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Culture And Cultural Studies - Syllabus

Culture And Cultural Studies

Cross-Cultural Conflict Management Syllabus

Sociology of Culture, Syllabus and Course Outline -

Adorno on “Culture Industry” Syllabus

Media and Cultural Studies - Syllabus

Discourses of Culture, Media and Technology (core theory) - Syllabus

Comparative Studies in Emerging Media - Syllabus

Cross-Cultural Conflict Management
Syllabus - CACM 21010 - Dr. Jennifer Maxwell       

A Baseline Definition of Culture
People learn culture. That, we suggest, is culture's essential feature. Many qualities of human life are transmitted genetically—an infant's desire for food, for example, is triggered by physiological characteristics determined within the human genetic code. An adult's specific desire for milk and cereal in the morning, on the other hand, cannot be explained genetically; rather, it is a learned (cultural) response to morning hunger. Culture, as a body of learned behaviors common to a given human society, acts rather like a template, shaping behavior and consciousness within a human society from generation to generation. So culture resides in all learned behavior and in some shaping template or consciousness prior to behavior as well (that is, a "cultural template" can be in place prior to the birth of an individual person).

“This primary concept of a shaping template and body of learned behaviors might be further broken down into the following categories, each of which is an important element of cultural systems:
systems of meaning, of which language is primary
ways of organizing society, from kinship groups to states and multi-national corporations
the distinctive techniques of a group and their characteristic products

“Several important principles follow from this definition of culture:

“If the process of learning is an essential characteristic of culture, then teaching also is a crucial characteristic. The way culture is taught and reproduced is itself an important component of culture.

“Because the relationship between what is taught and what is learned is not absolute (some of what is taught is lost, while new discoveries are constantly being made), culture exists in a constant state of change.

“Meaning systems consist of negotiated agreements—members of a human society must agree to relationships between a word, behavior, or other symbol and its corresponding significance or meaning. To the extent that culture consists of systems of meaning, it also consists of negotiated agreements and processes of negotiation.

Soc 250, Sociology of Culture, Course Outline - -syllabus

Douglas E. Foley, "The Great American Football Ritual," from Learning Capitalist Culture: Deep in the Heart of Tejas, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990, pp. 28-62.
Kathryn Fox, "Real Punks and Pretenders: The Social Organization of Counterculture," Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 16, No. 3, Oct. 1987, pp. 344-370.
David Brooks, "Business Life" (on "Burlington, Vermont and other Latte Towns"), from Bobos in Paradise: the New Upper Class and How They Got There (Simon & Schuster: 2000), pp. 103-112.

What is Culture and Why Does it Matter?
The Arnoldian Answer
NEIL POSTMAN, Chapter 1 from Building a Bridge to the 18th Century: How the Past Can Improve Our Future, 1999.

The Anthropological Answer
Clifford Geertz, "Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight," in Rethinking, pp. 239-277. (from The Interpretation of Cultures, 1973.)
Lawrence W. Levine, "William Shakespeare and the American People: A Study in Cultural Transformation," in Rethinking, pp. 157-197.

Critical Theory and Culture

Anthony Giddens, "Conclusion," from New Rules of Sociological Method, (1st edition), pp. 155-161.
Raymond Williams, "Culture" from Marxism and Literature, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977, pp. 11-20.
Richard Johnson, "What is Cultural Studies Anyway?" Social Text, Winter 1986/87, pp. 38-80.
Gina Marchetti, "Action-Adventure as Ideology," in Ian Angus & Sut Jhally (eds.), Cultural Politics in Contemporary America, New York: Routledge, 1989, pp. 182-197
Raymond Williams, "Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory," in Rethinking, pp. 407-423.
T. J. Jackson-Lears, "The Concept of Cultural Hegemony: Problems and Possibilities." The American Historical Review, 90:3, June 1985, pp. 567-593.

The Analysis of Form: Semiotics, Structuralism, and Ideology

Semiotics and Media Web Site,
Student semiotic analyses: Hanna Gregory, Brita Wanger, and Jeff Henry.
Roland Barthes, "Written Clothing," in Rethinking, pp. 432-445.

