English | Projects in Reading & Writing -
Topic: REPRESENTATIONS OF RACE IN POPULAR CULTURE FROM AMERICAN HISTORY X TO THE X-MEN
W170 | 1939 | Michael Chaney


From blackness in the Wu-Tang Clan to the hill-billy in the Jerry
Springer show to aliens in Star Trek, issues of race and racial
difference have never been more relevant in our increasingly
multi-racial America.  This course examines questions of racial
construction in popular culture through the acquisition of cultural
analysis and the practice of critical reading and writing.  Using
analytical essays as critical lenses, we will consider everything from
hip hop music and talk shows to sci-fi television, black-white buddy
movies, and comic books.  Also, we will supplement our study of race
in popular culture with one literary work by Toni Morrison.  Students
will write four thesis-driven analytical essays, four responses to
critical readings, and several, paragraph-length critical reflections.
Students will participate in weekly group projects and one major
group project based on independent research.  Although topics of race
difference may be divisive, this course presupposes that race
representation is not an issue that involves minorities to the
exclusion of whites, but one that relates to us all.  Thus, as we move
toward a greater understanding of the cultural operations that define
race and race difference, we will also avoid privileging any single
ideological position.