Comunicado: LASA - New Section on Popular Culture and Mass Media

Popular Culture and Mass Media Section

Over the last twenty years, there has been an increasing academic interest in the materiality of culture, in the transitions from folk to popular and to mass culture, and in the increasing presence and the polarization of mediums (such as videos or comics) that break the barriers between “high” and “low” culture, etc. The increased numbers of papers presented through the Mass Media and Popular Culture Congress Track show the growing interest in, and importance of, a difficult to define area of studies.

However, despite the many papers on photography, posters, videos, science fiction, online communities, etc., none of the current LASA (Latin American Studies Association) Sections truly reflect on this growing interest.  Even the Film Studies Section, which closely touches upon one of the topics at the core of mass media studies, is more interested in "high" criticism and production.

The current proposed Section on Popular Culture and Mass Media attempts to fill in a vacuum for interdisciplinary studies within LASA.  This section will bring together researchers interested in the cross cultural, interdisciplinary study of both emerging social practices as well as cultural objects produced for popular consumption.  The section will offer field practitioners the opportunity to debate and theorize about new perspectives and insights into the social sphere from the perspective of the materiality of culture.  The section will foster collaborative projects, research, and the exchange of information of a globalized field.

Section activities could eventually include, but should be not be limited to, pre-conferences on specific topics such as increasing the production of science fiction culture in Latin America or the impact of sports culture in everyday politics, workshops or discussion groups on theoretical issues such as the emergence of new forms of sociability and agency fueled by online communities, and finally, special panels or guests during the LASA Congresses.

I look forward for your participation.

Silvia G. Kurlat Ares, Ph. D.
Independent Scholar

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