'Jersey Shore' Eyed for Educational Merits

U of C student plans academic conference based on reality show

By Marcus Riley
|  Monday, May 9, 2011  |  Updated 5:30 PM CDT
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Chicago Ladies Love "The Situation"

MTV/Scott Gries

It's unknown how much time the "Jersey Shore" guys actually spent inside a classroom.

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Snooki, Pauly D and The Situation may soon be moving beyond the small screen into academic territory.

University of Chicago student David Showalter is seeking funding to host an academic conference on MTV's "Jersey Shore."

In his online pitch, Showalter said he believes the conference would be of interest to scholars in the fields such as media, cultural studies and anthropology. He describes the show as "an original lens through which contemporary problems of gender, ethnicity, celebrity, mass media, and the production of "reality" may be examined."

Potential lecture items include: 

  • What, exactly, is the Guido?
  • Gender roles, gender performance, and normativity, or, "Why do the guys cook and the girls fight?"
  • Reality TV as documentary/laboratory/fieldwork
  • The construction, localization, and performance of ethnicity, or "I'm not white, I'm tan"
  • GTL as a practice of the self and way of life
  • Fetish and metonymy, or, the Situation as man/abdominals
  • Textual/characterological analysis of Snooki's novel, "A Shore Thing"

Showalter hopes to host the conference on the U of C campus this fall.

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