Invitation: Peter Swirski lecturing in Helsinki on 21 May 2018

Time: Monday, 21 May 2018, 10–12

Place: University of Helsinki, Main Building, Auditorium XIV (Unioninkatu 34)

Dear Collegues,

We warmly invite you to a public guest lecture by Peter Swirski, Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture, entitled: “In Search of the Grooviest Groove: Nobrow Studies—Prolegomena and Paralipomena.”

The lecture will focus on Professor Swirski’s recent work on the crossings of highbrow and lowbrow culture in the 20th and 21st centuries. For more detailed information on the lecture please see the abstract below. Apologies for cross-posting.

You are all very warmly welcome!


In Search of the Grooviest Groove

Nobrow Studies—Prolegomena and Paralipomena

Peter Swirski

What do you get when you cross highbrow aesthetics with lowbrow genres? An identity crisis.

—Nobrow joke

If cultural presence is measured by jokes, nobrow studies might be slowly coming of age. But insofar as the term has been in circulation only since the dawn of this century, the concept behind it is a bit like the abs of most suburbanites—it could use more definition.

Not that there is anything unclear about its broad connotations. Nobrow cues the battles of the brows, the canon wars, the dialectic of highbrow elitism and lowbrow commercialism, and their vertical hierarchy of cultural producers, consumers, and of culture itself.

In From Lowbrow to Nobrow (2005) I coined another label for the creative movements that crossbreed cultural highs and lows: artertainment. Terminology aside, however, what matters are the movements themselves. My goal will be, therefore, to take a closer look at the core concept—whether we call it nobrow or artertainment—for the scholars and students of these movements.


Peter Swirski is a Canadian scholar, writer, and critic, listed in the Canadian Who’s Who. He is Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture and Amazon and Alibris multiple #1 Bestseller in American History and Criticism, Popular culture Criticism, and Canadian Literary Criticism. He is the author of seventeen award-winning books on American literature and culture and popular culture, including From Lowbrow to Nobrow (2005), American Crime Fiction: A Cultural History of Nobrow Literature as Art (2016), and co-edited When Highbrow Meets Lowbrow: Popular Culture and the Rise of Nobrow (2017).