Popular Culture

Popular Culture


Interviews with scholars of popular culture about their new books.

James A. Cosby, "Rock Music, Authority and Western Culture, 1964-1980" (McFarland, 2024)

May 19, 2024

Rock Music, Authority and Western Culture, 1964-1980

James A. Cosby
Hosted by Rameen Mohammed

The history of rock and roll music can be seen in a long arc of Western civilization's struggle for both greater individual expression and societal st…

En Li, "Betting on the Civil Service Examinations: The Lottery in Late Qing China" (Harvard UP, 2023)

May 17, 2024

Betting on the Civil Service Examinations

En Li
Hosted by Laurie Dickmeyer

During the Qing dynasty in China, a wide variety of people participated in a lottery game named weixing (“surname guessing”), which had participants p…

Julie A. Cassiday, "Russian Style: Performing Gender, Power, and Putinism" (U Wisconsin Press, 2023)

May 14, 2024

Russian Style

Julie A. Cassiday

Russian Style: Performing Gender, Power, and Putinism (University of Wisconsin Press, 2023) provides a critical and nuanced analysis of the relationsh…

Gina Sipley, "Just Here for the Comments: Lurking as Digital Literacy Practice" (Bristol UP, 2024)

May 11, 2024

Just Here for the Comments

Gina Sipley
Hosted by Michael LaMagna

We all sometimes ‘lurk’ in online spaces without posting or engaging, just reading the posts and comments. But neither reading nor lurking are ever pa…

Emily Strand and Amy H. Sturgis, "Star Wars: Essays Exploring a Galaxy Far, Far Away" (Vernon Press, 2023)

May 10, 2024

Star Wars

Emily Strand and Amy H. Sturgis

'Star Wars' is a global phenomenon that in 2022 celebrated its 45th year of transmedia storytelling, and it has never been more successful than it is …

Hala Auji et al., "The Arab Nahda as Popular Entertainment: Mass Culture and Modernity in the Middle East" (I. B. Tauris, 2023)

May 10, 2024

The Arab Nahda as Popular Entertainment

Hala Auji, Raphael Cormack, and Alaaeldin Mahmoud
Hosted by Tugrul Mende

What was popular entertainment like for everyday Arab societies in Middle Eastern cities during the long nineteenth century? In what ways did café cul…

Julia Havas, "Woman Up: Invoking Feminism in Quality Television" (Wayne State UP, 2022)

May 8, 2024

Woman Up

Julia Havas
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

While American television has long relied on a strategic foregrounding of feminist politics to promote certain programming's cultural value, Woman Up:…

Marion R. Casey, "The Green Space: The Transformation of the Irish Image" (NYU Press, 2024)

May 8, 2024

The Green Space

Marion R. Casey
Hosted by Aidan Beatty

Marion Casey is a professor at Glucksman Ireland House at New York University where she also serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies. She has publ…

Jaakko Stenros and Markus Montola, "The Rule Book: The Building Blocks of Games" (MIT Press, 2024)

May 4, 2024

The Rule Book

Jaakko Stenros and Markus Montola

How games are built on the foundations of rules, and how rules—of which there are only five kinds—really work. Board games to sports, digital games t…

Patrick Humphries, "Cleopatra and the Undoing of Hollywood: How One Film Almost Sunk the Studios" (History Press, 2023)

May 4, 2024

Cleopatra and the Undoing of Hollywood

Patrick Humphries
Hosted by Latoya Johnson

The astonishing behind-the-scenes story of the 1963 film Cleopatra and how it changed the face of Hollywood makes it one of the most fabled films of …

Michael Gilson, "Behind the Privet Hedge: Richard Sudell, the Suburban Garden and the Beautification of Britain" (Reaktion Books, 2024)

May 3, 2024

Behind the Privet Hedge

Michael Gilson
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

Britain is a nation of gardeners; the suburban garden, with its roses and privet hedges, is widely admired and copied across the world. But it is litt…

Robert Farley on how "Andor" recreates "The Battle of Algiers" (and it works)

May 3, 2024

Robert Farley on how "Andor" recreates "The Battle of Algiers" (and it works)

Robert Farley
Hosted by UConn PopCast

It’s the UConn Popcast, and today we are joined by Professor Robert Farley, author of “Andor: Star Wars Recreates the Battle of Algiers (And it Works)…

Hanne Elliot Fønss Nielsen, "Brand Antarctica: How Global Consumer Culture Shapes Our Perceptions of the Ice Continent" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

May 1, 2024

Brand Antarctica

Hanne Elliot Fønss Nielsen
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

Antarctica is, and has always been, very much “for sale.” Whales, seals, and ice have all been marketed as valuable commodities, but so have the stori…

Adrian Tinniswood, "Noble Ambitions: The Fall and Rise of the Post-War Country House" (Basic Books, 2021)

April 28, 2024

Noble Ambitions

Adrian Tinniswood
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

As the sun set slowly on the British Empire in the years after the Second World War, the nation's stately homes were in crisis. Tottering under the we…

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, "Tracks on the Trail: Popular Music, Race, and the US Presidency" (U Michigan Press, 2023)

April 26, 2024

Tracks on the Trail

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

From Bill Clinton playing his saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show to Barack Obama referencing Jay-Z's song "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," politicians have u…

Pamela Robertson Wojcik, "Unhomed: Cycles of Mobility and Placelessness in American Cinema" (U California Press, 2024)

April 24, 2024


Pamela Robertson Wojcik
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

In Unhomed: Cycles of Mobility and Placelessness in American Cinema (University of California Press, 2024), Dr. Pamela Roberston Wojcik examines Ameri…

Gary S. Cross, "Free Time: The History of an Elusive Ideal" (NYU Press, 2024)

April 23, 2024

Free Time

Gary S. Cross
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

Free time, one of life’s most precious things, often feels unfulfilling. But why? And how did leisure activities transition from strolling in the park…

Jane Hamlett and Julie-Marie Strange, "Pet Revolution: Animals and the Making of Modern British Life" (Reaktion Books, 2023)

April 23, 2024

Pet Revolution

Jane Hamlett and Julie-Marie Strange

Pet Revolution: Animals and the Making of Modern British Life (Reaktion Books, 2023) tracks the British love affair with pets over the last two centur…

Diana Leon-Boys, "Elena, Princesa of the Periphery: Disney’s Flexible Latina Girl" (Rutgers UP, 2023)

April 19, 2024

Elena, Princesa of the Periphery

Diana Leon-Boys
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

In the summer of 2016, Disney introduced its first Latina princess, Elena of Avalor. Elena, Princess of the Periphery: Disney’s Flexible Latina Girl (…

Eve Golden, "Strictly Dynamite: The Sensational Life of Lupe Velez" (UP of Kentucky, 2023)

April 17, 2024

Strictly Dynamite

Eve Golden

Before Salma Hayek, Eva Longoria, and Penelope Cruz, there was Lupe Velez―one of the first Latin-American stars to sweep past the xenophobia of old Ho…