In 2016, I co-organised Mad Men: The Conference at Middle Tenneesee State University, near Nashville, Tennessee, USA. The conference brought together scholars from around the world to discuss the cultural impact of the television series. This book is a collection of essays from the conference and is dedicated to the memory of Professor David Lavery, our co-organiser and a renowned television scholar who passed away shortly after the conference and who is sadly missed.
For seven seasons, viewers worldwide watched as ad man Don Draper moved from adultery to self-discovery, secretary Peggy Olson became a take-no-prisoners businesswoman, object-of-the-gaze Joan Holloway developed a feminist consciousness, executive Roger Sterling tripped on LSD, and smarmy Pete Campbell became a surprisingly nice guy. Mad Men defined a pivotal moment for television, earning an enduring place in the medium’s history.
Our edited collection examines the enduringly popular television series as Mad Men still captivates audiences and scholars in its nuanced depiction of a complex decade. This is the first book to offer an analysis of Mad Men in its entirety, exploring the cyclical and episodic structure of the long form series and investigating issues of representation, power and social change. The collection establishes the show’s legacy in televisual terms, and brings it up to date through an examination of its cultural importance in the Trump era. Aimed at scholars and interested general readers, the book illustrates the ways in which Mad Men has become a cultural marker for reflecting upon contemporary television and politics.