Friday, February 12, 2010

Good Panels Gone Bad

Every few years, pop culture meets political science.  Scholars will take some hunk of pop culture and run with it.  And this can be a great idea (I recently read Dan Drezner's Zombie and IR textbook manuscript, and it will be assigned reading and not just for my class).  I heard of a legendary Elvis panel at a Southern Poli Sci Assn meeting (I think). There have apparently been panels in the past on Star Trek (I had a class on the Cultural Relevance of Star Trek back at Oberlin just as the second series was starting).

I attended a Harry Potter and IR panel at the ISA a while back after Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  And it was both entertaining and educational. It was interesting to consider some of international political elements of the books (rules against flying carpets as trade barriers).  Some of the papers over-reached a bit, at least in my view because I am not a huge fan of literary criticism or postmodern approaches to IR. It did produce an edited volume that is worth checking out. 

I raise this because I spotted a panel that could have been interesting: "'Galactica Actual'; How Battlestar Galactica Explains World Politics."  Unfortunately for my tastes, it seems to be entirely personned by critical theorists.  It would be unfair to say that critical theorists lack senses of humor, but perhaps not entirely inaccurate either.  Plus their tendency to create new jargon or obscure words (aleatory?) tends cause my head to hurt, so I will not be attending.  A pity, as it could be fun.  BSG had heaps of angles that political scientists can play, including civil-military relations (the coup in the last season was the most obvious civ-mil crisis but far from the only one); diasporic politics; politics in new democracies; post-conflict reconciliation and justice; immigration politics; ethnic conflict; democratic peace; alliance politics; etc.  Unfortunately, the papers on this panel touch on none of these.

If anyone wants to organize a panel on Zombies and IR (if only to pimp Drezner's text), Brisco County and IR, Indiana Jones and the Lost Theory of IR, or Lost and Anarchy, I would be willing to sign up as long as I am not the only un-critical theorist.

PS  And sub movies, I can do a panel on that as well. Thanks to Dan's blog du jour for reminding me of that.

1 comment:

Brandon Valeriano said...

Sub movies besides Hunt are not FP!!! I would be willing to do a Lost panel providing the series works out like I expect it to.