Where to Find Happiness When the American Dream is Dead

By Jillianne Montgomery Larson This paper explores the search for happiness in the wake of the American Dream’s potential death and how that search is portrayed in Disney and Pixar’s latest animated film, Soul (2020). The film follows a middle-aged jazz musician, Joe, who is dissatisfied with his teaching job and longs for his bigContinue reading “Where to Find Happiness When the American Dream is Dead”

Back to Being a Kid: How Slot-Car Racing Brings Me Happiness

By Ed Shorer When I was twelve-years-old I ditched Hebrew School, found myself at a slot car track, and never did get my Bar Mitzvah. But what I did get, in a very organic way, was life-lessons in ethics, how to play well with others, and how to be happy. In large part slot-car racingContinue reading “Back to Being a Kid: How Slot-Car Racing Brings Me Happiness”

Nostalgia in Taiwanese Teen Romantic Comedies

By Liwen Wang After the success of You Are the Apple of My Eye (2011), teen romantic comedy became increasingly popular in Taiwanese cinema. Since then, new movies in this genre have been produced yearly. Moreover, two of the all-time highest-grossing Taiwanese films to date are teen romantic comedies. Notably, nostalgia was headlined as the genre’s appeal andContinue reading “Nostalgia in Taiwanese Teen Romantic Comedies”

Happiness Narrative in Three Movies

By Vida Penezic The latest scientific research suggests that biology (50%) and circumstances (10%) determine only about 60% of our happiness levels; the rest is up to us. In other words, happiness is (at least in part) a learnable skill. My larger research question is: If happiness is 40% learned, what role does popular cultureContinue reading “Happiness Narrative in Three Movies”

Goop Knew Best: “Wellness” as Code for “Happiness”

By Adriana Mariella The “wellness” industry, including everything from saltwater floats to cryotherapy treatments to ayurvedic retreats, is today worth over $4 trillion and growing. But wellness, if it’s doing its job right, would eventually eliminate the need for itself, having provided the increased sense of well-being and happiness it promises. This paper argues thatContinue reading “Goop Knew Best: “Wellness” as Code for “Happiness””

Pursuit of Happiness in Turkish Movies

By Oguzhan Dursun This paper examines Turkish cinema in the second half of the 20th century, focusing on the changes in the protagonists’ perception of happiness. The paper examines these changes in the light of the socio-economic developments in the Turkish society in the studied period, using an interdisciplinary approach. It combines the analytical toolsContinue reading “Pursuit of Happiness in Turkish Movies”

Papers Presented at the 2021 Conference

Here are the abstracts of some papers presented at the 2021 National Conference of the Popular Culture Association. The conference was held virtually. Back to Being a Kid: How Slot-Car Racing Brings Me Happiness Goop Knew Best: “Wellness” as Code for “Happiness” Pursuit of Happiness in Turkish Movies Nostalgia in Taiwanese Teen Romantic Comedies Happiness Narrative in Three Movies WhereContinue reading “Papers Presented at the 2021 Conference”