SEX, RACE, AND POPULAR CULTURE
Popular culture is often defined as a collection of ideas, images, beliefs and practices that have become an essential component of peoples' daily lives. While popular culture is dismissed by some as merely a mass consumer culture, others acknowledge that contemporary popular cultural forms may, in keeping with a history of once contemporary popular art, culture, and literature (e.g. Dickens, Warhol, etc.) Come to be understood as essential, canonical and elite. Ultimately, these materials may be read as a texts that inform our understanding of culture and social life and prompt such questions as: how does popular culture (re)construct our sense of "ordinary" life as something extraordinary? Why are some cultural forms dismissed and others more readily accepted? What social processes bring cultural forms into the public domain? This course will examine popular culture in a variety of forms such as: music, art, television, collectibles, internet, and social media. Students will consider examples from Western, non-Western, and "global" culture, but will use sex and sexuality, gender, and ideas of race to understand the relationship between popular culture, material culture, representation, and consumerism, and power and resistance. It will also address these phenomenon over time. This course will make especially strong use of contemporary and popular media such as video clips, internet media and images, and music.