SAU students attend “Culturing the Popular” conference
By Maria Dalmasso
During the fall semester, Betsy Dendy, Instructor of English at St. Andrews University, took several students to “Culturing the Popular,” a conference held at Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C.
“I attended the Pop Culture conference as part of my Women’s Studies minor,” said Sophia Kasian, a junior in Dendy’s Fairy Tales class.
All the students that attended the conference with Dendy participated in the panel discussion, “Considering Gender Roles in Feature Film Fairy Tale Adaptations.” Students spoke about the papers they had written for Dendy’s class.
"I thought it would look good on a graduate school application and was excited to hear other people’s papers, said senior public history major Cathy Walter. “I was really honored that Betsy asked me to be a part.”
Walter focused on the definitions of womanhood in the movie Snow White: A Tale of Terror.
“The main character defines beauty through her ability to provide an heir for her husband as well as by cultural expectations of physical beauty,” Walter said.
Kasian drew from another recently released Snow White adaption, Mirror Mirror.
“ I mainly focused on the empowerment of the Snow White character and the power struggle between her and the queen, her stepmother,” Kasian said.
The conference created great opportunities for both students and they appreciated being able to hear papers from other college students.
“I really enjoyed listening to everyone’s ideas,” Walter said. “There was one paper about Rocky Horror Picture Show. There was even an undergrad from Converse who dedicated her study to why zombies are so terrifying.”
Kasian agreed, “I really liked that the papers being presented allowed for a work to be displayed in a way that people might not have thought of before. It really broadened my thinking and views of looking at specific works.”
Both Kasian and Walter admitted that the conference was not what they thought it would be.
“It was a lot more intimate than I expected, so there was plenty of opportunity to ask a question and have really great discussions,” said Walter.
Kasian agreed, “Everyone was really down to earth and easy to approach. At first I was intimidated but then as the day went on I was able to feel comfortable and really enjoyed meeting new people and hearing their takes on pop culture issues.”
The conference experience is one Walter would recommend to anyone.
“It was a spectacular opportunity,” Walter said. “I would tell others to go and to ask many conferences as they can, because there is so much to be learned. Each of us had our own interpretations and opinions, but they melded together to form a really fantastic panel, even if I do say so myself.”