Popular Culture

Popular Culture


Interviews with scholars of popular culture about their new books.

Sören Schoppmeier, "Playing American: Open-World Videogames and the Reproduction of American Culture" (De Gruyter, 2023)

July 19, 2024

Playing American

Sören Schoppmeier

Videogames have always depicted representations of American culture, but how exactly they feed back into this culture is less obvious. Advocating an a…

Melissa E. Anderson, "Inland Empire" (Fireflies Press, 2021)

July 16, 2024

Inland Empire

Melissa E. Anderson
Hosted by Tyler Thier

"A woman in trouble" In her monograph Inland Empire (Fireflies Press, 2021), film critic Melissa Anderson explores meaning (or the impossibility ther…

Emily J. Lordi, "The Meaning of Soul: Black Music and Resilience Since the 1960s" (Duke UP, 2020)

July 15, 2024

The Meaning of Soul

Emily J. Lordi
Hosted by Kristen Turner

Soul is one of those concepts that is often evoked, but rarely satisfactorily defined. In The Meaning of Soul: Black Music and Resilience Since the 19…

Olga Gershenson, "New Israeli Horror: Local Cinema, Global Genre" (Rutgers UP, 2024)

July 13, 2024

New Israeli Horror

Olga Gershenson
Hosted by Nathan Abrams

Before 2010, there were no Israeli horror films. Then distinctly Israeli serial killers, zombies, vampires, and ghosts invaded local screens. The next…

Heidi Honeycutt, "I Spit on Your Celluloid: The History of Women Directing Horror Movies" (Headpress, 2024)

July 12, 2024

I Spit on Your Celluloid

Heidi Honeycutt
Hosted by Rebekah Buchanan

I Spit On Your Celluloid: The History of Women Directing Horror Movies (Headpress, 2024) by Heidi Honeycutt is the first book-length history of female…

Danielle Antoinette Hidalgo, "Dance Music Spaces: Clubs, Clubbers, and DJs Navigating Authenticity, Branding, and Commercialism" (Lexington, 2023)

July 12, 2024

Dance Music Spaces

Danielle Antoinette Hidalgo
Hosted by Michael Johnston

In Dance Music Spaces: Clubs, Clubbers, and DJs Navigating Authenticity, Branding, and Commercialism (Lexington Books, 2022), Danielle Antoinette Hida…

Tea Krulos, "American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness" (Feral House, 2020)

July 12, 2024

American Madness

Tea Krulos
Hosted by Tyler Thier

The mainstream news media struggles to understand the power of social media. In contrast, conspiracy advocates, malicious political movements, and eve…

Andrew S. Jacobs, "Gospel Thrillers: Conspiracy, Fiction, and the Vulnerable Bible" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

July 8, 2024

Gospel Thrillers

Andrew S. Jacobs
Hosted by Michael Motia

What if the original teachings of Jesus were different from the Bible's sanitized 'orthodox' version? What covert motivations might inspire those who …

Jake Johnson, "The Possibility Machine: Music and Myth in Las Vegas" (U Illinois Press, 2023)

July 7, 2024

The Possibility Machine

Jake Johnson, Brian F. Wright, and Joanna Dee Dass
Hosted by Kristen Turner

Las Vegas is a place the American dream made; a city built in the middle of desert visited by millions of people every year hoping to make their dream…

Darshana Sreedhar Mini, "Rated A: Soft-Porn Cinema and Mediations of Desire in India" (U California Press, 2024)

July 7, 2024

Rated A

Darshana Sreedhar Mini
Hosted by Priyam Sinha

In the 1990s, India's mediascape saw the efflorescence of edgy soft-porn films in the Malayalam-speaking state of Kerala. In Rated A: Soft-Porn Cinema…

Kathryn Hughes, "Catland: Louis Wain and the Great Cat Mania" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2024)

July 7, 2024


Kathryn Hughes
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

In 1900, Britain and America were in the grip of a cat craze. An animal that had for centuries been seen as a household servant or urban nuisance had …

Michelle T. King, "Chop Fry Watch Learn: Fu Pei-Mei and the Making of Modern Chinese Food" (Norton, 2024)

July 3, 2024

Chop Fry Watch Learn

Michelle T. King
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In 1971, the New York Times called the Taiwanese-Chinese chef, Fu Pei-Mei, the “the Julia Child of Chinese cooking.” But, as Michelle T. King notes …

On Michael Jackson: A Lecture by Margo Jefferson

June 29, 2024

On Michael Jackson

Margo Jefferson

In September 2006, Margo Jefferson spoke to the Institute about her book, On Michael Jackson (Vintage, 2007). Jefferson received the 1995 Pulitzer Pri…

Barbara Klinger, "Immortal Films: 'Casablanca' and the Afterlife of a Hollywood Classic" (U California Press, 2022)

June 27, 2024

Immortal Films

Barbara Klinger
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

Casablanca is one of the most celebrated Hollywood films of all time, its iconic romance enshrined in collective memory across generations. Drawing fr…

Ishita Tiwary, "Video Culture in India: The Analog Era" (Oxford UP, 2024)

June 26, 2024

Video Culture in India

Ishita Tiwary
Hosted by Priyam Sinha

Ishita Tiwary’s book Video Culture in India: The Analog Era (Oxford UP, 2024) is an unprecedented attempt in foregrounding the diverse media history o…

Jerry Rafiki Jenkins, "Anti-Blackness and Human Monstrosity in Black American Horror Fiction" (Ohio State UP, 2024)

June 25, 2024

Anti-Blackness and Human Monstrosity in Black American Horror Fiction

Jerry Rafiki Jenkins
Hosted by Kendall Dinniene

In Anti-Blackness and Human Monstrosity in Black American Horror Fiction (Ohio State UP, 2024), Jerry Rafiki Jenkins examines four types of human mons…

Ann Powers, "Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell" (Dey Street Books, 2024)

June 24, 2024


Ann Powers
Hosted by Bradley Morgan

For decades, Joni Mitchell's life and music have enraptured listeners. One of the most celebrated artists of her generation, Mitchell has inspired cou…

Christopher T. Conner and David R. Dickens, "Electronic Dance Music: From Deviant Subculture to Culture Industry" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023)

June 23, 2024

Electronic Dance Music

Christopher T. Conner and David R. Dickens
Hosted by Michael Johnston

Electronic Dance Music: From Deviant Subculture to Culture Industry (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023) explores the subculture’s emergence as a deviant subc…

Hank Willenbrink, "Performing for the Don: Theatres of Faith in the Age of Trump" (Routledge, 2024)

June 23, 2024

Performing for the Don

Hank Willenbrink
Hosted by Rob Heaton

From his overwhelming embrace by evangelicals and other people of faith to his championing of policies and conservative judicial candidates long sough…

Jennifer S. Clark, "Producing Feminism: Television Work in the Age of Women's Liberation" (U California Press, 2024)

June 21, 2024

Producing Feminism

Jennifer S. Clark
Hosted by Dave O'Brien

How have women resisted sexism in TV? In Producing Feminism: Television Work in the Age of Women’s Liberation (U California Press, 2024), Jennifer S. …