Hidden Lessons in Marvel Movies

Marvel Lecture

PHOTO | Damara Hale

To kick off one of the multiple lecture series of the semester hosted at the ATU Ross Pendergraft Library, assistant professor of political science at Arkansas Tech University, Dr. Christopher Housenick, offered a presentation entitled, “Politics of the Marvel Movies.”

With students, faculty and staff invited to attend the presentation, the overall turnout totaled 32 attendees, bringing in a diverse point of view for everyone.

Although the event was a teaser for what’s to come for an upcoming summer course, Housenick found encouragement in the outcome of attendees.

“I found it encouraging that so many students have similar passions for this sort of topic that I possess,” Housenick said.

Housenick also explained what his inspiration was toward connecting the topic of Marvel and politics for the course.

“I have always loved movies and pop culture. I include plenty of movie references in my other classes, such as a lecture when teaching American Government on the types of governments around the world where I used fictional examples to illustrate real concepts,” Housenick said. “For instance, The Empire from Star Wars is a pretty good example of an authoritarian government.”

The summer course is meant to offer students the opportunity for multiple discussions. Housenick discussed his plan for the course.

“The students will have to read an article or two on each concept, watch the movie, then engage in discussions about the assigned films.”

Keilly Andraca-Lopez of Russellville, explained her take on why she chose to attend the event.

“Mostly when I was watching “Wakanda Forever,” I was you know, really interested in like the way that they handled Spanish colonialism. As a Latina that was a really big thing. I saw indigenous Mexican actors for the first time on a big screen, that wasn’t really a point of discussion,” Andraca-Lopez said. “That’s something that doesn’t ever get discussed. So, the fact that that’s something that I can discuss later on and not have people kind of yell at me for bringing it up its kind of interesting.”

For another attendee, she liked how the connection was made between Marvel and politics as a course.

“I am a giant Marvel fan, and I am a social studies education major who is dabbling in political science, so I love talking politics and popular media.” Allie Davis of Hot Springs said.

Davis also discussed what she believed the event taught her moving forward.

“There’s a lot of things that you can look into, in popular media, especially whenever we’re dealing with disaster situations and how a culture would handle different situations,” Davis said. “Especially when we were talking about “Black Panther” one and two.”

Housenick encourages students to enroll in the summer course, “Problems in International Affairs (POLS).”

Luke Heffley, Pendergraft Library manager and special projects coordinator, who also attended the event, encouraged students to take the class.

“Be ready for a fun and in-depth class that will not only challenge you but will give you an opportunity to enjoy the entire Marvel universe,” Heffley said.