Fall 2005 AMS 3300 / 002 Tues. & Thurs. 11 – 12:15 p.m. SOM 2.803 http://www.utdallas.edu/~erins Office Hours:
Dr. Erin Smith School of General Studies Office: GR 2.208 Phone: (972) 883-2338 e-mail: [email protected]
Tues. / Thurs. 3:30 – 5 p.m. and by appointment
American Popular Culture
This course examines the history of American culture through some of its most popular cultural forms —best-selling novels, magazines, advertising, television, popular music, and sports. These texts, important to large numbers of ordinary people, are key sources in the study of popular world-views, important windows on the culture of an age. What do women and men, recent immigrants and the native-born, slaves and free, the rich and the working classes take from these texts? Do ordinary readers/viewers uncritically consume these texts, or are they “resisting readers?” What is the relationship between popular texts and the institutions that produce, market, and distribute them? How do changes in levels of education and religious belief influence popular culture? How do gender, race, and class shape what texts we read or watch and how we make sense of them? Texts: Henry Jenkins, Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1868-69) Horatio Alger, Ragged Dick (1866) 11 e-reserve readings 2 regular reserve items (Denning 9/13; Marchand 9/27, 9/29) All texts are available at the UTD Bookstore and at Off-campus books. Method of Evaluation: 5 reading journals 2 short (2-3 page) papers (Dime Novel Paper, Advertising Paper) Midterm and final exams Final project (5 pages)
Policy on Scholastic Dishonesty: I have a zero tolerance policy on cheating and plagiarism. Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University.
Course Schedule Thurs. 18 Aug. Organizational / Intro. to Course
Introduction to the Study of Popular Culture Tues. 23 Aug. John Fiske, chap. 23, “Popular Culture” in Critical Terms for Literary Study, 2d ed. Ed. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1995): 321-35 (e-reserve). Thurs. 25 Aug. Geertz, Clifford, “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight,” in Rethinking Popular Culture: Contemporary Perspectives in Cultural Studies. Eds. Chandra Mukerji and Michael Schudson (Berkeley: U of California P, 1991): 239-77 (e-reserve).
Boys, Girls, and Separate Spheres: Novels in the Nineteenth Century Tues. 30 Aug. Elizabeth Segel, chap. 8, “As the Twig Is Bent …”: Gender and Childhood Reading” (165-86) in Gender and Reading, ed. Elizabeth Flynn & Patrocinio Schweickart (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1986) (e-reserve). Alcott, Little Women, chap. 1-11.
Thurs. 1 Sept. -- Lecture: Separate Spheres / Cult of Domesticity Alcott, Little Women, chap. 12-23. Tues. 6 Sept. -- Discuss Alcott, part I Alcott, Little Women, chap. 24-37. Thurs. 8 Sept. – Discuss Alcott, part II Alcott, Little Women, chap. 38-47. Sicherman, Barbara. “Reading Little Women: The Many Lives of a Text,” in U. S. History as Women’s History: New Feminist Essays, ed. Linda Kerber, Alice Kessler-Harris & Kathryn Kish Sklar (Chapel Hill: U of NC P, 1995): 245-66 (e-reserve). Tues. 13 Sept. Michael Denning, chap. 2, "Fiction Factories: The Production of Dime Novels" (17-26) and chap. 3, "'The Unknown Public': Dime Novels and Working Class Readers" (27-56) in Mechanic Accents (New York: Verso, 1987) (BOOK ON RESERVE).
Thurs. 15 Sept. Alger, Ragged Dick Tues. 20 Sept. Alger, Ragged Dick, ctd. Marcus Klein, chap. 3, "The Imposters" in Easterns, Westerns, and Private Eyes (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1994): 53-64 (e-reserve). Thurs. 22 Sept. -- Midterm Exam / BRING A BLUE BOOK Learning to Be Consumers: Magazines & Advertising at the Turn-of-the-Century and Beyond Tues. 27 Sept. Roland Marchand, from chap. 2, “Atypical Men—and Women” (32-38); from chap. 3, “Sizing Up the Constituency: The Feminine Masses” (66-69); chap. 7, “The Great Parables” (206-34) in Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940 (Berkeley: U of California P, 1985) (BOOK ON RESERVE).
Thurs. 29 Sept. Roland Marchand, chap. 10, “The Therapeutics of Advertising” (335-63) in Advertising the American Dream (BOOK ON RESERVE). Tues. 4 Oct. Marchand, ctd. Thurs. 6 Oct. Michael Schudson, “Advertising as Capitalist Realism,” in Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion: Its Dubious Impact on American Society (NY: Basic books, 1984): 209-33 (e-reserve). On the Origins of Rock and Roll: The Politics of Gender, Class, and Race Tues. 11 Oct George Lipsitz, chap. 5, “Against the Wind: Dialogic Aspects of Rock and Roll” (99-132) in Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1990) (e-reserve). Thurs. 13 Oct. -- Dime Novel Papers due / class presentations Nelson George, chap. 3, “The New Negro (1950-1965)” (59-93) in The Death of Rhythm & Blues (New York: Pantheon, 1988) (e-reserve). Tues. 18 Oct. Susan Douglas, chap. 4, “Why the Shirelles Mattered” (83-98) in Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media (New York: Times, 1994) (e-reserve).
