Marquette will host the first in a series of discussion on pop culture today at 12:30 p.m. in the Tory Hill Café.
English professors Gerry Canavan and C.J. Hribal will moderate the event, which is open to all students.
“Highlighting and discussing topics that go beyond the classroom is our aim,” Canavan said. “Sometimes it’s difficult as professors to fit every issue in lecture that students want to know more about.”
Canavan said his intent is to make the discussion laid back and dialogue-oriented.
“Our main goal is to have students feel comfortable talking about some of the things we love,” he said.
Canavan said some of the topics covered at the event will be “The Hobbit” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
“We might even add some ‘Glee’ discussions as well,” he said. “We hope this becomes a regular gathering.”
Canavan said the idea for the discussion originated from other colleges having success.
“Some of the English faculty saw other colleges with this great idea,” he said. “We thought this would apply great to Marquette as well.”
Philosophy professor, writer and pop culture expert James South has written philosophical essays about many television shows and movies, including “Mad Men,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the James Bond series. Given his experience, South said he is excited to attend the discussion.
“Pop culture is a way for people to have an unmediated and immersive experience,” he said. “This can bridge the gap between generations and also have society question if our world should be like this too.”
Regarding “The Hobbit,” South said he remembers reading the book in his junior high advanced English class.
“Even in the 1970s, this book was a classic,” he said. “And now they are bringing ‘The Hobbit’ back through a film.”
South said incorporating old ideas into today’s pop culture can be very easy.
“Today in movies we use 3-D, special effects and surround sound to capture the idea,” he said. “Contemporary artists have an immediate experience of a piece of art.”
Using William Shakespeare as an example, South compared pop culture through the ages.
“Back in the time of Shakespeare, going to a play was just like going to a concert,” he said. “Now, many in high school and even college dread to read Shakespeare. It’s foreign to use because it is not our culture.”
Brianna Wheeler, a freshman in the College of Education, said pop culture is an important topic to discuss.
“Our pop culture is shown through our music, movies and the clothes that we wear,” she said. “I can even see a huge difference (between) my parents’ culture and (mine).”
Wheeler said she has seen the biggest pop culture changes in movies.
“From watching movies (made) in the 1950s to now, it is a completely different generation,” she said. “We are much less conservative on television than sixty years ago.”
Karla Padilla, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said the definition of pop culture is challenging to describe.
“Our society’s view of pop culture is always changing, because society is always changing,” she said.