Publishing on Pop Culture: An Interview with Jenna Guitar

JGuitarHeadshotWe are excited to announce that our own Jenna Guitar, a first-year PhD student, has recently published a chapter in Glee and New Directions for Social Change. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about her work and the publishing process. Congratulations!

Guitar, Jenna. 2015. “Glee Goes Gaga.” In Glee and New Directions for Social Change Ed. Brian C Johnson and Daniel K. Faill. Boston: Sense Publishers. 61-68.

Q: First, can you give us a brief synopsis of your chapter? A sentence or two take-away if you will.

A: My paper is occupied with examining the ways theatrical performance can help high school students understand Butler’s theory of fluid identity. The paper focuses on a specific season one moment in the television show Glee. The students are asked to “go Gaga” as they perform various Lady Gaga songs to tap into their theatrical identities. By tapping into these theatrical personas, the students learn that their identities are fluid and not stagnant. Essentially they perform Butler’s seminal argument concerning identity in the episode, which I found to be fascinating.

Q: I’d like to ask a bit about the process involved in getting this published. Was this a term paper that you found a call for, or did you find a call for chapters and decide to write this?

A: This was originally a seminar paper from a Queer Theory course I took at New Mexico State University. I later presented the paper at the National PCA/ACA in Washington DC, while I was working on my Master’s degree at SUNY New Paltz. From that conference I was approached by the editors of the book who were interested in including my essay in their collection Glee and New Directions for Social Change. The book was just recently published in January. All in all, this was a five year process from writing it to actually getting it published.

Q: How was the peer review process? Was it nerve wracking? Did you get constructive feedback?

A: My editors were very kind. They offered some minor tweaks and revisions, but the most labor intensive changes stemmed from having to change everything from MLA to APA. The book is interdisciplinary and the two editors kept going back and forth about how the book should be formatted and finally determined it should be in APA. So, it was a bit tedious changing everything to the new format, especially because I was not very familiar with how APA worked.

Q: Did you find anything about working with pop culture particularly challenging, or liberating?

A: I often work with popular culture, so I really felt in my element. I feel most comfortable in the pop culture arena and am always really excited when I get to do a project along those lines.

Q: Do you want to work on Glee in the future? Is the high school experience something you are interested in, or was the chance to talk about gender performativity the greater draw?

A: I’m not sure if I would work with the television show Glee again. I wouldn’t be opposed, but I don’t have any plans as of yet. However, I am fascinated by representations of high school students in television and would definitely like to continue research in that area at some point. Gender studies is one of my main research interests and generally the lens I adopt in my work, so that was definitely a draw.

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