Salford academics organise international Mad Men conference

By Mar.30, 2016

Mad men

Mad Men – The Conference

Sharp suits, lunchtime cocktails and Lucky Strike cigarettes will come under the spotlight of academic rigour when University of Salford media experts organise an international conference on Mad Men.

The University’s Dr Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs, Senior Lecturer in Media and Performance, and Dr Michael Goddard, Reader in Film and Media, are co-organising the conference, at which internationally renowned academics as well as television and film critics will come together to discuss the hit US TV show, centred on Don Draper’s adventures in the seedy world of 1960s advertising.

They are co-convening the conference, to be held in May at Middle Tennessee State University in Nashville, one of the School of Arts and Media’s key international partners, along with Professor David Lavery and Dr Jane Marcellus from the US university.

The conference will feature keynote speeches from Matt Zoller Seitz, editor in chief of Rogerebert.com, film critic for the New York Times and author of last year’s Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion, along with the media historian Professor Gary Edgerton from Butler University, Indiana, and Professor Mimi White of Northwestern University in Chicago.

The three day event will also include a themed cocktail party in which attendees can come dressed as their favourite Mad Men characters, a DJ set featuring music which appeared throughout the seven season show, along with talks by academics from 40 universities across 10 countries and 15 US states.

Dr Fairclough-Isaacs, with Dr Goddard and Dr Anthony Smith from the University of Salford, previously organised a conference about Twin Peaks and cult TV, which brought artists and academics from Europe, the US and Australia to our MediaCityUK campus last year. Dr Fairclough-Isaacs also organised the Big Reveal – Style Class and Industry, the world’s first international conference on lifestyle television, held in 2007.

Dr Fairclough Isaacs, who is also the School of Arts and Media’s International Lead for the Americas, said: “Mad Men was such a significant series for a number of reasons, particularly due to its historical authenticity. It considered recent US history through the prism of advertising in such a fresh way. Its depictions of gender politics, racial bias and the beginnings of counterculture are particularly significant.

“Mad Men has attracted a lot of critical attention from writers and academics, and many have tried to analyse Don Draper’s final hour, but until now it hasn’t been critically appraised at this level and given its own conference. We are very pleased to have attracted so many scholars to the conference, but the fact we’re bringing Matt Zoller Seitz, an internationally respected film and TV critic, adds extra significance to the event.”

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