The School of History, Culture and Arts Studies of the University of Turku is pleased to launch the Popular Culture Studies Master’s Degree Pathway, a collaboration between the Departments of Cultural History, Media Studies and Musicology, with a day-long seminar on Tuesday, the 9th of September in the Janus Lecture Hall in Sirkkala Campus, Kaivokatu 12.
The Popular Culture Studies Master’s Degree Pathway ( is a two-year programme taught entirely in English, offering several theoretical and historical perspectives into the study of popular culture and its various genres. The seminar, This is Popular!, celebrates and launches the pathway’s inaugural year and is a joint effort between the participating departments and the International Institute of Popular Culture (IIPC,, a multi-disciplinary research unit within the School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, focusing on research into popular culture, urban subcultures, cultural industries and fandom.
The seminar will be opened at 12.15 by Professor Susanna Paasonen of the Department of Media Studies, followed by three keynote speakers, each invited by one of the collaborating Departments. Each speaker will give a 45-minute talk about their chosen subject in popular culture, followed by open discussion:

The Department of Cultural History welcomes its keynote speaker Dr Marilyn Motz. Dr Motz is a PhD in American Culture and the Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Popular Culture Studies of the College of Arts and Sciences in Bowling Green State University, Ohio. Among her research projects are the cultural meaning and history of the Barbie doll, humour in the early 20th Century, the status of women in American homes in the 19th Century, women’s folk culture and the folk culture of the Great Lakes area. The title of Dr Motz’s talk is “Imagining Montevallo: Interpreting the Personal Writing of a Couple Caught in the Guerrilla Fighting of the American Civil War”, a part of a book-length research project of the correspondence of a Missouri husband and wife in the 1860s.

The Department of Media Studies welcomes its keynote speaker Dr Sharif Mowlabocus. Dr Mowlabocus earned his PhD in Media Studies and works as Senior Lecturer of Media Studies / Digitalmedia in the University of Sussex. He has published extensively in digital culture, porn research, queer theory and gender and sexuality and acts as a Committee Member on the International Academic Advisory Board and as an Editorial Board Member on the Journal of Porn Studies. The title of Dr Mowlabocus’ talk is“Indifferent Cats and Friendly Fire: The Cultural Politics of Curating Pornography”.

The Department of Musicology welcomes its keynote speaker Dr Claudia Gorbman (Professor of Film Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma). She is arguably the most prominent scholar in the field of film music studies. Her Unheard Melodies: Narrative Film Music (1987) largely created the foundations for the academic study of film music, and it remains the most widely referenced book when discussing film music studies. In addition to her many seminal publications on film music, she has written, for instance, on audiovisuality, women in film, and French and American cinema. Gorbman has also translated to English several of Michel Chion’s best known books on film music and sound. Her recent activities include co-editing The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics (2013, Oxford University Press) together with John Richardson and Carol Vernallis and work on a new edition of Unheard Melodies. The title of Professor Gorbman’s talk is “Movie Songs”.

Any questions about the Seminar or the Popular Culture Studies Master’s Degree Pathway can be directed to the study coordinator, Teo Välimäki (


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