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Dr. Dessart, Custer to present at the Popular Culture Association conference

Micah Leith Mar 31, 2022

Waynesburg University’s Dr. Jamie Dessart will present a paper titled “’Another Day, Another Doug’: Colonialism and Diaspora in Thor: Ragnarok” at the Popular Culture Association conference later this month.

Dr. Dessart, professor of English, will present in the science fiction and fantasy division and will sit on a panel during the plenary session on the topic of “Social Issues and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Her presentation will focus on the way that Taiki Waititi uses the experience of refugees to re-tell the Norse mythology in the movie “Thor: Ragnarok” through the characters of Thor, Loki, Hela and others.

“When I saw the call for papers for the 2022 topic, I was really excited since we’d just finished watching and discussing “Thor: Ragnarok” in our English 235 class. It fit perfectly into the topic.  I always link literature, social topics and film in my classes, so most of my presentations lean that way,” she said.

Dr. Dessart has been presenting at the Popular Culture Association for 10 years and encourages students to participate, as well.

Haley Custer, a junior English professional writing major, will be presenting her own paper titled “’The Diabolic:’ A Creature Bound by Society.” It focuses on “The Diabolic” by S.J. Kincaid and explores how the book alludes to slavery and the mistreatment of minorities.

Custer said she feels that Waynesburg University’s English program has helped her develop the skills necessary to present at a conference like this one.

“My first year, I was not an English major,” she said. “When I changed majors, I turned my hobby into a career path, and the teachers and professors taught me a lot. We always get together, and we have these readings every month and share what we are working on. We really try to build a community.”

The conference will be held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and will run April 13 through 16.