L210 1950 ROOF
Studies in Popular Literature and Mass Media

1:00p-2:15p TR (30) 3 cr.


This course looks at the basic methods and purposes of studying popular culture through the phenomenon of popularized gangster and police figures. From Al Capone to The Godfather, Goodfellas, and urban gangs as well as from Eliot Ness to The Untouchables, and detective, police, and law television shows, the crook and the copper have figured large in the American imagination. Works to be read include Puzo, The Godfather; Pileggi, Wiseguy; Schoenberg, Mr. Capone; Ross, The Chicago Gangster Theory of Life; Dawley, A Nation of Lords: The Autobiography of the Vice Lords; Sikes, 8 Ball Chicks : A Year in the Violent World of Girl Gangsters; Wambaugh, The Choirboys; Ness, The Untouchables; and Volkman, Gangbusters. We will also consider television series such as Homicide, Law and Order, Columbo, NYPD Blue, and Hill Street Blues, and films such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, and others.