WHAT IS POPULAR CULTURE? What makes it “popular” and what makes it “culture”? According to Wikipedia, popular culture is “the entirety of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images, and other phenomena that are within the mainstream of a given culture…heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of the society.” This class will take up the challenge of reading, thinking, exploring, experiencing, even creating popular culture in the contemporary United States through the lenses of film, television, and other media. As students at an American university taking a class on American popular culture, we will engage and analyze narratives and representations of high school, college, and life as an “average” American student. What do these representations tell us about growing up in the US? About race, gender, class, sexuality, and nation? Texts may include Animal House, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Revenge of the Nerds, Lean on Me, The Breakfast Club, Fame, Saved by the Bell, Beverly Hills 90210, Clueless, My So Called Life, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Freaks and Geeks, Better Luck Tomorrow, Harry Potter, and Glee.
- Professor: Edmond Chang