Grandeur: Roman civilisation in Victorian and Edwardian children’s literature
24/02/2016 King-Ho Leung Theology Haters gonna hate, hate, hate…? Taylor Swift’s Deleuzean repetition and affirmation of love
02/03/2016 Dr Kate Stewart & Dr Matthew Cole Medicine & Open University They only call them pigs when they're alive: Animals in children's films
09/03/2016 Dr Daniel King American and Canadian Studies Prize Winning Comics, a post-millenial phenomenon
16/03/2016 Dr Nicola Bowring English Gotham v. Metropolis: Location and myth in the Batman and Superman series
20/04/2016 Dr Claire Warden De Montfort University Pops and promos, speech and silence in professional wrestling
27/04/2016 Dr Stephen Timmons & Dr Andy Meal Business School & Health Sciences A Hard Road: the craftsmanship of heavy metal
04/05/2016 Cassandra Brummitt De Montfort University From author to authority, J. K. Rowling and brand guardianship in Harry Potter
Call for papers: now closed  

The aims of the series is to:

  • introduce people, whether students or not, to a field, popular culture, they may be familiar with but whose academic potential they may ignore
  • offer an opportunity for researchers of all levels to present their work to an active and receptive audience and get potentially useful feedback
  • showcase the wide range of research currently undertaken at theUniversity of Nottingham and the ways in which said research reflects upon and engages with the world outside its walls;

The Faculty of Arts invites proposals (about 300 words) for 30-40 minute presentations or lectures on all aspects of popular culture and from all areas of studies. We particularly welcome abstracts which can be directly linked to popular events scheduled to take place over the academic year (book or movie release, TV series start date, convention, political or cultural event, etc.), but all topics and abstracts will be considered.

The first lecture is already scheduled for Wednesday 4 November 2015 and the Series will cover the rest of the Autumn and Spring terms.

Abstract submissions should be sent to Mathieu Donner (Mathieu.Donner@nottingham.ac.uk) by Monday 12 October.

Please remember to include name, affiliation, academic title and email address as well as any AV requirements.

Postgraduate students and early-careers researchers are particularly encouraged to participate

Series I 2014/15
Popular Culture Lecture Series: programme 2014/15
4 Feb 2015 “It’s a trope!”: Star Wars and/in translation (Storify) Pierre-Alexis Mével
(School of French and Francophone Studies) 
11 Feb 2015 A state of play: representing politics in popular fiction (Storify). Steven Fielding
(School of Politics and International Relations)
18 Feb 2015 Slam poetry, verbal combat and the “death of Art” debate. Timo Schrader
(School of Cultures, Language and Area Studies)
25 Feb 2015

“I need fish fingers and custard”: the irruption and suppression of vegan ethics in Doctor Who (Storify).

News room blog: The ethics of Dr Who's diet

Kate Stewart
(School of Medicine and Health Sciences) & Matthew Cole (Open University)
4 Mar 2015 Zombie genomics: or the didactic dead Sean May (School of Biosciences)
11 Mar 2015

“Do you like scary movies?”: defining the anatomy of cinematic suspense and viewer anticipatory patterns.

Keith Bound
(School of Cultures, Language and Area Studies)
18 Mar 2015 Selling The Hunger Games: The Digital Infrastructure of Blockbuster Promotion (Storify). Catherine Johnson (School of Cultures, Language and Area Studies)
25 Mar 2015  “This is Sparta!”: representing ancient Greece in film and comics. Lynn Fotheringham & Stephen Hodkinson (School of Classics) 
29 Apr 2015 Travels in deep time: evolution and extinction in Classic Doctor Who. Susannah Lydon (School of Biosciences)
6 May 2015

I am your forefather: Star Wars and/as medieval dystopia (Storify).

Nathan Waddell and Christina Lee (School of English)
12 May 2015

Adam Roberts in Conversation with Dr Caroline Edwards, Nottingham Writers Studio (Storify)

Adam Roberts (Science Fiction author) and Dr Caroline Edwards (Birkbeck, University of London)


Faculty of Arts

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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telephone: +44 (0) 115 846 8502
email: helen.frost@nottingham.ac.uk