Communication and Culture | Using Popular Culture
C336 | 1071 | Naomi Rockler

Are everyday people influenced heavily by popular culture?  Do they
passively "absorb" the ideological messages within popular culture
about consumerism, conformity, gender, race, and power?  Or are
everyday people active users of popular culture?  Do they analyze
popular culture critically?  Do they use popular culture in active
ways as "equipment for living" for making sense of the world around
them?  Or are popular audience members both passive and active,
critical and uncritical, at different times and to different degrees?

This course will explore the debates within the fields of
communication and cultural studies that look at the degree to which
audiences are influenced powerfully by popular culture and the degree
to which audiences use popular culture critically and creatively.
Students will read arguments and learn about theories that explore
both audience passivity and agency.  Assignments will include
approximately 50-75 pages of reading per week, a midterm and a final,
and small "field" exercises in which students will examine everyday
people using popular culture.