Popular Culture

Required Readings

One Laptop Per Child. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://one.laptop.org

The following websites may be helpful throughout this course by demonstrating ways of analyzing pop culture texts as artifacts.

Cultural Politics. (n.d.). Popular culture. Retrieved from http://culturalpolitics.net/popular_culture

Pop Matters. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.popmatters.com

USC Annenberg. (2014). Media, diversity, & social change initiative. Retrieved from http://annenberg.usc.edu/pages/DrStacyLSmithMDSCI#previousresearch

Required Media

TED2010. (2010, March 17). Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 20 minutes.

This talk presents compelling evidence on how popular culture in the form of gaming could be harnessed to solve real world problems.

Optional Resources

Guins, R. (Ed.). (2014). Themed issue: Marshall McLuhan’s
Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man @ 50.
Journal of Visual Culture,

TED2014. (2014, July 8). Nicholas Negroponte: A 30-year history of the future [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/nicholas_negroponte_a_30_year_history_of_the_future?language=en

Discussion: Controversy Over Time and Space

Earlier you looked at social issues as expressed by popular culture artifacts in historical context. This week you do the same thing, but by looking at current issues that are being addressed by popular culture. Then you hypothesize about whether the conversations about this issue will provoke or resist change, and how and why this might happen. Imagine that you are a philosopher and you have been asked to predict the future of an issue based on popular culture.

Your main post should be in the thread that corresponds to the issue you have chosen for your final project. Posting in that thread will allow you to continue testing ideas you may want to include in your Final Project. However, you should feel free to respond to colleagues in any thread that interests you. Reading about how others approach their issues and popular culture can inspire new ways to think about your own issue and popular culture elements.

For this Discussion, your Instructor will either assign groups to threads or direct you to choose one thread from the choices listed this week. If you are directed to choose a thread on your own, follow these instructions: Each thread is limited to a maximum number of students based on class size. A thread will close if the limit is reached. If a thread is closed to new posters, select from the open threads.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review a sampling of modern popular culture artifacts. The artifacts should not be more than 5 years old. You can identify your own, or review those posted in Doc Sharing by your colleagues.
  • Consider how your chosen issue is conveyed in the sampling you have chosen.
  • Select at least two artifacts.
  • Review how your chosen issue is being discussed today in the news media. Do this by visiting credible news sites via the Walden Library or on your own.

Post a 250-word response in which you compare and contrast two popular culture elements in relationship to your chosen issue by answering the following:

  • Evaluate whether your sample of popular culture artifacts is provoking or resisting change.
  • Analyze how society’s acceptance or rejection of these popular culture artifacts might affect definitions of normal in 5 to 10 years.
  • Include references to your popular culture artifacts AND your chosen issue-focused news story.

Assignment: Final Project Milestone 4: Change

This week’s Milestone asks you to select one more popular culture artifact. Refer to your Final Project Worksheet and Final Project Overview documents from Week1. Remember that there should be no more than two artifacts from the same category with three overall.

The categories are:

  • Film
  • Episodic moving image (TV shows—may be broadcast or streamed)
  • Music
  • Music videos
  • Fashion
  • Advertising
  • Animation (general animation/cartoons such as Disney or Warner Brothers or genre-specific animation such as Japanese anime)
  • Food
  • Printed material (books, magazines, manga, comic books, or graphic novels)

To prepare:

  • Choose a new popular culture artifact, your third, to include in your Final Project analysis. This element should be current (within the last 5 years) and relate to the issue you have chosen.
  • Consider how this new popular culture artifact defines or disrupts “normal.”

Submit a 400- to 500-word essay that analyzes how your chosen artifact of popular culture relates to society’s values. Explain how this new popular culture artifact defines or disrupts “normal.” Evaluate whether this artifact of popular culture has changed society’s values. Be sure to include:

  • At least one reference to a news site.
  • At least two other academically relevant sources. The Course Readings List, found in the Syllabus of the course navigation menu, will be helpful, as will the required and optional resources listed here. Be sure to refer to the student-contributed resources in Doc Sharing.