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Launching the Disney, Culture and Society Research Network

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

Welcome to our first blog post! In June, we officially launched the website for the Disney, Culture and Research Network (or DisNet as it is now affectionately known) with an online launch event attended by Disney scholars from all over the world!

DisNet was created by Robyn Muir, and the aim is to create an international and interdisciplinary space for Disney Scholars to come together, share their research and collaborate on new ideas. We want to highlight the cutting-edge research being conducted by Disney Scholars all over the world, and create an environment that fosters new interdisciplinary and international research collaborations.

The launch event consisted of keynote speech from Amy Davis, a publishing panel featuring Tracey Mollet, Pete Kunze, Priscilla Hobbs, Sabrina Mittermeier and Amy Davis, the launch of the website and a Disney Quiz to round off the event. Some of our brilliant members reflected on the event:

"Truly an amazing day! The Disney, Culture, & Society Research Network opened its virtual doors to academics with a delightful and vibrant launch event. This exciting event had a keynote from Dr. Amy Davis from the University of Hull. Following some Q&A, came a great panel on publishing from phenomenal scholars. Even in the online formatting, Dr Robyn Muir created and helped to maintain an inviting and lively discussion on a variety of topics (Disney related of course). During this time, scholars were able to meet and share their research with one another - establishing a network of fellow Disney scholars who they had not yet had the chance to encounter in the wild. The day ended with a hilarious Disney Quiz that put all scholars to shame! It did allow everyone to show off some of their Disney apparel. The screen was filled with mouse ears and wizard hats, with a fun Louise Belcher in the mix! The networking event provided an opportunity to not only meet other Disney scholars but provide affirmation to those who were feeling downtrodden and isolated. Like all in attendance, I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the Disney, Culture, & Society Research Network and I am forever grateful to Robyn for establishing such a phenomenal space to meet others who have a love and passion for Disney scholarship." - Brittany Eldridge

'My Mickey Mouse Career, Vol. 3' - Dr Amy Davis

"Dr Amy Davis (University of Hull) delivered a fascinating keynote at the launch event, discussing her ‘Mickey Mouse’ career since completing her PhD on representations of women in Disney’s twentieth-century animated films. Amy shared her experiences of working within British and American academia, as well as her overall research journey to date. She talked about key publications including Good Girls and Wicked Witches (2007) and Handsome Heroes and Vile Villains (2013), offering fellow scholars and students useful advice about publishing their own PhD research as a monograph. We even got to hear a little bit about a potential new Disney-related book that is currently in the works! It was wonderful to listen to Amy’s experiences of working within what is now known as Disney Studies, and it was clear that everybody felt really motivated and inspired following her keynote." - Hannah Helm

"Amy Davis’ keynote (‘My Mickey Mouse Career, Vol. 3’) traced her career from student to present, setting out her trajectory that shaped Disney Studies as it has come to be known. The overt recognition that taking up Disney Studies doesn’t guarantee happiness despite being ‘the happiest place on earth’, grounded her experiences in a collective struggle that almost all had experienced or could relate to. Amy generously shared the many joys and many challenges of finding her feet in a then emerging research area – one which she championed through her Masters then PhD Theses. While there is excitement and demand for Disney-centric research and teaching (Amy has published hugely successful books and runs a *very* successful ‘Disney Studies’ module at the University of Hull), funding anything under the banner ‘Disney Studies’ repeatedly proves difficult, certainly when faced with a continual devaluation and dismissal of so-called “Mickey Mouse” subjects. While it can get hard – especially in the ‘anything but this’ phase of a PhD or career – Amy offered the encouragement to stick it out and that you will move through it, ultimately (and optimistically!) concluding that ‘there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow’ for Disney Studies." - Charlotte Durham