Class and Culture

Video, Media Education Foundation, "Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class"
E. P. Thompson, "Preface," from The Making of the English Working Class (Vintage: 1966), pp. 9-14.
John Berger, "The Suit and the Photograph," in Rethinking, pp. 424-431.
Roy Rosenzweig, "The Rise of the Saloon," in Rethinking, pp. 121-156
Stanley Aronowitz, "Working Class Culture in the Electronic Age," in Ian Angus & Sut Jhally (eds.), Cultural Politics in Contemporary America, New York: Routledge, 1989, pp. 135-150.
E. P. Thompson, "Time, Work-discipline, and Industrial Capitalism," Past and Present, No. 38, 1967, pp. 56-97.
Paul DiMaggio, "Cultural Entrepreneurship in Nineteenth Century Boston: The Creation of an Organizational Base for High Culture in America," in Rethinking, pp. 374-397


Video: Dreamworlds: Desire/Sex/Power in Rock Video (written & directed by Sut Jhally)
Thomas Streeter, Nicole Hintlian, Samantha Chipetz, and Susanna Callender, "A Web Essay on the Male Gaze, Fashion Advertising, and the Pose,"
John Berger, Chapter 3 of Ways of Seeing, New York: Penguin/BBC, 1972, pp. 45-64.
Janice Radway, "Interpretive Communities and Variable Literacies: the Functions of Romance Reading," in Rethinking, pp. 465-486.
Rachel Bowlby, Just Looking: Consumer Culture in Dreiser, Gissing, and Zola, NY: Methuen, 1985, pp. 1-34.

Race and Ethnicity

Video: Stuart Hall, "Race, the Floating Signifier"
Michael Omi, "In Living Color: Race and American Culture," in Ian Angus & Sut Jhally (eds.), Cultural Politics in Contemporary America, New York: Routledge, 1989, pp. 111-122
Ellen Seiter, "Different Children, Different Dreams: Racial Representation in Advertising," Journal of Communication Inquiry, Vol. 14, No. 1, Winter 1990, pp. 31-47.

Consumer Culture

Thorstein Veblen, excerpts regarding "Conspicuous Consumption," from The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions, 1953 [1899].
Susan G. Davis, "Shopping," in Richard Maxwell (ed.), Culture Works: the Political Economy of Culture, University of Minnesota Press, 2001, pp. 163-196.
Colin Campbell, "Modern Autonomous Imaginative Hedonism," pp. 77-95, and "Conclusion," pp. 202-227, from The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism, Basil Blackwell, 1987.
Rosalind Williams, "The Dream World of Mass Consumption," in Rethinking,pp. 198-235.

Culture, Power, and Identity

Ira Glass, "Family Physics: Act One. Occam's Razor." This is a segment of an NPR radio show called This American Life. There are two ways to listen, online at or by paying four dollars and downloading the show into your iPod at this link. In either case, listen to the first segment ("Act One") which runs from about 7 minutes to 38 minutes.
Sut Jhally, "'Free at Last': Sponsorship, Fanship & Fascism"

Michel Foucault, "What is an Author?" in Rethinking, pp. 446-464.
Stuart Hall, "Minimal Selves," in Gray and McGuigan (eds.), Studying Culture: An Introductory Reader (New York: Edward Arnold, 1993), pp. 134-138.
Stuart Hall, "Culture, Community, Nation," Cultural Studies, Oct. 1 1993, v. 7 n. 3, pp. 349-363.

