ENG 226: Popular Culture Syllabus

Dr. Joe Allen
English 226: Popular Culture
Phone: 431-8451
E-Mail: allen@sunydutchess.edu
Web page: http://www.sunydutchess.edu/faculty/allen/

Office: Hudson 408A


Office Hours:           

Mon -- 9:00-9:50


Tues -- 8:30-9:20

Wed -- 10:00-10:50

Thurs 11:00 – 11:50 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:                                     

 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, response papers, homework

10% -- quizzes

50% -- three essays

10% -- in-class midterm

20% -- 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                            226                                        Spring  2018

Week 1 -- 1/17

Course introduction; What is popular culture?

Week 2 -- 1/22-1/24

Unit 1: Production of Culture

Handout from Fredric Dannen’s Hit Men

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

Eric Schlosser: Fast Food Nation (Intro + Ch 1, 2)

Week 31/29-1/31

Fast Food Nation (Ch 3 -- 59-71 and Ch 4)

No Logo (Ch 1, 2)

Week 42/5-2/7

The Persuaders (documentary)

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

Fast Food Nation (Ch 5, 7)

Week 5 -- 2/12-2/14

Fast Food Nation (Ch 8, 9)

No Logo (Ch 9)

Week 6 -- 2/21

No class Monday

Fast Food Nation (pages 255-70 in Epilogue + Afterword)

Week 72/26-2/28

Essay #1 due

Four Definitions

Week 8 -- 3/5-3/7


Unit 2: Cultural Studies:

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


Spring Break

Week 9 -- 3/19-3/21

Social identity and popular culture:

The Sopranos: Season 1 Episode 1 “ The Sopranos”

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

Week 10 -- 3/26-3/28

The Sopranos: Season 1 Episode 5 “College”

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

Week 11 – 4/2-4/4

Handout: Pamela Wilson’s “Mountains of Contradiction”

“A Radical Female Hero from Dystopia” by Scott and Dargis (available on class web page with other readings)

Week 124/9-4/11

Essay #2 due

Unit 3: The Circuit of Culture

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

Week 134/16-4/18

Groups of readings will be posted on circuit of culture tab on class web page:
Group 1 &Group 2

Week 14 -- 4/23-4/25

Group 3 & Group 4
Handout: Lessig on RO/RW culture

Week 154/30-5/2

Group 5
Handout: Lessig on Harry Potter Wars
Essay #3 due

Final – 5/7

Monday 11:00-1:30 in W138


Course Description


This course critically examines selected examples of popular culture and popular art including fiction, non-fiction, music, and film. Emphasis is placed on how print and electronic media transmit and circulate popular culture. Pre-requisite: ENG 102



DCC Institutional Student Learning Outcomes


(2) Written Communication: Students will produce writing that is well organized, well developed, and clear.

(6) Critical Analysis and Reasoning: Students will formulate or evaluate arguments, problems or opinions and arrive at a solution, position or hypothesis based on carefully considered evidence.



Course Student Learning Outcomes


A. Define representative popular culture definitions and theories and explain the emphasis and assumptions of each.

B. Analyze various forms of popular culture. (2,6)

C. Investigate how popular culture is produced and consumed. (2,6)

D. Interpret how popular culture is represented and what social identities and/or ideologies are part of its representation. (2,6)

E. Analyze how popular culture is circulated and regulated. (2,6)

F. Explain how popular culture reflects and shapes social forces. (2,6)


Academic Accommodations

Dutchess Community College makes reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Students requesting accommodations must first register with the Office of Accommodative Services (OAS) to verify their eligibility. After documentation review and meeting with the student, OAS staff will provide eligible students with accommodation letters for their professors. Students must obtain a new letter each semester and discuss their accommodation plan with their instructors as soon as possible to ensure timely accommodations. The Office of Accommodative Services is located in the Orcutt Student Services Building, Room 201, phone # (845)-431-8055.




Title IX

Dutchess Community College is committed to maintaining a positive campus climate and will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment including sexual assault, sexual violence, and sexual misconduct. It is the responsibility and obligation of all members of the College community to report and/or to assist others in reporting incidents of sexual harassment.

Please direct all Inquiries and reports related to sexual harassment and sexual violence to:

Title IX Coordinator: Esther Couret,
Director of Human Resources
Dutchess Community College, Bowne Hall, Room 220
53 Pendell Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
(845) 431-8673


 For information regarding the DCC sexual harassment and sexual violence policy and resources go to: https://dutchess.open.suny.edu/webapps/portal/execute/tabs/tabAction?tab_tab_group_id=_1_1

 For anonymous reports go to Share at DCC: https://www2.sunydutchess.edu/cgi-bin/share-at-dcc/index.php

Academic Honesty

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Cheating on examinations
  2. Plagiarism, the representation of another’s ideas or writing as one’s own, including but not limited to:
    1. presenting all or part of another person’s published work as something one has written;
    2. paraphrasing or summarizing another’s writing without proper acknowledgement;
    3. representing another’s artistic or technical work or creation as one’s own.
  3. Willingly collaborating with others in any of the above actions which result(s) in work being submitted which is not the student’s own.
  4. Stealing examinations, falsifying academic records and other such offenses.
  5. Submitting work previously presented in another course without permission of instructor.
  6. Unauthorized duplication of computer software.
  7. Unauthorized use of copyrighted or published material.


If, based on substantial evidence, an instructor deems that a student is guilty of academic dishonesty, the instructor may initiate disciplinary action.

1. The instructor may require that the student repeat the assignment or examination, or

2. The instructor may give the student a failing grade for the assignment or examination, or

3. The instructor may give the student a failing grade for the course.

4. Additionally, the instructor may require that the student receive counseling on academic honesty through the Office of the Dean of Student Services.






Below, we have provided a short statement about Starfish that you may wish to include on your syllabi. All matriculated students have access to Starfish. Informing students of this student engagement tool is an important step in having them log into their account and access beneficial features and resources, including the ability to schedule their own appointments with their advisor. Additionally, if you are interested in the ACT Center presenting Starfish, DegreeWorks and general ACT Center information to your classes for fall, please feel free to contact the ACT Center and ask for the Starfish Coordinator. The statement is as follows:

Starfish is an online student engagement tool used to connect students to faculty, staff and support services across campus. Instructors may provide feedback in Starfish that will help the student and advisor/academic coach understand how a student is doing in a class, so that support can be provided if needed to facilitate student success. Please check your myDCC email and log into Starfish daily.  Additionally through Starfish students can access individualized advisement in the ACT Center.