The Problem of Mass Culture and the Rhetoric of Social Theory
171 | CCN: 77953
Instructor: Felipe Gutterriez
Date / Time: CANCELLED
In this course we will examine the theories of mass society and popular
culture that have emerged amid the complex social, cultural, economic, and industrial
transformations of society that have occurred since the late 19th century. We will
examine these theories as responses to the classic "problems" of mass culture, modern
society as the site of emancipation or alienation, the role of theory as symptom or
therapy, and the interplay between heterogeneity/homogeneity,
unconscious/hyperconscious, and depth/surface that characterizes contemporary society.
The readings in this course consist of the work of a number of social and cultural
theorists. Many of these readings are quite difficult. I hope to make these theories more
accessible through our collective consideration of a variety of cultural artifacts. To do
well in this course you will have to read a lot of material carefully, be prepared to
participate in class discussion, and be willing to work together on class presentations.
Handouts available in class or on class website.
Reading: There is a substantial amount of reading in this course. Mastery of these concepts and this style of argument will require a careful and thoughtful reading of the material.
Writing: There will be midterm and final essays.
Class attendance: Class attendance is required. I will be taking attendance.