|Instructor Info:||Susana Loza|
|TA Info:||Chelsea Roesch|
This course examines the fraught intersection of politics and popular culture. In this class, we ask: What is popular culture? How does it differ from other cultural expressions? How does popular culture connect to other aspects of social, economic and political experience? What differences, if any, are there between "high" and "low" culture? Is consuming pop culture products a form of political action? How do explicit political themes both enrich and detract from consumption? What economic imperatives drive popular culture production? What are the relationships between commerce, politics, and art? How does popular culture act as a vehicle for the appropriation or exploitation of other cultures? Particular attention will be paid to: the racialized construction of masculinity and femininity in popular culture; the appropriation of racial and gender identities; the role of global capitalism and the market in the production of popular culture. This course is reading-, writing-, and theory-intensive.
All readings are available via the HACU 0154 course website. Students are also required to read Racialicious (http://www.racialicious.com/) on a daily basis for the duration of the semester.
Attendance: I allow THREE absences (subsequent absences will result in a "no evaluation" or failing grade). Two cases of arriving late or leaving early will count as one absence. I don’t differentiate between excused and unexcused absences, and this absence policy also applies to adding the course late. The only exception to this is catastrophic, documented illness or family emergency (let me know about this immediately, BEFORE assignments are due if at all possible). You are responsible for all material covered in class, whether you were present or not.
Participation: This seminar is designed to be student driven. For this to work, you must come to class regularly and contribute to class discussions that will be textually based (i.e. be prepared to speak about the articles specifically). You are expected to show up for class not just bodily, but intellectually. Those who attend class but remain silent, appear semi-comatose, or seem distracted will not be considered in attendance. Presence is mental and emotional, as well as physical. Thoughtful engagement does not simply mean speaking a lot. It includes listening attentively, making connections to the readings and comments by others, asking informed questions, offering critique, and so forth. It also means participating in-class exercises, debates, small group, and other activities. We all benefit when we all read, question and listen. In the process, students are expected to be respectful of and open to others’ opinions and suggestions and to avoid monopolizing class discussions. The goal is to facilitate rather than close down critical debate of the subject material. For those whom grades will not be assigned, the degree and quality of participation will be noted in your final narrative evaluations.
Presentation: Students will be required to give a presentation of approximately 20 minutes on one of the assigned readings. Each student is expected to do the following: (1) summarize the main points of the article; (2) define any and all relevant terms/theoretical concepts; (3) locate and utilize media examples relevant to the piece; (4) offer critiques based on textual evidence not personal opinion; (5) prepare discussion questions that are specific and grounded in the reading; and (6) lead class discussion.
Blog Posts: Students will be required to submit SIX posts to Moodle. Posts should be 500 words or more. They should be typed, proofread, spell checked and the word count confirmed before you post. Your posts should reflect sophisticated consideration of the readings and issues we have discussed in class. Posts should not summarize our class discussions but rather move beyond them in a significant way. Posts should engage with theoretical concepts from the readings and apply them to popular culture. Although not required, students are strongly encouraged to comment on the posts of their fellow students via the class blog.
Posts are due at 11:00 pm on the dates noted above. If your post is submitted late, you will be assigned extra words on the next blog post. If your post is submitted between 11:01-11:15 pm, this will add 100 words to your next blog post assignment (i.e., you will be required to write 600 words instead of 500). 11:16- 11:30pm = 200 extra words (700 words instead of 500). 11:31-11:45pm = 300 extra words (800 words instead of 500). 11:46-11:59pm = 400 more words (900 words instead of 500). If your blog post is submitted between midnight and 9am on the day after it was due, you will have to write a 500 word mandatory make-up essay on a subject of my choosing that will be due 48 hours after the assignment was originally due. Failure to submit a blog post, include assigned extra words, or turn in a mandatory make-up essay will result in an IMMEDIATE NO-EVAL/FAILING GRADE in the course.
Research Paper: A research paper is required for this course. Students will be evaluated based upon the successful completion of the following assignments: research abstract, annotated bibliography, detailed outline, rough draft, and final draft. Final drafts are due April 23rd at 12:30pm and MUST be submitted directly to the Professor, unless other arrangements have been made beforehand. Late papers will be excused only in the case of a documented illness or family emergency. Papers should be 10-12 double-spaced pages in length (one-inch margins and 12 pt. font) and printed double-sided (NO EMAILED PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED). The paper title, author’s name and email address, and date should appear at the top of the first page. Do not include a separate cover page. Please staple papers; do not submit papers with clips, binders, or report covers. Please number all pages. Papers must include a bibliography and proper citations, with a minimum of 10 scholarly references cited including at least 3 academic journal publications. While Wikipedia and similar sources might be used for background information, it is expected that students will find more authoritative sources for information and cite these sources rather than citing Wikipedia. The Chicago reference style should be used for the bibliography and citations (students may use an alternative style only with permission of the Professor). Papers should be well structured with appropriate headings throughout, and include conclusions that are well supported by the rest of the paper. Remember this is a research paper, not an opinion essay. All assertions need to be supported with citations to relevant literature. You should cite ideas, not just direct quotes. Headings should be used to structure the paper. Purchasing a hard copy or online subscription of the Chicago Manual of Style is highly recommended.
REQUIRED ACTIVITIES TO RECEIVE AN EVALUATION/GRADE:
POLICIES AND REGULATIONS - PLEASE READ VERY CAREFULLY
Accommodations:If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact the Disabilities Services Coordinator, Joel Dansky. He is responsible for the coordination and provision of services and accommodations for students with disabilities. He may be reached at 413-559-5423 or via email email@example.com. If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter within the first two weeks of class so that we can discuss the accommodations you might need for this class and plan accordingly.
Class Decorum: You will not text, check email, use the Internet, or otherwise get buried in your laptops, tablets, smartphones, or not-so-smart phones during class. To be clear: If I find that you are facebooking, tumbling, tweeting, texting, blogging, pinning, redditing, skyping, googling, gaming, livejournaling, or just plain web surfing during class, you will be asked to leave, and you will be counted absent for the day, regardless of how much class time you’ve already attended.
Late Assignments: No late work! No exceptions! All assignments are due on the date, time, and location specified in the syllabus. It is your responsibility to keep track of when and where assignments are due. **NO EXTENSIONS WILL BE GIVEN. ** Please plan ahead as accidents do occur (computers crash, printers run out of toner, networks go down, illnesses descend, hangovers happen, existential crises arise, breakups take their toll, etc.).
Email: I will send assignment reminders, reading updates, and information to your college email, so please check frequently (at least once a day). If you have questions about the content and/or responsibilities of the class, please email me. Emails will be returned within 24 hours of their receipt with the exception of weekends and holidays. I will answer emails about assignments UP TO 24 HOURS before the due date/time. Please do not contact me, however, for information that can be found in the syllabus, with the exception of legitimate clarification. And make sure that each email is addressed to Professor Loza and includes your full name somewhere in the body of the email.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a very serious offense and will not be tolerated. If a student is found guilty of plagiarism he or she will not receive an evaluation for this class, and the case will be handed over to the Dean for disciplinary action. If you use the words or ideas of others you must clearly identify the source in your work (that includes any information found on the web!). Direct quotations must be placed in quotation marks and their sources cited. Paraphrased sources should also be acknowledged. If you are unclear what constitutes plagiarism, consult the Professor before handing your work in. Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism is not a defense. It is your responsibility to be sure beforehand.
Skip Course Information