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Popular Culture in American History, 1870 to the Present (level 5)


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Assessment: two essays of 2500 words and a three-hour examination

Module description

This course explores the history of American 'mass culture': entertainment marketed to a national audience, spanning class, race, and gender divides. Beginning in the late nineteenth century with an exploration of mass culture's emergence, it moves to a series of twentieth-century case studies, moments when mass culture caused problems, when it blurred the distinctions between 'good taste' and 'bad taste', 'folk-culture' and 'commercial amusement', or 'popular' and 'serious' art.

In the process, the course will explore the history of cultural criticism - the relation between popular culture and intellectuals and their attempts to define the boundaries of popular art.