By Graham Duncan
McFarland Publishers has published a book written by Lander University Professor of Psychology Dr. Jonathan Bassett.
Titled “Death on the Small Screen: The Psychology of Viewing Violent Television,” the book takes a closer look at how the motivations of fictional characters within popular television series—including HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and FX’s “Sons of Anarchy”—can “teach viewers about both the constructive and destructive ways we try to deal with our own mortality,” according to Bassett.
The book is a culmination of Bassett’s previous scholarly work. Earlier versions of select chapters were first presented as papers at annual meetings of the Popular Culture Association of the South. Meanwhile, another chapter was originally published in “PSYART: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts” in 2014. In support of his academic endeavors, Bassett was granted sabbatical for the spring semester of 2020 to write his new book.
Bassett has been a member of the Lander faculty since 2005, teaching courses in social psychology, research, behavioral statistics and the psychology of death and dying for the Department of Psychological Science and Human Services. He is the immediate past chair of the department, and was named Lander’s Distinguished Professor in 2011. He has published over 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has given over 90 conference presentations. His work in the classroom also led to recognition as Outstanding Teacher of Psychology from the South Carolina Psychological Association.
“Dr. Bassett is an excellent teacher and an accomplished scholar,” said Dr. Lucas McMillan, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Lander. “My colleagues and I are excited to join with Jon in the celebration of his book.”
Residents of Greenwood will have two opportunities to hear from Bassett in the near future. A book launch party will be held at Sundance Studio on Maxwell Avenue in Greenwood’s Uptown district on December 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. Bassett will also give a talk, titled “The Psychology of Violent Television,” as part of the Greenwood Arts Center’s Community Lecture Series in early 2023.
“I am grateful for the sabbatical program and the support Lander University provided for the scholarly efforts over the years that led to this book,” said Bassett. “I am excited about the release of the book that will appeal to a wide range of readers, both those who are interested in violence as a social issue and those who are fans of the specific programs explored.”