Call for Blog Posts: the Rise of the Superstar Professor

In a recent blog post Peter Walsh argued that the phenomenon of academic celebrity has been unjustly neglected within sociology. While there has been a substantial growth in the study of celebrity more broadly, research on superstar professors and those aspiring to this status has been largely absent. Yet it could be argued that such figures are more influential than ever, both within the academy and on the lecture circuit outside of it, suggesting not only does reputation matter but that the particular kind of reputation enjoyed by world renowned superstars matters more than ever.

In this special section for The Sociological Review’s website, we invite short blog posts (1500 words or less) addressing these issues. This might include but is by no means limited to:

  • Has there always been academic celebrity? How has it changed over time? What social and cultural factors shape these changes?
  • What’s the relationship between academic celebrity and the publishing industry? Do scholarly publishers encourage academic celebrity because superstars reliably sell books?
  • Does the prolific rate at which many academic celebrities publish books have negative consequences for scholarly communication?
  • How does the rise of academic celebrity reflect a broader transformation of academic labour? Is there one rule for the superstar professor and another rule for the rest of it?
  • Does social media complicate the production of academic celebrity? Are social media micro-celebrities distinctively different from superstar professors?

Please contact Mark Carrigan with submissions or any questions relating to the special section: The deadline for contributions is February 15th 2015