— “Titles are the hardest thing: How can we make them more effective?” via the LSE
Ah, pop culture. Perhaps no other field of study provides such a bountiful harvest of real academic paper titles, and there’s no bigger conference for these folks to get together than the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association's annual meeting. The 42nd iteration of this hermeneutic hoedown took place in Boston this year, with the absolutely terrific George Takei giving the keynote address.
With that .gif looping its way right into your soul, I present to you in no particular order my favorite panel/presentation titles plucked from the full program (pdf alert). Again, “favorite” can mean “clever use of wordplay” or “egregious abuse of academese so esoteric that no one will ever care about what you publish” or sometimes a 3rd nonsensical category that just strikes me the right way.
- "The Meaning of Gluttony and the Fat Body in the Ancient World"
- “‘The Big Fat White Guy Who’s Threatened by Change’: Exploring Race, Racism, and Whiteness in Animated Prime Time”
- "Lady GaGa, Celebrity Journalism, Presidential Campaigns, and Carl Sagan"
- "Did the Greeks Wear Tights?: An Analysis of the Homeric Hero Odysseus in Batman"
- "Everyday They’re Shuffling: Humanity in The Walking Dead"
- "Hips Do Lie: Shakira and the Deterritorialization of the Shimmy"
- "Shakira’s Shimmies: The Politics of the Hip"
- "The Fecal Point in Humanity: An Ethical Reflection on Scatology"
- "Approaching Shame: Fatness, Shame, and the Boundaries of Fat
- "Anti-Disney-stablishmentarianism: The Anti-Corporate Values of Pixar’s Early Films"
- "Vicky’s Knickers: Sizeism, “Progress,” and the Auction of Queen Victoria’s Bloomers"
- "Kraft Cheese, How American is it Really?"
- "From Barthes to Bodyslams: Wrestling’s Success Through Reinforcing and Subverting Masculine Stereotypes"
- "This Bud’s Not For You: Feminine Images and Omission in Television Beer Commercials for Generation X"
- “‘Where art thy axe +2, Romeo?’: The Intersection of Video Games and Theatre in Practice”
- "Severus Snape: Saint or Snake?"
- "Legally Stoned: The Growth and Popularity of Curling in the United States and Canada Since 1998"
- "Translating Otherness: Stereotypes, Doublespeak and Dead Puerto Rican Superhombres"
- "Iron Man: A Study in Orientalism and Hegemony"
- "Sookie and the Supes: The (D)Evolution of Sookie Stackhouse"
- "Oh My: How Bull Durham Subverts the Theory of the Male Gaze"
- "The Blacker the Berry: Colonialism, Fashion, and the Color Line"
- "The College Fraternity and Ambiguous Male Space: Constituting Hegemonic Masculine Identity"
- "‘You Are What You Eat’ How Cracker Barrel Reinforces Notions of American Identity"
- "Boobs, Explosions, and Boner-Popping Perverts: Reviving Clinton-Era Masculinity Through ‘Beavis and Butthead’s ’ Nostalgic Gaze"
- "Rape Myths’ Twilight and Women’s Paranormal Revenge"
- "Closer my Godzilla to Thee: The G-Tour Experience as Popular Culture Pilgrimage"
- "The “Noble Savage” and “Happy Darky”: Race and the American Popular
- "Zombie, Zeitgeist, and Zuccotti: “The Walking Dead” and the Symbolism of Social Infection of the Present-Day U.S."
- "Swan Fight: The Power of the Gaze in Fight Club and Black Swan"
- "The Big Bad Wolf Gets a Sex Change:The Female Wolf Child as New Myth"
- "Sack-rificing the Man: Tom Brady, Football Fans, and the Crisis of Masculinity"
- "The Good Terror: Fight Club as Žižekian Act-ion Film"
- "The Politics of Incest in A Song of Ice and Fire"
- "A Rabbi, A Priest, and a Minister Walked Into a Studio: Teaching Religious Tolerance By Radio, 1925-1935"
- "“Every Day, I Make Them Die With My Car”: Social Atomization and White Guilt in Louis C.K.’s Louie"
- "Monster-cock: The Echo Of Sir Alfred In The Voice Of Lady GaGa"
- "Gastro Pornification: Cannibalism and Food Culture in 301, 302 and Dumplings"
- ""Lady Sybill Finds Her Voice: The Interactions of Class and Gender in Downton"
- "“It Was All a Fog”: Motherhood and the Birth Experience in Mad Men"
- "Climbing the Acropolis in Killer Heels"
- "Dressing to Type: University Professors’ Clothing Choice as a Proclamation of Discipline"
- "Sartorial Shields on Rails: How Dress is Used as Armor in Mass Transit"
- "Spinebusters, Superkicks, and Salvation: The Hyperreality of Christian Professional Wrestling"
- "The Theology of Katniss Everdeen: Moral Philosophy in The Hunger Games"
- "Disciplining Desire: Blood, Sex, Addiction, and the Vegetarian Vampire"
- "From Bromance to Romance: The Sexualization of Sherlock Holmes"
- "Kipling’s “Vampire” Metaphor: Going Viral in the Early Twentieth-Century"
- "A Most Suitable Job for a Lesbian: Trends and Tendencies in Contemporary Spanish Lesbian Crime Fiction"
Fantastic work all around folks. Never change, pop culture scholars.
This week in Boston saw the annual meeting of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, where Comm, Film and Media scholars get together to talk about
the sexualization of Hermione Granger their serious research efforts over the last year.
