Go Pod Young Scholar! Podcasting and the Public Intellectual

Pete Coogan here.

Last week I did my regular talking head gig on the Major Spoilers Podcast for an MSP #143, ” Heores Are Not Superheroes and Other Myths with Dr. Peter Coogan.”  We talked about the conferences next year that I’m organizing through the Comics Arts Conference and the Institute for Comics Studies, my talk at the University of Oregon (October 28) on the essence of the superhero (the title of which is “Heroes Ain’t Superheroes”), and whether superheroes are modern mythology.

I started listening to the Major Spoilers Podcast in 2008 and found it to be enjoyable and a good way to keep up on comics news as well as listen in on discussions of specific comics–basically to get a solid fan opinion on contemporary comics.  As part of doing press for the superhero costume conference at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that summer I sent them a press release, and host Stephen Schleicher decided to interview me about the conference. He invited me back to talk about the Comics Arts Conference at the San Diego Comic-Con and I’ve appeared on an irregular basis since then (every 2-3 months).

Stephen tells me that my appearances regularly generate positive comments and that the MSP listeners like having an academic or scholarly viewpoint.  I regard my appearances on the show in the spirit of public intellectualism–taking what we learn through our scholarly work and teaching out of the academy to the general public in an attempt to enrich the public discourse.  I think other scholars should appear on other podcasts and take up the role of the public intellectual.

If you are a scholar and listen to comics podcasts, take a look at the upcoming shows and see if you have an area of expertise that intersects with the focus of coming episodes. If so, contact the podcast hosts–though a better way is to participate on the podcast’s discussion forum as a listener so that when you contact the hosts you come in as a known quantity.  Then see if you can get on as a commentator for that show, or propose some other role, possibly including guest commentary spots or an editorial role of some sort.  It seems that podcasts are emerging as a significant alternative to fanzines (they are essentially audio fanzines) and participating in one can be a great way to spread the influence of the comics studies community and to perhaps influence the discussion among comics readers.

So pick your podcast and become a talking head.

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One Comment on “Go Pod Young Scholar! Podcasting and the Public Intellectual”

  1. KStomps Says:

    Mr. Coogan:

    I stumbled across this blog today while doing research for a paper on the intellectual and cultural effects of comic books and graphic novels and found it incredibly helpful. I would love to get in contact with you, as I am sure that you would be an extremely valuable source of information on my research topic.

    Thank you,

    K. Stomps


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