Television Fandom: Audiences, Consumers, and Communities Thurs. 20 Oct. Jenkins, Textual Poachers, introduction & chap. 1 (pp. 1-49). Tues. 25 Oct. Jenkins, Textual Poachers, chap. 2 (pp. 50-85). Thurs. 27 Oct. -- Advertising Papers due / class presentations Jenkins, Textual Poachers, chap. 3 (pp. 86-119). Tues. 1 Nov. Jenkins, Textual Poachers, chap. 4 (pp. 120-151).
Thurs. 3 Nov. – NO CLASS / work on final projects Tues. 8 Nov. Jenkins, Textual Poachers, chap. 8 and conclusion (pp. 250-87). Spectator Sports: Bodies and Culture Thurs. 10 Nov. Susan Faludi, chap. 4, “A Good Dawg Will Always Remain Loyal: The Cleveland Browns Skip Town” (153-223) in Stiffed: the Betrayal of the American Man (New York: Harper, 1999) (e-reserve). Tues. 15 Nov. Abigail M. Feder-Kane, “’A Radiant Smile from the Lovely Lady’: Overdetermined Femininity in ‘Ladies’ Figure Skating” (206-33) in Reading Sport: Critical Essays on Power and Representation, ed. Susan Birrell and Mary G. McDonald (Boston: Northeastern UP, 2000) (e-reserve). Thurs. 17 Nov. Wrap – Up / Evaluations / Final Exam Questions Out
Tues. 22 Nov. – Final Projects due / class presentations
Thurs. 24 Nov. – Thanksgiving – NO CLASS
TAKE-HOME FINAL EXAM due Tuesday 29 November in my office at 4:00 p.m.
Course Requirements Attendance and p articipation -- You are expected to come to class prepared for discussion. Your participation includes not only expressing your own ideas, but also the respect and seriousness with which you treat the ideas of your colleagues. Reading Journals – Five times over the course of the semester, you will hand in a one-page (MAX) typed response to questions about the reading. Goal is to (1) prove you’ve done the reading; and (2) show some thoughtful consideration of the issues or questions it raises. These are reaction papers vs. more formal writing. If you spend more than 20-30 minutes writing, you are working too hard. I will post prompts on my website for each day’s reading. You may feel free to add thoughts/questions to these. You must hand in 2 journals by Thurs. 13 Oct. Journals are due on the day we discuss a reading. Late journals will not be accepted. E-mailed and faxed journals will not be accepted. I will not accept journals from students not present in class that day. Midterm and Final Exams -- essay exams designed to test your mastery of course readings and class discussion, and your ability to synthesize the material and think critically about it. Midterm is in-class on Thurs. 22 Sept. Final exam is a take-home exam due in my office at 4:00 p.m. on Tues. 29 Novemb er. Dime Novel Paper (2-3 pages) – an analysis of a dime novel available at http://wwwsul.stanford.edu/depts/dp/pennies/home.html. Detailed handout to be provided. Due Thursday 13 October at the start of class. Brief presentation to class required. Advertising Paper (2-3 pages) – an analysis of a historical advertisement from the Medicine and Madison Avenue Collection available at http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/mma/. Detailed handout to be provided. Due Thursday 27 October at the start of class. Brief presentation to class required. Final Project (5 pages) – an analysis of some contemporary form of popular culture with which you have some engagement. Uses approaches from the course. Detailed handout to be provided. Due Tues. 22 November at the start of class. Brief presentation to class required. Grading Policy --Your grade will be based on: Dime Novel Paper Advertising Paper Final Project Midterm Exam Final Exam Reading Journals 10% 10% 20% 20% 20% 20%
You must complete all course requirements in order to pass the class (e.g. if you do not hand in a paper, you will fail the class, even if the other grades average out to a passing grade). Attendance and participation will be reflected in your grade (i.e. it doesn’t matter how well you do on the other things, if you regularly don’t show for class or don’t participate). Anyone missing more than 8 classes (for whatever reason) will fail the course. Habitual lateness, absences or failure to hand in a paper on time will be reflected in your grade. Please consult me in the event of illness, emergency, or other extenuating circumstances. A NOTE ON CELL PHONES AND PAGERS—TURN THEM OFF!!! They are rude, disruptive, and disrespectful to me and to your classmates.