The program is full of delightful scholarship panels and hundreds of other things too, so I pulled my 41 favorite titles from this year’s SCMS conference. (Note: favorite here can mean “clever use of wordplay” or “egregious abuse of academese so esoteric that no one will ever care about what you publish” or sometimes a 3rd nonsensical category that just strikes me the right way).
Here they are in no particular order:
[real] “Animated Russian Women Warriors and the Men Who Love Them: Medieval Russia, National Identity, and the Russian Animation Industry”
[real] “Animating Archer, Sterling Archer: Bad Ass Spy or the Ultimate Mama’s Boy?”
[real] “Codependent Lesbian Space Aliens Coming to a Town Near You: Community Building as a Road to Distribution”
[real] “Remembering Travolta’s Dreadlocks: ‘Bad’ Cinema as Imagined Community”
[real] “The Sieve or the Scalpel: The Family Movie Act of 2004, Infantile Citizenship, and the Rhetoric of Censorship”
[real] “The Male Complaint: The Intimate Public of Neoliberal Masculinity in Modern Family”
[real] “‘If Only They Had Meant to Make a Comedy’: Laughing at Black Swan”
[real] “Blood, Freckles, and Tears: Sissy Spacek’s Surface Subversions”
[real] “The Corpse, Blooper, or Gag: Desire and Epistephilia in the TV ‘Out-take’”
[real] “Gay Vampires, Orthodykes, and Festival Exoticism: Israeli Queer Cinema in a Global Context”
[real] “’Nuts and Sluts,’ or Women on the Verge of Revolution”
[real] “The Lovers and Dreamers Go Corporate: What Disney Means for Jim Henson’s Muppets”
[real] “All in the Family: Gangster Shtick, Sentimental Ethnicity, and the Italian-American College Basketball Coach”
[real] “Capitalism Eats Itself: Gluttony in Hoarding, Food Porn, Christmas Excess, and Merchandising American Patriotism”
[real] “ASCII pr0n: Textuality, Pornography, and the History of the Internet”
[real] “Selling Sparkle and Schadenfreude: TLC’s Paradoxical Feminine Address”
[real] “Fight Fraternities: Homosociality and Masculinity in The Ultimate Fighter”
[real] “‘The Only Monsters Here Are the Filmmakers’: Animal Cruelty and Death in Italian Cannibal Films”
[real] “The Sledgehammer of Eros: Emergence in Punch-Drunk Love”
[real] “Framing in Futura: Text as Gesture in the Films of Wes Anderson”
[real] “Arm-Wrestling a Super Power: The Ugly American in Turkish Comedy Films”
[real] “Quitters, Hold-outs, and Suicides: Practices of Refusal among (Non)Consumers of Social Media”
[real] “Father Haunts Best: Bindi the Jungle Girl, Steve Irwin, and the Politics of Postmortem Celebrity”
[real] “‘You Are the Best Thing That’s Ever Been Mine’: Queer Fandom and Heterosexual Melancholia on TaylorSwift.com Message Boards”
[real] “On the Paratextual Significance of Titles”
[real] “When a Star Isn’t Born: Extras as Hollywood’s Most Reliable Temporary Workers”
[real] “The Rules of the Hollywood Farm League: How the Media Industries Cultivates Comedic Talent on the Internet”
[real] “Gender Bifurcation in the Recession Economy: Extreme Couponing and Gold Rush Alaska”
[real] “’When Does the Narwhal Bacon?’ – Offline Signifying Practices in Internet Fandom”
[real] “Live From New York, It’s a Train Wreck: Disaster Guests and the Aesthetics of Liveness”
[real] “Objects of Emotion: Cognitive Approaches in Cine-ecocriticism”
[real] “Participation Is Magic: Legitimacy, Production Culture, and the Ponies Meme”
[real] “Becoming Bromosexual: Straight Men, Gay Men, and Male Bonding on U.S. TV”
[real] “‘Hey, Scrotum Face!’: Juvenile Masculinity, Post-feminism, and Guy-centered Television Comedies”
[real] “Bombshells, Bullet Bras, and Booby Traps: Locating Power and Danger within the Female Body”
[real] “The Trouble with Angels: Jiggle Feminism and Bad Faith”
[real] “‘My Boyfriend Is a Vampire’: Undead Lovers and Their Functions”
[real] “‘Savages Howling and Fleeing in Impotent Terror’: Primitivism and Early Cinema Promotion”
[real] “Feygelehs, Crips, and Digital Dandies: Transgender Communities Emerging Online”
[real] “Palimpsests of Gender in Mad Men”
- [real] “Testifying in the Dark: Tyler Perry and the Problem of Genre”
Keep up the good work, folks.
"Tin Man No More: The Metaphoric Consequences of Dick Cheney’s Heart Transplant"
— First Author (@AcademicTitles) March 25, 2012
If you follow me on Twitter (and really, why the hell don’t you?) you know that I regularly post fake scholarly titles for articles you’d actually want to read, plus a mix of [real] titles culled from the esoteric hinterlands of Academia.
Occasionally, when a major academic conference is underway, I’ll go though and pull my favorite ridiculous or terrific titles from the program and post them throughout the weeks leading up to the first day of panels. I suspect this gets overwhelming for people who just want the bullshit and are sick of being reminded of how other scholars are actually out there “publishing things” and “advancing their careers” and not “nursing a drinking problem while pretending to grade.” So, it’s come to this: I’ll be using this blog to post my collections of conference proceedings with my favorite titles and throw in an occasional editorial note here and there, plus other miscellany as I see fit/get bored.
Have a title—real or fake—to send my way? Hit the Submit button or email me: academictitles [at] gmail [dot] com.