Tinsel and Rust is an academic monograph about Hollywood’s role in the making (and the re-making) of the American Rust Belt.
A review of Sara Piazza’s book, Jim Jarmusch: Music, Words, and Noise published in The Historical Journal of Film, Radio…
This presentation, delivered at SCMS ’16, argued for the necessity of film and media scholars to consider the industrial processes of pop music distribution (like radio formats) when considering the ways that music becomes culturally meaningful.
For people left out of the 1980s neoconservative vision of what America should be, he was a beacon, guiding us through this thing called life.
In April 2013, Rose Elyse Coyne of Arcadia University’s student group For the Women invited me to participate in…
This lecture, delivered to the faculty of the School of Foreign Languages at Jiangsu University in China, centered on the use of Fifties style and imagery in the 1980s music videos of Michael Jackson.
This presentation, delivered to the International Association of Media and History, provided a cultural history of Oldies, as a term, radio format, and genre.
This presentation, which centers on the 1980s film THE BLUES BROTHERS, attempted to place its revival of blues music into the historical and cultural context of the Reagan Era.
This presentation, delivered at the Film and History Conference, was focused on the transformation of James Dean’s star text in popular culture of the 1970s and 1980s.
Michael Jackson experienced resistance from powerful institutions in pop music before his blockbuster 1982 solo album Thriller, and skepticism from some influential Black cultural figures after it. In both cases Jackson partially addressed these challenges through nostalgia-inducing images of the Fifties in his music videos.
Back to the Fifties, published in 2015 by Oxford University Press, is the first sustained academic analysis of fifties nostalgia in American popular culture in the 1970s and 1980s. The central focus of the manuscript is the political, cultural, and social functions of “the fifties,” a concept nostalgically constructed and reconstructed in the years 1973-1988.
This article, published in Issue #3 of the peer-reviewed open-access journal Alphaville, examines the recontextualization of 1950s rock in the form of “Oldies” in teen films of the 1970s and 1980s.
The chapter, published in the Rowman & Littlefield collection The 1980s: A Critical and Transitional Decade, looks at both Reagan’s political speeches and pop culture texts from the period (Back to the Future and Family Ties) in an attempt to understand the implications of political and cultural mobilizations of nostalgia in the 1980s.
This essay, published in the collection _Singing for Themselves_, works backwards from the collusion of Benning and Hanna in Le Tigre to trace the connections between Sadie Benning’s celebrated video art and the music of Hanna’s Bikini Kill.
“A pure object, a spectacle, a clown…” was a companion to performance artist Neal Medlyn’s show “Wicked Clown Love,” and discusses the relation of Roland Barthes’ Mythologies to the fan culture surrounding horror-rap group Insane Clown Posse.
In Summer 2012 I curated a discussion on the open-access scholarly forum In Media Res as a part of their Theme Week on “Media Memories.” In this post, I explain the distinction between retro, as an aesthetic or representational style, and nostalgia, an affective response to contemporary historical and political conditions.
This article, submitted to a special issue on what media studies scholars term “Aca-Fandom,” centered on the tendency of recent media studies scholarship to inherently respect fan practices, despite the very real existence of fan practices that engage in symbolic and even material violence.
In 2011 I joined the staff of Negative Dunkalectics, an often tongue-in-cheek look at the cultural and aesthetic world of NBA basketball.
Designed as a companion site and promotional vehicle for my book manuscript, I started The-Re-Decade on popular microblogging site Tumblr in late 2012.
Viewing 1950s records of the New York City Planning Commission and comparing them to the critiques brought forth in Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), this paper will explore the specific historical and spatial representations of urban space in Rear Window, one of film studies’ most important texts.
THATCamp, The Humanities And Technology Camp, is a free, open, interdisciplinary “unconference” where humanists and technologists meet to work together for the common good.
This presentation examined Reagan Era films that utilized 1950s popular music on their soundtracks to critique or undermine the commodification and depoliticization of Oldies. This, I argued, serves as just one illustration of the complexity and diversity of uses for nostalgia in the 1980s, outside and against the dominant “Reagan Era” narratives that so easily come to mind.
In the 1980s, nostalgia for the fifties became an enormously lucrative and politically resonant trope in American popular culture. The text most often identified as the founding document of this “nostalgia wave” in America is American Graffiti (1973).
This paper was delivered as part of a panel called “Hollywood on the Air” at the 2011 Society of Cinema…