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“The Whole Thing Smacks of Effort, Man”

Shields Library (Lobby - Entrance)

March 28, 2016 - October 8, 2016

The Emergence & Presence of The Simpsons in Academic Literature: An Exhibit

“The Simpsons is an inexhaustible repository of humor, invention and insight, an achievement without precedent or peer in the history of broadcast television, perhaps the purest distillation of our glories and failings as a nation ever conceived.”

— A. O. Scott, New York Times, July 27, 2007
illustration of The Simpsons; text reads "The Whole Thing Smacks of Effort, Man"

Since its premiere in 1989, The Simpsons has earned immense popularity within American culture, and as the popularity of The Simpsons grew—aided in large part by the many controversies surrounding it in the early 1990s—so did its iconic stature in American culture. The show, currently in its twenty-seventh season, has set records as the longest running prime-time animated show as well as the longest-running prime-time situation comedy. The Simpsons Movie, the long-awaited big-screen incarnation of the show, opened to both critical acclaim and great box office success in 2007. Quite simply, The Simpsons is one of the most recognizable and celebrated icons of American popular culture and a bona fide cultural phenomenon.

The selected English-Language non-fiction print and electronic access books, dissertations, articles, reviews, interviews, media ties-ins, and images in this exhibit highlight the impact of The Simpsons in academic literature. These titles are available at the UC Davis Library, as well as other academic and public libraries. The aforementioned works encompass a variety of disciplines including history, political science, religion, education, philosophy, economics, society and culture, and the arts.

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Read the exhibit’s introductory essay, “Simpsonolgy: A Short Study of the Show that Changed TV,” by UC Davis University Writing Program lecturer Karma Waltonen, PhD:

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Read our interview with “Simpsonologist” Karma Waltonen

Explore the accompanying online bibliography for the exhibit, prepared by librarian Roberto C. Delgadillo:

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