Upcoming popular culture conference uses Batman to discuss issues, society

Shayne Nissen and Shayne Nissen

How can Batman relate to race and gender? Superhero fans from all around the world will come to BGSU to discuss this topic at the Batman in Popular Culture Conference.

Held April 12-13 in the Jerome Library’s Pallister Conference Room, this year’s conference will celebrate the 80th anniversary of Batman’s prominence in popular culture. Many of the superhero’s supporters believe he is one of the most influential superheroes of all-time.

According to the description of the event on bgsu.edu, “The Dark Knight is a complex, enigmatic, and tragically appealing crime-fighter who has conquered all forms of mass media and popular culture.”

While the center focus of the conference will be on the superhero, the conference will also be playing its part of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Browne Popular Culture Library as well. Organizer of the event, Charles Coletta, is excited to showcase the things the Browne Popular Culture Library has to offer.

“The overall thing is that Bowling Green State University is the birthplace of Popular Culture studies, and there is nowhere better to talk about popular culture. We have people coming from India, Japan and Germany to hear and talk about Batman,” Coletta said.

To some, it may seem odd to hold a conference about the relation between Batman and social issues concerning topics such as race and gender, but Coletta is confident that the style of this conference will work because it has worked before.

“Last year, the library did a romance novel conference. They have one of the biggest comic libraries around, so it is really the best place to gather people to have these conversations about different aspects of popular culture,” Coletta said.

Matthew Donahue, another organizer of the event and BGSU professor, wants the event to mean something to all that attend.

“I hope that people get the connection and importance that popular culture can have on society and culture and in this case Batman in relation to popular culture,” he said.

Being at a library, the effect of Batman in literature, specifically comics, will be discussed as well. According to both Coletta and Donahue, his effect on the comic world has been huge for the whole 80 years that he has been prominent in that culture.

There will be an in-depth view of the superhero at the conference and how he relates to all things comics, mass media and how he fits into the general society. According to Donahue, the importance of the conference can’t be understated.

“The conference is important because it highlights the role that popular culture plays in our daily lives and in this case specifically, the connection between Batman and popular culture,” he said.

Batman and everything that surrounds him can be important to people all over the world. It just happens that for two days, some might believe that BGSU will be at the center of attention for everything related to him.