ENG 226: Popular Culture Syllabus


Dr. Joe Allen                                                                                                 English 226:

Phone: 431-8451                                                                                           Popular Culture


Web page: http://www.sunydutchess.edu/faculty/allen/

Office: Hudson 408M

Office Hours:            Mon -- 10:00-11:00

                                    Wed -- 11:00-12:00

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


Required Texts:

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

No Logo by Naomi Klein

Suggested Texts:

Harrington & Bielby: Popular 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:                          

  1. Explain representative popular culture definitions and theories.
  2. Analyze various forms of popular culture.
  3. Investigate how popular culture is produced and consumed.
  4. Interpret how popular culture is represented and what social identities and/or ideologies are part of its representation.
  5. Analyze how popular culture is circulated and regulated.
  6. Explain how popular culture reflects and shapes social forces.

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, response papers, homework

10% -- quizzes

50% -- essays/projects

10% -- midterm

20% -- final



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



Missing two or more classes will lower your grade accordingly and can 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 and put them away during class time.

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



Tentative Project Calendar                         ENG 226                                             Fall 2016

Week 1  -- 8/30—9/1

Course introduction; What is popular culture?

Handout from Fredric Dannen’s Hit Men

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

Week 29/6-9/8

Production of Culture

Eric Schlosser: Fast Food Nation (Ch 1, 2, 3 (only 59-71), 4)

Week 39/13-9/15

Naomi Klein’s No Logo (Ch 1 & 2)

The Persuaders (documentary)

Handout: Ellen Ruppel Shell’s  “The Outlet Gambit”

Week 49/20-9/22

Fast Food Nation (Ch 5, 7, 8, 9)

Week 59/27-9/29

No Logo (Ch 9)

Fast Food Nation (pages 255-88 in Ch 10)

Essay #1 due

Week 610/4-10/6

Four Definitions

Week 710/13

No class Tuesday.

Cultural Studies

The Daily Show (12/16/2010, 1/4/2011)

Week 8 – 10/18-10/20

Social identity and popular culture:

The Sopranos

America in Primetime: Episode 2: Man of the House (available on class web page)

Week 910/25-10/27

The Sopranos

America in Primetime: Episode 1: The Independent Woman House (available on class web page)

Week 10 – 11/1-11/3

Handout: Pamela Wilson’s “Mountains of Contradiction”

“A Radical Female Hero from Dystopia” by Scott and Dargis (available online)

“Some Girls are Better than Others” by Heather Harvilesky

Week 11 – 11/8-11/10

The Circuit of Culture

Essay #2 due

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

Week 1211/15-11/17

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

Group 1

Week 1311/22

Group 2
No class Thursday.

Week 14 – 11/29-12/1

Group 3 & 4

Lessig handout #2

Week 1512/6-12/8

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

12/13, 11:00-1:30

Final in W326