Academics Henry Jenkins and Colin Maclay use their combined knowledge to dig deeper and ask more ambitious questions than most pop culture podcasts out there – not doing recaps or just remaining on the level of entertainment coverage. For them, popular culture offers resources for asking questions about who we are and where we are going, questions that can be political, legal, technological, economic, or social, but often cut across all of the above.
Horror, Social Change, and Experimentation with Michael Monello and Qiana Whitted
In honor of Halloween, our spookiest episode ever! Our guests are Michael Monello – one of the creators of The Blair Witch Project and co-producer of Video Palace podcast for Shudder; and Qiana Whitted – professor of English and African-American Studies at the University of South Carolina and author of EC Comics: Race, Shock and Social Protest (2020 Eisner Award winner for best academic/scholarly work). Together, they discuss horror in film, radio/podcast, comics, novels, television, and every-day life, helping to map the genre for our listeners.
Increasing Visibility is Existential for Native Communities, with Crystal Echo Hawk
Crystal Echo Hawk is founder and CEO of IllumiNative, a research-driven initiative created and led by Natives that is challenging negative narratives and supporting accurate and authentic portrayals of Native communities in pop culture. We acknowledge the real-life consequences of media erasure on Native populations and highlight promising efforts to combat stereotypes and tell current stories.
Religion, Sports and Popular Culture Are The Same / Seeking Sanctuary During the Apocalypse with Varun Soni
The episode features Varun Soni, USC Dean of Religious Life and much more, and covers the pandemic and higher education, our human need to look to the future, popular culture as a unique point of connection, sports as religion, and Bob Marley as a prophet.
The Undocumented Document Themselves with Set Hernandez Rongkilyo
This week's guest, filmmaker Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, discusses their early love of Anime and how that led them to become a passionate storyteller, through documentary film and now other forms as well. Set discusses their resistance to approaching documentary subjects from a supposedly neutral perspective, as well as the tropes of tragedy porn and binary narratives of the undocumented immigrant experience, and also details their work with the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective, striving to increase representation behind as well as in front of the camera.
How the Baby-Sitters Club Changed Asian-American Culture with Sue Ding
This week, we offer an episode which starts with The Baby-Sitters Club, ends with The Fast and the Furious, and in between, explores issues of documentary filmmaking, emerging media, and Asian-American identity. The episode features Sue Ding.
The Power of Fan activism with Janae Phillips and Shawn Taylor
This week, we are looking at fan-based activism with guests Janae Phillips, Director of Leadership and Education for the Harry Potter Alliance, and Shawn Taylor, a founder of Nerds of Color and the Black Comix Arts Festival. What do we mean by fan activism and how has fandom emerged as an important driver of movements for social change? How do the darker sides of fan activism, including links between “toxic fandom” and the alt-right, compare with how fandom has become a site for anti-racism work? From the Granger Leadership Academy to Afrofuturism, tune in for all this and more.