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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Spring 2010

AMS 390 • American Pop Culture: Theory and Method

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
29870 M
12:00 PM-3:00 PM
BUR 436B
Davis

Course Description

In this graduate research seminar, we will survey several schools of thought regarding the study of popular culture. After an initial attempt to define popular culture, we will assess various (and occasionally divergent) scholarly perspectives on popular culture as a form of social control, a site of class conflict, a form of "folk" agency, and/or as a location for expressing social and cultural hierarchies. Moreover, we will attempt to place the works we read within the broader historical context in which they were written. For ten of the class meetings, each student will be required to submit an abstract or set of study/discussion questions based on the week's reading. After twelve weeks of reading and discussion, we will adjourn for a couple of weeks while students conduct primary source research. During our last meeting, each person will present a short summary of h/her final paper and will solicit questions regarding methodology, organization, source materials, etc. Each student will produce a publishable paper of 15-20 pages long, comprised mainly of primary source materials on some aspect¬óhistorical or contemporary¬óconcerning American popular culture.

Texts

Possible Texts:
Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, The Dialectic of Enlightenment
Jean Baudrillard, Simulation and Simulacra
Walter Benjamin, Illuminations
Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter
Roland Barthes, Mythologies
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume I
Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks (selected portions)
bell hooks, Outlaw Culture
Chuck Klosterman, Fargo Rock City
Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media
Gilbert Seldes, The 7 Lively Arts
Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature
Recommended: Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, eds., Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks

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