Adorno on “Culture Industry”
Instructor: Christopher Cutrone
Course title:
Adorno on “Culture Industry:” Critical Theory of Art as Social Subjectivity
Instructor: Chris Cutrone (e-mail:
Course description:
Theodor W. Adorno has been best known for his scathing critique of “culture industry.” What is usually missed is that Adorno’s critique of 20th Century cultural forms was dialectical, concerned with their critical potential for both emancipation and domination, and sought to comprehend modern practices of both “hermetic” art and “popular” culture, implicating reflexively the categories and concerns of his own cultural criticism, and thus anticipating issues in “post”-modernism. For Adorno, reflecting critically upon the significance of modern aesthetic forms such as those of the media of cinema, radio, television (and now, the internet) involves the critical theory of the viewer/listener/subject, common to both “high” art and “culture industry.”
In this course we address the Frankfurt School critical theory of the historical transformations of experience and aesthetic subjectivity in modern social life in context, reading works of the 1920s-30s by Siegfried Kracauer and Walter Benjamin, and then focusing on works by Adorno in considering the analytical and explanatory as well as critical power of certain enduring if problematic and contested categories such as “commodification” and “democratization” for a dialectic of modern forms of art and culture as forms of social subjectivity.

Course books:
Adorno, Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords [Columbia Univ. Press, 1998 / 2005: ISBN 0231076355 (1998) / 023113505X (2005)]
Adorno, The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture [Routledge, 2002: ISBN 0415253802]
Adorno, Essays on Music [Univ. of California Press, 2002: ISBN 0520231597]
Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments, trans. Edmund Jephcott [Stanford Univ. Press, 2002: ISBN 0804736332]
Siegfried Kracauer, The Mass Ornament [Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1995]
Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness [Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971]
Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution (1924) [Ann Arbor, MI: Univ. Michigan Press, 1960]
Robert C. Tucker, ed., Marx-Engels Reader [New York: Norton, 1978]

Intention of the course:
This will be a reading-intensive course focusing on works by Theodor W. Adorno (1903-69) elaborating the concept of “culture industry,” a category of Frankfurt School Critical Theory for characterizing the social-historical context for the development and transformations of artistic forms and aesthetic subjectivity in the 20th Century. The category of “culture industry” will be considered through a sustained reading of Adorno’s writings on popular culture. Additional course readings will be selected from among Weimar- and Nazi-era writings by Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer.
We will address the origins of Adorno’s thought in what has been termed “Western” Marxism (contrasted with “Eastern,” or Russian-Soviet Marxism), in the context of issues of developments of “mass” society in the 20th Century. We will consider the seminal debate between Adorno and Benjamin on the social significance of modern popular cultural forms that continued to inform Adorno’s subsequent elaboration of a dialectic of modern aesthetic form as social form. We will evaluate the coherence, the analytical and explanatory as well as critical power for present-day, post-20th Century social life, of the attempt at a dialectic of “culture industry,” with such attendant critical concepts in Adorno’s writings as “authoritarian personality,” “eclipse of the individual,” etc., considered as being not merely “negative” or pejorative, but grasping emergent social-historical formation and its actual, determinate possibilities for transformation and emancipation. The latter part of the course will focus on Adorno’s work as exemplary of such a dialectic.

Note on Frankfurt School Critical Theory and Cultural Studies:
Frankfurt School Critical Theory developed after the failed and betrayed revolutions of 1917-19 in Russia, Germany and elsewhere, and sought to develop upon Marxist thought for a dialectic of 20th Century social forms. Frankfurt School critical theorists such as Adorno were concerned with how social discontents found expression through forms of the reconstitution of domination after struggles for emancipation were defeated, failed, or gave rise to highly ambiguous, contradictory and paradoxical outcomes.
Frankfurt School thought has served as an important if ambivalent foundation for the development of popular cultural studies in the aftermath of the 1960s. Perhaps the most widely read work in this founding tradition of cultural studies is the chapter on “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception” from the book by Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments (1944-47), a book which became influential for the post-WWII generation’s political discontents, and whose themes were elaborated in Marcuse’s writings of the ’60s such as One-Dimensional Man.
However, in the subsequent development of cultural studies, especially after the ebbing of the radicalism of the social upheavals of the 1960s-’70s, Adorno’s work in particular has suffered obscurity. Cultural criticism after the 1960s has taken a cue from Frankfurt School Critical Theory’s attention to so-called cultural determinants of social-historical continuity and change. But since Adorno’s critique of culture industry has been mistaken for an elitist rejection of popular culture, it remained a stumbling block to the intention of discovering an authentic democratic and egalitarian basis for the appeal of modern popular cultural forms. Since the ’80s, cultural studies approaches have emphasized the production of meaning in reception, in contrast to the formal analysis of cultural objects, which emphasizes problems of subjectivity.
This course will consider the continued relevance of the latter approach to problems of culture and society provided by Frankfurt School Critical Theory, especially through the work of Adorno, which seeks to apprehend, explore and socially-historically specify fundamental problems of subjectivity in transformations of the nature of social equality and democracy that might otherwise be taken for granted and naturalized, for a dialectic of emancipation and domination that constitutes social modernity.

