226 Syllabus


Dr. Joe Allen                                                                                  English 226H:

Phone: (845) 431-8451                                                                             Popular Culture            


Web page: 

Office: Hudson 408M

Office Hours:             

Mon -- 10:00-10:50

Wed -- 9:00-10:00

Tues/Thurs -- 8:30-9:20 and by appointment


Required Texts:

Cultural Theory and Popular Culture (4th Edition) by John Storey

Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

No Logo by Naomi Klein

The Wire Season 4 (DVD)


Suggested Texts

The Corner by David Simon

Harrington & BielbyPopular Culture: Production and Consumption

The Little, Brown Compact Handbook (or another up-to-date handbook)


My obligations for the class include:

1. To know the subject material and to prepare a worthwhile, interesting class each day we meet.

2. To meet the following objectives:                                     

a. analyze and evaluate various forms and aesthetics of popular culture.

b. investigate how popular culture is produced and consumed            

c. assess how popular culture is represented and what social identities and/or ideologies are part of its representation.

d. understand how popular culture is circulated and regulated as well as explain how popular culture reflects and shapes social forces.

e. develop essential skills, including critical thinking and inference, from the General Education Objectives

f. introduce methods of understanding, interpreting, and evaluating works of popular culture in a particular form.

g. foster an ability to engage in lifelong education by learning to acquire knowledge and to use it for intelligent ends.

3. To be available for consultation.

4. To take you into account as a learner and as a person.

5. To specify my expectations as clearly as I can.


Your obligations for the class include:

                  1. To attend class. It is imperative that you attend every session.

                  2. To attend class on time.

                  3. To actively participate in class activities.

                  4. To read assigned material thoroughly before the first day of discussion.

                  5. To ask questions.

                  6. To complete all assignments on time.

                  7. To respect the other members of the class.



10% -- participation and quizzes

10% -- response papers

60% -- essays

10% -- midterm

10% -- final



All assigned material must be thoroughly read before the first day of discussion, so you will be able to fully participate in all class activities. Failure to actively participate in class discussions will negatively impact your course grade.



Missing three or more classes will lower your grade accordingly and may cause you to fail the course.

Arriving late to class counts as a partial absence. If you enter after attendance has been taken, turn in a slip of paper with your name, date, and time entered.


Late assignments:

One grade will be deducted for each day an assignment is late. Any absence is not an excuse.

 All assignments must be handed in to complete the class. Failure to hand in all assignments will result in a failing course grade.

 No makeup quizzes.

 Also, if you miss class, it is your responsibility to complete the work before the next class.



According to the Writing Program, published annually by the Ball State University Department of English, "ALWAYS GIVE CREDIT IN YOUR TEXT TO THE SOURCE FROM WHICH INFORMATION, IDEAS, OR WORDING IS DRAWN. ALWAYS USE QUOTATION MARKS FOR WORDS, HOWEVER FEW OR MANY" (26).

Plagiarized work will receive no credit.

Refer to a handbook for information regarding MLA style.

Please turn the sound off all cell phones.

No texting during class. Texting in class will reduce participation credit.



Tentative Project Calendar        Honors 226                                             Spring  2016

Week 1 -- 1/19-1/21

Course introduction; What is popular culture?

Unit 1: Production of Culture

Handout from Fredric Dannen’s Hit Men

Handout: Harrington and Bielby: “Constructing the Popular: Cultural Production and Consumption”

Storey: Ch 1 (1-5) -- ideology

Week 2 -- 1/26-1/28

No Logo (Intro + Ch 1-2)

The Persuaders (documentary)

Ellen Ruppel Shell: “The Outlet Gambit” (handout)

Week 32/2-2/4

No Logo (Ch 9)

Handout: from Fast Food Nation

Storey: Ch 4 (59-62 -- Marx, 64-69 – Frankfurt School, 72-82 -- Althusser)

Week 4 -- 2/9-2/11

Omnivore’s Dilemma (Intro, Ch 1-3)

Week 5 -- 2/18

No class Tuesday

Omnivore’s Dilemma (Ch 4-5)

Week 6 -- 2/23-2/25

Omnivore’s Dilemma (Ch 6-7)

Essay #1 due

Week 73/1-3/3


Storey – 5-13 – definitions of popular culture


Week 8 – 3/8-3/10

Unit 2: Cultural Studies:

The Wire: Season Four


Spring Break

Week 9 -- 3/22-3/24

Cultural Studies

The Wire: Season Four

Selections from David Simon’s The Corner: 57-74, 158-169, 372-379, 474-479

Week 10 -- 3/29-3/31

The Wire: Season Four

Storey: Ch 4 (82-91 – hegemony, 120-121 -- mythologies, 130-135 – Foucault, power, the panopticon)

Week 11 -- 4/5-4/7

The Wire: Season Four

Week 12 -- 4/12-4/14

Essay #2 due

Unit 3: The Circuit of Culture

Handout: Lawrence Lessig’s “Piracy” (62-77) from Free Culture

Storey: Ch 10 (221-223 – Fiske – cultural field, 227-231 – de Certeau, 239-241 – ideology of mass culture)

Groups of readings will be posted on circuit of culture tab on class web page:
Group One

Week 13 -- 4/19-4/21

Group 2 & Group 3

Week 14 -- 4/26-4/28

Group 4

Week 155/3

Group 5
Lessig handout #2 on Harry Potter Wars 
Essay #3 due

Final – 5/9

Monday 8:00-10:30.