The 7 Worst Academics in Popular Culture

A recent article on the Times Higher Education website marked the release of Barbara Tobolowsky’s new edited collection, Anti-intellectual Representations of American Colleges and Universities: Fictional Higher Education, by doing a short piece on how popular culture portrayals ‘devalue academia’, and the real work students and academics are actually doing. Since I’m deep in piles of academic work at … Read more

Star Wars Identities

Last month I visited the Store Wars: 40 Years of Merchandise exhibition in Hoorn, NL. It was a small, intimate affair that took a loving look at the way Star Wars has affected merchandising and fan practices. A few weeks ago, I took a trip into London for the travelling Star Wars Identities exhibition at the O2 Centre. Despite sharing … Read more

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

This week, I finally got a peek at the Spring syllabus for an undergraduate course I’m co-teaching. Sadly my students won’t be watching Blade Runner or reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? this year. I will be teaching a session on ‘the death of the book’, though, and science fiction plays an increasingly important part in this discussion. Several years ago, … Read more

The Political Landscape

Could there be art less political than a landscape? Despite agreeing wholeheartedly with Toni Morrison that ‘All good art is political! There is none that isn’t’, on first viewing of Jacob Pierneef’s paintings at the British Museum’s ‘South Africa: The Art of a Nation’ exhibition I would never have guessed that they were used in the defence of apartheid. … Read more

Women of Star Wars

I’ve been writing a lot about Star Wars lately, and I’m afraid there will be a few more posts on the subject in the weeks to come. What can I say. When you’re working on something—especially something that was once a childhood obsession—it can hard to tear yourself away. This week I’m taking a little … Read more

Rogue One Was the Movie I Needed This Year…But It Wasn’t the One We Deserved

This post contains spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016). If you haven’t yet seen the film, and would prefer to watch it with fresh eyes, stop reading now. As my final post of 2016, I wanted to write about something that allowed me to reflect on the year as a whole. Please note: I don’t … Read more

Store Wars: 40 Years of Star Wars Merchandise

Earlier this month I paid a visit to the Museum of the 20th Century in Hoorn. Seven years living in the Netherlands wasn’t enough to get me there, but my current research on Star Wars marketing—and the opportunity to gawk at some retro toys—finally made the trip worth my while. From 19 November 2016 through 29 October 2017, … Read more

Celebiography: Celebrity and Life-Writing in Dialogue

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the ‘Celebiography: Celebrity and Life-Writing in Dialogue’ colloquium at Oxford’s Wolfson college. The event, expertly organised by Victorianist Sandra Mayer, was supported by the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW), and explored ‘the intersections of celebrity and life-writing across historical periods, disciplines, and media, highlighting possibilities of theorectical and methodological cross-fertilisation.’ After a few opening … Read more

Teaching Cultural Studies after Trump

[Updated: 23 November 2016] I’ve been trying to come up with a fitting topic for my 100th post on this blog (hi, guys) for days, but I find that one thing overshadows all the others in my mind: the US presidential elections. In the wake of 8 November, many educators have been re-evaluating the content of … Read more

Is Star Wars a Boys’ Club?

I have a special request for all my fellow Star Wars fans – but especially the ones who remember when it all started. I’ve got a couple of questions about the fandom and marketing that, as much as I already know, I’m just not up to speed on. It’s partly for a work project (more info … Read more