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Content Any Way U Want It!

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September 21, 2023

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Culture club promotes study outside class, works with academics

For more than seven years, the Culture Club has promoted the study of culture, history and media for students outside of the classroom to collaborate on.

About 30 undergraduate and graduate students from departments such as Popular Culture, Theater and Film, History and many more interested in cultural studies, work together to develop the “Battlegrounds States,” an annual conference hosted at the University, which attracts scholars from around the world. The conference lasts for two days and consists of different panels such as comedy, film, literature and art history, all of which showcase cultural studies.

Christopher Wagenheim, member and graduate student, said members of the club will host events in order to raise money to host the “Battleground States,” which takes most of the school year to do. Each conference has a general theme applied. The last conference held in February was “Crossing Boundaries, Revealing Connections: Experiments In Interdisciplinary Studies,” he said.

“We had more than 300 participants and many panels which brought in poets to speak and films for people to see,” Wagenheim said. “It’s a nice combination of professional academics and an open environment for people to come in and share their ideas.”

Daniel Elkan, treasurer, said the club is mostly made up of graduate students, but he wants to get more undergraduates interested. There were some undergraduate students who hosted a few panels, which turned out to be some of the best panels in the conference, he said.

“We’re really an organization that is trying to expand and be interesting and useful to the University community,” Elkan said. “It’s intended to be a way for people to get together outside the classroom and think through cultural studies work.”

The members of the club will try to create certain themes for the conference to have each year and the executive committee for the club will take these suggestions and determine what it will be, Johni Amos, president, said in an email.

“There is not necessarily a limit to the number of panels, as long we have the space,” Amos said. “We encourage all sorts of presentations including non-traditional panels such as art, improv, music and so on.”

The club is about being interdisciplinary and try to pick themes as inclusive as possible for each year’s conference, Elkan said.

“We look to see what the trends are in society,” Elkan said. “We do a lot of different kinds of work and we want the themes to relate to as many of people’s work as we can.”

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