Critical Approaches to Popular Culture
Popular culture has been both dismissed as mere trivia and condemned as propaganda. It has been lauded and vilified, but it has consistently been the object of interest and fascination. How then, can we use pop culture as a tool to understand the world and our place in it better? This course introduces students to some of the most important critiques of culture since the 1930s and to different kinds of research that can help us understand popular culture and its effects. Students will investigate how different cultural forms communicate ideas about the world by exploring a range of media and genres, including television, film, advertising, music, books, magazines, and the Internet. The course develops critical reading skills that can be applied to both scholarly and popular texts.