ENG 269: Introduction to Cultural Studies


Dr. Joe Allen                                                             English 269:

Phone: 431-8451                                                       Introduction to Cultural Studies


Web page: https://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 2017

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


12/14, 8:00-10:30

Final in H523


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.  


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.