Call for Chapters for Book Proposal

The editors are seeking chapter proposals for a collection of essays that examine positive, healthy, and accurate portrayals of mental illness in entertainment media.

Proposed Title: Quieting the Madness: Entertainment Media’s Shift into More Accurate Depictions of Mental Illness

Editors: Malynnda A. Johnson (Indiana State University) and Christopher J. Olson (University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee)

Purpose: From mad men to hysterical women to crazed villains, negative depictions of mental illness recur throughout entertainment media. Thus, unsurprisingly, a wealth of research has focused on the adverse aspects of these portrayals. Yet viewers and producers have recently started to push back against these inaccurate depictions and call for more accurate narratives. As a result, several movies and television shows have shifted how they frame mental illness. The past ten years or so have seen the emergence of more positive portrayals of characters living with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, autism, and more. These portrayals have helped kick down the “madness” door and rebuild a safer space to talk about the realities of mental illness. Though far from perfect these modern narratives nevertheless offer opportunities for viewers living with mental illness to identify with characters that experience familiar struggles.

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Possessed Women, Haunted States: Cultural Tensions in Exorcism Cinema


I am proud to announce the impending release of my first monograph (co-authored with Dr. CarrieLynn Reinhard of Dominican University), Possessed Women, Haunted States: Cultural Tensions in Exorcism Cinema. The book considers the various ways that the exorcism films produced since the release of The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973) either reflect, reinforce, or challenge prevailing sociocultural and historical anxieties relating to women, people of color, and the nonheteronormative.

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My first journal article

Just a quick post to share some big news: last week, I published my first peer-reviewed journal article! In addition, the article won the Fred E. H. Schroeder Paper Award at the Midwest Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association annual conference this past weekend! My (award-winning!) article “Shakespeare, Didgeridoos, and Samurai Cowboys: Remixing National and Cultural Identities in Sukiyaki Western Django” appears in the latest double issue of the Popular Culture Studies Journal, the official journal of the MPCA/ACA. If you want to read this article, you can download the issue (for free!) right here.

(please excuse the fact that I appear to have misspelled “didgeridoos” in the title of the article…I have no idea what happened there)

Making Sense of Cinema: Empirical Studies into Film Spectators and Spectatorship


Hello! I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated this ol’ blog of mine (outside of the call for chapters I posted last week, anyway), but in my defense I’ve been busy with some other projects. In addition to working on the Pop Culture Lens podcast, I’ve been plugging away on some book projects with my partner, CarrieLynn D. Reinhard. While I can’t really talk about one of those projects at this time (but I can hint that it does relate to this post), the other one will be released soon, and therefore I wanted to get the word out about it well in advance.

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