Media and Cultural Studies - Syllabus
Dr. Ted Friedman
Course Description
What are the political dimensions of popular culture? How does culture reflect, influence, and embody structures of power?
Where does hegemony end and resistance begin? This class will engage the interdisciplinary field of Cultural Studies, which attempts to understand the relationship between culture and politics. We’ll be reading founding theoretical texts, current scholarship, and works which attempt to translate theory into action. We’ll address a range of media, from film and television to music, computer games and romance novels. We’ll look at multiple, intersecting structures of power, including class, nation, gender, and race.

Class readings will include books, a coursepack of articles, and news items distributed via the class email list.
• Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter With Kansas?
• Graeme Turner, British Cultural Studies: An Introduction
• Michael Denning, Culture in the Age of Three Worlds
• Suzanna Walters, Material Girls
• Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States
• Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large
• Janice Radway, Reading the Romance
• Susan Douglas et al, The Mommy Myth
• Allan Badiner, ed., Mindfulness in the Marketplace
• Cary Nelson, Manifesto of a Tenured Radical
• Craig Seligman, Sontag & Kael: Opposites Attract Me
• Naomi Klein, No Logo.

Discourses of Culture, Media and Technology (core theory)
CCT 797: Jeffrey Peck

Texts ordered: T. Eagleton, Literary Theory. An Introduction; C. Belsey, Critical Practice; M. Foucault, History of Sexuality, Vol. 1. The first two texts must be read, although they will not be discussed specifically. I encourage you to read them before class begins. The rest of the texts will be on electronic reserve in the Lauinger Library under my name.

Tentative Schedule

Week 1, Introduction

Week 2, (Em)Powering/ Disciplining/Defining the Discipline of Cultural Studies

Texts: M. Foucault, “Docile Bodies” in Discipline and Punish and “The Subject and  Power;” L. Grossberg, C. Nelson, P. Treicher, “Cultural Studies: An Introduction,” in Cultural Studies; L. Grossberg, “Cultural Studies: What’s in a Name?;” D. Bathrick, “Cultural Studies.”

Week 3, Authors, Texts, Readers/Audiences and the Practices of Interpretation

Texts: M. Foucault, “What is an Author?;” R. Barthes, “From Work to Text;” W. Iser, “Interaction Between Text and Reader;” S. Fish, “Literature and the Reader: Affective Stylistics” in Is There a Text in This Class?; R. Palmer, “Toward Reopening the Question: What is Interpretation?” and “Thirty Theses on Interpretation.”(on hermeneutics)

Week 4, Historical, Social, Political Contexts and Interests: Ideology, Hegemony, and the State

Texts: K. Marx, “The German Ideology,” in The Grundrisse; F. Fanon, “On National Culture” in The Wretched of the Earth; A. Gramsci, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses;” J. Habermas, “Knowledge and Human Interests;” B. Anderson, Imagined Communities (Ch.1-3); P. Bourdieu, Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture (selections).

Week 6, Race and Ethnicity

Texts: F. Fanon, “Black Skin, White Masks”; b. hooks, “Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance;” H.L. Gates, The Signifying Monkey (Intro., Part I); S. Hall, “Old and New Identities, Old and New Ethnicities;” G. Anzaldua, “The Homeland, Aztlán” and “Towards a New Consciousness” in Borderlands/La Frontera; S. Gilman, “Black Bodies, White Bodies,” in Race, Writing and the Difference It Makes; Trin Minh Ha, Woman/Native/Other (Ch. 2, 3).

