Professor Jack Holland delivers Distinguished Scholar Lecture at St Andrews

Dr Holland delivered the prestigious Distinguished Scholar Lecture at St Andrews in March 2023.

Professor Jack Holland is the latest scholar to have been invited to deliver the prestigious Distinguished Scholar Lecture at the University of St. Andrews. He delivered his lecture, ‘Pedagogy and Popular Culture: International Politics and the (Small) Screen’, in March 2023.

Previous speakers, who have delivered the Distinguished Scholar Lecture, have been Robbie Shilliam (Johns Hopkins University), Amitav Acharya (American University), Cynthia Enloe Clark University), Chris Brown (London School of Economics), James Der Derian (University of Sydney) and Stephan Krasner (Stanford University). 

In the talk, Professor Holland outlined findings from three related research projects, exploring the relationship between politics and popular culture generally, and specifically how students make use of videos as part of their learning experience.

  1. The first of these projects analysed how students use lecture summary videos, current affairs clips, and fictional television, linking these video types to different learning benefits for different students.
  2. The second paper, published in International Studies Perspectives, explored how fictional television can help students in Politics and International Relations to develop critical evaluation skills and visual literacy.
  3. Finally, drawing on his monograph with Manchester University Press, Professor Holland reflected on the significant political and pedagogical role of fictional televeision in the twenty-first century. 

Throughout the talk, Professor Holland considered the potential benefits of the (small) screen for teaching Politics and International Relations. 

Professor Holland also delivered a Teaching Forum while visiting St Andrews. His forum, ‘Seriously Funny: Comedy, Pedagogy, and International Relations’, built upon a growing literature on the serious business of political comedy and the role of humour in shaping international politics.

The forum explored the pedagogical benefits of comedy and humour for International Relations (theory), as well as encouraged attendees to consider the role of humour for critique and resistance and more generalised learning.

Additionally, Professor Holland was keen to offer the opportunity for attendees to develop their own political-comedic material, the aim of the session being to encourage renewed engagement with a significant component of political life and develop new material of pedagogical value. 

A blog, written by Professor Holland detailing his experience and reflections on his visit to St Andrew's is available to read on the Centre for Teaching Innovation and Scholarship (CTIS) website.