What does popular culture say about the larger culture? In this class, we use questions about pop culture — such as video games, pop music, sports, TV, and other popular products — as a basis for writing and researching. How do video games help us to learn about engineering and physics? How do the virtues of leadership and teamwork get exploited by the extraordinary amounts of money made by owners of professional sports teams? Have TV police shows shaped what courtroom juries expect from DNA evidence? We’ll learn how to look at pop culture through the lens of the cultural critic — someone who uses concepts about sociology and anthropology, even biology and economics, to analyze human behavior and its implications. We’ll be analyzing clips from pop culture samples — videos, magazines, advertisements, movies — as well as theories about media and pop culture to research how these everyday artifacts are at the same time both trashy, meaningless moments, and poignant reminders of who we are. We start by writing an analytical essay about popular culture commentary, move into writing about library research regarding a topic of your choice, and close by sharing research in oral presentations. At each step, we work together as a group, doing workshops and peer review to practice collaboration and project-based learning.
- Enrollment is limited to students in the 2 to 4 Veterans Program.