Popular Culture

Parsons School of Design: Art and Design History

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Majors Only

Popular Culture

Fall 2020

Taught By: Marilyn Cohen

Section: A

CRN: 8902

Credits: 3

This course examines the intersection of popular visual and material culture in twentieth-century America—including its global dimensions. What is popular culture, and what is its relationship to history and life during the twentieth century? What is its impact in the twentieth-first century? Can we use popular culture to evaluate the past and the present? The course, online this semester, runs as a seminar beginning with an examination of the study of popular culture as part of British cultural studies, including the perennial debate in the U.S. between “high and low” culture. Topics include TV, movies, cars, Disney, Barbie, etc., viewed through the design of sitcom interiors, film posters, packaging, souvenir objects and the like. We investigate the impact of new materials on contemporary life as well as the fixation on "collectibles" as nostalgia for earlier times. Such topics are inseparable from the politics, economics, and aesthetics of capitalism. Whether considered as objects or “goods,” everyday things that we use can generate and perpetuate ideologies of class, race, gender, and their intersection. This semester, student interests will set a collaborative agenda for class content. The online component will facilitate student sharing of their own ‘objects’ onscreen. We will also explore curatorial strategies for exhibiting U.S. popular culture in ways that foreground socio-cultural conflicts both at home and abroad, e.g. the place of monuments in public spaces. American popular culture has become a significant field of study given its potential to create meaning at home and to impose American values abroad. Social media has only increased and expanded its power. Given that the current U.S. President achieved fame and office largely through his reality TV show, popular culture constitutes our daily reality. Issues in Twentieth-Century American Popular Culture utilizes the same technology that manufactures, fuels, and maintains today’s so-called culture wars: the internet. Students will research, write, and make presentations in concert with readings by diverse scholars of cultural theory, design studies, media, and art history. It cannot be more important—or more popular—to take seriously popular visual and material culture. Open to: All university graduate degree students.

College: Parsons School of Design (PS)

Department: Art and Design History (PLAD)

Campus: Online (DL)

Sync Type: N/A

Course Format: Lecture (L)

Max Enrollment: 15

Add/Drop Deadline: September 14, 2020 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 22, 2020 (Sunday)

Seats Available: No

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 1:37pm 12/1/2020 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Monday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: Online Course

Date Range: 8/31/2020 - 12/14/2020