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Proseminar: Popular Objects/Popular Subjects

Semester and Year SP 2012
Course Number CORE-GG2018
Section 001
Instructor Karen Hornick
Days Wed
Time 6:20 PM - 8:20 PM
Units 4.0
Level G
Foundation Requirement


Historical and technological developments in media have changed the way we think about popular audiences – are they products or producers of culture? Is an audience a mass of subjects, or is it comprised of individuals who freely express personal tastes? This proseminar attempts to reach students with interests, practical or theoretical, in one or more of the following fields: media studies, literary and art criticism, history, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, and philosophy (particularly aesthetics). Our gaze will most often fall upon objects and events generated for transmission via mass media, but we will also consider other phenomena (as studied and documented, for example, in legal studies, ethnography, or star studies). Particular questions may concern such themes as: the difference between high and low art; the intersection of culture and politics; the globalization of culture, art as commodity and mass object; the value of fan studies and Henry Jenkins’s concept of “participatory culture”; and the place of desire, pleasure, and the perception of beauty in mass-produced or popular culture. Major class readings may include classic arguments by Max Weber, Karl Mannheim, Theodor Adorno, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Pierre Bourdieu, Roland Barthes, Michel de Certeau, Michel Foucault, and Edward Said.

Course Type

Graduate Core (CORE-GG)

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