You are here: Home / Featured Classes / CAS 497 - Rhetoric of Pop Culture

CAS 497 - Rhetoric of Pop Culture

In the Rhetoric of Pop Culture, we will learn to engage critically with entertainment that makes up the fabric of our social lives—including TikTok videos, catchy pop songs, violent video games, streaming TV shows, sci-fi movie franchises, athlete press conferences, internet memes, and much more. Over the course of the semester, we will learn the rhetorical skills and perspectives to help us analyze texts across a variety of media. Through the analysis of specific movies, music videos, video games, viral influencers, and other texts, we will then explore the role of pop culture in shaping political ideology and public controversies.

We will ask questions like:

  • How do pop culture texts represent race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, disability, and other categories of identity?
  • How do tensions between art and commerce constrain the rhetorical possibilities of pop culture?
  • How do widely consumed media spectacles shape national and cultural identities?
  • How do TikTok videos and other digital texts upend traditional ideas about communication and rhetoric?

Nam June Paik, Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, 1995, fifty-one channel video installation (including one closed-circuit television feed), custom electronics, neon lighting, steel and wood; color, sound, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2002.23, © Nam June Paik Estate

Citation for photo:

Nam June Paik, Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, 1995, fifty-one channel video installation (including one closed-circuit television feed), custom electronics, neon lighting, steel and wood; color, sound, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2002.23, © Nam June Paik Estate

Filed under: Rhetoric Courses