Film and Media Studies 315: Bad Objects: Popular Culture and Questions of Taste

Credits 4

Increasingly, forms of popular culture that once were regarded as niche or unsophisticated have become mainstream or even cool. Comic books, science fiction, video games, and other supposedly “geeky” interests generate billions of dollars; popular culture conventions host academic conferences and college and universities offer courses and promote research on everything from superheroes to horror movies to online role-playing games. However, there are still a variety of popular culture genres or objects that are seen as lowbrow, in poor taste, or as “guilty pleasures.” What are the implications of judging popular culture based on perceptions of taste or quality? This course examines popular culture “bad objects,” including how and why certain texts or genres become perceived as “bad,” the production of “bad” popular culture texts, fans and fandom of “bad objects,” and the relationship of “bad objects” to larger questions of race, class, gender/sexuality, and social status. This class will combine lectures, discussion, presentations, and writing assignments. May be taken for credit toward the Indigeneity, Race, and Ethnic Studies major or minor or the Gender Studies major or minor.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Power and Equity (PEQ)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)