New Scholarship: Poli Sci Fi

By Meredith Conroy

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Today on the blog we are featuring new scholarship from Boise State political science professors Michael Allen and Justin Vaughn. Their new edited volume entitled Poli Sci Fi: An Introduction to Political Science though Science Fiction (Routledge), brings together a series of thoughtful, provocative, and entertaining essays to explain fundamental political science theories and concepts through science fiction. The 16 chapters are organized into six different parts, with each part covering a core topic of political science, such as political institutions, behavior, and identity. Moreover, each chapter concludes with a set of readymade discussion questions, making it an easy to adopt text for political science faculty who want to liven up their course with the use of film, literature, and television.

I asked Michael and Justin a few questions about this innovative and exciting book. Below are their responses.

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Subverting Selectivity: Can music convey political information to the politically averse?

By Jessica Feezell

Kendrick Lamar @ Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg (9498442702)

By hds (Kendrick Lamar @ Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This article was originally posted on The Crick Centre blog.

“So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street?
When gang banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me?
Hypocrite!”
-Kendrick Lamar, “The Blacker the Berry” (2015)

Researchers regularly explore the influence of various sources of political information including campaign advertisements, news, social media and entertainment such as late night comedy on people’s beliefs about politics. One source of information that has been largely overlooked, however, is music. In the current media environment, where those who want to avoid political information can do so more easily than ever before, it makes the question of ‘what can be learned from music’ even more pertinent.

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Mad Men, Season 7, Episode 14: Person-to-Person

Mad Men cover

by Linda Beail and Lilly J. Goren

This post pays particular attention to the episode itself while drawing some broader conclusions about the arc of the entire Mad Men series as it pertains to Don Draper.

“Person to Person” focuses on the themes Mad Men has spent seven seasons exploring: relationships and missed connections, invisibility, nostalgia and moving forward, creation and creativity, the value and limits of work, appearance versus reality, emotion and commodification. It’s bookended by two important clients who have defined Don’s work and the arc of Sterling Cooper over the past few seasons: we begin with Chevy, the client who saved SCPD when Don won the account and joined forces with Ted Chaough to form a new agency, Sterling Cooper & Partners, as Don is seen racing a Chevy Chevelle SS across the Bonneville Salt Flats as a test driver. And of course, the episode ends with the iconic 1971 “Hilltop” Coke advertisement. Coca-Cola was the enticing account dangled in front of Don to make SC Partners’ being subsumed into McCann-Erickson palatable. Don has been on the road, running westward away from his career, his family, and his life; but he is also still on the carousel, turning back toward the next client and next new idea, and ultimately back east if we imagine what the future likely holds for Draper.

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Mad Men, Season Seven, Episode Thirteen: The Milk and Honey Route

Mad Men cover

by Linda Beail and Lilly Goren

Where and how will Dick Whitman next reinvent himself, with that sly grin on his face, looking out at the horizon, sitting at the bus stop? The “milk and honey route” of this episode’s title is a hobo term for a railroad running through a valley of plenty where hobos were likely to find more food or help, according to 1920s sociologist Nels Anderson. Anderson cautions that what might be a “milk and honey route” for a young kid might be the opposite for another, older hobo, and that is certainly true in this episode. While Pete Campbell is “on a streak,” according to Duck Phillips, and young Andy the Oklahoma grifter ends up with a free Cadillac, other travelers are not so lucky. A bruised and battered Don sits alone at the side of the road, while Betty gets news that her studies and her life are about to be cut short by advanced-stage lung cancer, and Sally weeps over her mother’s parting instructions in her dorm room.

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