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Bad Feminist: Book Discussion Series

Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist - March 2018 Library Book Discussion, sponsored by ISU Library's Committee on Diversity & Inclusion

About Pop Culture

Marilyn Diptych, by Andy Warhol; courtesy Tate Gallery & Wikipedia

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."


- From Popular Culture, ErkenBrack, Pardo, & Jackson, in Oxford Bibliographies


Pop Culture:  Definition & Readings


pop cul·ture
  1. 1.
    modern popular culture transmitted via mass media and aimed particularly at younger people.  

Readings on Pop Culture

Selected Pop Culture / Pop Fiction Works in Bad Feminist