Gaga Stigmata (2010-2014) is an online pop cultural criticism journal founded by Durbin, and co-edited with Dr. Meghan Vicks, whose "Lady Gaga is the Trickster of American Pop Culture" blog post was tweeted by Lady Gaga herself during the early days of Twitter. The journal was independently run, not affiliated with any institutions or sponsors. Gaga Stigmata published academic critiques of Lady Gaga's pop cultural project in real time, or close to real time response, in order to actively participate in popular culture. The journal had a strong following by a diverse audience of academics, journalists and pop culture fans, and was taught at academic conferences as a phenomenon in its own right, as a new way of doing academic criticism in the era of the Internet. Gaga Stigmata received significant press attention from places as diverse as Yale's American Scholar to NPR to French television to news and tabloid papers, and was followed and tweeted by members of Lady Gaga's team as well as taught in classrooms around the world.
One of the most interesting aspects of Gaga Stigmata, and the most difficult to quantify, is the influence Gaga Stigmata's writers had in shaping Lady Gaga's project. By helping to shift the public discourse around her work to an art conversation, and by feeding ideas to her and her team through projective criticism, Lady Gaga and Gaga Stigmata were involved in a symbiotic "chicken or egg" relationship of which the ultimate cultural impact can only be speculated about.
Press for Gaga Stigmata: