Marilyn Diptych 1962, by Andy Warhol; Tate Gallery & Wikimedia
"An ambiguous concept by most accounts, “popular culture” first became a widely used term in the mid-19th century in reference to the culture of the masses, as opposed to elite, or high culture.
Although anthropologists have arguably studied aspects of popular culture for a long time—particularly with reference to dance or music as foci of study—understanding the contributions of these fields to popular culture, and the effect that popular culture studies have had on these fields, is an important clarifying contribution.
However, it is undeniable that now “popular culture” is most often used in reference to industrial societies. This is especially true since the term began to be most widely used in the post–Industrial Revolution era.
Popular culture has changed as a concept throughout the decades, often because of how different technologies and fields reinvent it. We see this clearly in television and music, as well as in the current new media age. Now the term is commonly shortened to “pop” culture and is not always directly associated with a sense of non-elite positioning. Although closely aligned with subaltern studies historically for its anti-elite positioning, it has largely dropped connotations of socioeconomic class today; however, it is still used to reference mass culture, or mainstream experiences in the everyday Western world."
modern popular culture transmitted via mass media and aimed particularly at younger people. Source: Dictionary.com
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Readings on Pop Culture
An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture by Dominic Strinati"An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture is widely recognized as an immensely useful textbook for students taking courses in the major theories of popular culture. Strinati provides a critical assessment of the ways in which these theories have tried to understand and evaluate popular culture in modern societies. Among the theories and ideas the book introduces are: mann culture, the Frankfurt School and the culture industry, semiology and structuralism, Marxism, feminism, postmodernism and cultural populism. This new edition provides fresh material on Marxism and feminism, while a new final chapter assesses the significance of the theories explained in the book." (Publisher's description)
Call Number: HM621 .S834 2004
Publication Date: 2004-07-09
Cultural Theory and Popular Culture by John Storey"This extensively revised and updated fifth edition of Storey's market-leading textbook provides an engaging, clear and coherent introduction to cultural theory. Popular culture is used to critically examine the theories and main approaches of cultural theory, and ensures that the accessible approach of previous editions is retained." (Publisher's description)
Call Number: CB19 S743 2009
Publication Date: 2009-01-06
Rhetoric in Popular Culture by Barry S. Brummett"This book provides readers with in-depth insight into the techniques of rhetorical criticism to analyze the full spectrum of contemporary issues in popular culture. From movies, magazines and advertisements, to social networking sites, music videos and television shows, this text presents key rhetorical concepts and applies them with critical analysis to a variety of exciting examples drawn from today's popular culture. Moving from theory to practice throughout the text, this book links concepts in an easy-to-understand way. This book covers the concept rhetoric, itself, as well as its place and dynamic change in history, and offers methods to effectively employ rhetorical criticism in daily life. The new edition includes pertinent critical essays and case studies that show readers how the critical methods discussed can be used to study the hidden rhetoric of extended texts, and more." (Publisher's description)
Call Number: P301 B67 2015
Publication Date: 2014-01-28
Selected Pop Culture / Pop Fiction Works in Bad Feminist
Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins"The extraordinary debut collection from the Guggenheim Award-winning author of the forthcoming Gold Fame Citrus Winner of the 2012 Story Prize Recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2013 Rosenthal Family Foundation Award Named one of the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" fiction writers of 2012 Winner of New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award NPR Best Short Story Collections of 2012 A Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Time Out New York Best Book of the year, and more . . . Like the work of Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, Richard Ford, and Annie Proulx, Battleborn represents a near-perfect confluence of sensibility and setting, and the introduction of an exceptionally powerful and original literary voice. In each of these ten unforgettable stories, Claire Vaye Watkins writes her way fearlessly into the mythology of the American West, utterly reimagining it. Her characters orbit around the region's vast spaces, winning redemption despite - and often because of - the hardship and violence they endure. The arrival of a foreigner transforms the exchange of eroticism and emotion at a prostitution ranch. A prospecting hermit discovers the limits of his rugged individualism when he tries to rescue an abused teenager. Decades after she led her best friend into a degrading encounter in a Vegas hotel room, a woman feels the aftershock. Most bravely of all, Watkins takes on - and reinvents - her own troubled legacy in a story that emerges from the mayhem and destruction of Helter Skelter. Arcing from the sweeping and sublime to the minute and personal, from Gold Rush to ghost town to desert to brothel, the collection echoes not only in its title but also in its fierce, undefeated spirit the motto of her home state." (Publisher's description)
Call Number: PS3623.A869426 B38 2012
Publication Date: 2012-08-02
