Invective Popular Culture: Form, Affect, Politics
Session type: 

Vituperation, debasement, mockery, humiliation—performances of invective abound in today's popular culture, across media and across national boundaries. Typically oscillating between poles of serious disparagement and ritualized play, invective is fundamental to several popular genres, e.g. of reality tv, of comedy, or of late-night talk; it plays a significant role in certain practices of fandom; and it constitutes an important interface between popular culture and politics (not just with Donald Trump). Invective is one of the politically most powerful modalities of popular culture: Most notably, it has played a considerable role in the recent popularization of right-wing populisms across the globe. But also other politics, including those of anti-populist critique, have been catalyzed by pop-cultural invective.

This panel is interested in the forms and political potentials of invective popular culture. I am looking for papers that focus on instances of invective popular culture in any medium or genre, addressing questions like: Into what mediatized scripts does popular culture mold practices of disparagement? How are these scripts informed by traditions of genre, medium, or narrative? How are these scripts charged with affective value, and what role does affect play for their circulation and impact? How do these scripts position themselves vis-a-vis socially sedimented practices of disparagement as they enable—or contest—cultures of racism, homophobia, ableism, etc.?

Please send an abstract of your proposed paper and a short bio to Katja Kanzler ( by January 18, 2019.

Current contributors: 
Katja Kanzler