ENG 269: Introduction to Cultural Studies


Dr. Joe Allen                                                             English 269:

Phone: 431-8451                                                       Introduction to Cultural Studies


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:

Serial Podcast (available at http://serialpodcast.org/)

The Wire: Season Three (DVD or other)

Craig Castleman: Getting Up: Subway Graffiti in New York


Optional Texts:

The Wire: Urban Decay and American Television
David Simon and Edward Burns: The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City



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.     Explain representative cultural studies culture definitions and theories.

           b.     Analyze various forms of culture.

           c.     Investigate how popular culture is produced and consumed.

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

           e.     Analyze how popular culture is circulated and regulated.

           f.      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 and homework

10% -- quizzes

60% -- essays and response papers

20% -- final



All assigned material must be thoroughly read 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                                     269                              Fall 2016

Week 1  -- 8/30—9/1

Course introduction; What is Cultural Studies?

From Cary Nelson’s “Always Already Cultural Studies” (handout)

From John Storey (two handouts)

Week 29/6-9/8

Serial Episodes 1-4

Week 39/13-9/15

Serial Episodes 5-8

Week 49/20-9/22

Serial Episodes 9-12

Week 59/27-9/29

Essay #1 Due

Power and Class:

The Wire: Season Three

Week 610/4-10/6

The Wire: Season Three

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

Week 710/13

No class Tuesday.

The Wire: Season Three

More articles on class web page

Week 8 – 10/18-10/20

The Wire: Season Three

Week 910/25-10/27

The Wire: Season Three

Week 10 – 11/1-11/3

Essay #2 Due

Week 11 – 11/8-11/10

Subculture, Agency, Resistance:

Craig Castleman: Getting Up

Week 1211/15-11/17

Craig Castleman: Getting Up

Style Wars (film)

Week 1311/22


Essay #3 Due

No class Thursday.

Week 14 – 11/29-12/1



Week 1512/6-12/8


12/15, 8:00-10:30

Final in H523


This course will introduce students to the field of cultural studies. The course will be multidisciplinary and include literary studies, geography, history, criminal justice, art, music, mass media and television, and cultural studies theory.


The critically acclaimed television show The Wire will serve as the centerpiece of Introduction to Cultural Studies.  Season Three of the The Wire and David Simon and Ed Burns’ The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood explore the complexities of issues facing post-industrial American cities: the lack of middle-class jobs, the thriving economic engine of the drug trade, the unintended consequences of the war on drugs, a failing education system, political corruption, and the difficulties and possibilities of urban reform.