Love 'em or not, heavy metal studies at our institutions of higher learning are here to stay.
Remember that heavy metal scholars are metalheads themselves, and they love the music, love the culture, and are working to preserve the heavy metal history that metal fans cherish worldwide.
A video clip Dr. Karl Spracklen, Professor of Leisure Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University, talking about goals of the International Society Of Heavy Metal Studies (ISMMS) and his focus on black metal can be seen below.
In an interview with CvltNation.com, Spracklen stated about his decision to create Metal Music Studies: "Heavy metal is an important part of modern culture and everyday life, so studying heavy metal enables us to understand both of those things. For me, the interesting thing about heavy metal is the tension between metal's strong sense of being part of a non-mainstream subculture, and metal's place in the industry of modern pop and rock music. That's because I'm essentially a sociologist. Other heavy metal scholars might be interested in the way the music is constructed, or the meaning behind song lyrics, or the history of the scene, or the use of heavy metal as a philosophy or ideology of life. Heavy metal is just a subject field, a lens, through which we can think about problems in other academic diciplines."
Asked if he thinks academia has been hostile to metal in the past, or simply seen it as being part of the amorphous cloud of "rock" without an identity of its own, Spracklen said: "I think there have been academics who have been very dismissive of heavy metal in the past, people who have seen the music as serving no good purpose in everyday life. I think for many of these critics, their own prejudices and tastes have got in the way: metal has always had that blue-collar association, and some cultural academics still can't bring themselves to acknowledge the diversity and depth of the genre. There are also some academics who think heavy metal is a great evil, and we still see some papers written that claim metal fans are more likely to be criminals and so on. This is just bad science, but every time someone publishes these crude generalisations the press picks up the story. This journal is the journal of the International Society For Metal Music Studies. This learned society is partly for academics who have a professional interest in metal, but also those in the industry who want to be a part of Metal Music Studies, including musicians and journalists, and fans."