Publishing Panel

"The DisNet Research Network launch event of 2022 had a series of brilliant panels and panellists! After the amazing Dr Amy Davis discussed her inspiring career, there was a publishing panel that had great talks and discussions by Dr Sabrina Mittermeier, Dr Amy Davis, Dr Peter Kunze, Dr Tracey Mollett, and Dr Priscilla Hobbs with some great additional advice from all those who attended! The panel delved into a variety of topics, all of which were helpful to younger academics just starting to broach into this part of their academic career. There was a phenomenal discussion about publishing articles versus publishing books versus edited collections, and the panellists' experiences with all three. Each panellist member had different experiences and approaches, which allowed for the other attendees to understand the publishing process and how to navigate its complexities. The panellists also imparted some great advice. One piece of advice they all seemed to agree upon: ‘find a publisher that you genuinely like to work with.’ In the higher echelons of academia, this is not something younger academics are taught or even told. The DisNet Research publishing panel truly impacted and imparted wisdom to those in attendance - an overall great experience." - Brittany Eldridge

"As someone who is currently in their PhD second year slump, the concept of the publishing world is truly terrifying. When I heard that the DisNet launch event would have a panel to discuss publishing under the Disney umbrella, I knew I had to attend. The best part of the panel was just how different everyone’s experience was. After her inspiring keynote, Dr Amy M. Davis discussed publishing as one of the founders of Disney scholarship, and the importance of having a good relationship with your publisher. Dr Pete Kunze furthered this by discussing the importance of finding a publisher who is interested in your work and focus. An important point raised was to not be limited to only your focus. This was elaborated by Dr Tracey Mollet, who contemplated the future of Disney scholarship as Disney continues to purchase franchises. This was a good reminder that Disney is not just about Princesses anymore, but now includes Norse Gods and Jedis. The panel also provided an insight into the editor’s mind as Dr. Sabrina Mittermeier explored the struggles of both being a book editor and writing for an edited book. This was furthered with Dr Pricilla Hobbs’ discussing what she looks for as a part of the Disney Studies Series at Rowman and Littlefield. The best part for me was the discussion between the panellist and the questions they answered. The publishing panel went above and beyond what I expected, and I cannot wait to see what the network has installed next." - Beth Evans

What did some of our Early Career Researchers think of the launch event?

"When I saw the DisNet conference come up on my Twitter, I had no idea what to expect. My hope was that I could talk to a few people who love Disney as much as I do and maybe send out some requests. So, I was very surprised when I realised just how many academics were attending and how professional and interesting the conference was. As someone who is currently in the PhD second year slump, breaking into an academic career can seem daunting but this event has re-inspired my passion for Disney academia and publishing. The event had a sense of community that I feel was desperately needed in Disney scholarship to fight against the ‘Mickey Mouse subject’ comments and debate theories. From Dr Amy Davis discussing her pioneering in the field, to insight into the publishing world, the event has connected scholars who are well established in the field to those that are just starting out. Not only that but it made me realise just how vast Disney scholarship is. As no matter what area, you are interested in, be it fandoms, theme park or a deep analysis on the Pluto/Goofy phenomenon, your work will be of interest to someone. With such as niche focus knowing there is a community out there that understands is enough to spur you on. My hopes are that the network continuous to grow strong and creates a space for Disney loving academics to connect and develop the conversation." - Beth Evans

How to join the network

"Having joined the Disney, Culture and Society Research Network, I feel very proud to be a part of such a supportive and enthusiastic community of Disney scholars. I look forward to the future of Disney Studies and the events, collaborations, and opportunities brought about by the network." - Hannah Helm

"I’m really excited to see what comes next for the network – it already feels like an incredibly supportive community and space for collaboration. My hope is that it will be a real ‘coming together space’ for scholars across a diverse range of disciplines and act as a hub that serves to encourage, engage and inspire, securing the future and sustained growth of Disney Studies." - Charlotte Durham

If you are a researching in the area of Disney and would like to join our network, you can do so here! Make sure to fill in the white box that comes up first, so you have access to members only content! Then, you can fill in the research form if you would like us to share your research profile on the website.

We are in the process of adding more information to our website including information on Calls for Papers, a members forum and research profiles.

Thank you for reading, and see ya real soon!

Want to write something for the DisNet blog? Get in touch at the bottom of our home page using the contact form here

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1 Comment

Duncan Folley
Duncan Folley
Jun 27, 2022

Had a great time at the lauch event. Really looking forward to see this community develop. And it was 626 day yesterday!

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