English | Projects in Reading & Writing: Radical Chic, Terrorism, or Social Justice?: Representations of Protest in American Popular Culture
W170 | 16040 | McTaggart

•	16040		12:20-1:10p	MWF		WH 114
Che Guevara shirts are now sold at the mall, Chevrolet deems its
cars an “American Revolution,” and the Playstation game State of
Emergency allows players to act out the role of “rioting” anarchists
attempting to destroy a fiction version of the World Trade
Organization. In these examples, social protest is represented as a
fun and playful commodity. It has become, as the author Tom Wolfe
once said, “radical chic.” But other media sources represent social
protest differently. Some environmental activists, for instance, are
portrayed as “eco-terrorists,” and others are depicted as crusaders
for social justice. In this course, we will examine the ways that
social protest is represented in today’s American culture. Why is
the media so full of these representations, and how do they affect
social attitudes about protest? In order to tackle these questions,
we will examine representations of organized dissent (that is, mass
actions or activist organizations) in advertising, the print media,
and film. In the process, we will aim to become sophisticated
cultural critics who can read the world around us and translate our
understandings into written analyses.