Workshop - Power, Politics and Pop Culture: International and interdisciplinary perspectives

An interdisciplinary workshop exploring the relationship and power dynamics between politics and pop culture.

The relationship between politics and popular culture has been at the forefront of academic discussions for as long as popular culture has been taken seriously as a site worthy of investigation. However, the forms, modes and types of relationships between the two have shifted as both politics and popular culture have changed over time and in different contexts, calling for renewed analysis.

Oscillating between the local and the global, the imbrication of politics and popular culture has been productively explored to analyse both ‘ordinary’ life and significant cultural and political shifts. This takes place through close attention to the power dynamics embedded within a diverse array of objects and sites of analysis, from more traditional cultural products such as film and literature to the ever-expanding field of social media and other interactive technologies. Methodologies have also developed, from Cultural Studies’ roots in critical textual analysis to considerations of production, reception and now more participatory methods that include the production of cultural and artistic pieces as part of the research process. Teaching practices, too, have expanded, from incorporating popular culture not just into the syllabus but as a hands-on learning activity.

The Workshop

In this informal workshop, we seek to explore the current state of politics and popular culture in research and teaching at the University of Leeds. Bringing together staff and postgraduate students at different stages of their career, the workshop will provide a space for participants to share their perspectives and network with colleagues from across the university. Some of the questions that could be addressed include:

  • How can we productively explore the relations between power, popular culture and politics?
  • What does popular culture offer to the understanding and practice of politics?
  • What are the politics of popular culture?
  • What are the tensions embedded in production, appropriation and consumption?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities of incorporating popular culture into teaching and research practice?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities of thinking about politics and popular culture from an interdisciplinary perspective?

We will invite participants to a lightning round of 5-minute presentations, followed by an exploratory session developing ideas for future collaborations. Participants are welcome to think about the questions above, introduce their work in their presentations, or to just join the session without presenting. The aim will be to build on this event and organise a second meeting in summer, based on the needs and requirements identified during the first session.

If you would like to join the workshop on Friday 3rd March, please complete this form on the Leeds online surveys website.

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