Document Type


Publication Date

January 2019


This course examines popular culture and the emergence of mass culture in the United States. Itstarts from the premise that popular culture, far from being a frivolous or debased alternative to“high culture”, is in fact an important site of popular expression, social instruction, and culturalconflict, and thus deserves critical attention. We examine theoretical texts that help us to “read”popular culture, even as we study specific forms and artifacts of popular culture: from televisionshows to Hollywood movies, graphic novels to advertisements, and popular music to fiction.Throughout the course, we ground what we call “culture” in political, economic, and socialcontexts. We pay special attention to the ways popular culture mediates and produces pleasure,disgust, satisfaction, and fear and to how popular culture influences and is influenced by politicaland social structures.