American Popular Culture
The course will explore the history and practice of popular culture and culture studies in the United States. We will begin by challenging the concepts of "folk," "mass," and "popular" as well as "American" and "culture." Furthermore, we will interrogate various media such as television, film, music, comics, and popular romances to gain insights into the conditions for the reproduction of social relations. Through an analysis of audience response to performed or viewed events we will explore how and why people actively negotiate and interpret popular materials. This class will attempt to situate popular culture within a larger social, cultural, and political framework. Some areas of popular culture we may investigate include MTV, talk shows, fashion, club cultures, rap and other musics, snaps, pro wrestling, professional sports, Hollywood movies, advertising, and McDonald's, and and there will be room to explore other areas students may find interesting. We will end by looking into the exportation of American popular culture and its reception, interpretation, adaptation, and consumption around the world.