Praxes of popular culture

No. 1 - Year 9 - 12/2018

University of Zadar | ISSN 1847-7755 | SIC.JOURNAL.CONTACT@GMAIL.COM

Editorial

Years after the Frankfurt School, Roland Barthes’s work, Laura Mulvey’s film analysis, The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, various essential books and readers on popular culture, countless conferences and gatherings on popular culture that have taken place all over the world, it may seem that trying to point out the importance of popular culture in yet another scholarly journal is mundane. However, certain phenomena prove that this kind of topic is a necessity: the omnipresence of comic-book adaptations – such as the recent Black Panther phenomenon that has many global and local social, cultural, political, and economic implications, not least through the money-making promotions of certain kinds of active citizenship (NGOs’ promoted voter registration in theaters) – or videogame adaptations and rampant sexism and racism in one of the most successful industries of the day, or constant claims about the connection between mental health issues and video games, as well as the ongoing on- and offline struggle to give the neglected, minor voices their representation in popular products, or the timely #MeToo movement that called out Hollywood first and then almost entire creative industries on violence, coercion, and taking advantage over women. Popular culture is an industry as well as a community; it is profitable and it is marginal; it is equally monumental and trivial. The truth behind one of the most analyzed aspects of human culture today shows that it is ever-changing, transformative, that it is one of the most productive praxes for creators and audience alike, and, in the end, that it has important social, cultural, political, and economic effects, simultaneously producing affects and emotionality. ...

Literature and Culture
Frances Tuoriniemi, University of Warwick, United Kingdom:

This paper examines the impact of sacrificing queerness when adapting comics into films, which cater to wider audiences – specifically, queer elision in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther (2018) and illusions of queerness in Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (2017). The difference between elision and illusion is crucial, and so approached using different analytical modes. Black Panther’s analysis is rooted in the production process, exploring how/why queerness is erased by drawing comparisons to the explicit queerness of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxanne Gay’s comics. The analysis of Wonder Woman focuses on in-depth textual analysis of both Greg Rucka’s comics and Jenkins’s film to illustrate how queer illusions functions across media. Despite these films being hailed as progressive, this paper illuminates how motivations to hide queerness when moving to wider audiences are rooted in homophobia and protecting profit margins.Keywords: queer, comics, comic-book movies, superheroes, Marvel, DC, Wonder Wom...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.5
Literature and Culture
Kevin Drzakowski, University of Wisconsin-Stout, USA:

The television series Lost uses the motif of time travel to consider the problem of human free will, following the tradition of Humean compatibilism in asserting that human beings possess free will in a deterministic universe. This paper reexamines Lost’s final mystery, the “Flash Sideways” world, presenting a revisionist view of the show’s conclusion that figures the Flash Sideways as an outcome of time travel. By considering the perspectives of observers who exist both within time and outside of it, the paper argues that the characters of Lost changed their destinies, even though the rules of time travel in Lost’s narrative assert that history cannot be changed.Keywords: Lost, time travel, Hume, free will, compatibilismMy purpose in this paper is twofold. First, I intend to argue that ABC’s Lost follows a tradition of science fiction in using time travel to consider the problem of human free will, making an original contribution to the debate by invoking a narrative structure previou...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.1
Literature and Culture
Iva Šarić, independent researcher, Croatia:

Along with the introductory remarks on the relationship between novels and comics and their historically problematic status, this paper analyzes and interprets, from the perspective of creation, i.e. the scriptwriter and the illustrator, as well as from the perspective of the reception or audience, the procedures by which Pierre Lemaitre’s novel Goodbye, Up There is, on the level of content and expression, transformed into the new medium of comics. The comparative narrative analysis of the novel and the comic book shows that the shift from telling to showing mode requires, above all, dramatization, introduction of dialogues, and certain alterations of the plot, focalization, themes, and motivation of characters. These alterations can be linked by the common denominator – adaptation. Adaptation is thus seen as the creative process of transcoding, where the original is reconceived and reinvented in another form of expression, as well as an intertextual process of reception as decoding th...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.3
Literature and Culture
Melodie Cardin, Carleton University, Canada:

This article considers the inclusion of the real-life “slash” fandom in the canon storyline of the CW/WB show Supernatural, and the consequent exploration of the taboo idea raised by the fans: of a sexual relationship between its two central characters, who are brothers. By including references to fan fiction, Supernatural opens a space to question normative sexual identity constructs. This article draws on an argument by Michel Foucault that homosexuality is a social construct that emerged as a way to deal with the “problem of male friendship.” In the context of Foucault’s argument, Supernatural’s treatment of its “slash” fan fiction allows for polysemic interpretations of the brothers’ relationship to coexist with the platonic “canon” storyline, opening the door to ideas of sexual fluidity and the “queering” of its characters by fans.Keywords: fan fiction, sexual identity, Foucault, intimatopias, Supernatural Supernatural is an American primetime show centered on a monster-of-the-wee...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.4
Literature and Culture
Petra Požgaj, University of Zagreb, Croatia:

The cultural treatment of wagelessness and welfare as its potential relief serves as a potent example of how popular culture has long functioned as a site at which American society articulates and negotiates its anxieties. Observing a recent departure from the figure of the “welfare queen” as the privileged site at which anxieties related to welfare are organized, and linking this change to the neoliberal transformations of welfare in the United States introduced by the 1996 reform, this paper adopts a Foucauldian approach to the issue of government in order to set the ground for an analysis of contemporary films which negotiate the conditions of wageless life in what has often been termed a post-welfare society. Looking at Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Florida Project as illustrative of a broader representational trend, this paper examines the role of popular culture in negotiating social changes by exploring the ways in which the two films negotiate dominant discourses of perso...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.6
Literature and Culture
Mirna Sindičić Sabljo, University of Zadar, Croatia:

Krajem 2017. godine u biblioteci Mansioni, u izdanju hrvatskog centra ITI objavljena je knjiga teatrologinje Višnje Kačić Rogošić pod naslovom Skupno osmišljeno kazalište. Opće značajke i hrvatski primjeri. Navedena monografija prerađena je doktorska disertacija, obranjena 2013. godine na Filozofskom fakultetu Sveučilišta u Zagrebu. Pojam skupno osmišljenog kazališta, prema autorici monografije (8), odnosi se na kazališne predstave koje ne nastaju uprizorenjem nekog postojećeg predloška (dramskog teksta, libreta, scenarija, koreografskog zapisa) već se njihov ukupni izvedbeni materijal u potpunosti proizvodi, pronalazi djelomično proizveden, razvija, organizira i povezuje zajednički, tijekom radioničke faze otkrivanja novoga, a ponekad i tijekom same izvedbe. Navedena izvedbena vrsta je, prije svega, određena odbacivanjem neupitnog autoriteta dramskog pisca, redatelja i unaprijed napisanog teksta. U svojim početcima pozicionirala se na alternativnoj i društveno-angažiranoj sceni. Odstu...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.12