American Popular Culture
The course will explore the history and practice of popular culture and culture studies in the United States. By interrogating various media such as television, film, music, and comics, you will 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, and consider the way that traditional expressive forms are reworked, inverted, and reinterpreted in popular culture. 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 video games, superheroes, professional sports, Barbie, disasters, graphic novels, zombies, popular romance, and Hollywood movies, and there will be room to explore other areas students may find interesting.