Communication & Popular Culture
Popular culture has been alternately dismissed as mere trivia and condemned as propaganda, a tool of mass deception. 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. Overarching questions for the course include: How do various popular culture forms represent social life? Why do we consume popular culture in the ways that we do? How can we look at popular culture to understand the world better, including our place in the world? To answer these questions, we will explore 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.