What is popular culture? How does popular culture communicate with us through media? Out of what historical, commercial, and creative contexts does popular culture emerge? These broad questions fuel our work in this course. Communication and Popular Culture presents an introduction to U.S. popular culture, with an emphasis on its forms and functions in our society. First, we engage four key domains that construct popular culture’s meanings in order to empower students with the critical skills to understand cultural texts. Second, we consider how popular culture has both shaped and reflected broader social power dynamics in the United States. Finally, we analyze popular culture in detailed written arguments and cogent oral presentations. Because this is an All-University Core Curriculum course, we have specific objectives: to place the history of popular culture within a broader context of U.S. history; to analyze a variety of texts that loosely fall into the category “arts and humanities,” and to suggest particular methods of critical thinking.
- Describe popular culture texts from a Communication Studies perspective and define and utilize key media analysis terms.
- Explain the relationship between popular culture texts and their socio-historical contexts.
- Analyze the industries that produce popular culture texts.
- Analyze popular culture texts’ power to represent and shape social power and cultural identities.
- Critique and construct arguments about popular culture and/as communication through research, writing, and cultural engagement.
This course meets the All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) requirements for Arts/Humanities (Category 3B) and is approved under gtPathways in the content area of Arts and Expression (GT-AH1).
This course can be applied toward:
Course utilizes group projects for some assignments.
Textbooks and Materials
Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.
- Communication & Popular Culture Coursebook, 3rd Ed.
Colorado State University Comm Dept
Not available at the CSU Bookstore
- Netflix subscription/access
Elizabeth Sink is a Communication Studies instructor with a passion for facilitating healthy engagement across diverse identities. She is in her 15th year teaching at Colorado State University. Her career aims broadly at empowering students to connect and make meaning with the world around them and continually engage to effect positive change.
Elizabeth’s current scholarship, teaching and curriculum development advances inclusive communication and practical engagement between people who orient around religious and non-religious belief differently.
Watch Elizabeth's 2016 TedxCSU Talk, Interfaith Cooperation: An Invitation for All Beliefs