BHSU criminologist exposes taboos during Geek Speak lecture

Author: BHSU Communications/Friday, January 16, 2015/Categories: 2015








           Dr. Nicole Royer, criminologist and instructor of sociology at BHSU, presents a lecture on taboos in popular culture as part of the Geek Speak lecture series.  The lecture will be held Jan. 22 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall 110 on the BHSU campus.     



The next Geek Speak lecture at Black Hills State University will make you uncomfortable.  Dr. Nicole Royer, criminologist and instructor of sociology, will present her lecture "Cannibalism, Necrophilia, and Death and Dying:  Taboos and Popular Culture" on Thursday, Jan. 22 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall 110 on the BHSU campus.

"When someone witnesses a taboo, it causes such repulsion that it almost makes you want to gag," said Royer. "It&rsquos taboo it&rsquos supposed to make you feel uncomfortable."

In Thursday&rsquos presentation Royer will use video to present several taboos, types of norms unacceptable to society, and explain how popular culture can normalize practices previously considered taboo.

Cannibalism, for example, is now a worldwide taboo previously used as an art of war to discourage enemies from attacking a tribe that would cannibalize prisoners, said Royer.

"It&rsquos all about your cultural frame of reference," she said.  

The lecture will also discuss taboos surrounding body modification including mutilation, tattoos, and foot binding.  Royer says several emerging trends in plastic surgery take body modification to such an extreme that they support and encourage taboos.  

"Foot binding is an ancient Chinese practice, but there&rsquos a new trend in plastic surgery where women are having their toes cut off and their feet shaved down to wear certain types of shoes," said Royer.  "Toes are the new nose."

The Geek Speak lecture series, sponsored by the BHSU University Honors program, features academic discussion and topics not normally discussed in the traditional classroom.  The goal of the weekly lectures is to expose students to diversity within the disciplines.

All Geek Speak lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse-Wika, director of University Honors and assistant professor of English at BHSU, at or 605-642-6918.

Upcoming Geek Speak topics include:

Jan. 29: Dr. Rickie Legleitner: "Disruptive Depictions of Disability in South Park"  

Feb. 5: Dr. Adam Gaffey: "The Rhetoric of Equality:  Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Arguments on Civil Rights"

Feb. 12: Dr. Nikki Dragone: "On Sherlock Holmes"

Feb. 19: Dr. Nick Wallerstein: "The Sound (and a Bit of Sense) of Poetry from Ancient Times to the Present"

Feb. 26: Dr. Tom Arnold: "Butchers, Buffoons, and 'Basterds': Nazis in Popular Culture"

March 5: Dr. David Cremean: "Breaking Bad and the Inexhaustibility of Extreme Methaphor"

March 19: Dr. William Cockrell: "On Gender and Gaming"

March 26: Dr. Chris Hahn and Professor Kelly Kirk: "On Black Politic Music of the 1970s"

April 9: Dr. Dan May: "&ltInsert Relevant Song Title Here&gt:  The Rise and Fall of American Alternative Rock"

April 16: Dr. Aris Karagiorgakis: "The Truth is in Here: Why 12 Million Americans Believe Lizard People Run the Country (and other "crazy" conspiracies)"

April 23: John Ginther: "On Game of Thrones"

April 30: Dr. Dave Berberick: "On the History of Heavy Metal"

May 5 and May 7: The Defense (Capstone defense for University Honors seniors)

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