Stories Worth Telling: Black Panther and the Rise of Diversity in Popular Culture

Patricia Ng | March 28, 2018
No matter what you say about the Marvel cinematic franchise, they are making some bold moves. Rather than simply making films about popular superheroes, they have now moved on to lesser-known characters, especially those belonging to minority groups. The newly released Black Panther is certainly one of their best examples. Featuring T’Challa (Black Panther), the king of the fictional African nation Wakanda, as the lead, the film can be seen as yet another attempt to diversify the entertainment industry. In recent years, Hollywood has been producing more and more movies with female leads and a culturally diverse cast, like the upcoming female spin-off of Ocean’s Eleven and the multi-ethnic cast in the new Star Wars reboot films. There is nothing wrong with creating films that don’t have white male leads, and we should welcome narratives that promote diversity. Yet, with the rise of such a trend in popular culture, one has to question what it means for a diverse narrative to be good.

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#LoveisLove: Exploring Polyamory in a Monogamous Setting

Julian Menjivar | February 26, 2018
Once upon a time, there was an age of innocence, when beautiful fantasies of love and adoration blossomed. And love was everywhere–from displays of affection by our primary caregivers and friends to the billboard signs announcing the romantic comedy/drama of the year. Love was in the air, and all around us. As we grew older, the meaning of love got complicated. Then, in a beautiful chaotic motion, so too did our understanding of the concept.

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Romance novels: more than just a guilty pleasure

Lucy Hargrave | January 22, 2018
Has there ever been a more maligned genre than romance? Often romance novels are considered nothing more than a trashy beach read, something that should only be read while on holiday for light entertainment. They aren’t proper literature after all. Even avid romance readers will often refer to these books as their ‘guilty pleasures,’ thereby implying they shouldn’t be talked about, much less taken seriously. But what if we did take the romance genre seriously? If we strip away its reputation, what could be discovered about one of the most commercially successful genres in publishing history?

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LLC Blethers Video Presentations 2017: You Oughta Know

LLC Blethers is a night of academic storytelling talking about any and everything students in the school of Literatures, Languages, and Cultures want to have a blether on about (in case you don’t know, at it’s simplest definition, blether is a Scots word for a chat). To help give the event a little something extra, all the presentations are given in the PechaKucha style, that is, they are done using slides that contain only (or at least predominantly) one image each. There are 20 slides allowed, and each slide is on screen for 20 seconds. We have collected together the videos from the 2017 Blethers event so you can watch them all!

Titles and presenters are:
– Amateur Psychopathy 101, or: How to Tell if your President is a Psychopath (Vicki Madden)
– Field Work: From Crooks to Books (Angus Sutherland)
– How Not to Organize a Conference: A 6-Minute Masterclass (Harriet MacMillan and Anahit Behrooz)
– I Was a Teenage Film Geek (Heather Thomson)
– My Personal Trial: A Night at the Theatre (Gina Maya)
– Picture Books for Grown-Ups: A History of Illustration in Four Books (Tess Goodman)
– Project Myopia: Crowdsourcing a Diverse Curriculum (Rianna Walcott)
– The Merits of Weird PhD Topics (Juliet Conway)
– Who Let the Vlogs Out? (Aran Ward Sell)

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Where No Mainstream Sci-Fi Has Gone Before: Are We Getting Any Bolder?

18 October 2016 | Carolina Palacios.

This year marks an important date on any sci-fi geek’s calendar: the 50th anniversary of cult American TV series Star Trek, which aired for the first time on September 8, 1966. Despite the prompt cancellation of the original series after only three seasons, the Star Trek legacy has been kept alive, and 2016 saw the premiere of its 13th movie: Star Trek Beyond. In this era of big sequential blockbusters, amid all the comic book movies, dystopian adventures, and space epics, there is something that sets Star Trek apart: its philosophy. When giving a talk about the success of Star Trek, Roddenberry commented that “The whole show was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but to take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms.” But while that philosophy influenced Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s every decision in his original series, the Star Trek ethos has unfortunately gotten lost amongst the shiny surfaces and explosions of director J.J. Abrams’ 2009 revival.

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