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Heavy Metal Goes to Academia: Dr. Karl Spracklen About Metal Studies Journal [Guest Article]

Posted on 04 May 2013 by Dom

How many of you wished you could take a “metal studies” course at university or high school? Well, it looks like such a course might become reality. There are many professors and lecturers using heavy metal music at their courses, Professor Martin Jacobsen being an example with his class “Introduction to Literature: Heavy Metal as a Literary Genre”. There are also a few scholarly books on heavy metal such as Deena Weinstein’s (yes, that woman in Sam Dunn’s “Headbanger’s Journey” documentary) “Heavy Metal: The Music and its Culture” or Robert Walser’s “Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music”. 

A new scholarly journal will be launched next year titled “Metal Music Studies”. The principal editor, Dr. Karl Spracklen, and Professor of Leisure Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University (UK), tells us below everything you need to know about the journal; why and when will it be set up, how you can access it and how you can contribute – academic or not!

metal studies

Metal Music Studies (MMS) is a new journal published by Intellect, an academic publisher. The first volume will be published in 2015, though the first issue will come out at the end of 2014. It will eventually be published three times a year. The journal is the official journal of the International Society of Metal Music Studies (ISMMS): if you join the Society, you get a subscription. The journal will also be available in many university libraries around the world, and personal subscriptions will be possible if for some strange reason you don’t want to be a member of ISMMS.

ISMMS has been set up to be a way of bringing together everybody who has a ‘serious’ or ‘learned’ interest in heavy metal and all its aspects: from the science of production to the philosophy of its lyrical themes, and from the darkest underground subculture to the biggest multinational corporation. Anyone who cares about heavy metal should join ISMMS: we all know how important and meaningful metal is, and how stupid it can be, but we also know that people outside metal might think the whole thing is frivolous. ISMMS is open to academics, non-academics, fans, musicians, journalists, industry insiders, anyone who has a vested interested in promoting metal as a valid form of human creativity, and metal music studies as a valid topic of investigation. If you want to know more about ISMMS please email Amber Clifford at A web-site and membership details will be publicised shortly.

Metal Music Studies the journal, in the spirit of metal, is intended to be an inclusive space for academics and non-academics, fans and critics, to write papers and to read each other’s work. There will be a main section for full papers in the traditional academic style, peer reviewed and subject to rigorous editorial control – but following that, we will have a section where anyone who is a serious metalhead can write something. We hope this second section will get contributions from insiders, musicians, journalists, but also everyday fans who are passionate to share something intelligent with other intelligent metalheads. For more details, contact me, Karl Spracklen, the Principal Editor, at

Karl Spracklen
Metal Music Studies

Check out his university profile here.

karl spracklen

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