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MTSU Mag: Research on medievalism in pop culture, cooler cows

The January 2016 edition of MTSU Magazine spotlights the research of two professors — one focused on medievalism’s impact on pop culture and the other on the effort to genetically engineer heat-resistant livestock.

  • Whether it’s “Game of Thrones” or “Vikings” — another popular television series that airs on the History Channel— Warner Brothers’ multi-film version of the King Arthur legend scheduled to hit theaters in 2016, or video games with names like “World of Warcraft,” the Elder Scrolls series, and “Dragon Age” or “Game of War” (think supermodel Kate Upton), examples of medievalism permeate 21st-century American pop culture. MTSU English professor Amy Kaufman, who studies medievalism, a mythologized version of the Middle Ages, looks at the entertainment Americans consume and the ideas that entertainment has about the time period in which she specializes. “Pardon the pun, but medievalism is really experiencing a Renaissance these days,” Kaufman says.MTSU Magazine-Jan2016 cover_web
  • In 2013, MTSU biology professor and former agribusiness/agriculture chair Warren Gill had just attended a conference where ranchers and farmers discussed the challenges of developing livestock that could withstand the scorching temperatures typical of so many of the world’s impoverished regions. The Brahman cattle raised there are inefficient breeders and grazers relative to the amount and quality of the beef they produce; however, they’re heat-tolerant, with short, white coats. Angus cows, bred for cooler climates, are the opposite in every way, down to their tender, abundant beef and double layers of long, black hair. “What we need,” Gill thought, “is a short-haired, white Angus.” By November 2015, the first fertilized white Angus eggs were ready for transfer to their bovine incubators. If the transfers take and the pregnancies are viable — Gill is hoping for 25 percent success — the calves will be born midsummer on his Petersburg, Tennessee, farm.

Other articles in the new edition include:

  • an interview with MTSU graduate and NBA referee Ben Taylor, one of only 63 referees in the world deemed qualified to officiate American professional basketball games;
  • a closer look at the recent opening of MTSU’s new Veterans and Military Family Center, a first in the state of Tennessee; and
  • a list of 10 annual events that take place on the MTSU campus that are less about boosting the University’s bottom line and prowess and more about simply benefitting the local and statewide community.

Readers may also download MTSU Magazine free for their iPads and iPhones. The MTSU Mag app, available in the iTunes store, includes special multimedia content built into every issue that’s not available in the print editions.

Android users can find a page-flip version of the magazine here and also access the magazine by downloading the free issuu app in Google Play.

Laptop and desktop users can find the content from the latest edition here and here.

Printed copies of MTSU Magazine, which has been recognized for excellence by the Tennessee College Public Relations Association, the Nashville Public Relations Society of America and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, are distributed twice annually to more than 100,000 alumni readers.

The publication also is distributed to interested community members, including state lawmakers and members of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

MTSU Magazine also is available online at www.mtsumagazine.com.

— Drew Ruble (drew.ruble@mtsu.edu)

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