Dare Me by Megan Abbott"Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy's best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they're seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls -- until the young new coach arrives. Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach's golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as "top girl" -- both with the team and with Addy herself. Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death -- and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain. The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as "total authority and an almost desperate intensity," provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl." (Publisher's description)
Call Number: Ames Public Library: Adult Fiction: ABBOTT M
"...Set in Missouri, the story begins as a mystery that follows the events surrounding Nick Dunne, who becomes the primary suspect in the sudden disappearance of his wife, Amy" Available at ISU Library: Media Center DVD 007 176
Magnificence by Lydia Millet"This stunning novel introduces Susan Lindley, a woman adrift after her husband's death. Suddenly gifted her great uncle's Pasadena mansion, Susan decides to restore his extensive collection of preserved animals, tending to "the fur and feathers, the beaks, the bones and shimmering tails." Meanwhile, a menagerie of uniquely damaged humans - including a cheating husband and a chorus of eccentric elderly women - joins her in residence. Funny and heartbreaking, Magnificence is the story of a woman emerging from the sudden dissolution of her family. Millet's trademark themes - evolution and extinction, children and parenthood, loss and wonder - produce a rapturous final act to the critically acclaimed cycle of novels that began with How the Dead Dream." (Publisher's description)
Call Number: Ames Public Library: Bridges Downloadable Audiobook
Publication Date: 2012-11-05
Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine"When a college graduate with a history of hapless jobs (ice cream scooper; gift wrapper; laziest ever part-time clerk at The Pet Library) reads Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island, she is dumbstruck by the timid design of her life. When had she ever dreamed a scheme? When had she ever done a foolish, overbold act? When had she ever, like Jim Hawkins, broke from her friends, raced for the beach, stolen a boat, killed a man, and eliminated an obstacle that stood in the way of her getting a hunk of gold?Convinced that Stevenson's book is cosmically intended for her, she redesigns her life according to its Core Values: boldness, resolution, independence and horn-blowing. Accompanied by her mother, her sister, and a hostile Amazon parrot that refuses to follow the script, our heroine embarks on a domestic adventure more frightening than anything she'd originally planned.Treasure Island!!! is the story of a ferocious obsession, told by an original voice-intelligent, perverse, relentlessly self- extricating, and funny." (Publisher's description)
Call Number: Ames Public Library: Adult Fiction: LEVINE S
Publication Date: 2011-12-07
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud"From the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor's Children, a masterly new novel: the riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed and betrayed by a desire for a world beyond her own. Nora Eldridge, an elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, long ago compromised her dream to be a successful artist, mother and lover. She has instead become the "woman upstairs," a reliable friend and neighbor always on the fringe of others' achievements. Then into her life arrives the glamorous and cosmopolitan Shahids--her new student Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale, and his parents: Skandar, a dashing Lebanese professor who has come to Boston for a fellowship at Harvard, and Sirena, an effortlessly alluring Italian artist. When Reza is attacked by schoolyard bullies, Nora is drawn deep into the complex world of the Shahid family; she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together. Nora's happiness explodes her boundaries, and she discovers in herself an unprecedented ferocity--one that puts her beliefs and her sense of self at stake. Told with urgency, intimacy and piercing emotion, this brilliant novel of passion and artistic fulfillment explores the intensity, thrill--and the devastating cost--of embracing an authentic life." (Publisher's description)
Call Number: PS3563 E8134 W66 2013
Publication Date: 2013-04-30
You Take It from Here by Pamela Ribon"From the author of Why Girls Are Weird comes a poignant, funny tale about two very different best friends - one terminally ill with cancer, and the other determined to do absolutely everything she can to help. Just because you'd give your best friend everything doesn't mean she has to take it. On the heels of a divorce, all Danielle Meyers wants is her annual vacation with sassy, life-long best friend, Smidge - complete with umbrella cocktails by an infinity pool - but instead she's hit with the curveball of a lifetime. Smidge takes Danielle to the middle of nowhere to reveal a diagnosis of terminal cancer, followed by an unusual request: "After I'm gone, I want you to finish the job. Marry my husband. Raise my daughter. I'm gonna teach you to how to be Smidge 2.0." As Danielle wrestles with this major life decision, she finds herself torn between being true to her best friend's wishes and being honest with herself. Parenting issues aside, Smidge's small-town Louisiana world is exactly the one Danielle made sure to escape. Danielle isn't one for playing the social butterfly, or being the center of attention. And when your best friend tries to set you up on a date night with her husband, it might be time to become the bossy one for a change. In the spirit of Beaches and Steel Magnolias, You Take It from Here is an honest, hilarious, and heartbreaking novel that ultimately asks: How much should we sacrifice for the ones we love the most?" (Publisher's description)
Starring Charlize Theron "Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) as "... a divorced, alcoholic 37-year-old ghost writer of a series of young adult novels, who is on deadline with her editor to finish the last book of the soon-to-be-cancelled series." Available at ISU Library: Media Center DVD 005 749