Beyond the Stars: Astrophysics in the Bangtan Universe
Eds. Etienne, L., Hulme, K., & Lazore, C.
Like many other fictional universes, the Bangtan Universe has a narrative that uses time travel as a key element. The fictional character Seokjin goes back in time to save his six companions — but until recently, this was only speculation from fans based on key visuals. There was no canonical “proof” of this time travelling until the SAVE ME webtoon was released in January 2019 (Big Hit Entertainment, 2019b). While many analyses of the BU have been based on psychology, there has not been an in-depth exploration of the physics behind the visuals of the intricately woven Bangtan Universe.
To this end, our Editorial Board invited four physicists to our second roundtable to dive into the physics phenomena and concepts that can help us understand how the fictitious Bangtan Universe might theoretically exist and function (or not) in our real world. We hope you will join us in welcoming our physicists to the table:
Transmedia Storytelling, Astrophysics, Bangtan Universe, Quantum Mechanics, Multiverse, Black Hole
How We Became Bulletproof: A Critical Conversation Among Three Hmong American ARMY Siblings
Kong Pheng Pha, Kaochi Pha, Meria Khaosue Pha
As a relatively small subset of the larger Asian American racial group, Hmong Americans have engaged in a range of Asian pop music since the late 1990s. K-pop is the latest phenomenon to infiltrate Hmong Americans’ musical tastes. Hmong Americans, being a stateless ethnic minority who are oftentimes racialized as “Asian Americans,” possess a unique lens to understand pop culture’s multi-layered effects on fandoms. This essay is a hybrid text in the form of a critical conversation which maps out the influence of BTS on the lives of three Hmong American siblings. This critical conversation reveals how the music, artistry, and advocacy of BTS have reconceptualized notions of both Hmong American and Asian American identities, gender, race, affect and fandom, and the politics of social justice in the United States. Additionally, the American national context is centralized in this essay in order to contextualize the political, ideological, and intersubjective effects found within Hmong American engagements with BTS and K-pop. We conclude by showing that BTS has enabled us to embrace our truths in both micro and macro ways, thus making us bulletproof.
Hmong American, social justice, Asian American, identity, conversation
We Are Not Robots: A Preliminary Exploration into the Affective Link between BTS x ARMY
Lady Flor Partosa
Fans and artists in pop culture are usually seen condescendingly as “robots” with no agency; on the other hand, some scholars also view them as having limited autonomy because their labor and investment is co-opted by cultural industries in the global economy. I argue, however, that the production of affect through affective labor (Michael Hardt) and affective investment (Lawrence Grossberg) produces subjectivities and sociality — an affective space — where BTS and ARMY critically examine their identities as informed by their place in the cultural industry and inspire each other toward transformative action, from self-awareness to solidarity with others. Through a close reading of the lyrics and music video of RM’s “Persona” as well as brief references to fan discourse and activities, I aim to show how both artists and fans — connected through affect — critically examine their thought process and participate in shaping the social conditions they inhabit. In citing fan experience to further understand this affective link, I refer to the notion of “transnational fandom” (Chin and Morimoto), where affinities are established beyond national or cultural boundaries, as I interact with BTS and ARMY on social media. I hope that this preliminary exploration will add to the discourse about the cultural agency of artists and fans in changing — or attempting to change — ourselves and our specific corners of the world.
affect, pop culture, song analysis
The Love Curriculum
This paper is a result of an assignment titled “The Love Curriculum.” In this assignment, we were tasked with finding ways to connect a hobby or interest with curriculum, thus discovering how our interests could be presented within a classroom environment. However, the assignment also called for us to interpret our love curriculum through our personal experiences, leading me to write about what I have learned as a fan of BTS. I found that my new acquired learning was not linked solely to their music, but also in what they stood for and represented from my point of view. I was able to discern how learning styles, student interest, and musical/visual supplements played a role in my education, while also discovering how social reconstructionism and the hidden curriculum created a connection between BTS and myself as an African American woman that I would have failed to recognize on my own. Through this assignment, I reaffirmed the importance of finding new ways to connect with my students through their interests and learning styles in presenting curriculum content. And I remain hopeful that by tapping into topics of interest and relevance in my students’ lives, I can guide them towards the discovery of their own love curriculum.
BTS, curriculum, music, Social Reconstructionism, K-pop, African American, early childhood, kindergarten, teacher, student interest, learning styles
Beyond the Scene, Literally
BTS have several factors that have contributed to their exponentially rising popularity, but the most outstanding factor is the deeper message that they deliver through their music. Released in 2017, “Spring Day” is BTS’s longest-charting track. It goes beyond the typical love song and its music video not only includes but transcends past aesthetics. A close visual analysis of the “Spring Day” music video leads one to find a profound message that is up to interpretation. It contains visual elements, appropriately accompanying lyrics, and literary references to Christian Boltanski’s No Man’s Land and Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” all of which lead to comfort in dealing with the loss of a loved one and the overarching concept of “you never walk alone.”
BTS, K-pop, “Spring Day,” video, interpretation, analysis, charts, “You Never Walk Alone”
Welcome to our second selection of Academic Articles! Many hands helped create this section of R3: the authors, managing editors, copy editors, Editorial Board members, and peer reviewers. We wouldn’t be here without the help, good ideas, and hard work of all of these people.
But the role that allows us to proudly describe our journal as “peer-reviewed” is that of peer reviewer. These subject matter experts come from many backgrounds, experiences, and nations. The role of peer reviewer is a difficult one — the task is to critically examine each AA submission in great detail, making sure facts are correct; the submission is centered on a thesis; the writing is clear, logical, and organized; and the ideas are substantial. We have reviewers who are data analysts, experts in marketing, specialists in Korean language and history, medical professionals, visual artists, musicians, experts in pedagogy, philosophy, language, social science, mental health, fandom studies, and, of course, experts in BTS and ARMY. It’s a complex and demanding role, but it’s also interesting.
An important aspect of our peer-review process is that it is “masked”; that is, the reviewer does not know the identity of the writer (until publication) and the writer does not know the identities of the reviewers. This allows the process to be fair and unbiased.
If you’re interested in contributing to the work of the journal in this way, please let us know by filling out an application.
If you are interested in submitting your work to be considered for future issues, please consult our guidelines for submission here. We will be opening our submissions back up soon, so please check our submissions page! Our submissions are temporarily closed while we work through some technical and process improvements, but that doesn’t stop you from working on a submission! See how to submit your work here. Watch our twitter updates or check this page to keep track of when submissions reopen.