Week 8, (Post)Colonialism

Texts: E. Said, Orientalism (selections); G. Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?;” H.Bhaba, “Interrogating Identity;” and “The Postcolonial and the Postmodern: the Question of Agency;” C. Mohanty, “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses.”

Week 10, Gender and Sexuality

Texts: S. Freud, “Introduction, The Interpretation of Dreams” and “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality;” J. Lacan, “The Mirror Stage” and “The Function of the Letter;” M. Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1; E.K. Sedgwick, “Introduction” and “The Epistemology of the Closet;” D. Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto;” J. Butler, Gender Trouble (selections).

Week 12, Semiotics and (Post)Structuralism

Texts: F. de Saussure,”Course in General Linguistics;” R. Barthes, “The Structuralist Activity” and Mythologies (selections); C-L. Strauss, “The Structural Study of Myth;”

J. Culler, Structuralist Poetics (Ch. 1, 2); J. Derrida, “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” in Writing and Difference; M. Foucault, “The Discourse on Language;” J. Harari, “Critical Factions/Critical Fictions,”(Introduction) in Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-Structuralist Criticism.

Week 14, Technology and Representation

Texts: W. Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction;” M. Horkheimer and T. Adorno, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception;” J. Habermas, “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article;” L. Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema;” J. Johnston and F. Kittler, Friedrich A. Kittler Essays (Intro, Ch. 1); R. Debray, Media Manifestos (selections); H.M. Enzensburger, “Constituents of a Theory of Media;” J. Baudrillard, “The Precession of Simulacra.”

Comparative Studies in Emerging Media - Syllabus
In the past ten years, the expansion of the internet and the digitization of culture have vastly changed the way Americans, and people all over the world, share information. Libraries of data can now be accessed and exchanged instantaneously from terminals around the globe. Any blogger with a keyboard can weigh in on the issues of our times to an international audience,
and hope to build a readership based on nothing other than strength of ideas. Digital production technologies make the tools of the Hollywood pros available to anybody with a Mac. And new models of “open source” software distribution challenge the inequities of the global capitalist economy.

But if new media technology today offers a host of utopian promises, it also inspires dystopian fears: of technology making jobs obsolete, of ubiquitous governmental and corporate surveillance, of the consequences of the pervasive digital divide between the info-haves and -have-nots.

Meanwhile, the American media landscape is in the midst of major transitions:

Traditional news-gathering organizations have been challenged by bloggers, who, scouring the ‘net in their pajamas, are often more informed than the high-powered journalists with the greatest insider “access.”

Television networks continue to lose market share to cable, and now have begun selling episodes through DVD, pay per view, and iTunes.

Movie studios now make over two-thirds of their grosses from DVD sales rather than box office receipts. Box office declined 5% in the US in 2005, as studios began discussing the option of releasing films simultaneously in theaters and on DVD, which could lead to the end of the American custom of going to the movies.

CD sales have been dropping for years, but the music industry now makes billions on ringtone sales, and Apple’s iPod has become on of the most successful consumer products in global history.
Even as the public sphere grows more capacious, the ownership of production and distribution grows more concentrated, as a small number of multinational corporations more powerful than many nation-states continue to expand their mass media oligopolies.

Moore’s Law states that the pace of growth in computing power continuously accellerates. It’s not surprising, then, that the pace of technological change continues to pulse faster and faster.

In the thick of the moment, how can we gain perspective on the present, and insight into the future? One way is to turn to the past, to look at our circumstances in the light of earlier transitional moments. Examining the introduction of the telegraph can help us gain perspective on the rise of the internet. At the same time, studying our projections of the future can also help us
understand our present obsessions.

This class, then, will bounce between the past, present and future. At the same time, it will engage a range of methodologies, including cultural studies, social history, journalism, futurism, science studies, science fiction, blogging and Buddhist philosophy.