PERSONAL: Female. Education: Indiana University, B.A.; University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.A., Ph.D.
ADDRESSES: Office—Emerson College, 120 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116.
CAREER: Author and educator. Emerson College, Boston, MA, associate professor of visual and media arts. Has also taught at University of Vermont and University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bonn Universität, Bonn, Germany, fellow.
Television, Tabloids, and Tears: Fassbinder and Popular Culture, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.
The Talking Cure: TV Talk Shows and Women, Routledge (New York, NY), 1997.
(Editor, with Henry Jenkins and Tara McPherson) Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture, Duke University Press (Durham, NC) 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Jane Shattuc is a media specialist who has written books on subjects as diverse as German cinema and television talk shows. Television, Tabloids, and Tears: Fassbinder and Popular Culture considers the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the prolific German filmmaker who directed more than forty films from the late 1960s until his untimely death in 1982. In this book, Shattuc discusses Fassbinder's idiosyn-cratic films—which often incorporate elements of both realism and camp—within the context of postwar German politics. she also analyzes Fassbinder's appropriation of techniques from such unlikely sources as Hollywood melodramas, notably those of Douglas Sirk. In addition, Shattuc provides an extended appraisal of Fassbinder's epic film, Berlin Alexanderplatz, a fifteen-hour television film derived from Alfred Doeblin's novel about lower-class Germans in the years between the two world wars. She notes that the film sparked widespread debate in Germany over both artistic responsibility and public expectations. Sabine Hake, writing in Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, commented that "Shattuc's book will have a significant impact on Fassbinder scholarship and hopefully will serve as a case study for future encounters between film studies and cultural studies."
The Talking Cure: TV Talk Shows and Women follows the history of the television talk show from the banal celebrity forums of the 1950s to the sensationalized, exploitative farce of the late 1990s. After conducting many interviews and researching the topic for more than four years, Shattuc discusses daytime talk shows aimed at a female audience that encourage audience participation through the host's mediation between the guest and a live audience. She argues that such shows are rooted in class distinctions and contends they often serve to expose social inequality in America. In addition, Shattuc explores various aspects of talk-show production, including the selection of topics, the use of advertising, and the employment of dramatic interviewing techniques designed to trigger controversy. Booklist critic Mike Tribby noted that Shattuc helps readers comprehend "an often confusing or disturbing trend in popular taste," while a reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented that "nothing is omitted from this exhaustive, much-needed study."
In appraising Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture, Alan McKee noted in M/C Reviews that Shattuc "has a simple project: to map 'the circuits of exchange between the popular and the political … how culture becomes meaningful in daily life.'" Divided into thirty-six chapters, the book's essays cover many canonized authors, including Karl Marx, Michel de Chertearu, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida. Calling Hop on Pop "an important book" and "an introduction to cultural studies unlike any I have read before," McKee dubbed the book "a 'manifesto' for a new kind of cultural studies."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 1997, Mike Tribby, review of The Talking Cure: TV Talk Shows and Women, p. 805.
Choice, April 1996, E. Williams, review of Television, Tabloids, and Tears: Fassbinder and Popular Culture, p. 1319.
Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, June 1996, Sabine Hake, review of Television, Tabloids, and Tears, p. 300.
Publishers Weekly, December 16, 1996, review of The Talking Cure, p. 52.
Leonardo Reviews Web site, http://mitpress2.mit.edu/ejournals/Leonardo/reviews/ (September, 2003), Stefaan Van Ryssen, review of Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture.
Media-Culture Web site, http://reviews.media-culture.org.au/ (August 12, 2004), Alan McKee, review of Hop on Pop.