Popular culture permeates modern Western life. It is there when we put on our blue jeans, when we listen to Pandora or download music from Itunes, when we head to the multiplex for our favorite movie, when we come home and veg out in front of “The Walking Dead.” But what is “it”? How is popular culture different from “high culture” and “folk culture?” Is “pop culture” a cultural and historical universal, or a historically unique phenomenon? Can we study it sociologically, and if so, how? These are some of the questions we will address in this course. In particular, we will examine work which argues that popular culture is an important and meaningful site for contemporary social and political struggles. We will consider the role of culture with respect to identity, social location, pleasure, and power as they are negotiated in everyday life.
I hope to teach this course again in the Spring of 2016 as a hybrid course (one session a week face-to-face, one session on asynchronous on line). Please check back as I make adaptations to the site.