Students and faculty from the University of Arkansas at Monticello presented original research to scholars and popular culture enthusiasts from across the country at the annual Popular Culture/American Culture Conference in Washington D.C. in March.
Rejena Saulsberry, assistant professor of criminal justice, and Christopher Brown of Siloam Springs, a recent UAM graduate and a graduate assistant in communications, presented their ongoing research, “Stereotypes and Cross-Racial Identification: A Case Study of DC Comic’s Blue Beetle and Marvel Comic’s Ultimate Spider-man,” to the comics and comics art section of the national association.
Saulsberry and Brown are measuring the reaction of comic book readers to comics featuring racial andethnic minorities to determine whether the use of stereotypes prevents identification with those characters across racial lines. This is part of Saulsberry’s ongoing research on the depiction and impact of race and ethnicity in mainstream media, and Brown’s work applying theories of “otherization” and dehumanization to various topics in popular culture.
In addition to UAM faculty, undergraduate students presented work to the science fiction and undergraduate sections of the PCA/ACA. Kelly Reed of Bentonville, a junior communications and political science student, presented her paper, “The Dalek Degradation: Degradation of Being in Doctor Who”, which examines theories such as “specieism,” “otherization,” and degradation as being precursors to genocide in the popular British science fiction show, Doctor Who.
Elizabeth Borse, a senior art major from Monticello, presented “We Kill Them All’: Fetishism of Immorality in FX’s Sons of Anarchy,” a paper using the theories of atomism and alienation to explain the popularity and fanatic attachment of individuals to the populartelevision series Sons of Anarchy.