American Pop Culture

  1. How has pop culture historically dealt with ‘otherness’ in society as it relates to
    gender, class and race? What are some examples we have seen? Historically speaking,
    how has pop culture influenced our ideas and opinions about ‘otherness’? What are some
    real life implications of how pop culture addresses these issues? Where are we at now in
    regards to ‘otherness’ and pop culture? Provide examples from class and readings.
  2. Discuss the idea of pop culture in the age of the internet. What are some of the
    positive, and negative aspects? Explain the idea of convergence & participatory cultures,
    and technology as it specifically relates to Henry Jenkins and Sherry Turkle. Do you
    agree or disagree with them? How are these ‘tools and toys’ of media and information
    and technology shaping our culture? How have they historically? Provide examples from
    class and readings.
  3. Looking at all that we have discussed this semester, explain the idea of “American
    duality” or contradictions in our popular culture: what is at the heart of them? What do
    they reflect? How do they relate to some of the core values of American society? Where
    have we seen individuals challenge them? Provide examples and think in terms of
    everything we have learned in class. NOTE: this is NOT just about the duality myth,
    though you can mention that. What other contradictory practices have you noticed?
  4. Overall, are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of pop culture, and why?
    Given that pop culture isn’t going anywhere, and, if anything, is only becoming more
    prominent in our culture, how do we best manage it? How do we deal with the negative
    aspects of it while also promoting the good? Provide examples from class and readings.

Sample Solution