Apr 26

Convocation: Anne Helen Petersen

From site: Convocations

Internet-famous Anne Helen Petersen examines the gossip industry and the way we talk about celebrities.

Friday, April 26th, 2019
10:50 – 11:50 am / Skinner Chapel
Anne Helen Petersen Convocation

Anne Helen Petersen received her PhD in media studies from the University of Texas, where she studied the history of the gossip industry. Today, she writes about culture, celebrity, and feminism for BuzzFeed News. Her first book, Scandals of Classic Hollywood, was featured in The Boston Globe, Time NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, and the New York Post. In analyzing the gossip industry, Petersen argues that celebrities illuminate important aspects of American culture. People will read celebrity gossip as they would any other kind of pop culture mode of entertainment, like watching reality television or going to blockbuster movies, and know that it's enjoyable. But they don’t necessarily understand why they like it, or want to understand how these images are made or why we find them compelling or why we want to hear stories about people we otherwise don’t know at all. Petersen discovered that a lot of people actually want to think at a deeper level about celebrity gossip the same way that people want to read film criticism or television recaps. An academic approach to gossip asks how celebrity images are made, how they function ideologically, and how they point to things that matter in our society. Petersen answers the question, "What Do You Do With a PhD in Celebrity Gossip?"

Sponsored by Carleton Convocations. Contact: Kerry Raadt, x4308